Far too many undead are used without any regard to what they once were. While most corpses are generally indistinct - the variety of life extinguished and mocked by death - some hints and markings of the individual may still remain. In other cases, the cause of their demise may be readily apparent even in their decayed status. All told, here are 30 distinctive walking corpses.
Thanks to AG, Manfred and especially Scrasamax for the help on this one.
A generator for this list can be found here
1. The Lovers - Perhaps the victims of mutual suicide - the outcome of too many star-crossed love affairs, these two are inseparable even in death. They keep together regardless of outside controls, perhaps even holding decaying hands, and enter fierce, berserk rage should either of the pair become seriously damaged or destroyed. Optionally, they emit an aura of Pathos that might overcome nearby mortals with emotion.
2.) The Careless Ostler - Though horses are one of the most useful of man’s animal servants, they are also quite dangerous, as this fellow found out. He is distinguished by his terribly disfigured face where a powerful hoof-strike caught him. In addition, his head hangs limp, neck shattered by the force of the blow. In battle he will seek to attack horses in preference to anything else, even against orders.
3.) The John Henry -This fellow met his end with his hammer in his hands. And even with death his labour did not cease. A huge, imposing man in life, his walking corpse still shows his size and power. In his rotted hands he bears a massive sledgehammer he still swings with crushing force and tireless energy. Should constructs be present, these would be this fellow’s preferred target of violence.
4. The Apprentice - This poor wretch was downsized not in the boardroom, but in the laboratory. An unauthorized attempt to create a philosopher’s stone ended in the inadvertent creation of a different result - a new form of explosive. The poor academic sports barely any flesh on his chest and face, blackened bones protruding from the roasted flesh and charred robes.
5. The Boramir - One can bravely face death, but eventually even the greatest warrior will fall given enough foeman. This one was not the greatest but still did not pass on alone. A large figure, with tattered and rusted armor, he appears more as a pincushion with near a score of arrows protruding from all over. Given the option, any opponents bearing bows will feel the greatest of this dead warriors wrath.
6.) The Witch - Sometimes the pacts of Witches allow them to defy death. Other times they are not so lucky. This one was able to call down some help from her infernal masters, but the terrible storm they brought down came too late to save her. Now she hobbles along on foreshortened, charred stumps - the fire that the villagers built only consumed her to her knees before the downpour doused the flames.
7. Mans Best Friend - Some friendships last forever. In this case the bond between man and dog was indeed inseparable. This walking dead is accompanied by a small, skeletal dog. The dog and man will vigorously defend each other. Outside of battle, the skeletal dog will stay a few feet from it’s master’s bony ankles.
8.) The Fisherman - Death at sea is unfortunately common, and is not pretty. After being sent overboard in a storm, this one washed ashore a little before the denizens of the deep finished their work. This unlovely corpse is terribly bloated and bears a myriad of small wounds - the bites of fish, the picking of crabs and the pecking of seabirds. A large, battered paddle is carried and his hatred is especially hot for those who do not sail the seas.
9.) The Unlucky Son - Legends are best left as legends, for attempting to reenact them is foolhardy. In this case, attempting to replicate the crossbowman of legend demonstrated that although the trajectory of a crossbow bolt is quite flat, it is not completely flat, and that at the range this fellow was standing, it drops a few inches. Now this corpse sprouts a single crossbow bolt imbedded square in the center of its forehead. Of course it will attack crossbowmen above all.
10.) The Bishop - Sometimes death can be rather unsubtle. In the case of this fellow, it is immediately obvious. Bisected in some horrible accident or inhuman murder, this corpse does not walk but instead drags itself along by its arms. The trunk ends a few inches below the ribcage - all lower long gone.
Perhaps this one was retrieved from The Grinder before all was lost.
11.) Roadkill - Even before the invention of the car, roads were not the safest of places. A wood carriage might weight less then a car, and move much slower, but being run over by one is still rather deadly. This battered corpse clearly shows signs of being run down - dirty wagon-wheel marks across a collapsed chest, broken ribs protruding from its leather tunic. Being so damaged, it move awkwardly about, possibly held together with rope or other odds and ends.
12.) Stretch - This poor fool made the mistake of insulting the wrong noble, and thus met his end through torture. This corpse has difficulty moving along - both arms and legs are terribly dislocated and wrists and ankles flop around at odd angles.
13.) The Ham - Victimized by some cannibalistic group(such as The Rephatians or perhaps The Volgotoi, this corpse was actually smoked in preparation for consumption. Somehow spared that fate, the corpse was animated and now exudes a spell disturbingly like bacon…
14.) Schrapnel - This once sturdy warrior stepped too close to an Iron Hedgehog or perhaps an exploding Iron Spike Golem. In any case, the cause of death is clear, as the corpse sprouts nearly a dozen iron spikes embedded deep in it’s flesh. Occasionally in battle it will draw one out and throw it, and it never seems to run out…
15.) The Pacifist - In life, this one was an avowed pacifist, but following his passing, his necromantic controller had other ideas. All the while he attacks the PCs, he will blubber "I’m Sorry!" and "Please forgive me." in a sickening, liquid voice. Should no flesh remain, its bony jaws will simply clatter incessantly.
16.) Stung - This person tried to obtain the valuable eggs from a hive of Crystal Hornets and was attacked en masse. He did not go alone, having torched the Hive even as he died of the dozens of stings. Now, as he staggers about, he is still surrounded by a swarm of mad, undead Crystal Hornets who continually sting him and any who come close. The corpse still feels their sting, but takes no further damage.
17.) Dissolution - This unfortunate fell into a vat of lye and drowned. He was drawn from the liquid before being skeletonized, but has lost a great deal. Exposed rancid muscle and yellow fat distinguish this shambling corpse.
18.) Shackled - Appearing like Marley from A Christmas Carol, this corpse is festooned with chains and shackles. Unable to surprise anything with ears, and slower then most, it is not much of a threat unless one is immobile. It will batter anything living in range with its ‘finery’.
19.) The Painted Lady - This one was a prostitute in life and still bears the clothing and makeup of that line of business. Strangled by a john, she will target males over females even when ordered otherwise.
20.) The Cadaver - Once a convicted criminal, this fellow was turned over for dissection by the local Leech’s College. However, as a ‘prank’, someone animated it, and partway through the operation it sprung up, and in so doing, created the next member of our cast…
21.) Heart Attack Victim - a fat man with a receding hairline, his face is stern and twisted in agony, his hands grope and claw at the chest’s of his victims, he knows his heart failed him and now in death he would have another one…
22.) The Victim of Consumption - IE cancer, this female corpse shuffles along, not really knowing why she went from the prime of her life to corpse in a matter of weeks. The healers could do nothing to halt the illness that slew her as surely as an arrow. Her midsection is distended with malignant tumors that have continued to grow even after death.
23.) The Stroke Victim - This zombie lurches more lurch-y than most zombies, one side of it’s body doesn't function right, leaving this zombie near the back of the pack.
24.) The Broken Victim - Her coachman tried to rein the team of horses back in, but in their wild dash he fell from the carriage, and his customer was found dead along with the horses in the ravine where the broken pieces finally stopped rolling. Her limbs are mangled and broken and she screams through what is left of her throat…where is her coachman, she has a meeting to attend…everyone is waiting
25.) The Suicide Case - this zombie’s flesh is bloated and very definitely the wrong color, and a foul smelling substance oozes from it’s pores. This fellow employed a toxic potion to end his existence and now his shambling corpse drips with the poisonous agent that killed him.
26.) The Fallen Victim - This young man was a climber in his heart, but not so much in his grip. One day he plummeted to his grisly death. Now his rather distorted corpse crawls alone like a macabre worm, hunger and hatred driving the sack of shattered bones
27.) The Arrow Shot Victim - like the Boromir, the arrow shot victim was slain by an arrow, except that death somehow eluded it’s perception and this zombie retains some notion that it is still alive, even as it gnaws at the limb of a still screaming victim.
28.) The Charbroiled Victim - This zombie leaves a trail of ash and caramelized flesh in it’s wake. burned to death, the charbroiled zombie is naked, withered and black, it’s teeth bright against it’s charcoal flesh.
29.) The Executed - This undead will probably fashion a full helmet, nailed down to his upper body. A few strong hits will show why: his head isn't attached to the neck, and can be lost; the owner fails to die after its removal. The convict will attack judges and law enforcement officers with a fury, too bad he often mistakes others for them.
30.)The Vain - This undead was terribly vain in life, proud of its dashing good looks. Even in death it is vain, trying desperately to put that patch of skin back on, and to stuff those intestines back inside. It cannot bear that others are prettier than it and attack desperately clawing and gouging eyes. It even smells good.
For the Plus, this is now a scroll per suggestion from Manfred, so others can add suitably distinctive shamblers..
Additional Ideas (8)
Aware of his damaged condition, this undead feels a vague sense of sympathy for others as mangled as he. He is likely to freeze up if ordered to attack severely wounded foes or finish off cripples. As uninjured foes can easily outdistance him, he is not much use in a fight.