Zombies are the main antagonists of Dead Reign. Most survivors have had enough encounters with them to know a few basic things about the walking dead. This section contains the information that is commonly known about the undead, their inherent dangers, and the means by which they spread their foul infection.
Fact! Zombies are mostly slow-moving and unintelligent—but not all of them! Some zombies are quicker or smarter than others, even being able to use simple tools. Fortunately for survivors, even “clever” zombies are no smarter than a dog or monkey.
Fact! Zombie plague is spread through bites! Be careful about the gnashing teeth and grinding jaws of the zombie. Even if you don’t get zombie plague from a bite—and it’s not a certainty—your wound might fester without proper medical treatment. Some survivors are known to be immune to this terrible disease as well!
Fact! Zombie plague can cause horrific deformities! Some zombies have been seen sporting horrible mutations, such as hunchbacks, bloated bellies, enormous heads, or other monstrous features. Such zombies are usually slower and weaker than their already slow and weak kin, but some survivors fear that these mutations are an ongoing process rather than an end result.
Fact! Zombies have poor senses! Zombies can only see things that are right in front of them and very close. Their hearing seems to be better, and some zombies have demonstrated a sense of smell—though how they smell anything over their own stink is a question for the ages. Regardless of how they do it, none of a zombie’s senses are particularly keen. It’s generally pretty easy to sneak past a lone zombie, but if you alert it…
Fact! Zombies can call other zombies with their moan! A zombie’s first action upon seeing a survivor is to emit a terrible, soul-rending moan that can be heard hundreds of feet away. Other zombies who hear the moan emit a moan themselves and begin shuffling toward the sound. This can result in terrible hordes of zombies converging on unlucky survivors.
All zombies, unless otherwise noted, are infectious. The disease commonly called zombie plague is blood-borne, spread through direct blood contact with a zombie. Just getting splashed with a zombie’s blood isn’t enough to spread the disease to Wild Card characters (usually), but since a zombie’s saliva has been replaced by blood, getting bitten is a surefire way to catch this terrible disease.
Most zombies attack with a slam—simply bashing their prey with fists and flailing limbs—and only start eating their prey once it has fallen to these clumsy swipes. Zombies also bite and snap as they slam, however, and a lucky lunge can take a chunk out of even a wary survivor.
With a raise on a slam attack, the zombie does not get the usual damage bonus; instead, the zombie has bitten a hero rather than bashed him. With two raises, the zombie gets both the bite and the +1d6 damage for a raise. If a character suffers a Wound from a bite attack, the character must make a Vigor roll at –2. The character may add the value of any armor he is wearing as a bonus to this Vigor roll; this represents a bite being painful through the armor, but making it more difficult to penetrate the skin. On a failed roll, the character has become Infected.
Once a character becomes infected from a zombie bite, the rate of death and transformation depends on the seriousness of the wound. In Savage Worlds, this is indicated by the number of wounds the character received during the attack that made him Infected.
One Wound: If the character only received a single wound, the bite isn’t usually deep. Roll 1d20 to determine the number of days before the infection begins to affect the character.
Two Wounds: When a character receives 2 wounds from a zombie’s bite, the injury is usually enough that the virus has entered the bloodstream directly. Roll a d12; the result is the number of hours before the infection starts affecting the character.
Three Wounds: If a character receives at least 3 wounds from a single bite, roll 1d6. The result is the number of minutes before the infection begins to affect the character.
Once the infection begins to affect them, they gain a level of Fatigue as the fever starts. This Fatigue does not go away from the character resting. Every 1d20 days, hours, or minutes (depending on the severity above), the character must attempt a Vigor roll to avoid gaining a new level of Fatigue. When a character infected with zombie plague dies, he rises again as one of the undead in 1d6 minutes (unless the head is destroyed before then).
The Walking Dead
Getting bitten by a zombie is the fastest way to become one of the walking dead—but almost everyone is already infected to one degree or another. Anyone who dies and doesn’t have their head severed or destroyed could rise again as a zombie.
When an NPC dies, roll 1d6; on a 1-2, they rise again as the undead within the next 2d10 minutes. On a 3-5, they rise again in 1d6 rounds. On a roll of 6, they are blessedly dead.
When a non-immune PC dies, draw a card from the Action Deck. On a Clubs draw, they rise again in 2d10 minutes; on a Spades draw, they rise again in 1d6 rounds. A Hearts or Diamonds draw means that they remain at peace in death.
Rumor has it that not all zombies are slow, shambling drones. Some seem quicker or smarter than others—and some people claim even weirder zombies are out there. This section separates the truth from the fiction!