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Converting Monsters from Polyhedron Magazine

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Shade

Monster Junkie
Bloodstone Zombie

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
ORGANIZATION: Solitary
ACTIVE TIME: Any
DIET: None
INTELLIGENCE: Average
TREASURE: Special
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1-4
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVEMENT: 9
HIT DICE: 3+3
THACO: 15
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 or 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-7/2-7 or by weapon
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Death grip, disease
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Silver or +1 or better weapon to hit, immunity to illusion/phantasm spells
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil
SIZE: M (6')
MORALE: 20 (fearless)
XP VALUE: 420

Bloodstone zombies are initially difficult to recognize as undead. They appear to be beautiful humans and demihumans with smooth skin, sparkling eyes, and white teeth. These creatures are often able to approach their victims casually, not revealing their undead nature until they close to melee. Then their intended victims can see the Bloodstone zombies' claw like fingers and smell the stench of the grave. This type of un dead was created decades ago by an insane necromancer. The necromancer considered undead beautiful creatures, and he devoted his life to creating zombies that were as handsome as stately princes and as comely as the most shapely dancing girl. He succeeded by concocting a disease that killed its victims and brought them back to life as undead. The process also gave them a near-perfect appearance-good looks they did not have while they breathed. Unfortunately for the necromancer, he died at the claws of his lovely minions, realizing, by becoming one of their kind, that the disease he created could be passed on. Bloodstone zombies hate all life and attack whenever they deem the odds in their favor. They avoid fights with superior numbers or with fighters in heavy armor; the zombies have no desire to return to their graves.

Combat: Bloodstone zombies are very strong, with an effective Strength of 18/50. However, because their movements are not as fluid as living fighters, they cannot fully utilize their strength, hence delivering only 2-7 points of damage per claw attack. When using weapons they receive only a + 2 damage bonus.

Because Bloodstone zombies are more intelligent than other zombies, they set traps for their foes. Comely Bloodstone zombies have been known to lure unsuspecting victims into dark alleys. And handsome Bloodstone zombies, sprinkled with colognes to hide their stench, have escorted lone women to their dooms. Of course, the zombies also take the simple approach of a straightforward melee. Unlike other zombies, Bloodstone Zombies do not automatically lose initiative.

In melee, a Bloodstone zombie strikes with its claws. If both claw attacks hit, the zombie has successfully grabbed its victim in a "death grip" and can inflict its special attack. Victims are held for 1d6+1 rounds; they can break free earlier with a successful bend bars/lift gates roll. For every round a victim is held, he or she must make a saving throw versus death magic. Failure means the victim has contracted a disease carried by the Bloodstone zombie. The disease causes the victim to lose 2 points of Strength and Constitution per hour. When the victim's Strength and Constitution scores reach zero, he or she dies and will rise as a Bloodstone zombie one hour later.

Any personal items left on the victim will be carried by the newly-risen Bloodstone zombie and will be used to help hide its undead nature. Thus, treasure carried by Bloodstone zombies could range from a few coins to magical weapons.

Victims who are struck by the claws of a Bloodstone zombie, but who are not held in the death grip, also have a chance of contracting the disease, dying and returning as a zombie. These victims also must make a saving throw vs. death magic, but they receive a +4 bonus to their roll. Burning a victim who dies of the zombie disease will prevent him or her from becoming undead.

Bloodstone zombies are aware that normal weapons will not harm them. Although they are capable of using the weapons they wielded in life, they prefer to attack with their claws.
Bloodstone zombies turn as wights on the priest undead turning table.

Habitat/Society: Bloodstone zombies do not have a social order, nor do they recognize any form of government among their kind. With few exceptions, they are free-willed undead.

Ecology: Their capability to spread the Bloodstone zombie disease is their only means of continuing their species. The ease at which this disease is transmitted seems to insure the survival of their kind.

Evil clerics reportedly seek the zombies to add to their stable of undead.

Originally appeared in Polyhedron #76 (1992).
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
These are pretty neat! So, do we want to start with the zombie template or from an example zombie as a monster? I think I'm leaning toward template, esp because we already have the zombie template to work from.
 


Shade

Monster Junkie
Normal Zombie Abilities: A zombie’s Strength increases by +2, its Dexterity decreases by 2, it has no Constitution or Intelligence score, its Wisdom changes to 10, and its Charisma changes to 1.

It sounds like these should have average Int, and decent Cha.

Maybe...

Abilities: A bloodstone zombie’s Strength increases by +2, its Dexterity decreases by 2, it has no Constitution score, its Intelligence and Wisdom change to 10, and its Charisma increases by +4.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I say we leave Int and Wis alone; that way they average to average Int for the various species.

From the zombie template:

Hit Dice: Drop any Hit Dice from class levels (to a minimum of 1), double the number of Hit Dice left, and raise them to d12s. If the base creature has more than 10 Hit Dice (not counting those gained with experience), it can’t be made into a zombie with the animate dead spell.

Keep this the same?
 

GrayLinnorm

Explorer
I agree with Freyar about intelligence, and since they're intelligent, they should be able to keep class abilities and hit dice.
 

Shade

Monster Junkie
I agree with Freyar about intelligence, and since they're intelligent, they should be able to keep class abilities and hit dice.
Sounds good on the Int.

I'm not sure about keeping class abilities and other special abilities. I got the impression that these are just "slightly smarter, much more attractive" zombies with a few less limitations. If they retain their abilities, they seem more like the corpse creature template. I could be convinced either way, though.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
My inclination is that they keep their native Int but not their memories. So GrayLinnorm could convince me, but I suspect that they should lose class HD and class abilities. I guess I also feel that these are really supposed to be variant zombies.
 

GrayLinnorm

Explorer
Maybe we should do this as a standard monster. It's pointless to make it a template if they're not going to retain class abilities, and I can't really see this work for non-humanoids.
 

Shade

Monster Junkie
Maybe we should do this as a standard monster. It's pointless to make it a template if they're not going to retain class abilities, and I can't really see this work for non-humanoids.
Good point. It was clearly intended for humans and demihumans, which don't make for a wide variety of zombies.
 


freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I'm convinced. Small and Medium also sounds fair, and I still think we should work from the sample zombies in the SRD.
 

Shade

Monster Junkie
OK, then looking at the human commoner zombie...

Str 12, Dex 8, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1

Int is supposed to be "average" and Cha sounds halfway decent, so maybe...

Str 12, Dex 8, Con —, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14?
 


Shade

Monster Junkie
Got 'em started in Homebrews.

Let's decide what to retain from traditional zombies...

  • It looks like single actions only is out, since they have two claw attacks.
  • Damage reduction 5/slashing?
  • Can't run?
 


freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
The strength should be a lot higher than 12; the original description said it was 18/50.
Good point. According to the conversion book, 18/50 is the upper end of 19. Want to go with that or with 20?

DR sounds right, and so does can't run. Any other way to slow these down? Maybe can't take AoOs without giving up a standard action? (The way I read the zombie single action only, it forbids that unless they give up their usual turn.)
 


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