Zombie 5E — DnD monster explained

Unearth the details of Zombies in DnD 5E. From mindless undead to potential minions, comprehend their role in the game.

Zombie 5E: DnD zombie running
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Lumbering through the streets, reaching out from the darkness to grab you with cold, lifeless hands. Zombie 5E is a durable menace intent on pulling the living down into their own, undead, ranks.

Dawn of the Dead

Zombies are created through magic, either directly by a necromancer or a creature capable of turning its victims into undead, such as a wight. It is possible, however, for an area to be so soaked in negative or evil energies that remains become spontaneously animated and becomes zombies. Those with a master around will follow orders directly, while zombies left to their own devices or without orders remain stationary, only moving to attack living creatures and rotting in place otherwise. No matter how they are created, all zombies are imbued with evil which drives this murderous behavior. Due to being raised by this energy, it is much harder than normal to revive a creature that has been a zombie since it died, requiring powerful magic such as the resurrection spell.

These undead shells of their former selves, devoid of any memories or personality they had in life, their bodies can reveal both how they died and how long they have been undead by the state of decay and wounds. Some zombies may exist long enough that the very clothes they wore in life begin to rot off of their forms, with their bodies becoming bloated and maggot-infested with decomposition. Memories are not all they lack, a zombie lacks basic reasoning skills and has a very low intelligence. This means that they will often imperil or even destroy themselves by mindlessly walking in a straight line to a living target. Doing this can mean walking out a window to fall from a great height, walking through a burning building, or even into a raging river.

Zombies as a template

The iconic zombie is that of a humanoid, which is what the standard ‘zombie’ statblock refers to, however, zombies can be created from a variety of creatures. The Monster Manual (MM) provides stat blocks for the regular humanoid zombie, an ogre zombie, and a beholder zombie with the latter retaining only a fraction of its eye rays. To make a humanoid, beast, or monstrosity a zombie you can follow these guidelines:

  • Change the creature type to undead.
  • Add the Undead Fortitude feature
  • Set the Int to 3 and Cha to 5. Generally, zombies should have a negative Dex, positive Str, and at least a +3 Con modifier.
  • Remove the creature’s ability to speak, but retain the languages it knew as it can still understand them.

Are you ready for the coming zombie apocalypse? If these walkers have you thinking about what to throw at your players next, then check out our DnD 5E monsters section, or if you want to increase your chances of survival, then check out our DnD 5E classes section for helpful guides. Until next time, go for the head!

What is a Zombie in DnD 5E?

A Zombie is a type of undead creature in DnD 5E.

How does a Zombie behave in DnD 5E?

In DnD 5E, Zombies are typically depicted as slow-moving, mindless creatures that exist only to serve their creator or attack the nearest living creature.

What are the abilities of a Zombie in DnD 5E?

The abilities of a Zombie in DnD 5E include a slam attack and Undead Fortitude, which can make them difficult to kill without radiant damage or a lucky critical hit.

How do Zombies interact with other creatures in DnD 5E?

Zombies tend to be low-level threats on their own or accompany a more powerful monster, like a necromancer or wight, to make for a more difficult encounter.

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