Zombie, Sea

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Zombie, Sea
Climate/Terrain:Any/shallow waters
Activity Cycle:Night
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:2-24
Armor Class:7
Movement:6, Sw 12
Hit Dice:5
No. of Attacks:1
Special Attacks:Stench, disease, spell use
Special Defenses:Spell immunity
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Fearless (19-20)
XP Value:420

Sea zombies, also known as drowned ones, are the animated corpses of humans who died at sea. Although similar to land-dwelling zombies, they are free-willed and are rumored to be animated by the very forces that hold Ravenloft together. (In Greyhawk, drowned ones are animated by the will of the god Nerull the Reaper.

Sea zombies look like human corpses that have been underwater for some time. Their bloated and discolored flesh drips with foul water. Their eyesockets are empty and their tongue frequently protrudes from between blackened lips. Often, they bear the marks of having been feasted upon by the creatures of the deep. Their visage and their stench of decay are so disgusting that anyone seeing a drowned one from 20 feet or less must successfully save vs. poison. A failed save indicates that the character is nauseated and horrified, suffering a -1 penalty to his attack rolls and a +1 penalty to his AC for 2d4 rounds. On land, sea zombies move slowly, with a clumsy, shambling gait. In water, however, they can swim with frightening speed.

Combat: Like most undead, sea zombies have an abiding hatred for the living and attack them at any opportunity. These attacks often show surprising cunning. For example, they may lure ships onto the rocks and attack the sailors as the victims try to save themselves from the wreck. Sea zombies take advantage of their swimming speed by attacking ships as they lie at anchor. They climb aboard the vessel and try to drive the sailojs overboard where they can attack them more easily.

Sea zombies often attack with the weapons typical of sailors, such as short swords, daggers, hooks, and clubs. The creatures possess unnatural strength, so these weapons all inflict 1d10 points of damage. The putrid water that drips from the sea zombies contains many diseases, so any successful hit has a 10% chance of causing a severe blood disease in the victim. The water-logged condition of the beast's flesh means that fire-based attacks cause only half damage. Lightning, electrical, and cold-based attacks inflict double damage. Sea zombies are immune to sleep, charm, illusion, and other mind altering spells. The sea zombies are animated by the forces of Ravenloft, so priests suffer a -2 penalty when turning them.

Sea zombies retain the powers they had when they were alive. There is a 25% chance that each sea zombie encountered is a spellcaster of level 1-6. They receive their spells directly from the Dark Powers of the demiplane. (In Greyhawk, these creatures are granted their spells directly from Nerull; they receive only baneful spells.

Habitat/Society: Sea zombies congregate in loose packs. Their only motivation for living is hatred for those who are alive. Because they are undead, they have no need to eat, but they sometimes rend and chew the flesh of their prey, although this is probably just to strike terror in others. Underwater, sea zombies are active 24 hours a day and are often found in the sunken wrecks of the ships in which they drowned. They are only active above water during the night. Sea zombies normally stray no farther than 100 yards from the water. If the wind drives a fog inward along the coast, however, the fog allows them to roam inland as far as the substance reaches. When the fog retreats, or when the sun is about to rise, the sea zombies must return to the water. Dwellers on foggy coastlines usually fear the fog for just this reason. In some areas, living sacrifices are often cast into the fogs when they roll inland, in the hopes that sea zombies take the offerings and leave everyone else alone.

Sea zombies communicate among themselves by a form of telepathy. They have no need of a spoken language, other than for spellcasting. The verbal components for spells are spoken in unintelligible whispers.

Ravenloft: Sea zombies are most common in the domain of Saragoss, because it supplies the most constant stream of bodies. The area near the Sea of Sorrows and the water near the island of Souragne also spawn a considerable number of these creatures.

Greyhawk: Perhaps because the Azure Sea provides a steady supply of raw materials (in the form of Amedio pirates and freebooters in general), drowned ones are most common in the shallows of this body of water. The waters around Flotsam and Jetsam Islands, Fairwind Isle, and the Olman Islands are prime “breeding grounds” for these hideous creatures.

Ecology: Sea zombies consume and produce nothing. They interact among themselves only to make their killing more effective.