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Zombie (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the zombie is an undead creature, usually created by applying a template to another creature.

Publication history

The zombie was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)

The zombie was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described as acting under the instructions of their motivator, usually a magic-user or cleric of chaotic alignment.

The ollam-onga, a zombie variant, appeared in Supplement IV: Gods, Demigods, and Heroes (1976).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)

The zombie appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as a magically animated corpse, an undead creature under the command of the evil magic-user or cleric who animated it.

The ju-ju zombie, a more intelligent zombie, and the monster zombie first appeared in Monster Manual II (1983).

The Strahd zombie first appeared in the original Ravenloft module (1983).

Several zombie variants appear in Dragon #138, in Tom Moldvay's article "The Ungrateful Dead" (October 1988), including the greater colossus and lesser colossus, the hungry dead, the le grand zombi, and the walking dead.

The 'sea zombie for the Greyhawk campaign setting first appeared in Greyhawk Adventures (1988).

The living zombie for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting first appeared in Lords of Darkness (1989).

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the zombie, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983). The zombie was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991), the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).

The lesser lightning zombie and greater lightning zombie appear in the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set (1992).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)

The zombie, ju-ju zombie, and monster zombie appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).

The sea zombie appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix, and was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual.

The Strahd zombie for the Ravenloft setting appeared in the Ravenloft: Realm of Terror boxed set (1990), and later appeared in Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness (1994). The zombie lord is introduced in Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix (1991), and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual. The zombie wolf appeared in Castles Forlorn and Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness (1994). Several new zombie variants appeared in Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness (1994), including the cannibal zombie, and the desert zombie. The mud zombie appears in Death Ascendant (1996) and is reprinted in Monstrous Compendium Appendix Four (1998).

The thinking zombie was introduced in the Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1995).

The lesser lightning zombie and greater lightning zombie appear in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix (1994).

The zombie undead dragon appears in Dragon #234 (October 1996), which later appeared in Cult of the Dragon (1998). In the same issue of Dragon, the "Dragon's Bestiary column features the absorbing zombie, the acid zombie, and the quick zombie.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)

The zombie appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000). Described are zombies of several size categories, including tiny, small, medium-size, large, huge, gargantuan, huge, and colossal.

The tyrantfog zombie appears for the Forgotten Realms setting in Monsters of Faerun (2001). The juju zombie appears in Unapproachable East (2003), for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)

The zombie appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003), as a template. This book also featured a number of sample zombies, including the bugbear zombie, the gray render zombie, the human commoner zombie, the kobold zombie, the minotaur zombie, the ogre zombie, the troglodyte zombie, the umber hulk zombie, and the wyvern zombie.

The zombie dragon template appeared in Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons (2003)

The bloodthirsty zombie, the diseased zombie, the fast zombie, the hunting zombie, and the unkillable zombie appeared in Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (2004). This book also featured a number of sample zombies, including the behir zombie, the black bear zombie, the centaur zombie, the dire ape zombie, the dire rat zombie, the five-headed hydra zombie, the gnoll warrior zombie, the gnome warrior zombie, the goblin warrior zombie, the hound archon zombie, the megaraptor zombie, the skum zombie, the vrock zombie, the werewolf zombie, and the wolf zombie.

The necrocarnum zombie template appeared in Magic of Incarnum (2005).

The living zombie for the Forgotten Realms setting returned in Champions of Ruin (2005).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)

The zombie appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).

Variant zombies

  • Bloodthirsty zombie - drains blood with its bite.
  • Corpse ceature - a zombie that retains knowledge and skills it possessed in life.
  • Death Tyrant - Zombie beholders which possess some of their deadly abilities.
  • Diseased zombie - carries a disease known as filth fever.
  • Fast zombie - moves much faster and can act more quickly than a standard zombie.
  • Hunting zombie - tracks prey by scent.
  • Juju zombie - free-willed, sentient zombies often created from powerful curses or other fell magics.
  • Necrocarnum zombie - animated with the warped form of soul energy known as necrocarnum. They physically resemble a traditional zombie, but are cruel, cunning, and quick.
  • Tyrantfog zombie - Priests of evil deities slain by rival deities or their servants. They spread disease and are surrounded by a sickening fog cloud. Originated in the Forgotten Realms.
  • Unkillable zombie - tougher zombies that rapidly repair injuries.
  • Zombie dragon - created from dragons and retains some of their deadly abilities.

Animal zombies

Animals as well as humanoids can be turned into undead, most commonly a zombie. Zombie animals look like the animal they were in life only with rotting, falling off flesh (some are completely skeletal), and are completely feral and mindless creatures which stalk around, searching for flesh. Zombified horses are sometimes employed by humanoid zombies to act as mounts. They cannot speak, and are neutral evil in alignment.

References

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