Zombie, Intelligent

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 4d12
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 7
HD: 2
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d8+2
Save: L2
Morale: N/A
Hoard Class: Incidental

Out of all the varying types of zombie, by far the most terrifying are the intelligent zombies. These are creatures that retain both their personality and intellect after being bitten and dying. When they rise from the dead, they retain all memories, but have become deadly predators with only one goal.

To consume the cerebral cortex of the living.

Unlike almost all other types of zombies, they are immune to all manner of damage, and the only way to kill them completely is through the use of fire or acid, or any method that will utterly destroy the bodies. They can walk through a storm of bullets and other than a few holes and maybe a missing limb or two, they will just ignore the damage in order to get at the living.

They are fully capable of speech and are excellent problem solvers, able to figure out ways to get at living prey. They are also fully capable of using weapons, but prefer not to, as when they feed on the living, the prey MUST be living. Dead brains will do nothing for them, and they are not interested in dead meat.

It has been discovered that they are also only interested in the brains of intelligent creatures. This means that any uplifted creature or mutant that happens to possess intelligence is perfectly acceptable to them for food.

Those who are bit by the creatures will contract the virus that creates them. A saving throw versus poison is required and if it fails, the bitten will die, although they will not realize it has happened until after their bodies begin to undergo rigor mortis and the decaying sets in. This typically requires 10+2d6 hours to set in and one minute they will appear to be fine, the next they will be after the brains of the nearest intelligent target, be it friend, family or perfect stranger.

The creatures will decay at a normal rate, and even after all that remains is the skeleton. Oddly enough the only part of the body that will not decay, no matter how badly decomposed the rest of the body, is the brain. They will continue to hunt for brains to consume, even if their bodies no longer have the support required to digest the meat.

It was suggested that the virus that created this these creatures is not in fact a virus, but a complex chemical concoction, that induces the changes in the physiology of those affected. Even after the bodies have been completely destroyed, the ashes can and will animate any dead tissue encountered, bringing even century old corpses back to life, all memories and personality intact, but with the hunger to feed off the brains of the living.

When they are destroyed through fire, acid or nuclear explosions, care must be taken to ensure that the chemical compounds in their bodies do not make it into the water table or air, or the terror will begin anew.  Only bodies where the brains have either been completely consumed or have been destroyed outright by decay will not rise.

This is why where an outbreak is encountered it often remains contained as the creatures have an insatiable appetite and will not rest until every last scrap of brain has been eaten.

Rumor in the wastelands has it that the government created this chemical horror to turn its soldiers into literal indestructible killing machines, which could be placed inside powered armor and sent on a rampage to kill and eat the enemy. No one knows for sure, but there are tales of individual powered-armored soldiers wandering the wastes. They are said to be indestructible and always stop to feast upon those they have killed.

In the wastelands, who can say if this is true, or just another fanciful fable.

Mutations: Dietary requirement change (brains), immunity to all damage except for fire and acid.

Source: Return of the Living Dead (1985)