Zombie of the Week: Gyo

Don’t worry… It’ll go away. 

Add some horrific abilities to your zombie horde with extra Zombie options! This week, our unique zombie is delivered to us courtesy of walking metal legs, carting a bloated and infected zombie right to our doorstep from the pages and celluloid of 2012’s anime Gyo by Junji Ito. These walking corpse machines come in three varieties of gyo zombie- humanoid, beast and humongous!

First appearing as a weekly serial in the manga magazine Big Comic Spirits in 2001 and 2002, Gyo tells the story of a young couple, Tadashi and Kaori who struggle against a mysterious horde of undead fish marching through Tokyo on metal legs.

Written and illustrated by Junji Ito, a noted author of Japanese horror manga, the story was adapted to anime in 2012. It’s a bizarre tale that focuses on the mad inventions of a World War II scientist who developed a deadly virus that causes its host to exude a terrible stench. Hoping to turn the tide of war by unleashing the virus on allied forces, the scientist placed the infected creatures on walking machines in order to carry them to enemy positions. It is eventually revealed over the course of the manga and anime that the gas has achieved a level of sentience.

With some bizarre images as to how people are infected with the gas (hint: Japanese tentacle manga/anime), the film has some ridiculously jittery zombified sea creatures and engorged human victims who despite their horrific state, appear fully conscious of their fate. It’s by no means an easy watch but like a lot of Japanese horror, it’s almost inaccessible nature owes a lot to the atomic fears of the culture it was created in. For our purposes, the zombies offer a great selection to add to the table! How you may ask? Well, simple, just give your zombie the following:


Gyo – Humanoid (CR: 1/2)

  • Updated Characteristics 
    • The zombie’s alignment becomes: unaligned
    • The zombie’s hit points become: 45 (6d8 + 18). (thanks to the durable walking machine it is latched atop)
    • The zombie’s speed becomes :  35 ft. (the walking machine was designed to be incredibly fast)
    • The zombie’s Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence become: 14, 17 and 2 owing to the capabilities of the walking machine it is attached to.
    • The zombie loses its Wisdom saving throw bonus as the gas decreases its general awareness.
    • The zombie gains Immunities to the following Conditions: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified and poisoned. While the corpse latched to the walking machine is conscious, so too is the gas that powers it, making it able to perform normally even when its host may be temporarily hindered.
    • The zombie loses its language comprehension as its mind is overwhelmed by the gas.
    • The zombie loses its Undead Fortitude trait owning to the fact that the walking machine can be damaged during attacks and once it is destroyed, the zombie becomes just another corpse.
    • The zombie loses its normal Slam attack.
  • Trait Option 

Death Stench. Any creature other than a gyo that starts its turn within 5 feet of the gyo must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw against disease or become poisoned until the start of the creature’s next turn. Any poisoned creature that starts its turn within 5 feet of the gyo automatically fails this saving throw and suffers 2 (1d4) poison damage. The target dies if this damage reduces its hit points to 0.

  • Attack Option

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit:  5 (1d8 +1) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

  • Attack Option

Pincer. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone target. Hit: 7 (1d10 +2) piercing damage.

For Fiendish and above patrons this week, you get the full pdf conversion of this zombie, which is the Humanoid Gyo AND you also you get two additional Gyo zombies – the Beast Gyo and the Humongous Gyo – two terrifying zombies at CR 2 and CR 4 available in the Horror Movie Monster Manual. These two zombies are tougher opponents and the beast gyo includes a variant table so you can throw zombies with tentacles, claws and tails at your players. You can see a preview of these pages below. And since this weeks patron’s get extra content, this week’s zombie page is available (in JPEG only) to everyone! Enjoy, and if you want the extra gyo zombies or just to help chip in with these conversions or have a say in upcoming ones, please consider becoming a Patron!




BONUS: Check out a Spooky Rice review of GYO

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



Published by Jesse B

Eclectic taste for horror and dark fantasy

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