The Zombie is perhaps the best known monster from the mythology of the African Diaspora, yet the conception of the creature in the U.S. is very different from its original form. Below is a version more closely inspired by Haitian lore. Enjoy!
A reanimated corpse employed as a slave.
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-100
HD: 2 (d12)
AC: 10 (or by armor type)
ATTACKS: 1 Weapon (by weapon type)
SPECIAL: Undead Immunities, Darkvision 60′
TYPE: Undead (Common)
Zombi Servants are reanimated human corpses created to be tireless laborers. They appear to be people with unusually pale complexions, dull expressions, and glazed eyes. The walk with a listless gait. Generally, they will be dressed in cheap rags, but it not unknown for certain Zombi Servants to be attired in rich finery. Zombi Servants cannot speak.
The sorcerer who wishes to create a Zombi Servant must magically trap a subject’s soul in a small container, such as bottle, pottery jar or stoppered gourd. The sorcerer must then slay the hapless victim using a special poison, which can either be administered surreptitiously through food or drink, or be blown as a powder into the victim’s face. Victims slain by other means cannot be turned into true Zombi Servants, although they might be otherwise reanimated. The victim of the Zombi poison must be disinterred before the body begins to decay significantly. A magical drug is then poured into the corpse’s mouth, reanimating the flesh, but destroying the higher mental functions.
Zombi Servants are Undead, having already suffered death, and the loss of their souls. They possess all the standard immunities conferred by their Undead status. Nonetheless, Zombi Servants still need to eat, drink, and breathe (but not sleep) to maintain their twilight existence. However, care must be taken that the Zombi Servant’s meals remain bland. Should it ever taste salty or flavorful food, the Zombi’s mind will be sufficiently stimulated to realize its own condition, with possibly unpleasant consequences for the necromancer who created it.
Although their mental faculties are extremely limited, Zombi Servants can faithfully perform any tasks demonstrated to them. Usually, they are employed as agricultural laborers or soldiers. Whispered tales speak of attractive Zombi Servants being used for work of a wholly different nature, however.
Whoever possesses the container that holds the soul of a Zombi Servant controls the creature. Therefore, necromancers who employ Zombi Servants must take care to guard those containers, lest their own Undead slaves be turned against them. It is common practice for a necromancer who commits an offense against his magical order to be punished by being forced to surrender his Zombi Servants to a superior.
The technique to create Zombi Servants was created by certain sorcerers of the tropical islands. There the unfortunate victims are employed in plantations that keep more northerly regions supplied with exotic crops and luxury goods. Many kings of the north sometime speak loudly of sending crusading missionaries to stop the making of Zombi Servants. It is obvious, however, that those same kings have no true desire to stop a practice they profit so handsomely from.
Combat: Zombi Servants attack with weapons, but only if they have been instructed to do so. Their ability in combat depends wholly upon their purpose. Zombi Servants instructed as soldiers will be able to call upon any techniques and tactics they have been programmed to use. Those Zombi Servants used as agricultural laborers will simply swing farm tools. Zombie Servants cannot make new or independent plans, however, so clever opponents can sometimes find a tricky way to escape them.
Awakening A Zombi Servant: Should a Zombi Servant ever be stimulated by tasting salt, spices, or other strongly-flavored food, it will regain both its former intellect and the ability to speak. Aware of its unnatural state, the awakened Zombi Servant will usually hurry to rebury itself in its grave, ignoring all further instructions from its former master. Sometimes, however, the freed Zombi Servant will try to resume its former life. Some tales even suggest that if the Zombi Servant had possessed a strong spirit while alive, it may decide to take vengeance upon the sorcerer who created it. In such a case, the Zombi will rush to physically attack the necromancer, or find the bottle that contains its soul. If released, the once-imprisoned soul becomes an uncontrollable Wraith immune to magic, and set upon destroying the sorcerer. If successful in its vengeance, the Wraith will rejoin its former body, and the now resurrected person will resume their former abilities.
Local planters are concerned because their crops are always beat to market by the high-quality produce of an isolated plantation in the mountains. The adventurers are paid to discover how such a remote place could possibly be producing so many labor-intensive crops , and transporting them so quickly. The truth is that the owner of the mountain plantation is a powerful sorcerer, and his workers are tireless Zombi Servants who can work all day and all night. The adventurers will have to fight through the Zombi Guards, confront the necromancer, and free the enslaved souls of his workers.