- Category: Bestiary
- Published on Tuesday, 06 July 2010 16:53
- Written by Chad Belt
Zombie Variant: Tar Zombie
CR 1/2 (200 xp)
Init +0, Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 natural)
hp 12 (2d8+3), Regeneration 2 (fire, positive energy: see text)
Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +3
Defensive Abilities Channel resistance (special: see text); undead traits
Speed 30 ft.
Melee Slam +4 (1d6+4)
Special Attacks Oily attacks
Str 17, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +1, CMB +4, CMD 14
Special Qualities staggered, necrotic tar
Regeneration 2 (fire, positive energy) (Su): A tar zombie's thick layer of necrotic tar, being the congealed essence of the Negative Energy Plane, provides it with constant health regeneration. This ability will cease functioning if the tar zombie is subject to either a fire-based effect (such as a fireball spell or being lit on fire with an ordinary torch) or a positive energy effect (such as a channel energy ability). The necrotic tar is incredibly flammable and if struck with flames, the tar zombie takes maximum damage from the attack. If the tar zombie is set ablaze in this way, the flames burn off instantly after doing max damage and leave the zombie without its layer of tar. A positive energy ability will render the necrotic tar powerless. In both cases, the tar zombie loses any benefits the necrotic tar confers upon it (see necrotic tar below).
Channel Resistence (Su): A tar zombie's thick layer of necrotic tar provides a small amount of insulation against positive energy. A tar zombie ignores the 1d6 of damage from a channel positive energy ability. After absorbing this holy damage, the layer of tar sloshes off the zombie's body to the ground below. Any damage after the initial 1d6 affects the tar zombie as normal. Other positive energy effects, such as cure light wounds work in a similar fashion: the necrotic tar absorbs the first dice of damage (so, it would completely absorb one, and only one, positive energy spell like cure light wounds) then falls to the ground. Any further spells or abilities work as normal. A tar zombie without its layer of necrotic tar loses any benefits the necrotic tar confers upon it (see necrotic tar below). A puddle of tar that has been removed in this fashion becomes a powerless sludge and can no longer deal damage to living creatures and heal undead.
Oily Attacks (Su): A tar zombie's slam attack—as well as any other natural attacks it may have—smears a small amount of necrotic tar on the target (see necrotic tar below).
Necrotic Tar (Su): A tar zombie's body is covered with a thick, sticky layer of necrotic tar. This "tar" is actually the congealed essence of the Negative Energy Plane. The tar is incredibly sticky and will adhere to the surface of anything it comes in contact with and is strong enough not to drip off naturally or even be washed away by water currents. Being viscous negative energy, the necrotic tar heals all undead and harms all living creatures it comes into contact with. Inorganic material is unaffected by the necrotic tar. If a small amount of the necrotic tar—such as through the zombie's oily attacks—comes into contact with a living creature, it must make a Fortitude check (DC = 10 + ½ tar zombie's HD + tar zombie's Cha Mod) or take 1d3 Con damage. The tar is sticky, so the living creature must make this check every round that the necrotic tar adheres to their body. If the player is reduced to zero (0) Constitution in this manner, he or she dies. Note, this effect only takes place when the tar comes into contact with living tissue, usually in the form of an attack that hits and does damage. Tar stained on armor or other inorganic material has no effect. A living creature with a small amount of tar on their body can wipe the tar from themselves using a move action.
The layer of necrotic tar is what gives the tar zombie all of its supernatural abilities. If the layer of tar is removed (via flame or positive energy), then the tar zombie loses its regenerative ability, channel resistence, and oily attacks.
The necrotic tar has the ability to heal undead and even reanimate any living creature that dies because of it. However, tar zombies are not intelligent creatures, and do not take the time to smear a large enough amount of tar onto their victims to reanimate them. A small amount of necrotic tar, as from the zombie's oily attacks, is not enough to reanimate a corpse. However, a living creature that has become completely covered in the tar, such as from being submerged into a pool of the stuff, can and will reanimate as a tar zombie. Any living creature that becomes completely covered in necrotic tar automatically fails their Fortitude checks and takes 1d6 Con damage per turn. If the player dies in this fashion, he or she will be reanimated as a tar zombie in 2d6 hours. The only way to save a creature covered in necrotic tar is to immediately bathe them in positive energy (such as using the channel positive energy ability or scrubbing the player with holy water for using a full-round action). If the positive energy is administered soon enough, the necrotic tar will slosh off per normal.
Constitution damage from the necrotic tar does not heal normally but can be cured through any magical means, such as lesser restoration.
Staggered (Ex): Zombies, including Tar Zombies, have poor reflexes and can only perform a single move action or standard action each round. A zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round as a charge action.
Tar zombies are undead reanimated by the congealed essence of the Negative Energy Plane that spilled onto the Material Plane. Unlike the standard zombie, tar zombies are animated solely by the raw necrotic substance dripping off their rotting flesh and not due to necromantic magic. Like its standard cousin, tar zombies are slow and difficult to kill while their coat of tar remains glued to their reanimated corpses. A tar zombie's psychology—if one can really call that—is simple: slaughter and devour bringing all that is animated by the power of the Positive Energy Plane into ruin. The negative energy coating the zombie heightens their drive to feed, turning it from a simply animalistic hunger to an existential drive to spread the decay of the plane that animates them.
Being the unholy miscreation of negative energy "leaks," tar zombies are almost always found within a ten to twenty-five mile radius of these oily spills. Wherever these freak mergers of the Negative Energy Plane and the Prima Materia, be they on mountaintop springs, a village's well, or even in the center of the Inner Sea, tar zombies can be found. Until recently, wizards unanimously avoided willingly creating these variant zombies as servitors because the necrotic tar makes them difficult to command ("tame") and the tar is even more difficult to remove. However, some crazed artificer-merchant has stumbled onto a simple yet horrible fact: the necrotic tar makes for an extremely potent fuel source and, thus, the tar has become incredibly expensive. Tar zombies can be created like the standard zombie if the creator also casts a maximized grease spell upon creation.
Creating a Tar ZombieA tar zombie is a zombie variant, such as the fast zombie or plague zombie. As such, a tar zombie is an acquired template that uses the standard zombie template (found on page 288 of the Bestiary) with the following modifications:
Defensive Abilities: A tar zombie does not gain DR 5/Slashing. However, a tar zombie does gain channel resistence (special) (Su).
Hit Points: A tar zombie gains Regeneration 2 (fire, positive energy; special) (Su).
Special Attacks: A tar zombie gains the Oily Attacks (Su) ability.
Special Qualities: A tar zombie gains a thick layer of Necrotic Tar (Su) which provides them with the other benefits listed above.
Author's Note: I was unsure of how to manage the tar zombie's challenge rating. The zombie variant gains quite a few extra benefits than its fast or plague cousins do, but these benefits are all contingent on the necrotic tar which happens to be fairly easily disposed of. I imagine that that would balance things out.
Also, I hesitated to detail what would happen if a living creature was completely covered in the necrotic tar, such as if they fell into a pool of the tar. It's not pertinent to the monster, but I also think that some DMs might find it interesting to use as an enviromental effect or possible trap.
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