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Zombies are the reanimated (often decomposing) corpses of deceased humans. Although many zombies retain the ability to speak, they otherwise exhibit few signs of higher intelligence. The zombie’s only motivation in unlife is to satisfy its desire to feed on human flesh (brains in particular), though zombies do exhibit rudimentary self-preservation instincts and can use simple tools.
Zombies are of course most commonly found in horror stories, but occasionally show up in stories of other genres, especially fantasy and science fiction. The cause of zombiedom differs quite a bit from story to story: a corpse can become a zombie through dark magic, disease, or exposure to radiation or cosmic rays. The last explanation (used in Night of the Living Dead) is further proof of the Stan Lee Hypothesis, which states that cosmic rays can be used to explain anything. Regardless of the original source of the zombie outbreak, people who are bitten by zombies almost always turn into zombies themselves.
The Name Game
Since zombies do not possess any real intelligence, they don’t use names, though humans sometimes give them nicknames.
Body is the most important Word for a zombie, since the act of eating someone’s brains is a purely physical activity (at least for the zombie). A zombie’s Body Number will depend on his or her physical condition before death and level of decomposition. The typical zombie will have a Brain Number in the 1-5 range to reflect their almost total lack of intelligence. Because of their inability to assess risk, however, zombies have very high Nerve Numbers, usually in the 15-20 range.
Gimmick: Hard to Kill
Weakness: Insatiable Hunger (Brains)
Skills: Gross People Out, Howl, Scary, Sense Food, Shamble
Flaws: Afraid of Fire, Badly Decomposed
WWPHITM? Nick Alachiotis, Billy Connolly, Eugene Clark, Anna Falchi, Seth Green, Jenna Jameson, Simon Pegg, Linnea Quigley, Ted Raimi, George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Edgar Wright, and a bunch of extras
Tag Line: “BRAAAAAINS!!!”
Tools of the Trade: Zombies are capable of very simple tool use. For example, they can figure out that a rock might help them bash through a window. However, they rarely keep these tools with them once the job or think to use them as weapons. Zombies wear whatever they were wearing when they died.
Where You’ll Find Him: Zombies go wherever there are brains to eat. Most can sense prey even if it isn’t immediately visible, though experts disagree on whether this is due to a heightened sense of smell or hearing or some unique “sixth sense.”
Social Circle: Zombies tend to travel in packs, but that has more to do with their common destination (BRAAAINS!) than any sense of group unity. Zombies rarely work together in any meaningful way.
Job: Zombie (13)
Gimmick: Hard to Kill (15)
Weakness: Insatiable Hunger (BRAAAINS!) (15)
Skills: Sense Prey +3; Shamble About +2; Voodoo Economics +1
Dumb Fact: Despite popular rumor, was not actually sent from Heaven to destroy the commies.
Tag Line: “I do not recall. BRAAAINS!”
Books & Comics
Jonah Hex: Two-Gun Mojo, Joe R. Lansdale & Timothy Truman
The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and others
World War Z, Max Brooks
Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead, Jonathan Maberry
The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
Movies & TV
28 Days Later
Braindead (aka Dead Alive)
Dawn of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Diary of the Dead
Evil Dead series
Land of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Resident Evil series
Return of the Living Dead series
Shaun of the Dead
“Night of the Living Dead,” Misfits
“Return of the Living Dead,” Ghoultown
“The Man Comes Around,” Johnny Cash
“Thriller,” Michael Jackson
“Zombie,” The Cranberries
“Zombie Prostitute,” Voltaire
“Zombie Ritual,” Death
“Zombie Zoo,” Tom Petty
Rob Zombie/White Zombie