Book of Souls
|No. of Attacks:||1|
|Special Defenses:||See below|
|Size:||M (5’-6’ tall)|
Voodan zombies are grey-skinned, haggardlooking humans who are often mistaken for common zombies. However, Voodan zombies are not undead: Rather, they are living humans who have been mentally enslaved by a Voodan houngann (shaman), typically as punishment for having committed some heinous crime against the Voodan people.
Because they are alive, Voodan zombies typically are not missing limbs or flesh as are common zombies. Their gaunt and haggard look is a result of the process they underwent to become a Voodan zombie, and this appearance will remain with them even if they are later cured of their zombie enslavement.
Combat: Voodan zombies will not obey a command to attack and do not have enough strength of will to attack on their own. If they are attacked, they may attempt to defend themselves, attacking their attackers. Like common zombies, Voodan zombies always attack last during a combat round. More often, however, they will simply try to evade their attacker, moving slowly away from their attacker if possible. Because they are not undead, Voodan zombies do not share the common zombie’s immunity to mind-affecting spells and to poison. Voodan zombies can be turned or controlled by priests, but a priest attempting to do so must subtract the level of the houngann who created the zombie from his or her own level of experience before determining if the attempt to turn is successful. Voodan zombies cannot be commanded by zombie lords or harmed by holy water.
Habitat/Society: Transforming someone into a Voodan zombie is the ultimate form of punishment among the Voodan people and is used only for the most heinous crimes, such as betraying Voodan secrets to outsiders or destroying a benevolent loa (animalistic spirit). The victim is given a poison created by the Houngann which puts the victim into a comatose sleep resembling death and lasts 6 to 7 days. The victim is mourned as dead and, after the appropriate time, buried in a grave outside of a cemetery. Eight days after the poison is administered, the Houngann returns to the gravesite and exhumes the victim, who has already awakened and who, as both a result of waking up buried alive and an effect of the Houngann’s poison, been drained of most of his or her Intelligence and Wisdom. The victim is now a Voodan zombie completely under the Houngann’s control. He or she will follow the Houngann’s simple commands except for obeying a command which the zombie recognizes as a threat to his or her life.
Voodan zombies are shunned by Voodan humans, including the victim’s family and former friends. This shunning is cultural, as essentially the zombies have been exiled from life and are no longer privileged to partake of the life they once led. They are also constant reminders of the proximity of death. It is important to realize that a Voodan zombie is not evil, nor, generally, is the Houngann who created and controls the zombie. Killing a Voodan zombie should be considered a brutal murder if the zombie is aware that it is about to be killed and as a nonbrutal murder if the zombie is unaware of the threat to its life.
Rarely will a Houngann transform someone who is not of the Voodan people into a Voodan zombie. Should an outsider commit a crime that would be deserving of such a punishment, he or she is typically cursed or killed instead of transformed into a zombie. There are rumors of evil Houngann who live outside of Voodan society and worship malevolent loa; if this is true, then these exiles might be inclined to enslave outsiders as Voodan zombies. It is currently not known if demihumans can be transformed into Voodan zombies.
Ecology: Voodan zombies must eat and drink as normal humans, although they often must be reminded of this fact by their Houngann. They must sleep at least six hours out of every 24, and, unless instructed to do otherwise, will typically fall asleep wherever they are an hour after sunset. Voodan zombies cannot speak, but they can understand any language they knew before they became zombies. They can provide answers to questions they understand by using gestures, although these gestures are not always easy for the observer to interpret.
Voodan zombies often provide manual labor for the Hounganns who control them, the type of labor depending on where the zombies are found. Those encountered in the swamps of Souragne under the control of Hounganns there are usually used to gather plants and food for their masters. The lord of this island, Anton Misroi, has noticed the infrequent burial of living persons by the Voodan, but he has not yet been inclined to act upon it.
A Voodan zombie can be cured of his or her condition. Magical spells and psionics which cure insanity can restore lost Intelligence and Wisdom but the victim regains none of his or her memories from before becoming a zombie. A treatment of 7 to 12 months of intensive therapy in a psychiatric care institution can restore lost Intelligence and Wisdom as well as previously held memories. Success depends on the quality of the institution and of the attending physician; partial success may result in the victim’s regaining only some of his or her Intelligence and Wisdom and/or memories. No matter what means is used cure the zombie, his or her Alignment remains Neutral until he or she makes efforts to change it.
By Bil Boozer
Last Modified: February 21, 2014, 00:25:12 GMT
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