Everybody loves zombies, or at least that’s what the NYT Bestseller’s list seems to be indicating. We’ve seen lots of approaches to zombies over the last few years, including a few mashups like Ex-Heroes and Rotted Capes, that have really expanded how many of us think about zombies as a genre. Put that aside for a moment and think about your typical fantasy setting – you’ve got zombies alright, but they’re little more than cannon fodder for first level PCs.
Why not mix things up a bit? Add a little George Romero into your fantasy campaign (or even better, some 28 Days Later) and see how quickly your players stop thinking of zombies as simple cannon fodder. But how does this transition take place? Maybe the resident God of Death has been keeping the curse that causes zombies to increase in number and power in check and something is interfering with his ability to do so (maybe the PCs killed him; perhaps another god is interfering; or maybe he’s just making a power play). How about the big bad necromancer the players have been fighting against unveils his doomsday weapon – super zombies (complete with the big reveal right before the zombies point out why this plan had some serious flaws). Of course, there’s always the ever popular “oops…did we just unleash a new zombie plague on the world when we opened that millennia old tomb?”
There are a few setting adjustments that you might want to consider:
- Make the zombies resistant to priests – you don’t have to remove all of the priest’s abilities with regards to zombies, but you definitely want to minimize their ability to wipe out entire hordes with a single roll
- The new super zombies should probably be resistant to most necromancy abilities that might be used to generate zombies of this type (if they’re easy to create by magic, then you’re going to lose suspension of disbelief rapidly)
- Given these zombies are a bit more threatening, consider modifying the standard zombie template to match the type of zombie you want (super fast, more difficult to kill, etc)