Dead (3.5e Monster)
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Exactly what it says on the tin, these are the Dead. The Dead who refused to stay in their grave. The Dead who feast on the flesh of the living. They go by many names, and the amount of lore that exists about them in the world is so great that sorting out the truths from the lies is nearly impossible. There are as many names for them as there are stars in the sky; undead, zombies, the dead who walk, the quasidead, but the one thing they have in common is that they're all dead, and quite irreversibly so.
This group of monsters has been created with low-level campaigns in mind (Epic 8, or up to level 10). The variants and their abilities have also been tailored to be suitable for a horror-centric game, or a game based around a zombie outbreak with fairly little changes or limitations to the overall ruleset, although it may be advisable for any DM to allow access to curse removing effects, either through a remedial quest or available services in a nearby settlement, should an early-level party become infected.
Some supplemental items have been planned for this article in the future, including the fifth and strongest variety of Dead – the living dead; a fully realized undead that retains class levels it had in life – and possibly mob mechanics for the walking dead to make it easier to use these weak low-level zombies in great numbers without bogging down the combat with excessive dice rolling. If you have any comments or suggestions specifically on planned future material, please direct them to my user talk page.
*: Only when grappling.
Dead maintain the form they had when they were alive, oft disheveled and mutilated, but usually recognizable. The dead that are described within this article were all Medium humanoids that were turned into Dead.
Vestiges of unlife animated by an age-old curse, the Dead are relentless and tireless, looking only to feed and spread across the lands of the mortal realm.
Aim for the Head: An attacking creature may target the head of a Dead by taking a called shot to the head at a -4 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack is successful, the damage bypasses any damage reduction/slashing it has.
Curse of the Living Dead (Su): A living creature that has taken damage from the bite of a Dead must make a Fortitude save or become affected by the curse of the living dead. This affliction spreads through blood, flesh and bone, slowly overtaking the victim's entire body and mind. When suffering from this affliction, a creature must make Fortitude saves at regular intervals, depending on the power of the Dead (see below). Upon failing such a save, the victim is permanently drained of one point of Constitution.
|Type of Dead||Fortitude DC1||Save Interval|
|Walking dead||10||6 hours|
|Restless dead||11||6 hours|
|Vengeful dead||13||3 hours|
|Reaving dead||15||1 hour|
|Living dead||10 + ½ HD||1 minute|
This process continues until the afflicted creature is either killed, or has its Constitution score drained to 0. At the onset of death, it will then turn into a Dead within 2d4 rounds. The type of Dead the creature will return as will depend on its Hit Dice (see Table: Becoming a Dead).
While this ability is often mistaken for an incurable disease, it is in fact a curse, and cannot be defended against with immunity to disease or spells that cure diseases, although a remove curse will cure it. Once cured, any Constitution drain the victim had suffered becomes Constitution damage, and can then be restored magically or through natural healing.
|HD||Type of Dead (d%)|
|Walking Dead||Restless Dead||Vengeful Dead||Reaving Dead||Living Dead|
Mindless dead, such as the walking and restless dead, are classified as the lesser Dead. They lumber forward with no regard for their own wellbeing, persisting only on the ingrained instinct to feed upon the flesh of the living. When they catch the scent of a living humanoid, they will pursue it to the best of their ability, attempting to circumvent or break through any obstacles in their way.
Lesser Dead infest fallen settlements, infected dungeons and risen crypts in great numbers. They are the foot soldiers of the dead, a great legion of dead that presses ever onwards in its unconscious desire to feed and spread their curse. Being mindless, they may be controlled by their greater peers. They have slam attacks and a bite.
Walking dead are the weaker of the lesser Dead, but also by far the most numerous. Their power is in their great numbers, and while they are ponderous and slow, they will overwhelm and rend to pieces any who have the misfortune to be cornered by them, grappling their targets en masse and biting them to death.
Single Actions Only: Walking dead have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. A walking dead can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.
Restless dead are the stronger of the lesser Dead. Stronger and faster than walking dead, they are more dangerous and can spread the curse more effectively. Restless dead have limited capability to detect the life force of nearby living creatures.
More powerful Dead rise as vengeful dead or reaving dead. These are the greater Dead. They are dangerous even when encountered alone. They are no longer mindless, retaining a semblance of intellect that is roughly animalistic in quality. Some of these dead may rarely speak single words or very short phrases in garbled common, remnants of their memory while alive, but they generally lack the intelligence to understand what they blurt out. These dead are predatory, and some are capable of asserting influence over the movements of mindless Dead, using them to aid in flanking or surrounding targets.
More animal than zombie, the greater Dead are driven by a need to hunt and feast on its quarry. Unlike lesser Dead, who are merely mindless and driven by instinct, their greater cousins are cruel and cunning, often slowly and horrifically disemboweling any captured target. Because of their rudimentary intelligence, they are capable of imposing their will upon the mindless lesser Dead, using them as pawns and fodder to corner their prey. Greater Dead are fantastic climbers that will often use their vantage in order to drop down on unsuspecting targets. All greater Dead have lifesight.
The evil forces that animate a greater Dead often affect its physiology, granting it access to one or more Malformations (see below). 50% of all greater dead have at least one malformation.
Command Lesser Dead (Su): A greater Dead is capable of bending lesser Dead within a 60-foot-radius to its will and coordinate their movements. As a swift action, a greater Dead may focus its attention upon a lesser Dead in range, putting them under their control until dismissed. A greater Dead can directly control 2 Hit Dice of lesser Dead for every Hit Dice it has.
Greater Dead can use their thralls to flank, surround, attack or intercept particular targets, or order them to follow, guard, or move to a particular position. Commands are given through a rudimentary form of telepathy as a free action.
Vengeful dead are the weaker of the greater Dead, and possess a sadistic predatory intellect. Their mort bodies move with lethal purpose and stealth, and strike without mercy. They are calculated hunters, quick, agile and strong, and will await their target's guard to lower before they strike.
Rake (Ex): Attack bonus +8 melee, damage 1d8+2.
Reaving dead are the second most powerful form of Dead. Horribly twisted and evil, they retain a large amount of intelligence and are capable of rudimentary speech, but nothing they have to say can be considered good. The curse that animates the Dead runs thick within their bodies, and they exude it as a sickening aura that weakens and kills those nearby, quickly turning them into Dead.
Corruption Aura (Su): A reaving dead exudes an aura of black smoke that emanates out in a 15-foot radius, giving it concealment against ranged attacks. Every living creature caught within the aura must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be afflicted with the curse of the living dead. Dead bodies caught within the aura are immediately raised as Dead. While a creature afflicted with the curse remains within the aura, they must save against Constitution drain every round instead of the usual interval.
Fear (Su): At the mere sight of a reaving dead, the viewer must succeed on a DC 17 Will save or be frightened for 2d6 rounds. A creature of 4 HD or less is panicked instead. Whether or not the save is successful, a creature cannot be affected again by the same reaving dead’s fear ability for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Malformations are the basest violations of nature that a Dead can bring upon itself. The evil that animates them becomes so powerful that it distorts and alters their body, granting them special abilities, powers, and making them stronger. To determine how many malformations a random greater Dead has, roll a d% and use the below table.
Malformations come in three types; Special Attack, Mutation, and Ability. Special Attack-type malformations grant the greater Dead additional attack options in combat. Ability-type malformations grant spell-like abilities and certain passive benefits, and Mutation-type malformations alter the greater Dead’s physiology in some beneficial way.
If a greater Dead has malformations, roll a d% for each as per the table below. They cannot have the same malformation twice however, unless otherwise noted in the table. Reroll any doubles you might encounter.
|1-4||Anathematic Touch||Ability||Spell resistance 8 + HD vs divine spells. Natural attacks deal 1d6 additional damage to divine spellcasters.|
|5-8||Arachnid Eyes||Mutation||Omnidirectional vision. Never flat-footed, cannot be flanked, and gains +10 to Spot checks.|
|9-12||Baleful Scream (Su)||Special Attack||Gain a special attack; 15-ft. cone, 2d6 sonic damage (Reflex half); if target takes damage, stunned for 1d4 rounds (Fortitude half).|
|13-16||Cancerous Growth||Mutation||+2 Strength, fast healing 5.|
|17-20||Ceramic Skin||Ability||Gain resistance 10 to acid and fire.|
|21-24||Double-Jointed Legs||Mutation||+2 Dexterity, +10 land speed.|
|25-28||Enervation Ray (Sp)||Special Attack||Ray attack deals 4d6 negative energy damage (Will half) and bestows 1 negative level (Fortitude negates). Equivalent to a 4th-level spell.|
|33-36||Extra Arm1||Mutation||Gain one extra arm/claw attack. +2 to grapple checks.|
|37-40||Flatulence (Ex)||Special Attack||10-ft.-radius emanation, 1-round stinking cloud effect (Fortitude negates). Nausea effect goes away 1 round after afflicted creature leaves the cloud.|
|41-44||Gelid Breath (Su)||Special Attack||15-ft. cone, damage 2d8 cold (Reflex half) and 1d4 Dexterity (Fortitude half).|
|45-48||Hasted||Ability||+2 Dexterity. May act as hasted for 1d4+1 rounds once per day.|
|49-52||Lifebane||Ability||+1 to attack rolls and +1d6 to damage to all attacks against living creatures. +1 to Curse save DC.|
|53-56||Lightning Bolt (Su)||Special Attack||30-ft. line, 4d6 electricity damage (Reflex half).|
|57-60||Muscle Density||Mutation||+2 Strength, powerful build.|
|61-64||Needle Spray (Ex)||Special Attack||15-ft. cone of needles; 2d8 piercing damage (Reflex half) plus poison (1d6 Str/1d6 Str; Fortitude negates).|
|65-68||Prehensile Tongue||Mutation||bite becomes a tongue attack that can strike with reach (includes curse); +2 to grapple checks.|
|69-72||Razor tail||Mutation||Gain a tail, and a tail slap natural weapon. Base damage as claw. Deals slashing damage. +2 to grapple checks.|
|73-76||Shadow Leap (Sp)||Ability||dimension door (range 60 ft.) 3/day.|
|77-80||Spiked Carapace||Mutation||+2 enhancement bonus to natural armor, and spikes are a natural weapon that functions as armor spikes.|
|81-84||Thrallherd||Ability||+2 Charisma. Command up to twice as many lesser Dead.|
|85-88||Two-Headed||Mutation||Gain an additional head, along with a second bite.|
|89-92||Unholy Surge||Ability||inflict serious wounds 1/day (CL equal to HD), natural weapons treated as lesser unholy.|
|93-96||Vomit Spray (Ex)||Special Attack||30-ft. line that blinds for 2d6 rounds and deals 2d8 acid damage, Reflex negates and halves.|
|97-100||Wings||Mutation||The greater Dead gains two wings, with a fly speed equal to its land speed, good maneuverability.|
Special Attack-type malformations have a 1d4-round cooldown time. If a greater Dead has multiple area effect Special Attack-type malformations, they all share the same cooldown. All Special Attack save DCs are Constitution-based, with a +2 racial bonus.
Bonuses to ability scores given by Mutation-type malformations are racial, and stack with each other. Bonuses to ability scores given by Ability-type malformations are enhancement bonuses, and do not stack with each other.
All Ability save DCs are Charisma-based.
Other malformations may be invented for particular greater Dead on DM fiat, as long as they are roughly equal to those listed above in power.
To be done. For the preliminary article (work in progress), see Living Dead (3.5e Template), which will be embedded here when finished.
|Alignment||Always neutral + and Always neutral evil +|
|Challenge Rating||1/3 +, 2 +, 5 + and 9 +|
|Identifier||3.5e Monster +|
|Level Adjustment||— +|
|Rated By||Eiji-kun +, Havvy +, Leziad +, Fluffykittens +, Ghostwheel + and MisterSinister +|
|Rating||Rated 2.5 / 4 +|