Awakened Zombie (5e Race)
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Whether through some dark magic, an intervention from a god, or just the creature’s own will to live, a zombie will sometimes retain its intelligence after death, instead of becoming a mindless creature of evil. These creatures are considered awakened zombies.
Connection to Life and Death
Awakened zombies retain their intelligence and memories of life, but their personalities become darker and grim. Despite having their full memories of life, their state between life and death drives most of the awakened away from connections that they had in life, instead perceiving them as memories of a different person that they happen to have in their head. This combined with their changing appearances causes them to leave their old lives behind and try to find answers on where they belong in this world.
While awakened zombies don’t actually age, their life spans are similar to what they would have been in life. Instead of aging, however, their forms slowly degrade and rot. A 70-year-old human zombie may be nothing more than a shambling mess of hanging flesh and bones, while a newly created zombie may look exactly as they did when they were alive, save for the paler skin and rapidly whitening hair. When zombified, a zombie’s hair will turn completely white in a matter of days.
The Need to Feed
When someone is zombified their bodies become maintained through the necromantic forces that brought it back to life, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to eat. Instead of maintaining its body and providing energy zombies need to feed on the brains of recently killed intelligent creatures in order to keep their intelligence high. If a zombie does not feed on a full brain once per week (1 whole brain, 2 half brains, 4 quarter brains, etc.) then they must make an Intelligence saving throw or risk becoming a degraded zombie.
Awakened zombies either retain the name that they had in life, or take a suitable pseudonym for their race. Their goal is to blend into the general population the best that they can or else be hunted as a denizen of evil.
Awakened zombies are undead creatures formed from dark magic but have managed to retain their intellect from when they were alive.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
Age. You were reborn through dark magic. You do not age but do rot. Degraded zombies typically don't last more than 10 years past their degradation date without magic to renew their bodies. Awakened zombies live out their normal life span as long as they have the ability to feed and don't rot.
Alignment. Zombies have the essence of evil and undeath in them from their creation. They are typically an evil alignment, but their awakened nature gives them a chance to choose their own path in unlife. They do tend to drift towards chaotic the longer that they've been turned.
Size. Zombies can vary in height and weight vastly. Your size is Medium to Small depending on your race in life.
Speed. Your base walking speed is dependent on your subrace.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Undead. Your creature type is considered undead. As such you cannot be healed by most magic like Cure Wounds or brought back to life with a spell such as Resurrection and you are immune to a number of spells such as Hold Person.
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces you to 0 hit points, you must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, you drop to 1 hit point instead.
Undead Nature. A zombie doesn't require air, food, drink, or sleep. You are immune to diseases. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Poison Immunity. You are immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.
Zombie Healing. In lieu of taking any other actions in a round you can elect to spend one Hit Die to heal yourself. You can do this as many times in a day as you have Hit Dice left. Once you've run out of Hit Dice you must take a long rest to regain the Hit Dice.
Languages. You can only speak Common or Undercommon.
Subrace. Zombies don't have subraces as such. Instead all zombies start out as an enlightened zombie, and their subrace describes their stage of life. If an enlightened zombie doesn't feed on the equivalent of a full brain of an intelligent creature once per week then it must make an Intelligence saving throw or become a degraded zombie. Degraded zombies must make a death saving throw once per day while degraded. On 3 failed death saving throws the zombie becomes permanently degraded and cannot be restored. If allowed to feed while degraded a zombie can attempt an Intelligence saving throw. On success the zombie becomes instantly restored and becomes 'enlightened' once more. If a zombie is permanently degraded it cannot become enlightened.
Either you're newly created or have taken good care of yourself. You maintain much of your living characteristics and form, except for being cold to the touch, having a lack of a pulse and becoming paler by the moment.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score is increased by 1.
Unhindered Movement. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
Unhindered Language. You can speak Common plus one additional language.
You've let your mind and body rot and have become degraded because of this you're in the later stages of life. Whether you were forced into this situation, lost of the will to live, or through carelessness, you're on the way out and you and everyone around you knows it.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1 and your Intelligence score decreases by 2.
Slam Attack. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage on a hit.
Degraded Language. You can't speak but you can understand Common or Undercommon.
Hindered Movement. Your base movement speed is 20 feet.