View Full Version : Revamping Ravenloft Zombies

Morbis Meh
2010-11-24, 11:19 PM
Hey playground, in the future I am planning on running an expedition to Ravenloft campaign and I wanted to add a little flare to the standard zomibe plague. My idea is to take the regular zombies and make them into the ones found in the Left 4 Dead series. So now all I have to do is really figure out how to adapt the zombies to the particular types found in the game.

Spitters: Easy enough have the zombies spit acid dealing acid damage as a ranged touch attack.

Jockeys: Zombies specializing in pounce and grapple maybe?

Boomers: Non combatant type that attracts other zombies with it's vomit?

Witches: Zombies that don't attack unless provoked but when doing so go into an immediate frenzy.

Hunters: Zombie with Improved bull rush/knock down maybe?

Tanks: Knockdown, uber hp, quick zombie?

If anyone has any suggestions to help flesh out these zombies I would be grateful. Thanks!

2010-11-25, 12:24 AM
Sounds neat.

I might not be of much help because I'm not very familiar with Ravenloft (wasn't it 2nd edition?) although I am aware that it has something to do with zombies...

But, yeah, it seems like an interesting idea. If you're willing to homebrew a little (or a lot) it should be very easy to accomplish these things - the spitting zombie is simple, give it a ranged touch attack as a supernatural or extraordinary ability, with possible slight changes.

Warning: Rant/Stream of thought, read at your own risk.

Hunter should be the one to get pounce and possibly Jump Attack (although if you use it as it is, it might lead to some really overpowered hunters) and trip.

Pounce and Improved Trip might do the work, although you might replace 'em with grapple.

Or you can go in a different direction and give them Sudden Strike (important, it should only work on dex-denied opponents, not flanked) and let them use it when grappling. Give them some good mobility and stealth skills, and let them apply the sneak attack damage on grapple attacks - I know there are creatures that can do that, and there's even a feat to let wildshaped characters do it)

Tank would definitely warrant improved bullrush and awesome blow (or knockback?).

Smoker might have ranged grapple, I believe there's already a monster that's basically equivalent to L4D smoker. I honestly forget the name, but it's in one of the Monster Manuals for 3.5, and it's basically a scary leathery creep that has really long limbs it chokes people with from the ceiling or trees.

Witch could have high ranks in Hide and Bluff - hide to avoid detection, bluff for realistic crying to attract adventurers. As for attacks, I'd just go with some kind of sneak attack or similar ability and give her something similar to Improved Bluff, possibly only to be used when she is first provoked. The target loses Dex to Armor, gets hit by massive Sneak Attack damage.

Boomer might just work with some kind of debuff AoE spell-like attack, with generic minuses to AC, attack and saves. Possibly blinds if you fail a save if you're really evil. The whole "attracts zombies" mechanic might be a bit incompatible, so it's easier to have it debuff players to be easier attacked then summon more zombies.

Jockey might not work at all, unless you're willing to make a lot of changes. Like, have him try grapple and pin people and move them away from friends - that's sort of what he does, although not really. And the rules for grapple would make him an easy target if he tried that. So you gotta be really creative if you want something like jockey.

Charger, well, that one is obvious. Charge, possibly pounce, and possibly a variation on the domino rush from Shocktrooper.

Basically, a lot of work... And you have to make sure it's not too powerful, too. You can always try to find creatures that are already similar, I think I've seen quite a few that might more or less fit the bill of some of the special infected...

So, yeah, if you're doing it homebrew I'd do this:

Hunters: Sudden Strike/Sneak Attack, high jump skill, possibly 40 foot mobility and feat that allows you to sneak attack while grappling. Pounce might be okay too, but it might offset the balance too much - although charging and starting grapple in one move would be perfect for emulation of L4D hunter.

Smokers: Just ranged grapple, there are plenty of creatures that already do something similar.

Witch: Improved Feint, good Bluff modifiers, sneak attack.

Boomer: Generic AoE debuff, with reflex to save and possibly another reflex or fortitude save to avoid blindness. Very limited uses for said debuff, but it also happens after you kill it. Some kind of -2 ac, -2 attack and possible blindness for 2-3 rounds sounds fair.

Tank: Improved Bullrush, Awesome Blow/knockback. A lot of health, too, and fairly strong slam attacks.

Charger - Pounce?

Spitter: touch attack with acid damage, possible DoT over a few rounds. Can be made a reflex save AoE, I don't remember how it works in L4D2.

Jockey : Ignore altogether, too much work.

I think that's about it?

2010-11-25, 12:34 AM
More awkward ranting...

Grapple-oriented hunters make perfect sense because of how grapple works. In L4D, a hunter IS going to kill you if it gets you and there aren't any team members around to help you. Grapple works sort of like that in D&D, but it's more forgiving. Once you're grappled, unless you've got escape artist or realistic chances of beating their roll, you're going to stay grapple until you die. And while that's very effective, it leaves the hunter incapable of self-defense or movement, just like in the game - so a watchful team mate can reliable brain the bastard. Sneak attack might not even be required, I'm just not entirely sure on what level we're talking about here. If it's something really low - like 1-4, no sneak attack for sure.

As for witch, bluff makes good sense because she attracts victims by pretending to be another human in danger. As for actual combat mechanics, you could go with either rage or improved feint/sneak attack. Either way, it's supposed to be one really big hit if someone provokes her. In my experience, in L4D she rarely survives afterwards, hell, she rarely survives the initial attack. So having very high single attack, something to reduce your player to 1/2 health if it hits, and fairly low AC and health to make he vulnerable would fit the character really well.

Tanks are obvious, large charging brutes with knockbacks and a lot of health. Could be vulnerable to fire and acid but have some amount of regeneration otherwise, although you might want to ignore that to avoid making them too strong if it's a low level thing.

And so on. Insomnia is a terrible thing.

2010-11-25, 01:08 AM
Mohrg (SRD) + 20ft reach = Smoker. Another option would be to remove the paralysis part of his tongue and instead make it so that the touch attack works with his Improved Grab ability so he can Grapple you at ranged.

2010-11-25, 01:19 AM
Mohrg (SRD) + 20ft reach = Smoker. Another option would be to remove the paralysis part of his tongue and instead make it so that the touch attack works with his Improved Grab ability so he can Grapple you at ranged.

I think http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Choker might fit the role too, especially if you add a little bit more reach (or simply make it a ranged attack). Some variations, and you've got a pretty decent smoker.

And if you're willing to depart from the game and do something evil and fun, let it disarm too. It would make perfect sense for Smoker to be able to disarm people, I mean, it's "tongue" seems agile enough to grab a gun out of someone's hands...

You could just treat it as a whip attack, really. A whip attack that allows you to grapple people at range.

2010-11-25, 08:33 AM
I haven't played L4D, but here are my 2 cents:

The adventure Expedition to Castle Ravenloft has stronger-than-usual zombies that spread plague, are faster (they aren't stuck with single actions, though they still can't double-move and charge).

The tank could be modeled after a Corpse Creature Skullcrusher Ogre. (BoVD and MM3, respectively) The Skullcrusher has rock throwing; Corpse Creature allows it to retain its abilities despite becoming undead unlike a zombie.

Hunters could be Gravetouched Ghoul monks, as those get Improved Grapple and Improved Trip easily.

Morbis Meh
2010-11-25, 02:42 PM
I know Ravenloft has stronger than usual zombies but I am running a gestalt campaign so I wanted to add a little more difficulty. I also wanted add an element of strategy by making specific types of zombies that all have different abilities so not just zombie moves, zombie attacks.

2010-11-25, 08:50 PM
Templates are your friend, then.
-Corpse Creature (BoVD: creature becomes undead, retains most abilities)
-Shadow Creature (Lords of Madness: extremely fast (x1.5 speed), gains total concealment in any area short of daylight)
-Tainted Minion (Heroes of Horror: Stronger and tougher, has fast healing, and can change shape into a regular humanoid. Probably works for a Witch. Tack on Barbarian levels.)