• Justin Handlin

D&D Monster Tactics: Zombie

Listen to Episode 49: Monster Tactics

In Dungeons and Dragons zombies are soulless, fearless, and stupid. While zombies are tossed into nearly every campaign, we feel that they have just become minions to be mowed down by adventurers. Often just tossed into a crypt and that's about it. In this episode we breakdown just how versatile they zombie can be, and how you can get the most out of your zombie encounters.

From somewhere in the darkness comes a thump and a scuffle. As the noise comes again, drawing closer, a gurgling moan can be heard-the rattling wheeze of rotten lungs pressing air out. A form lurches into view, dragging one foot as it raises bloated arms and broken hands like a child seeking an embrace. This creature is a zombie,and it blindly seeks to crush life.

First we look at what we know about zombies.


  • No need to eat, drink or even breath

  • Any corpse with flesh suffices to make a zombie. It might be a dead warrior from a battlefield, bloated and blistered from days in the sun, guts trailing from a mortal wound.

  • A zombie could wash ashore or rise from a marsh, swollen and reeking from weeks in the water.

  • It might be a muddy cadaver of a woman recently buried and risen again, leaving maggots and worms in her wake.

  • A zombie could instead appear alive, crafted from a recently deceased corpse.

  • The corpse could belong to the smallest beast or the largest giant.


  • Easily replaceable, zombies are a dime a dozen.

  • Place them in rooms with deadly traps - flooding, crushing walls/ceiling, entire floor that collapses. Since they lack everything required to care for ones survival, they make perfect cannon fodder.

  • Contagion - place poison/disease upon them(cackling zombie monster variant)

  • Place harmful spells upon them - Rune of fireball, cloudkill.

Players: How to overcome.

  • Common knowledge that zombies often are unable to comprehend obstacles, tactics or dangerous terrain.

  • They will often walk right into a river, acid or caltraps just to reach its target.

  • Often they can only follow basic orders and can barely tell friend from foe when instructed.

  • Holy water is a powerful tool if the characters are aware they are going to engage with the undead.

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! (We give you creative content for your next adventure)