Human (including accursed) corpses have a 100% chance of rising as zombies every sunset. Elves, Dragons, and Icons have a 0% chance. All other humanoids have a 5% chance of rising every sunset.
Undead usually start their unlives as zombies. They move slowly, motivated by a hunger for the flesh of the living. Sometimes people become undead without first dying – this is where ghouls and vampires come from. These living dead are fast and intelligent. They may even be good conversationalists. But they must prey on the living flesh to continue their existence.
Zombies decay at different rates depending on their environment. Included below is the stages of decomposition one would typically go through. For the sake of completeness I included skeletons and mummies, dead bodies that have reached the end of the decomposition track. Roll a d4 for a selection of zombies, a d6 for a chance of skeletons or mummies, or a d8 to include everything.
|Roll||Time since death||Zombie type||Description||Mechanics|
|1||Up to 6 days||Fresh||Rigor Mortis and discoloration.||Basic zombie.|
|2||3-10 days||Bloated||The body bloats and leaks bloody foam. Tougher. Leaks miasmic stink.||HD 2+1 (10 HP) Miasmic gas released when hit. Save vs. Paralysis or move last for 3 turns.|
|3||4-6 weeks||Active Decay||Slowly liquefying. Smarter. Still stinks.||The zombie acts with more intelligence.|
|4||1-3 months||Advanced Decay||Most tissues are gone. Smell minimized||-|
|5||Over 4 months||Skeleton||Almost all tissues gone||Basic skeleton|
|6||Over 4 months||Natural Mummy||A body preserved by unusual conditions. Not as powerful as the bandaged variety.||Treat as a very slow ghoul with a stronger attack.|
|7||???||Wet Skeleton||Very fresh bones, probably still bloody||Twice as tough (2HD / 9 HP). Resists non-blunt weapons.|
|8||???||Ghoul||Rubbery skin, smart, fast.||-|
Mummies can only be occur naturally in special conditions, like salt mines, bogs, tar pits, and some deserts. Skeletons are the usual product of decomposition. Necromancers may strip flesh from a corpse to create a tougher kind of animated skeleton from bones that still have the toughness they did in life. Ghouls were people who ate zombie meat and rapidly degenerated soon after.
To prevent a zombie from rising, its body must be purified before sundown. Murderers try to kill only before noon, or better yet, just after sunset. Churches always have efficient corpse processing facilities.