Tuesday, October 16, 2018

6 Horrific Zombie Variants for OSR Games

1. The Ecorches

It is a rusty brown color, flakes of blood falling off of its feverishly shaky skinless body as it runs towards you, screaming with its clawed hands outstretched towards your throat.

(Image from Body Worlds)

HD 1
AC unarmored
ATK 2 claws
DMG 1d6-1 each (minimum 1)

Ecorches move twice as fast as normal humans. If using a grid based combat system, this means they can move twice as far as humans can.

2. The Boneless

The thing slithering towards you originally looks more like a puddle of skin-colored ooze than a corpse, but as it slunk closer to the light, its sightless eyes look up at you with hatred and hunger.
(Image taken from Libris Mortis)

HD 2
AC light
ATK 1 constrict
DMG 1d3

Anyone hit by a Boneless must make a saving throw, otherwise the creature has wrapped itself around its victim, and begins constricting it. The victim then takes 1d6 damage each round they are being constricted, each round being given the opportunity to make a saving throw to escape the creature's clutches. Anyone who tries to attack the Boneless while it is constricting its victim deals any damage dealt to the Boneless to the victim as well.

The Boneless can easily slip under doors and hide in extremely tight spaces, such as urns, chests, and cracks in walls.

3. The Unkillable

You hack off the limb, but then its hand comes crawling after you. You tear out its intestines and they wrap around you like a serpent. What was once one creature is now a half dozen floundering monstrosities that just keep coming.

(Image taken from the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual)

HD 3
AC light
ATK 1 punch
DMG 1d6

Whenever an Unkillable takes damage, part of its body comes off to form a smaller undead creature. These smaller creatures have hit points equal to the damage that caused them, have light armor, and have 1 attack that deals 1d3 damage. Similarly, the parts of the Unkillable that detach also divide when damaged.

The only way to kill the Unkillable is to burn it, or dissolve it in acid.

4. The Regenerators

As you chop off the abomination's head, a surge of hope runs through your veins. But then, suddenly, a mass of rotting flesh begins to form on top of the corpse's stump, rapidly growing into a grotesque parody of a human face.

(Image taken from Dead Space concept art)

HD 2
AC light
ATK 1 punch
DMG 1d6

Regenerators regain 1d3 HP each round, even if reduced to 0 HP. Each time the Regenerator regains HP, roll a d6 and apply the mutation from the table below:

1-2. New Limb: Gains an additional attack that deals 1d6 damage.

3. Carapace: The Regenerator's AC goes up by one category (light -> light with shield, light with shield -> medium, etc.)

4. Cancerous Mass: The Regenerator's maximum HP is increased by 1d6.

5-6. Poisonous Gas: Anyone near the Regenerator as it regenerates this round must make a saving throw or take 1d6 damage.

Regenerators can only be killed/damaged without regenerating by burning them or dissolving them in acid.

5. The Bloaters 

It stinks of rot and decay, filthy water dripping from its pale flesh like sweat. When its decaying body is finally punctured, it pops, spraying corrosive fluid everywhere.
(Image taken from Killing Floor)

HD 1
AC light with shield
ATK 1 punch
DMG 1d6

When the Bloater is killed, anyone near it must make a saving throw or take 2d6 damage from its acidic innards being sprayed everywhere.

6. The Clockwork Corpses

The zombie's jerky, unnatural movement is accompanied by a steady clicking and whirring noise. Beneath the rotting skin the movement of gears and springs is easily seen.

(Image taken from Fallout 4)

Clockwork Corpse
HD 1
AC medium with shield
ATK 1 punch
DMG 1d6+2

When reduced to 0 HP, the Clockwork Corpse continues to operate for 1d6 rounds. During this time, it will continuously shoot out shrapnel as the clockwork powering its body begins to break down and be launched outward. Anyone near the Clockwork Corpse as it is dying must make a saving throw each round or take 1d3 damage.


  1. They’re a pretty horrific mix, all right. Nice. I’d be tempted to call for a d20 roll from anyone hit by the bloater fluid. Perhaps its a saving throw. Perhaps the rash they get the next day is just an ordinary irritation. Perhaps they won’t turn into similar undead. You could have fun with player paranoia with this.