Overseer Zombie

Overseer zombies are intelligent undead, reanimated from the corpses of humanoids, giants, or monstrous humanoids. They provide an additional layer of control between their creators and a number of mindless undead, allowing their masters to exercise indirect control over a much greater number of such creatures than would otherwise be the case.

Like their mindless cousins, overseer zombies are usually somewhat decayed, surrounded by the stench of rotting flesh, and they move in fits and starts. But their sluggish demeanor belies their possession of a rudimentary intellect that makes them unsettlingly resourceful. Alone, they are capable of complex problem-solving. In concert with one or more of their mindless brethren, they are extremely dangerous because of their ability to treat the creatures under their control as extensions of themselves. Zombies and skeletons under the control of an overseer zombie are capable of tactical action that would normally be possible only with the direct supervision of their creators.

Because of the danger represented by an uncontrolled overseer, their creators go to great lengths to ensure that they are never accidentally freed. On the rare occasions when such things happen, the rogue overseer is invariably the subject of a feverish hunt to find and destroy it before it starts an uprising. Overseer zombies speak the native languages of their creators.

Creating an Overseer Zombie

"Overseer zombie" is an acquired template that can be added to any creature with the giant, humanoid or monstrous humanoid type (referred to hereafter as the base creature). The process of creating an overseer zombie requires the creature’s master to be able to cast animate dead, as well as the replacement of the normal black onyx material component of the spell with a star of command.

Size and Type

The creature’s type changes to undead. It retains any subtypes except alignment subtypes and subtypes that indicate kind. It does not gain the augmented subtype. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice

Drop any Hit Dice from class levels (to a minimum of 1), double the number of Hit Dice left, and raise them to d12s. If the base creature has more than 10 Hit Dice (not counting those gained with experience), it can’t be made into an overseer zombie with the animate dead spell.

Speed

As the base creature. If the base creature can fly, its maneuverability rating drops to clumsy.

Armor Class

Natural armor bonus increases by a number based on the overseer zombie’s size:

Size Natural Armor Bonus
Tiny or smaller +0
Small +1
Medium +2
Large +3
Huge +4
Gargantuan +7
Colossal +11

Base Attack

An overseer zombie has a base attack bonus equal to ½ its Hit Dice.

Attacks

An overseer zombie retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. An overseer zombie also gains a slam attack.

Damage

Natural and manufactured weapons deal damage normally. A slam attack deals damage depending on the zombie’s size (use the base creature’s slam damage if it’s has such an attack and the base creature's is better).

Zombie Size Slam Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 2d6
Gargantuan 2d8
Colossal 4d6

Special Attacks

An overseer zombie retains none of the base creature’s special attacks, but it gains the following special attack.

Dominate Undead (Su): An overseer zombie can dominate mindless undead within 40 feet of itself, causing them to obey its mental commands. An undead creature that is already subject to the command undead spell is immune to this ability, as is an undead creature that is controlled by another overseer zombie. At no time may the total Hit Dice of mindless undead controlled exceed four times the overseer zombie’s own Hit Dice. The overseer zombie may voluntarily relinquish control of any dominated undead in order to command new ones. Asserting control over a new mindless undead is a standard action, as is issuing a command to one or more dominated thralls.

Special Qualities

An overseer zombie loses most special qualities of the base creature. It retains any extraordinary special qualities that improve its melee or ranged attacks. An overseer zombie gains the following special qualities.

Damage Reduction (Ex): An overseer zombie has damage reduction 5/slashing. Overseer zombies are lumbering masses of flesh.

Single Actions Only (Ex): Overseer zombies have poor reflexes and can perform only a single move action or attack action each round. An overseer zombie can move up to its speed and attack in the same round, but only if it attempts a charge.

Saves

Base save bonuses are Fort +⅓ HD, Ref +⅓ HD, and Will +½ HD + 2.

Abilities

An overseer zombie’s Strength increases by +2, its Dexterity decreases by -2, it has no Constitution score, its Intelligence and Charisma scores decrease by -2, and its Wisdom score changes to 10.

Skills

An overseer zombie gains skill points as an undead and has skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier) x (HD + 3). An overseer zombie’s class skills are Listen (Wis), and Spot (Wis).

Feats

An overseer zombie loses all feats of the base creature and gains Toughness.

Environment

Any land and underground.

Organization

Any.

Challenge Rating

Depends on Hit Dice, as follows:

Hit Dice Challenge Rating
     
1/2 ¼  
1 ½  
2 1  
4 2  
6 3  
8-10 4  
12-14 5  
15-16 6  
18-20 8  
     

Treasure

None.

Alignment

Always evil.

Advancement

As base creature, but double Hit Dice (maximum 20), or — if the base creature advances by character class.

Level Adjustment

Sample Overseer Zombies

Human Commoner Overseer Zombie

Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 2d12+3 (16 hp)
Initiative: -1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares; can’t run)
Armor Class: 11 (-1 Dex, +2 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Slam +2 melee (1d6+1), or club +2 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack: Slam +2 melee (1d6+1), or club +2 melee (1d6+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Dominate undead
Special Qualities: Single actions only, damage reduction 5/slashing, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits
Saves: Fort +0, Reflex -1, Will +3
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 8, Con --, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8.
Skills: Listen +2, Spot +3
Feats: Toughness
Environment: Any
Organization: Any
Challenge Rating: ½
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always evil
Advancement: --
Level Adjustment: --

Dominate Undead (Su): This overseer zombie can dominate mindless undead within 40 feet of itself, causing them to obey its mental commands. An undead creature that is already subject to the command undead spell is immune to this ability, as is an undead creature that is controlled by another overseer zombie. At no time may this overseer zombie control more than 8 Hit Dice of mindless undead. The overseer zombie may voluntarily relinquish control of any dominated undead in order to command new ones. Asserting control over a new mindless undead is a standard action, as is issuing a command to one or more dominated thralls.


Ogre Mage Overseer Zombie

Size/Type: Large Undead
Hit Dice: 10d12+3 (68 hp)
Initiative: -1
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares; can't run), fly 40 ft. (clumsy)
Armor Class: 20 (-1 Dex, -1 Size, +8 natural, +4 chain shirt)
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+15
Attack: Greatsword +11 melee (3d6+9/19-20), slam +11 melee (1d8+6), or longbow +3 ranged (2d6/x3)
Full Attack: Greatsword +11 melee (3d6+9/19-20), slam +11 melee (1d8+6), or longbow +3 ranged (2d6/x3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Dominate undead
Special Qualities: Single actions only, damage reduction 5/slashing, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits
Saves: Fort +3, Reflex +2, Will +7
Abilities: Str 23, Dex 8, Con --, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 15
Skills: Concentration +2, Listen +13, Spot +13
Feats: Toughness
Environment: Any
Organization: Any
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always evil
Advancement: --
Level Adjustment: --

Dominate Undead (Su): This overseer zombie can dominate mindless undead within 40 feet of itself, causing them to obey its mental commands. An undead creature that is already subject to the command undead spell is immune to this ability, as is an undead creature that is controlled by another overseer zombie. At no time may this overseer zombie control more than 40 Hit Dice of mindless undead. The overseer zombie may voluntarily relinquish control of any dominated undead in order to command new ones. Asserting control over a new mindless undead is a standard action, as is issuing a command to one or more dominated thralls.

This content is published under the terms of the Open Gaming License. Click here for OGL Information.