THE LIVING DEAD
a new menace for Cyberpunk 2020 by Gary Astleford
Is It Dead or Alive?
It's late in Night City. The Zone is almost quiet tonight. You walk on, the hand in your pocket wrapped around the grip of a heavy Italian handgun. Anyone messes with you, they'll take some lead. It's happened before; it'll happen again.
There's the shuffling of feet up ahead. You stop and strain your enhanced hearing to make out the noise. An old man stumbles slowly from an ally, his feet dragging across the pavement. His drunken movements are as pathetic as the blank expression on his face. The torn business suit he wears is last month's corp fashion. His hands are covered in filth. And blood. Those blank eyes notice you for the first time, and the corp begins to lurch towards you like a marionette without strings.
It had to happen sooner or later, but you figured it'd be something worth while. Some boosters looking for an easy kill, or maybe an old enemy you'd forgotten to whack along the way...but not this. This drunk corporate wage-slave amped-out on some nasty combat cocktail. It's the last thing you'd expect.
You pull the gun from your pocket and show it to the freak. He's looking right at your face, but he's not seeing the weapon. So you point it at him, and clear your throat. He keeps coming, unaware that you've got no compunctions about popping a cap at his sorry ass. "Hey!" you say. "You wanna die or somethin'?"
Still, he keeps coming. Fifteen feet away...now ten feet, dragging his patent leather shoes across the cold, stained concrete.
Then you smell him: a scent like rotten meat in a broken refrigerator, the smell you associate with dead bodies in car trunks. The hair on the back of your neck prickles, and suddenly you know damn well that you're not dealing with a stoned corporate any more.
He's almost on top of you, five more feet to go, and you pull the trigger. The gun noisily spits out fire, writhing in your hand with the recoil of the shot. The bullet hits the corp right above his breast bone, making a neat little hole in his stained silk dress shirt. He staggers, loses his balance, and falls like a tree to the ground.
More shuffling, this time behind you. You turn, the pistol in front of you.
Four of them, moving slowly...shuffling towards you. None of them alike, all of them the same. A kid in torn sweats, his Nikes scuffed and covered in grease. A woman in black leather pants, her shirt torn open to reveal the festering wounds that cross her breasts, her eyes blank like a dead fish's. A booster crawling hand over hand towards you, his chrome-steel cyberlegs dragging useless behind him. A cop, his metalgear covered in bloody hand prints, his left eye hanging from its socket like a holiday light bulb.
The adrenaline rises inside you, the gun suddenly lighter in your hand. These ones are coming at you, moving faster than the corp. Blind fear tries to break your cool, but you swallow it and aim the pistol at the boy in the sweat suit. You pull the trigger, and the kid doubles over, falling face-first into the street. Over the ringing in your ears you hear the sound of his teeth breaking on the asphalt.
The cop is next. The shot hits him low in his chest, ricocheting off the clamshell armor. A window breaks somewhere to your right, but you ignore it and shoot again. This time, the right side of his face fades into a conundrum of blood, bone, and putrid flesh. He staggers, suddenly blind without his right eye, lashing out with his dirty hands.
Something grabs your ankle, and you look down in time to see the corp burying his teeth into your leg. You shout out, the fear finally taking you. Trying to run, you only trip up on the corp's arms, and fall heavily to the ground. The pistol clatters on the cement, just out of reach. You kick at the corp, blind with fear and revulsion, but he continues to gnaw at your calf, making wet chewing sounds.
The woman approaches and falls to her knees near your contorted face. She reaches out her cold hands to grab you, her dead eyes, dry in their sockets, looking at you -- looking THROUGH you. You scream, punching at her. A fist connects, but fails to deter her as she opens her mouth to devour your head. You distinctly feel her teeth tearing through your scalp, scraping heavily on your skull, like fingernails on a chalk board. Still you flail, kick, and writhe, trying beyond hope to free yourself from this nightmare.
More of them appear around you, surrounding you, feasting on you. Mercifully, it goes black for a time. The sounds of their feeding are delegated to the white noise in your head.
Suddenly, you sit up. Your head feels light, your drunken thoughts slow and lazy. What is your name? Where are you? These questions are unimportant to you, compared to the burning hunger in your belly, a hunger like you've never known. There are others nearby, shuffling slowly away from you. Perhaps they know where to find food. You rise and follow them, your own dead eyes oblivious to the damage you've sustained. Maybe after you eat, you'll be able to remember...
Zombies have been a staple of modern horror fiction for decades. They represent a ruthless, unstoppable foe that cannot die, and that only exists to feed its insatiable hunger. To us, humans, death is something we can never avoid. Everyone dies, and zombies give us a glimpse of what life after death might be like if everything we've ever learned about Heaven, Hell, and God is somehow wrong.
I can hear you now. "Zombies?" you ask. "Isn't Cyberpunk scary ENOUGH without zombies?"
Well... yes. Cyberpunk is pretty damn scary without including zombies. After all, the world has gone to hell in a pedicab. Pollution and toxic waste abound, spread by corporations who are more interested in a quick buck than environmental protection. The streets are a nightmare mix of drugs, crime, and random violence, a place that most beaverville residents only ever see on a vid screen. Politicians and police, those few who are invested with the trust of the populace, are crooked and corrupt and act with impunity regardless of the circumstance. The American Dream is dead, replaced by a nightmare where the worst filth and slime hold power, and your position on the food chain is determined by how high your weapon skills are.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with spicing it up a bit.
You're also thinking, "Cyberpunk's a tech game. The supernatural and Cyberpunk don't mix."
Who says I'm talking about the supernatural, though? Any number of reasons can be attributed to people rising from their graves to eat the living. Aside from the supernatural reasons (ie, the zombifications of Haitian Voudoun or necromantic spells cast by powerful sorcerers), there are many other possible causes which lend themselves to the Cyberpunk genre which I'll get into later.
When you get right down to it, Cyberpunk is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. Fun games are rife with challenges and drama. However, even the best GM loses his momentum once in a while and needs to do something to keep his players on their toes. If he doesn't, they get bored and the game lags. Zombies might just be the trick for you. After all, they're about as unstoppable as a gang banger hyped on PCP. They're about as tenacious as the Terminator. And most players will laugh at the concept...that is, until Mr. Zombie reaches out and rips their arms off.
So, let's explore this topic, shall we? Hold your nose, now...this may reek a little.
Zombie - Cause
What makes a zombie? Good question. Corpses can be animated through a number of methods
Magic: This is the "traditional" method of making a zombie. Typically, someone casts "animate dead" or something similar on a dead body. Anyone who's played the game with the elves and the really strict character classes knows what I'm talking about. However, zombies aren't confined to the generic fantasy of that game by any means. The walking dead are a possible foe in just about every fantasy construct, be it Moorcock's "Stormbringer" or Tolkien's Middle Earth.
Now, Cyberpunk 2020 isn't "Shadowrun." There's good reason for this. William Gibson's books are devoid of any kind of magic, with the possible exception of the voodoo in "Count Zero," but I don't think the word "magic" would apply to that. This means that there isn't a written magic system for the game, and I don't think I've ever seen a home-brew one I particularly liked. It may seem at first that the game isn't designed for such an addition, but I feel that that's not the problem. After all, if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to do it. I won't lie: I've thought about writing a system for magic for some time, but haven't had the incentive. It's a pain in the butt, truthfully, to define something as esoteric as magic to a set of rules. Besides, I figure that if you want to mix cyber and magic, you can play Shadowrun and the best of luck to you!
Then why mention magical zombies? Well, regardless of my feelings for magic in the 2020 setting, fantasy zombies are great to look at and learn from. They're nearly the same as any other type of zombie, so their behavior is usually similar. Besides, if I could convert any necromancy rules to the CP2020 system, they'd be the ones contained in "The Bronze Grimoire," a supplement for Chaosium's "Elric!" FRPG. Off hand, I can't really think of any movies besides "Army of Darkness" which portray zombies in a fantasy setting.
Voodoo: Due to the presence of Voodoo in "Count Zero," I feel it's only proper to at the very least MENTION zombies in Haitian culture. Voodoo zombies are (generally) the result of an unnatural death, caused by the poisoning of the victim. This poison is introduced to the victim, and causes him to lapse into a death-like sleep or deep coma. Victims are commonly mistakenly declared deceased, and subsequently buried alive. Of course, when the poison wears off the victim will more than likely be quite distressed when he realizes his horrible situation. The film "The Serpent and the Rainbow" hypothesized that the victim is actually conscious of the whole process of "dying" and being buried.
If the victim does not suffocate in his coffin, one of two things usually happens. Either the victim's screams are heard by a gravedigger and he is exhumed, or those people responsible for his "death" dig him up. The combination of shock, poison, and possible brain damage due to carbon dioxide poisoning in the coffin turn these victims into mindless slaves. Due to the cultural experience, some who retain all or most of their faculties actually believe that they are truly dead and must serve the bokor (ie, sorcerer) who animated them.
This is a truly horrible event, no less so in the world of Cyberpunk than in any other genre. Victims of the "zombie powder" may be donated to body banks and vivisected alive, or their cybernetics may be removed by booster gangers using hacksaws in dank, trash-strewn alleyways.
It should be noted that the zombie powder, if isolated, could be synthesized in corporate labs for use as an anesthetic or medical stabilization drug. Who knows?
Cosmic Rays/Radiation: Now we come to the "Night of the Living Dead" zombies. Dead tissues can be re animated by nuclear radiation, or by cosmic rays. Of course, this particular type of zombie stems from the 50's, when cold war hysteria lead to bomb shelters and investigations on "un-American activities." People were certain that they'd drop the bomb any day, and the scientific community hadn't fully begun to understand the effects of radiation on living (or dead) people.
In some stories, such as "Night of the Living Dead," the dead rise because of an interstellar influence (in that case, I believe it was a comet). In any case, the effect was the same. What with the depletion of the ozone layer in Cyberpunk, it can be assumed that strange cosmic rays and nasty radiation can leak onto the surface of the planet, causing all sorts of mischief (anything from skin cancer to animation of your dead grandmother).
In orbital habitats, sudden radiation flares or leaking station/starship reactors can cause terrible accidents which kill dozens of people, all at the same time! How entertaining. Now, if these dead people, continually exposed to this nasty radiation, were to rise and plague their living counterparts..? Well, it'd be one third "Alien," one third "Night of the Living Dead," and one third "The Black Hole." Could make for a fun evening, don't you think?
As for generic, vanilla-flavored radiation, why not? Most of the power in the Cyberpunk world must be supplied by nuclear power plants. Of course, such plants are probably operated by corporations who prefer to cut corners as opposed to enforcing safety regulations. Such a facility could easily melt down, causing plenty of radioactive toxins to leak into water supplies. When mixed with the other nasty crap in the water, who knows what sorts of things can happen? What's more, they've got to dump those rods somewhere, and you know how much proper disposal of radioactive waste COSTS! To hell with the little people! Let them eat (day-glo green frosted) cake!
Chemicals: My personal favorite. Strange chemicals, either by accident or design, are introduced to single corpses, or into a place reserved for the eternal rest of dead folks (read as "cemetery"). Of course, most of the dead people wake up in a pretty foul mood and attempt to kill any living thing they come across. Tsk. How rude!
As with radioactive zombies, this theme fits quite well into the Cyberpunk genre. However, it's important to figure out how and why the zombies became what they are. What sort of chemical brought them back? Was it intentional (as in "Re-Animator"), or an accident (as in "Return of the Living Dead")?
Maybe zombification is the effect of a nasty-ass combat drug cooked up in a military or corporate lab. Given in the right dosage, it has the apparent effect of preventing death, or bringing dead soldiers back to life -- mentally disabled, of course. Such a drug might be tested on the street before being introduced to corporate or national armed forces. This sort of thing really hits home and would generally make players perform a double-take.
Disease: Similar to chemical zombification, but it involves a biological organism. This micro-organism may act in symbiosis with the human body and thereby keep the host "alive" even after all vital signs have gone flat. Whether or not the host is cognitive, or whether or not the germ can infect a dead body, are items for conjecture. Of course, such a zombie would probably be able to spread this disease through contact (ie, touching, clawing, eating the victim's brains, etc).
Zombie - Effect
Death can do some pretty strange things to the human mind and body, and it's up to the GM who wants to use zombies to decide what kind of zombies he wants to use. This goes way beyond how the zombie in question is created, but is no less important. Not all zombies are created equally, and in every source they have their own quirks. It's important to read the separate psychological and physiological quirks once you've chosen a cause of the zombification, and decide which ones you'd prefer to use.
Mindless: Mindless zombies are stupid. Dumb. They have no emotion, no fear, no common sense. They keep coming and coming and coming, and they don't understand concepts like self-preservation. These types of zombies can't be talked to, or bargained with. They work primarily on instinct, and even then, they're more animal than human. They are generally driven on by something, usually a hunger for flesh (animal or human, they usually don't care). Of course, mindless zombies needn't be malevolent. In fact, they may be walking vegetables who's worst sin is the fact that they smell pretty bad.
One source that has these sorts of zombies includes "Night of the Living Dead." There are two versions of the film - the original black & white, and the newer late 80's/early 90's version. Both are very good and I highly recommend them.
Brain Damaged: While these guys aren't the automatons that their mindless cousins are, they're still not completely together in a mental sense. There are many possibilities for this effect, the most prominent in film being that death and lack of oxygen to the brain caused irreparable damage.
Even though they're brain damaged, these aren't harmless zombies. They're generally more deadly than mindless zombies, and somewhat less threatening than smart zombies. They can think, albeit slowly, and plan, albeit poorly. They also learn from their mistakes. Some of the time, they can recall skills they possessed as living people, which can make them even more dangerous.
As far as role-playing them, attempt to emulate young children or Forrest Gump. They can be reasoned with, but they can also be very cunning and are usually familiar enough with their own human nature to lie when they want to get their way. They may be prone to temper tantrums.
Most film zombies that serve their necromantic masters are of this intelligence level, though they're somewhat stupider. Not being too bright, they generally only understand simple instructions. Anything more complicated than "Kill him," or "Open door," will get lost in the shuffle that is the zombie's mind.
The movie "Re-Animator" is filled with all sorts of walking dead, and prescribes to the theory that the fresher the corpse, the more brain power it has left.
Smart: Smart zombies have retained all of their faculties. They are as smart as they were when they died, and are knowledgeable of things up until the point of their original death. What causes a zombie to be smart is unclear. In movies such as "Re-Animator" and "Bride of Re-Animator," zombies who are injected with the green stuff are usually smarter if they'd died quite recently. In movies such as "Return of the Living Dead" (all of them), the zombies are smart no matter how long they've been moldering in a casket, regardless if they even possess a brain any longer. It seems to be a matter of taste.
Smart zombies are probably the most frightening. They're on a par with most other human beings, except for the obvious fact that they just won't die. In knowing that they're dead, they'll generally take risks that a normal person wouldn't take (like walking into a rain of bullets or jumping from a tenth story window). Of course, you can talk to them. Most of the time, though, they still want to eat you or tear you limb from limb for one reason or another.
As mentioned, "The Return of the Living Dead" movies are filled with these sorts of zombies. The first of the triad is much better than the second. The third installment is okay, but only if you can rent it for half price.
Zombies with Dependent Parts: These zombies are single creatures. If a hand, leg, or foot is chopped off, the severed portion will cease to function. Dismembering one of these zombies is a sure fire way to keep it away from you.
Zombies with Independent Parts: This brand of zombie is made up of a bunch of different pieces that form the whole enchilada. If a part if severed, be it a hand, a foot, or head, the part will act independently and (seemingly) of it's own volition. While this seems somewhat unlikely, it is a very popular way to handle the dismemberment of zombies in modern zombie fiction.
Rotting Zombies: This brand of zombie rots at the same rate any corpse in its condition would decay. Sometimes, decay is halted or slowed when the corpse is embalmed (this normally happens after death and before they plant the body). There is no reason a cognitive zombie can't make an effort to have himself embalmed (or even mummified). Unless the decay is halted or slowed, the zombie will most likely go to bones sooner or later. This can take a long time, or a very short time, depending on environmental conditions. Details to come in the section with all the rules.
Non-Rotting Zombies: This option assumes that a zombie doesn't continue to rot past a certain point. The trick is working out at which point the zombie ceases to fester. Of course, no amount of washing will get rid of that nasty abattoir smell.
Regenerating Zombies: Most zombies in modern film do not regenerate, or heal. However, some do. Zombies that regenerate are usually of the "non-rotting" variety, but this isn't exclusive. Regeneration occurs either spontaneously, or while a zombie rests. In either case, the zombie can heal a point of damage in as little as a combat round, or as much as an hour or more. The details are left up to the GM. Perhaps the zombie must consume something (flesh?) in order to regenerate properly?
Infective: These guys spread their disease to people they kill and corpses they come into contact with. Such contagion can be spread by casual contact, by ingesting something exuded from the zombie (ichor, slime, jellied organs, etc), or being attacked (bitten or scratched). It is also questionable whether a living person can be directly zombified, or if he must die before the process takes place.
Cyberware: This is 2020, after all, and having cyberware installed is about as common as getting a tattoo. My personal preference is that cyberware doesn't function in a dead body, even an animated one. Therefore, zombies with cyberlimbs or eyes are going to be severely disadvantaged. Makes a heck of a case for being a Luddite, eh? Obviously, a Voodoo zombie (who is physiologically alive) will still have functional cyberware.
As with the rest of the options, though, this is more up to the GM than anything. If you want your zombies to be able to use their cybernetics, fine. Assume that the batteries in a cyberarm will last as long as they have power. Reflex boosts will still give zombies a boost, and cybereyes will still allow them vision. Otherwise, assume that all bonuses granted by cyberware are nullified. A zombie with cybereyes will be blind, one with cyberlegs will be crippled, and one with a full 'borg chassis will be...well...stuck.
As to bioware, I do think that certain forms of bioware will work. Zombies will still gain benefit from muscle/bone lace, as well as grafted muscle (more to rot) and skinweave. Nanoids will not work, so far as I'm concerned, but it's your game and it's your call.
The Order of Death -
Burt: "I thought you said if we destroyed the brain it'd die."
Frank: "It worked in the movie!"
- Quoted from "Return of the Living Dead"
The last thing you really need to decide is how your zombies can be killed. There are any number of ways to go about this, but they aren't all practical.
Fire: Just about every zombie in every horror film I've ever seen can be toasted with fire. Douse them in gas and light a match. Sure, the thing will stumble around for a while, igniting flammable materials in the area, but it's a small price to pay.
Just kidding. But seriously, fire is as dangerous an option to the living as it is to the dead. Zombies will burn, and depending on how decomposed they are, they might burn easier than paper. However, death will not be instantaneous, and what's more, the zombie may not even REALIZE that it's on fire. Most burning zombies wander around and set things (as well as other zombies) on fire. This can be unhealthy to living humans, depending on the circumstance.
On the plus side, even mindless zombies should be afraid of fire (fear of flame is, after all, a primal instinct). Most zombies in film show a certain respect for fire (such as in the original "Night of the Living Dead"), and it can always be used as a deterrent if you'd rather keep the stinky dead guys away.
Called Shots: In many of the earlier zombie movies, a bullet in the brain would drop a zombie like a ton of bricks. In later fiction, this was less of an option and more of a myth. Still, it makes a certain amount of logical sense -- you kill something by destroying its brain. Zombies, however, are not always logical creatures, and they don't always submit to a set of rules.
Called shots needn't be directed at the brain. A bullet, arrow, sword, or whatever, to the heart may cause the final demise of the undead creature, as might decapitation, dismemberment, or removal of any vital organs (heart and brain included).
In the case of zombies with independent parts, this is less of an option. Since parts of these zombies will live on regardless of the rest of the creature's condition, it does very little good to aim for the brain since it's obviously not running the show.
Electricity: This was a suggested end to the zombies in "Return of the Living Dead II." I'm not sure why it would work, but when you're balls to the wall with twelve zombified coeds wanting to eat your brain, you'll probably try anything once.
Dismemberment: Chopping a zombie into smaller sections can slow the corpse down long enough for you to beat feat. Most of the time, such a solution is permanent. In the case of regenerating zombies, anything goes. Popular tools for this method include axes, machetes, swords, and garden shears.
Grinding It Up: When fire isn't an option and a food processor is, you can always try this method. The hypothesis is that if you pulverize the zombie into enough little bitty pieces, it won't be able to chase you any more (even if it's still alive on a cellular level). Food processors aren't the only possible way of accomplishing this impossible feat -- wood chippers and blenders work equally well (chippers somewhat more so). Running the critter over with a heavy vehicle (ie, a bulldozer, APC, or tank) works nicely, too.
Containment: In order to contain a zombie, you must capture it and place it in some form of restraint that keeps it from causing trouble. This was the method used by the US Army in "Return of the Living Dead." Basically, they constructed these big metal barrels and shoved the animated remains inside. In effect, the zombies became undead toxic waste. Of course, one of them gets out. Other methods might include burial of the remains, submersion in deep (I mean DEEP) water, or jettisoning the creature into outer space where it will be instantly freeze-dried by the cosmic wind.
Other Methods: Hey, I can't possibly think of everything. If you've got another idea on how to kill zombies, by all means follow up on it. This list is not all-inclusive.
What Do They Want?
Most zombies attack humans for one of two reasons :
They're Hungry: It's a well-documented fact that zombies in film and fiction hunger for human flesh. That's part of what's so terrifying about them -- the fact that even though they're dead, slow, and rotten, they're still higher on the food chain than you are. This is the simplest reason for zombies to attack humans.
Sometimes, as in the "Return of the Living Dead" films, the zombies are after a specific portion of a victim's anatomy (in that case, the brain). This part of the body may prevent decay, heal a zombie's wounds, or relieve the suffering of death itself. Maybe it just tastes real yummy.
They're Just Plain Mean: They attack because they're evil and wouldn't be the antagonist otherwise. It's a silly reason, but sometimes that's just the way it seems. It might be because they crave the life that they can no longer have, or because the process of dying has twisted their minds into a quagmire of psychotic rage. Who knows?
Zombie - Rules
The normal CP2020 rules are obviously not designed to accommodate shambling dead folks, so we have to develop some new ones that they can use.
Taking Damage -
Zombies don't take damage like normal people. Sure, they're designed the same as people, but they're not affected by pain or stun/shock, and they don't have a Body Type Modifier. However, depending on the zombie's Body score, he can take a certain number of damage points per location before that location ceases to function.
ZOMBIE'S ORIGINAL BODY Total Head Hits Total Torso Hits Total Arm Hits Total Leg Hits 2 10 16 8 12 3-4 11 18 9 13 5-7 12 20 10 14 8-9 13 22 11 15 10 14 24 12 16 11+ 15 26 13 17
If damage points to a certain area exceed the total hit points, the area will not function. Arms and legs will go limp, crippling the creature. A damaged head will cause sensory failure, and may even kill the creature. Torso damage will immobilize the creature. If an area sustains more damage than its Total Hits, it is completely destroyed: arms, legs, and heads are blown off, torsos are blown apart. Of course, smart zombies wear armor.
Blunt trauma has very little effect on zombies, so damage from blunt sources is halved. This includes clubs, lead pipes, fists, feet, etc. Since zombies have no really "vital" areas, strikes from martial arts attacks do not inflict the extra damage based on the attacker's skill level.
Then, there's always the subject of decay. Depending on the environment, decay can take a questionable amount of time. I'm not sure of any standard decaying times, so we'll assume that it takes about a year under relatively good conditions to rot a corpse to bone. This also assumes that insect activity is present, and that the walking corpse is being munched on by worms, beetles, flies, and maggots. Zombies who practice good hygiene when it comes to such parasites can last almost twice as long.
One damage point is lost from each location per month of rot. If a location ever reaches zero, it ceases to function and/or falls off. Zombies who have sustained previous damage are more likely to lose different portions of their body at different times.
Statistic loss is also a result of decay. A rotting zombie will not be as strong, fast, or attractive as he was during his living years.Reduce REFLEX by -1 for every three months of rot (minimum stat of 1). Reduce ATTRACTIVENESS by 1 for every one month of rot (minimum stat of 1). Reduce MOVEMENT ALLOWANCE by 1 for every two months of rot (minimum stat of 1). Reduce BODY by 1 for every three months of rot (minimum stat of 1).
Also note that smart zombies and some brain-damaged zombies will begin to lose points of EMPATHY at a rate of 1 point every two or three months with no minimum score. This is due to their isolation from humanity and their realization of their own death. If given proper psychological counseling, a zombie may remain stable enough to retain his humanity. A zombie whose EMPATHY is reduced to zero or lower has been driven completely insane by his condition.
Starting statistics for zombies really depends on the creature's state of decay (as far as physical stats are concerned). Mental statistics, on the other hand, are determined by the type of mental state the zombie in question has to begin with.
INITIAL STAT MINDLESS BRAIN-DAMAGED SMART Intelligence 2/4* O.V. -1D6 O.V. Technical Ability N/A O.V. -1D6 O.V. Cool N/A 1/2 O.V. O.V. Luck N/A O.V. O.V. Empathy N/A 1/2 O.V. O.V.KEY: *: Second value is for purposes of rolling Awareness/Notice N/A: This statistic isn't possessed by the zombie in question. O.V. -1D6: This statistic is rated at the original value, minus a roll of 1D6. 1/2 O.V.: This statistic is rated at one half it's original value, rounding up. O.V.: This statistic is rated at it's original value. Physical statistics should be modified by the creature's state of decay.
How Can They Hurt You?
Zombies have just as many ways of hurting you as you do of hurting them. The tactics of the undead depend in a large part on how far gone they are mentally. Mindless zombies will use their teeth and clawed hands to grab and inflict damage upon a victim, while a smart zombie can do whatever he damn well pleases. Assume that bites from zombies inflict 1d6/2 damage, plus whatever damage bonus applies for Body type. Attacks from feet and hands do damage just like normal attacks from feet and hands.
Damage can also be caused by whatever weapon the zombie is using.
Zombie - Sources
If you're interested in more zombie flicks, I suggest you check out any of the following. Be careful, though. These sorts of pictures aren't for everyone, but they may inspire you. Films about zombies are usually like wine - when they're good, they're really GOOD, and when they're bad, there's not enough you can do to get the nasty taste out of your mouth.
Army of Darkness (ie, "Evil Dead III")
Bride of Re-Animator
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Death Becomes Her
Evil Dead II
Return of the Living Dead
Return of the Living Dead II
Return of the Living Dead III
Game Resources :
The Bronze Grimoire, by Chaosium (for the "Elric!" FRPG)
GURPS Horror, by Steve Jackson Games (for the "GURPS" RPG)
VooDoo, by Mayfair Games (for the "Chill" RPG)
Other Resources :
The Mammoth Book of Zombies, edited by Stephen Jones (Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc.)
The Night Boat, by Robert R. McCammon
Final Words -
It's important to note that these are only guidelines, and the rules are not set in stone. They're a tangent that I, for some strange reason, went off on today. I am by no means saying that everyone should have zombies running around their CP2020 games, nor am I saying that I, myself, have run games in which zombies have terrorized the characters.
Zombies may seem weak individually, but if used correctly they can scare the bejeezus out of most PC groups. Mindless zombies are most effective when used in large, motley groups, while a single smart or brain-damaged zombie can cause tons of trouble all by itself.