View Full Version : The Infected [3.5 Template]

2009-09-27, 02:16 PM
Ever wanted to run a low-level zombie-siege adventure, but find the as written zombie to be too much of a shambler? A fan of 28-Days Later or The Zombie Survival Guide and interested in exploring similar themes in a 3rd Edition D&D game? Do you find an undead-infested adventure to be too much of a push-over with a cleric around? Then the Infected Template might be right for you!

Design Philosophy
I designed this template for a game I ran for experienced players who tend to optimize. These zombies are strongly inspired by 28-Days Later: fast, easy to kill if alone, but deadly if they overcome you. They also mimic 4th-edition minion rules, making it possible to throw a large number at a small group of PCs.

I wanted, in particular, to capture the iconic "headshot" typical in zombie literature. As such, their AC is reflective of what it takes to hit the creature in the head specifically. HP was unnecessary, as hitting them in the head was an instant-kill.

I decided to type them as an Aberration rather as Undead, because it made more sense to me that the magical disease which grants the template to turn the creature into a twisted, living creature, rather than an Undead. This has the notable advantage of making the creatures immune to a Cleric's turning and throwing off the PC's expectations.

Also, I gave them a range attack. This is so that PCs can't just build a small, immovable barricade and remain safe from the Infected indefinitely. It also really scared them.

Many of the rules for 3.5 Monsters or Templates have been bent or broken in the creation of the Infected. I don't care though, because it still made for a fun and perfectly usable monster! Use it as-is, or adjust it so it better follows the RAW.

An Infected is a living creature that has been perverted into a parody of its original form by a magical virus. The virus may be originally bestowed on a creature through a powerful curse, entering an ancient magical site, or contact with a fallen meteor. Whatever the initial point of contamination, the infection is then spread through the bite of an Infected.

An Infected undergoes a painful physical transformation. The creature's internal organs are liquefied by the virus. As a result, an Infected can be recognized by the thick blood-like ooze that pours out of its eyes, nose, ears, and mouth, as their liquefied organs escape their bodies.

The Infected are mindless and do not speak, utilize complex tactics, or even use weapons they may possess in an attack. Instead, the creatures immediately charge any living and un-Infected creatures they perceive and attack with natural weapons, attempting to start a grapple with their Improved Grab ability. If an Infected has an opponent grappled, other Infected within reach will use the "Aid Another" action to aid their ally's grapple. Once having successfully grappled an opponent, an Infected will use its bite attack to feed (an Infected survives by eating the blood and innards of living creatures) and spread its virus. An Infected will not use its Spit attack (or other special attacks it might possess) unless it is unable to reach a living creature due to an insurmountable barrier or altitude differential.

Infected who have visual or physical contact with a living creature will begin to shriek or moan, which alerts any other Infected within hearing distance to the presence of prey. Infected alerted in such a way will themselves begin to moan and move towards the sound of the original Infected, drawing more of its kind to it in this way.

Infected can survive 15 days without eating before starving to death. The Infected only eat the blood and organs of living (or recently living) creatures. On the 15th day, if no other food is available, the Infected will begin to cannibalize one another.

Creating an Infected
"Infected" is a template that can be added to any living creature not immune to disease.

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

Hit Dice
The creature loses all hit-dice (but does not lose any feats, skill points, or ability improvements gained from its previous hit dice) and receives 1d1 hit dice.

An Infected retains all Speeds and forms of movement of the base creature.

Armor Class
An Infected's Armor Class represents the Attack score required to hit it in the head. An Infected's AC does not benefit from any Armor, Shield, or Natural Armor bonuses, though it retains the armor proficiencies of the base creature. An Infected receives the size bonus to AC entitled to a creature two size's smaller than the base creature (+2 for a Medium Infected, for example), representing the difficulty of hitting just the creature's head. A PC gains a +2 to his Attack Bonus if he declares he is aiming for the Infected's head.
DM's Note:
Any attack score from a PC which is greater than 10, but less than the Infected's AC should be described as hitting the Infected, but having no effect. If an Infected is wearing armor, a sword may glance off of it. Or a crossbow may plant in the creature's shoulder, but the Infected does not even wince. This represents the Infected's supernatural stamina and immunity to non-headshots. This will make the Infected appear to have unlimited HP (if not hit in the head) and make it difficult for the PCs to figure out to aim for its head, both things we want.

Base Attack/Grapple
An Infected retains the Base Attack bonus of the base creature. An Infected receives a +4 racial bonus to its Grapple score.

An Infected retains all the natural attacks of the base creature, but loses all weapon proficiencies. If the base creature does not possess a natural attack, the Infected gains a Slam Attack. All Infected gain a Bite attack, if they do not already possess it.

Natural attacks of the base creature deal damage normally. If the base creature already possesses a slam or bite attack, use those statistics. If not, follow these statistics: An Infected's Slam Attack deals damage of 1d4 for a Medium creature and scaling with size (1d3 for a Small Creature, 1d6 for a Large creature, etc). An Infected's Bite Attack deals damage of 1d3 for a Medium creature and scaling with size (1d2 for a Small Creature, 1d4 for a Large creature, etc).

Special Attacks
An Infected retains all of the base creature's special attacks, but always prefers to close melee distance and then attack with a natural attack. An Infected also gains the following special attacks:

Improved Grab (Ex): If an Infected hits with a melee attack, he can immediately begin to start a grapple as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Virus (Ex): When an Infected bites you, you must immediately make a fortitude save. The first fortitude save against this ability is DC 5, but increases every time you have to make the save against the Virus, even if the bite is from a different Infected. Once you fail the save, you have contracted the virus and are becoming Infected. From that point on, you have to make a save every half hour. The save starts at whatever save you contracted the disease at and increases by 1 every time you succeed at it. Once you fail this save, you become Infected and gain the Infected template. A Remove Curse or Heal spell can remove the disease after contracting the virus, but before turning into an Infected. Additionally, if the location of the bite is removed from the body (such as an arm or a leg) within five minutes of the bite, the creature bitten will not turn into an Infected. After turning into an Infected, nothing can restore the creature to its original form short of a Wish or similar spell. A creature who becomes Infected and is then killed and is subsequently Raised or Resurrected returns as an Infected, not as the original creature.

Spit (Ex): An Infected can spit stomach acid and bile at a foe for 1d4+1 damage. The attack has a range of ten feet and does not provoke an attack of opportunity from an adjacent opponent. An Infected can use Spit once every 1d3 rounds. Any acid immunity or resistance makes the subject of the attack immune to the damage of an Infected’s spit.

Special Qualities
An Infected retain all the special qualities of the base creature and gain the following:

Mindless: No Intelligence score, and immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects). An Infected cannot cast spells or activate magic items that require spell completion, spell trigger, or command word activation.

Immunity to Fatigue/Exhaustion: An Infected is not negatively impacted by fatigue and exhaustion and therefore does not need to sleep or rest.

An Infected does not possess Darkvision like other Aberrations unless the base creature possesses Darkvision.

Same as base creature

An Infected gains a +2 to Dexterity. All other scores are the same as the base creature.

An Infected retains all the skills of the base creature and gains a +2 to Spot and Listen. However, an Infected cannot use the Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Disguise, Forgery, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge, Open Lock, Perform, Profession, Ride, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device, or Use Rope skills.

An Infected retains all the feats of the base creature, but does not think to use any feat that requires complex thinking or tactics.


Challenge Rating
Same as base creature minus 3, minimum 1/2.

Happy gaming! Let me know if this is useful to you!