ZOMBIE RACE GROUP
Zombies are part of the Undead group. Copy and past to join in-world:
See the Undead group for any leadership information. You are free to make your own unofficial Lurch (Zombie group), according to the unofficial grouping rules.
The virus that causes zombification was created in the early 1950s when a Lyssavirus closely related to rabies was accidentally exposed to a high-level necromancer’s casting. The subsequent mutation resulted in a new neurotropic RNA virus known as ZV51. The initial outbreak amongst workers at the CDC was quickly isolated, though a single infected virologist managed to escape. Luckily, the enveloped virus does not survive long outside the host and requires direct inoculation (bite wound or blood of a zombie) in order to actively infect a subject. A modified live vaccine was developed, but abandoned after it was found to cause active infection in test subjects.
ZV51 starts by infecting and lysing epithelial cells, leading to widespread tissue necrosis (decay of flesh). In living persons infected with the virus, known as sentient zombies, it ascends slowly along neural pathways until it reaches the central nervous system (CNS). Once in the CNS, it can cause brain damage and mental illness that increase over time, though it does not usually render sentient zombies into braindead eaters of flesh until end-stage infection.
If the host of the virus dies soon after infection, the neurotropism of the virus is greatly increased. The activity in the brain leads to reanimation, though these rabid types of zombies are the typical mindless lurchers that most people think of when they hear zombie. Both sentient and rabid zombies seem to have an almost insatiable taste for flesh of all types.
Study of the virus in a Biosafety Level 4 lab revealed that high doses of elemental iron present in organ meat and muscle tissue inhibit replication of ZV51. Attempts to supplement sentient zombies with high levels of iron failed to quell their craving for fresh meat, and it was further discovered that there is another substance present in meat that helps to slow tissue necrosis. This proved to be a natural tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor that was subsequently named zomadimumab, trade name Zombrel. Sentient zombies attempting to delay their inevitable decay and loss of sentience can supplement themselves with high doses of iron and Zombrel to decrease (but not totally cure) their need for fresh human meat.
Sentient zombies taking their supplements don’t smell of rotting flesh, though they may have a typical scent that can be masked by heavy perfumes. Rabid zombies have nothing on their mind except to feed and do not care that they smell like a decaying body.
Only a human or mutant can become infected with ZV51. Once infected, a zombie cannot be ghouled or thralled. All zombies are infertile/sterile.
TYPES OF ZOMBIES
There are two main types of zombies:
These zombies are infected while still in good health. The zombie retains intelligence and speech until end-stage infection, which can be several decades.
These zombies were infected with ZV51 immediately prior to death. After burial, the virus mutates in the deceased flesh. This allows reanimation and the zombie becomes a true undead creature. Rabids retain only rudimentary intelligence, cannot speak, and exist only to feed. There are two types of Rabids:
- Shamblers: Slow moving, easy to outrun but more infectious bite.
- Runners: Frantic, fast-moving zombies that feed indiscriminately on anything they can bite.
Zombies are in varying degrees of deformation and superficial decay, ranging from entire chunks of flesh to the occasional scrap here and there, depending on how long they've been infected and what stage of decomposition they are in.
Rabids can appear to be a literal, walking corpse, decayed beyond all human recognition. Sentients and rabids will often have discolored, pale, or flaking skin. Also not uncommon for them to have strangely-coloured eyes signifying infection. Be creative with your avatar!
The most a sentient can hope to live before the body breaks down fully after infection is 40-50 years. Rabids can keep going as long as they have flesh clinging to their frame, and some “older” rabids appear almost skeletal. After a sentient zombie finally succumbs to infection, they become a rabid.
All zombies have the following abilities as race attributes.
Sentients and rabids can actually communicate on a basic level. Sentients are not edible to rabids.
Blood/meat and energy of both types will make any creature attempting to feed off of them violently ill.
Reflexes are almost twice as fast as a normal human. Note: Their actual movement speed is not increased, just reflex.
Zombies can smell out anything living in the vicinity. They can’t identify what kind of meat it is, but will know if someone is around and be able to track the scent to the source.
General resistance to poison, other infection, or illness. True undead rabid zombies cannot be affected due to their state. Sentient zombies have a resistance conferred by a specialized effect of ZV51.
Zombies are able to move very quietly, making no noise whatsoever until they smell meat. Once meat is scented, they may begin to groan in anticipation of a meal.
As long as the head remains intact, a zombie cannot be killed. Sentient zombies may stitch wounds/limbs back together, though the sutures may not hold in diseased flesh.
Zombies overall are not “strong” characters with tons of powers. In fact, they have numerous weaknesses due to their infection. All of the following apply to zombies in our lore:
-Sluggish and clumsy (except for rabid runners)
-Tire easily due to muscle wasting
-Prone to frenzy when starved
-Unable to heal damage
Both sentient and rabid zombies will have an insatiable craving for fresh meat, often so fresh it’s still screaming as they eat it. Animal meat can be consumed in a pinch, though it doesn’t have as much of a satiating effect on them. Undead creatures (technically including vampires) can be fed upon, but the “spoiled” taste of their flesh will usually stop a zombie after first bite, much like a shark who has accidentally bitten a human. Any others supernatural creature (demons, mutants, lycans, anything that has living tissue) are considered fair game for zombies, though only mutants and humans can be infected with ZV51.