Zombies, Two For The Price Of One

by mshrm

Before the last campaign, the apocalypse campaign, I swore a mighty oath that I would include no zombies. (… with the caveat that I could include things that weren’t zombies, but looked like they were, like sick people and zombie walkers.) The reason why was, one of my players has been talking for a long, long time now about starting up a true Zombie Apocalypse Game, in the Walking Dead tradition. I want to play in that campaign. I didn’t want to steal his thunder. So, no zombie apocalypses for me.

I didn’t promise any such thing about the pirate game.

Really, given the genre and the presence of Hollywood-grade voodoo, you’ve got to expect some kind of zombies. In On Stranger Tides (the book, not the Pirates Of The Caribbean movie), there’s evidence for two different kinds. One is a corpse, animated by magic. The other is a living person who has lost control of their will to a ritual magician.

Word is, one of my players is set on playing a bokor. Clearly, I need to cook up some zombie-creating rituals.

(Caveat: I’ve read through the GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic pdf a couple of times, I’ve read a lot about it on the forums and on different blogs [cough Ravens N’ Pennies cough], but I’ve never before used the system in a real, live game. Your mileage may vary, or the vehicle might go up like a Roman candle, I just dunno…)

(Note: I’m using Christopher R. Rice’s “Summoned” modifier.)


Raise Zombie

Spell Effects: Greater Control Undead + Lesser Create Undead

Inherent Modifiers: Summoned

Greater Effects: 1 (x3)

This spell animates a nearby corpse as a zombie. The starting materials must be mostly intact. The result will use the Reanimated Corpse template from page 100 of GURPS Zombies. Unless the duration is extended with a subsequent ritual, the zombie will return to its natural state after a week.

Typical Casting: Greater Control Undead (5) + Lesser Create Undead (6) + Summoned, 25% of total (4) + Duration, 1 week (9) + Subject weight, 300 lbs (3). 81 energy (27×3).


Dominate Thrall

Spell Effects: Greater Control Mind + Greater Transform Mind

Inherent Modifiers: none

Greater Effects: 2 (x5)

This spell overwhelms the will of a touched sentient target, making them a mostly-willing servant of the caster. The target will follow orders, though some commands (the obviously suicidal, those that threaten loved ones or deeply-held beliefs) might trigger a new resistance roll, possibly at a bonus. In the absence of orders, the target will do whatever seems to them to be in the best interests of the caster.

If the effect is not maintained regularly, the target will regain control of their mind in a week. When the effect ends, the target can remember the entire ordeal.

Typical Casting: Greater Control Mind (5) + Greater Transform Mind (8) + Duration, 1 week (9). 110 energy (22×5).


Enslave Thrall

Spell Effects: Greater Control Mind + Greater Create Mind + Greater Sense Mind

Inherent Modifiers: none

Greater Effects: 3 (x7)


An improved version of Dominate Thrall (inspired by comments here). This version creates a copy of the caster’s mind within the mind of the target to keep an eye on them. Thus, when presented with a situation outside of their orders, the thrall will do whatever is in the best interests of the caster, as defined by the caster, not the target.

Typical Casting: Greater Control Mind (5) + Greater Create Mind (6) + Greater Sense Mind (2) + Duration, 1 week (9). 154 energy (22×7).