Zombie of the Week: Living Dead

Add some horrific abilities to your zombie horde with extra Zombie options! This week, our horde features abilities from the zombies that started it all – the Living Dead!

Romero’s groundbreaking, genre-defining Night of the Living Dead set the mold for the now classic modern zombie. In the film, a horde of Living Dead surround a quiet farmhouse, terrorizing the hapless intruders within. Introducing the now iconic ‘zombie infection bite‘, Romero’s zombies are the modern definition of what it means to be undead. And how can you add these iconic zombies to your game? Just give them the following:

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Living Dead

  • Attack Option

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit:  3 (1d4 + 1) piercing damage.  If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw against disease or become infected with the Living Dead virus.

Effect on Challenge Rating: 0

  • Trait Option 

Living Dead Virus. A humanoid infected with the virus is Poisoned until the disease is cured. Every hour that elapses, the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, reducing its hit point maximum by 5 (1d10) on a failure. This reduction to the target’s hit point maximum lasts until the disease is cured.  The target dies if the disease reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid slain by this virus rises 1d6 rounds later as a living dead infected with the Living Dead Virus, unless the humanoid is restored to life or its body is destroyed.

Effect on Challenge Rating: +1 CR 

  • Trait Option

Fire Aversion. If the living dead starts its turn within five feet of fire, it is frightened of the source of the fire until the end of its turn.

Effect on Challenge Rating: 0

  • Trait Option

Hunger. If the living dead starts its turn within 15 feet of a humanoid corpse, it must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the living dead must spend its turn moving towards the corpse by the shortest and most direct route and begin feasting on its remains. A living dead currently feasting on the remains of a humanoid corpse has disadvantage on this save.

Effect on Challenge Rating: 0

  • A word about **Head Shots**. All 5th Edition zombies come with Undead Fortitude. While it may be tempting to add ‘head shots‘ into the mix when it comes to zombies, this Constitution saving throw is a pretty effective ‘Shoot ’em in the head‘ troupe that works well mechanically and lore-wise (check out this Reddit thread for various takes on this fact). However, if you are just dying to add a head-shot mechanic, and all the baggage that entails, perhaps instead, simply give your zombies Advantage on their Undead Fortitude saving throws, making them even harder to put down than your typical zombie…

 

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References

  • 5th Edition Monster Manual
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Zombie of the Week is a bi-weekly (first & third Friday of the Month) feature that presents Horror Movie Zombie options, including new Traits, Attacks and Lore to add to your 5th Edition zombies. Each option comes with a recommended Challenge which denotes the suggested modified minimum CR rating for a zombie or undead that may be best suited for that particular option. DM discretion advised

 

 

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