Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Space zombies for White Star

Shockingly, for a game which covers a vast swathe of sci fi tropes in its covers, the closest White Star gets to space zombies is their version of the reavers (space savages) or possibly the assimilants (totally not-Borg). Here's a customizable Space Zombie to liven up your White Star explorations...

Space Zombies
Armor Class 8 [11] (normal), 7 [12] (large), or 6 [13] (fast)
Hit Dice 2 (normal), 4 (large) or 3 (fast)
Total Hit Bonus +3 (normal), +4 (large), or +3 (fast)
Attacks slam and bite 1D6 (normal and fast), 2D6 (large)
Saving Throw 17 (normal), 16 (large) or 15 (fast)
Special hard to kill, possible contamination, other (see zombie specials below)
Movement 10 (normal), 12 (large) or 15 (fast)
HDE/XP 2/30 (normal), 4/120 (large), or 3/60 (fast)

Space zombies typically appear to be the dead or seemingly dead remains of spacers and other travelers to the stars who have somehow hideously reanimated and returned to some sort of unlife, with an insatiable lust for humanoid and living flesh, often (but not always) with an intense craving for brains. Zombies as presented here appear in three types:

Normal zombies are slow, shambling beasts who are either too degraded or too "out of it" to move very quickly. They are a threat in numbers but can usually be outrun by all but the stubby yabnabs.

Large zombies are mutated hulks, either of large infected aliens or normal humanoids who have been mutated by their zombification.

Fast zombies are usually zombies either early in their conversion stage (so tissue degeneration has not set in) or they are mutated naturally this way, perhaps even enhanced by the zombification process to make them dangerously fast, hungry predators.

Space zombies arise in various forms on various worlds (and sometimes in the depths of space) due to an array of unusual conditions. If you're looking for a reason they exist, roll a D12 and consult this table for some examples:

1 - exposure to a mutated virus on a hostile alien world or comet's tail
2 - Alien nanoweapon found by accident which reanimates the dead
3 - Exposure to dark energy in the depths of space had an unintended side effect
4 - Extremely strange radioactive substance, from either an experiment gone awry or an alien artifact
5 - Black ops for the Commonwealth/Federation/Empire's Special Intelligence Program leads to manufacture of zombie-like victims
6 - ASI (artificial super intelligence) creates a genetic bug which destroys humanoid's intelligence but leaves the feral part intact
7 - A bizarre side effect of hyperspace travel causes the effect but the reason and nature of the zombie plague is unknown
8 - Brain worms infect sentient humanoids and turn them into zombies
9 -  Hostile aliens use a powerful virus or chemical agent to turn enemy population on itself
10 - Other dimensional beings from a hell-like parallel universe invade the galaxy, using psionic magic to turn humanoids into their unwilling zombie army
11 - An ancient alien artifact warps the minds and flesh of those who hear its psychic all, turning all in to zombies (or worse!)
12 - An engineered virus manufactured by a bioweapons corporation is accidentally unleashed

Space zombies have two specific traits:

Hard to Kill: when a space zombie is reduced to zero (or fewer) hit points it makes a saving throw. If it succeeds, the zombie recovers at the start of the next round with 1 hit point. If a character targets the zombie's head (-4 chance to hit) then if the shot reduces the zombie to zero hit points it does not make this save.

Additionally, most zombies are not damaged by normal toxins, poisons, the vacuum or space or radiation...they're effectively undead or necrotic, even if it's through mutation or transmogrification in some manner. Special exceptions would be "living zombies" which are in fact still living and require the ability to breath, and are susceptible to attacks which harm normal humanoids even if they themselves cannot feel pain normally. Examples are noted below as either "necrotic," "undead" or "living" zombies, with undead in this case meaning they are really, absolutely dead and animated by forces beyond science.

Contamination: space zombies are often exposed to horrifying chemicals, viruses, nanotech or other reanimating agents which can be infectious. If your space zombies have a contagious risk, then any target which takes direct damage from a space zombie attack must make a saving throw or risk being contaminated in turn. Typically contamination leads to conversion in to a zombie in 1D4 hours unless there is a cure for the plague. Kindly GMs may allow the victim a saving throw each hour (with a +2 bonus if proper medical attention is received) to fight it off. Once the victim converts....he's a zombie.

Special Space Zombie Abilities: Each of the twelve examples of zombie origins above has one special ability that is optional. Increase the zombies HDE by 1 if you use these. The list as follows corresponds to the origin list above:

1 - Hostile mutating alien virus zombies (necrotic; exposure through bite, wound, see contamination above); these zombies begin mutating over time, and have a 25% chance of a hideous tentacle attack (1D6+1 damage, can grab and pull a target in and does +1 damage for each additional zombie attacking the same target).

2 - Nanovirus (necrotic; body "explodes" when zombie dies, all within 10 feet must make the save to avoid infection); zombie has metallic skin (+1 AC) and often merges with metal weapons, even star swords, to graft on its limbs as weapons!

3 - Dark Energy Powers (necrotic; zombie does not infect until death; dark energy entity attempts to possess the target that killed the zombie); this type of zombie can use confusion once/day and can fire a ranged attack (dark energy burst) dealing 2D6 damage once per combat turn.

4 - Radioactive Zombie! (necrotic; zombie does not infect, but any exposed to the same radiation or killed by a radioactive zombie must make a save on hitting zero hit points or become a radioactive zombie in 1D4 turns); anyone within 15 feet of this zombie must make a save each round or take 1D6 radiation burn damage.

5 - Black Ops Zombie (necrotic; might infect, using normal rules); these are usually always fast zombies, and have rudimentary intelligence. They are usually armored with medium (+4) or heavy (+6) armor and usually carry mono-axes (1D6+2) and laser rifles (2D6). They are cunning but not "smart" so they can open or chop down a door but maybe not electronically hack into a sealed door.

6 - Wild Living Zombies (living zombie; do not infect, but the ASI that created them might do so through any attempt at a neural interface in computers it controls); these are usually fast zombies and just ravenously mad and hungry. Their aggressiveness gives them a +1 initiative due to ferocity.

7 - Hyperspace Zombie (necrotic; might infect at GM's discretion); these zombies can phase through walls as if they weren't there, and worse yet can make an attack roll to grab a target and then try to drag them in to the phased space, leaving them there. If the target fails a save after being so attacked, they take an additional 2D6 damage from being fused to part of a wall or other fixture, and may have to be cut out and hospitalized for a lengthy period.

8 - Brain Worms (necrotic or living; infectious if more brain worms burrow in to you; could be through saliva, or any physical contact with someone; some population  may be carriers but not actual zombies!); brain worms drive their hosts mad and control them even after death. The brain worms seem to be inimical to humankind and are keenly intelligence, using their undead hosts to spread more of their kind to the stars. 25% of brain worms have access to meditations, including charm person (3/day), confusion (2/day) and detect life (at will).

9 - Chemical Zombie (necrotic; only risk of infection is to an area saturated with the chemical agent, but some large zombies may "explode" on death releasing the agent for 15 feet around them!); these zombies were made through alien chemical weapon attacks and are usually incredibly dangerous, as the chemical was designed to turn the world's population on itself, making the aliens' enemies their own worst threat. Such zombies ooze toxi chemical blood; any melee attack that spills their blood requires a saving throw by the attacker to avoid getting 1D6 damage from chemical burns, and a 10% chance of exposure to the zombie chemicals.

10 - Zombies from the Devil's Nebula (undead; they don't infect, but their masters might); these zombies are horrifically dangerous and burst in to flame, causing an extra 1D6 fire damage on an attack. When a zombie is brought to zero hit points, if they make their save to come back they do so by levitating in the air in a nimbus of fire and return with 1D6 hit points instead of just 1!

11 - Warped Call Zombies (necrotic; these zombies don't infect, but the psychic broadcast of their ancient artifact might); these zombies come in all three flavors, each reflecting a stage of mutation. They actually strike with razor blade-like arms for 1D6+1 damage instead of normal attacks (2D6+2 for large zombies), and they seek to dismember; on a natural 20 attack, the target must make a saving throw or, if the attack reduces them to zero hit points, they lose a limb! The zombie will take the next round to retrieve the limb and meld it with it's own flesh, adding +1 to hit on future attacks.

12 - Biohazardous Zombie (necrotic; these zombies definitely infect with a bite, and infected become zombies in 1D6 combat turns); the madmen at Bumbershoot Corporation are at it again! The engineered virus of the bioweapons corporation is devastatingly fast, and that makes it quick to spread through large, dense populations. They also mutate! Each time a zombie kills someone, roll a D20 and if you roll equal to or under the zombie's current hit die it gains +1 hit die, +1 to damage (when at +3 already the next +1 makes it an extra D6), and modify the saving throw accordingly. The zombie may grow larger, take on extra limbs, or become deformed, growing extra eyes or other parts. When a zombie reached 10 hit dice it becomes a tyrant zombie and gains a horrific ranged slam attack where it projects its own limbs up to 30 feet, like battering rams or blades, to crush or eviscerate targets.


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