Contagion Infected Human Zombies, Head Strikes and High Fantasy – so it begins

Here are the first three unique elements I’ve come up with for my Zombies in Fantasyland campaign.  Here you’ll find a new attack method: The Head Strike,  the Contagion Infected Human Zombies themselves and The Contagion.  Speaking of which, I really need a name for this campaign and the world in which it takes place.

I’ve taken a long hard look at the systems I’d like to develop this for and I’ve decided to go with D&D 3.5, which also follows the d20 SRD standard available here.    4th edition had far to many limits and would require massive house rules just to be worth playing in.  3.5 has a great base system from which I can work to develop this.

None of this is set in stone and I’m always open to suggestions and folks pointing out glaring errors or inconsistencies.   Feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts!

Head Strike

A Head Strike is an attack that targets a specific portion of the body – the head.  Head shots may be taken if the following conditions are met:

1. The target is in range of the weapon being used.
2. The head the character is attempting to hit is not obstructed by armor or other obstructions.

A Head Strike may be substituted for any normal attack action (either an attack or a full round attack).  If the character has more than one attack per round during a full round attack action they may substitute a head strike for any or all of these attacks.

Each head strike causes the character to take a -4 on their attack roll.  On successfully hitting with a head strike, the target takes an additional 5 points of damage.  If that target is a human infected with the Undead Contagion, they are considered to have received sufficient damage to the brain to kill them.

Head Strikes on targets wearing  a helm do normal damage  and will not be considered enough of a blow to kill them.  These individuals must either have their head gear removed or be killed by a coup de grace.


Contagion Infected (CI) Human Zombie

These creatures are humans who have been infected by the Contagion.  Once a human has been bitten by a Contagion Infected Human Zombie, they themselves will turn in a matter of hours or days.

These creatures retain no knowledge of their former existence.  They are motivated by one purpose only, which is to feed on living flesh of warm blooded creatures.  Unlike their magically created counterparts, CI Zombies do not follow orders from any source.  They are incapable of understanding any commands.  A significant portion of their brain must be destroyed before the zombie succumbs to a final death.

Much like their counterparts however they feel no pain and will in no way attempt to defend themselves against attack or the ravages of nature.

Most CI Zombies will attempt a grapple before biting.  GM’s can randomly determine the first attack as follows:

1d4 – on a 1 -3 the CI Zombie attempts a grapple. On a 4 it attempts to bite.

Zombies will only use their slam attack if a first bite attack attempt fails.

Size/Type:    Medium Undead
Hit Dice:    2d6
Initiative:    -1
Speed:    30 Feet (6 squares – cannot run)
Armor Class:    11 (-1 Dex, +2 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple:    +2/+2
Attack:    Grapple, Slam +2 (1d6+1) or bite +2 melee (1d4 + if target is human, that target is infected.)
Full Attack:
Slam+2 melee, (1d6+1) or bite +2 melee (1d4 + if target is human, that target is infected.)
Space/Reach:    5 ft./5 ft
Special Attacks: none
Special Qualities: Prolonged Undeath, Single actions only, damage reduction 5/slashing, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits, brain must be destroyed.
Saves:        Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3
Abilities:    Str 10, Dex 8, Con 0, Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills:        —
Feats:        Toughness
Environment:        Any
Organization:        Any
Challenge Rating:    ½
Treasure:        None
Alignment:        None.
Advancement:       None

Special Attributes

Prolonged Undeath

CI Zombies, once turned, decay at a fixed rate equivalent to 1 day of normal decay every 5 years.  For every 10 year interval, the CI Zombie suffers a -1 to hit.  After the equivalent of 16 days of decay (80 years) has been reached, the CI Zombie is no longer able to walk under their own power.  They will still attempt to attack/bite any warm blooded creature that passes within their reach.

When a CI Zombie reaches zero hit points, they will become immobile for 1d4 rounds, during which time they will recover 2d6 hit points.  At the end of that round they become animated again but are restricted to 5′ movements.  If a CI Zombie suffers a Head Strike, or if their heads are completely consumed by fire or acid,  they will die a true death and will not become mobile again.

Damage Reduction

A zombie has damage reduction 5/slashing.  Zombies are essentially masses of flesh for which wounds are not an issue.

Single Actions Only

Zombies may either move or attack as a single action each round.

The Contagion

All CI Zombies are infected with the contagion.  A single bite from a CI Zombie will infect any human bitten.


CI Zombies, on determining that potential pray is nearby, emit a long, low moan which carries quite a distance.  Any other CI Zombies within a half mile radius have a 60% chance of being attracted by this moan and will also begin moaning themselves.  Often, this results in a CI Zombie Hoard.  Zombies will moan if they see prey or hear loud noises which may indicate prey.


The Contagion (Disease) – Effects only Humans

Saving Throw (Will).

Characters bitten by CI Zombies must make a saving throw every hour after the initial bite.  If they succeed, their Wisdom statistic is reduced by 1.  If they fail, they will die within the next 60 minutes.

There is no known way other than the bite from a CI Zombie to contract the Contagion.  Infected individuals who have not turned undead will not infect other humans.

Death – Characters killed the The Contagion may not be resurrected.  Within 1d4 hours after death, they will rise again as CI Zombies.

Cure Disease – No known spells or clerical powers are able to defeat The Contagion.

Once I have a bit more to work with, I’ll start compiling these posts into a single, more manageable document.

[tags]zombies, rpg, contagion, fantasy[/tags]

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