Zombie Treats

December 11th, 2013

Alex Riggs

Magic Market Archive

                As you’re hopefully aware by now (you do read our other articles, right?), it’s Zombie Week, and that makes it highly likely that today’s article is going to have a selection of zombie-themed magic items for you. Well, fear not! Here they are, in all their shambling glory.


Aura moderate necromancy; CL 9th
Slot wrist; Price 12,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate dead, slay living; Cost 6,000 gp

                These masterwork manacles are typically unadorned, though occasionally their creator will indulge in using a darker metal, such as obsidian or ebony, for the cuffs, or will engrave small skulls upon them.

                When placed on a helpless humanoid, these manacles infuse him with necromantic energy, transforming him into a mindless zombie. This process takes 1d10 minutes, after which time the subject gains the zombie template for as long as the manacles are worn. If the manacles are ever removed, however, he reverts back to his prior state (again, over the course of 1d10 minutes), as he never actually died. If the subject is slain while wearing the chains of undeath, he remains dead even if they are removed. The manacles themselves do not actually restrict the target’s movements very much: they impose the staggered special quality of the zombie template on any creature wearing them (this typically only applies for the purposes of the 1d10 minutes before the transformation to a zombie is complete, and if they are ever placed on a creature that cannot be transformed into a zombie, such as a non-humanoid). The chains have no effect when placed on a corpse.


Aura moderate necromancy; CL 7th
Slot —; Price 1,500 gp (standard), 3,000 gp (fast), 3,000 gp (plague), 4,500 gp (juju); Weight 40 lbs.
Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, animate dead; Cost 750 gp (standard), 1,500 gp (fast), 1,500 gp (plague), 2,250 gp (juju).

                While most coffins are intended to provide a certain amount of dignity and closure when sending the deceased off to a (hopefully) restful afterlife, these magic items serve more as necromantic incubators, which infuse the corpses interred within with negative energy and cause them to rise as zombies. If a humanoid creature is placed in the coffin and buried, then after 1d4 days, it arises as a zombie and bursts free of its coffin, digging its way to the surface and becoming an uncontrolled undead creature. You do not have any special control over the zombie created in this way, but can gain control over it through other means, if they are available. The zombie lasts indefinitely, but the coffin is destroyed in the process.

                If desired, you can set a specific condition that causes the zombie to arise, rather than having it do so automatically in 1d4 days. This condition can be a certain date or time (such as “in exactly 5 years” or “on the next full moon”), or it can be when a certain condition comes to pass (“if I am slain” or “if Archibald is crowned as king”), or it can be when a specific password is spoken. In the case of conditions coming to pass, they must do so within a 1-mile radius of the place where the coffin is buried, or else the coffin fails to detect the condition happening. In the case of passwords being spoken, the password must be spoken near enough that it would be clearly audible if the coffin were on the surface. No matter what condition is set, setting a condition that causes the zombie to arise cannot be used to make it do so earlier than 1d4 days after it is buried.

                In addition to the standard coffin of the restless dead, there are also varieties that create fast zombies, plague zombies, and juju zombies. These otherwise function identically to a standard coffin of the restless dead.


Aura strong necromancy; CL 17th
Slot —; Price 5,000 gp; Weight 80 lbs.
Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, soul bind; Cost 2,500 gp.

                These granite tombstones are often engraved with skulls, bones, and other symbols of death, though it is not uncommon for their creators to take a different approach, and sculpt them in the image of guardian angels or even locked and barred gates.

                A headstone of finality emits a 120-foot-radius aura that causes all spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities that cause the dead to rise, either as the living or as the undead, to fail. This includes the obvious, such as animate dead and resurrection, but also applies to the create spawn ability of various undead creatures like vampires and wights, and other, more obscure abilities. This effect only prevents these abilities from initially animating the dead creature, and both undead creatures and the recipients of raise dead and similar spells can safely enter this aura without ill effects.

                In addition to the headstone of finality’s constant aura, its magic also has a lasting effect on corpses that are exposed to it for extended periods of time. Any corpse that is constantly within the headstone of finality’s aura for a full month cannot be affected by any ability that would either cause it to become an undead creature or cause it to return to life. This effect is permanent, but can be reversed with a break enchantment spell, or more powerful magic. This does not prevent means of animation or resurrection that do not require a body, such as true resurrection.