Talk:Swift Zombies

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If the screecher attack does damage, it shouldn't be against touch attack AC, since armor would presumably block whatever is being done (probably slam damage). If it's a touch attack, then it shouldn't do damage (as per the "grab" in the grapple rules), which would make sense. Succeeding to grapple the target, though, would do damage, probably with claws, and further damage can be done afterward with further attacks that the zombie probably gets no penalty on (rather than the usual -4). Strangely enough, pinning an opponent does not give an option to do damage, but a rule can probably be made for this circumstance. -Slitherrr

The screecher attack is a touch attack because it is a modified grapple. I think you're probably right that the grapple needs to be successful for damage. You being on your horse made things a little more complicated for me, so I had to wing it. Next time I'll kill your horse first. After all, the average life span for a mount in most of my games is about 1.5 sessions.
Yeah, none of this is to rebel against your rulings in-game, I just wanted to run the rules in line with 3.5e's combat system to flesh these guys out for future games. The normal grapple rules are touch attack to see if grapple can be initiated (with AoO, but it can probably be assumed that the screecher has an ability that is like the AoO nullifier of Improved Grapple), then opposed grapple check, THEN unarmed damage if the screecher wins the opposed check. -slitherrr
Main points (Hunter) -
1. Hunter may make a leaping charge grapple attack.
It's still double movement (60' maximum), though if you jump from a vertical distance, you can get bonus damage. (1d6 per 10 feet, as per "falling objects" in DMG)
2. Hunter's attack is a sort of charge grapple, so it is a touch attack with bonuses for charge, strength, and an innate SA.
3. If pinned, you are helpless and take rake damage on subsequent rounds. A lot of it.
To note, here, pinning does NOT make the target helpless. To quote: "When an opponent has pinned you, you are held immobile (but not helpless) for 1 round. While you’re pinned, you take a -4 penalty to your AC against opponents other than the one pinning you. At your opponent’s option, you may also be unable to speak." If the zombie gets something special, doing lots of automatic damage is probably plenty without ALSO giving the pinned character a -5 to AC (-9 to melee attacks) and susceptibility to coup de grace. -slitherrr
4. Research Required - there are some creatures that are able to make an attack that grapples on success. Perhaps worth modeling on.
This is worth looking into. However, if an attack does damage directly as a consequence of the attack (like being slammed into), then it should never be a touch attack, because armor should have its say. Conversely, if it's a touch attack, then it shouldn't do damage. The second is the actual grapple rule, the former would be a special case rule that is like the monster abilities (i.e., both claw attacks hit = immediate grapple initiated, that sort of thing). -slitherrr
Main Points (Smoker)
1. Touch grapple @ range, if successful target is helpless, but not prone. (And you're prone, because your ass is dragg'd)
Also, since it got mentioned for the Screecher, helpless here is probably too much awesome for a ranged touch attack. Spells that make people helpless either affect only very low-level creatures (Sleep), or are super high-level (two cleric spells, Dictum and Holy word, that are both level 7). None (surprisingly) of the SRD monsters have abilities that make PCs helpless directly--the closest thing I could find with a search is the Hag's Str-drain ability, which causes helplessness if Str gets to 0, hardly an easy condition. The point is that the ability to cause a coup de grace situation with almost no effort is ridiculously super-stupid powerful, even if it's only while the tongue is still attached. My suggestion is that the tongue = grappled, maybe even with some hefty bonus to keep people from getting out of it too easily. For example, the giant constrictor snake is a CR 5 monster with a +23 to its grapple check with 1d8+10 constrict damage (not a ranged grapple or anything, but that should give a general idea of the power)-
2. On beginning of smoker's round, dragging begins @ 30'/round.
3. When you get to the smoker, you take some raking damage. (Less than hunter)
4. Tongue has 2-3 HP.
Main Points (Boomer)
1. Listen checks within range (20', maybe?) to hear them if they are in range and you're paying attention.
(IE, last game, by the time the boomer was in range to be heard, the sounds of combat were assumed to be drowning it out.)
(When you guy stumbled on the boomer in the barn, you were given listen checks to hear it)
2. The bile explosion is a 10' radius. Puke DC is 15, explosion DC is 25.
I'm sad you missed the game where they were introduced, because it was kind of funny watching Xorry, especially, slowly figure out what was going on. He made a boomer-joke about the fat, boil covered zombie. Then it puked and exploded and there was much laughter, OOC, at least. ;) -gm
Other things : attack bonus, AC, wotnot, you guys might be able to figure out with more experience, but I'm not about to tell it here. the common ones, of course, are pretty obvious and you mostly have sussed out.

More Elaborations and Research on Screecher

I looked through the SRD list of special abilities and found the following relevant entries:

If a creature with this special attack hits with a melee weapon (usually a claw or bite attack), it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. No initial touch attack is required.

Unless otherwise noted, improved grab works only against opponents at least one size category smaller than the creature. The creature has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it used in the improved grab to hold the opponent. If it chooses to do the latter, it takes a -20 penalty on grapple checks, but is not considered grappled itself; the creature does not lose its Dexterity bonus to AC, still threatens an area, and can use its remaining attacks against other opponents. [this can be one of the "otherwise noted" cases, probably rationalized by the combination with the leaping charge, if it even has to be rationalized]

A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the creature also has the constrict special attack. If the creature does not constrict, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage indicated for the attack that established the hold. Otherwise, it deals constriction damage as well (the amount is given in the creature’s descriptive text).

When a creature gets a hold after an improved grab attack, it pulls the opponent into its space. This act does not provoke attacks of opportunity. It can even move (possibly carrying away the opponent), provided it can drag the opponent’s weight.

When a creature with this special attack makes a charge, it can follow with a full attack—including rake attacks if the creature also has the rake ability.

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks when it grapples its foe. Normally, a monster can attack with only one of its natural weapons while grappling, but a monster with the rake ability usually gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. Rake attacks are not subject to the usual -4 penalty for attacking with a natural weapon in a grapple.

A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

Basically, some combination of these would give exactly what you're looking for, although putting in all would be pretty silly: rake + pounce + [extra-]improved grab + the flying charge would be looking at full attack + rake attacks, with the option for a grapple attempt after each attack, although successfully grappling on an early attack doesn't allow the later ones, with additional rake attacks if the grapple is successful, all after jumping 60' through the air, basically bypassing AoO from intervening units, which is just ludicrous. I propose any combination of 2: either improved grab + rake, pounce + rake, or pounce + improved grab. -Slitherrr

Also, there's no specific ability for the leaping charge, but all he needs is some ability that makes Jump do what it needs to do. Since the Jump DC for 60' is usually 60 (120 without a running start, holy crap), here's what I propose:

Supernatural Leap

The creature halves all DCs when attempting a long jump with the Jump skill. In addition, the DC does not change if the creature does not have a running start.

Then the zombie can get a +20 racial bonus to jump skill, and that'll put him roughly where he needs to be, when his skills from creature levels are added, especially if he starts from higher up.


On a final note, we've been doing this wrong: Ready

The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so).

Readying an Action You can ready a standard action, a move action, or a free action. To do so, specify the action you will take and the conditions under which you will take it. Then, any time before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it. If the triggered action is part of another character’s activities, you interrupt the other character. Assuming he is still capable of doing so, he continues his actions once you complete your readied action. Your initiative result changes. For the rest of the encounter, your initiative result is the count on which you took the readied action, and you act immediately ahead of the character whose action triggered your readied action.

You can take a 5-foot step as part of your readied action, but only if you don’t otherwise move any distance during the round.

Initiative Consequences of Readying Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the readied action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed your readied action, you don’t get to take the readied action (though you can ready the same action again). If you take your readied action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round.

In other words, the screecher will need another special ability to allow him to charge as a readied action. Since a leap is rather more instantaneous than most other full-round actions, this is a bit plausible, although it does make him more powerful, so that should be taken into account when determining damage and number of his attacks. -Slitherrr

Don't worry, all the beanplating has sucked all of the joy out of this experiment for me. The intent - to build a sense of suspense and anticipation based on subverting a familiar shared experience - has been completely overwhelmed by rulesism. You won't be seeing these guys again - I can only imagine the headaches as I slowly try to unveil the rest of the special infected roster. I'm going to stick with everything vanilla from now on, and should have the plot retooled by the next game. We'll just handwavium retcon everything back into normal zombies. -gm
Ack, sorry. I'll try to hold back on that in the future. -Slitherrr

Ah, i don't mean it like that - not exactly. i underestimated how much effort it was going to take to make the creatures with the charactaristic traits and playtest on the fly, and the other option - having a general discussion - defeats the whole purpose of the mystery. lookind down the barrel at doing the same with jockeys, chargers, spitters, the tanks and the witch was a little bit daunting, to say the least, from a time-inveested to payoff. The sideways nod joke serves the intended purpose well enough. As ever, my ambitious far exceeds my drive. -gm
that is to say, i'm glad this stuff is here to work out the mechanics for the hunter in the next campaign, since i can't very well just magic wand all that away. Rather, the extended conceit of a progressively more hard core journey thru the L4D franchise won't be continued for reasons stated above.
Ah, okay. That makes me feel better. And I do hope this is helpful, because I have a whole lot of fun digging through the SRD and finding the rules that are relevant, and helping to hash out something that both serves the narrative and is balanced in the rules (which D&D makes more complicated by its very nature). Anyways, once we're past this part of the story and don't have the unknown factor anymore, I think it'd be awesome to actually make this into a proper monster template, a la the SRD zombie template. -Slitherrr
Are you people talking about a video game or something? --Msallen
Go back to your @.

Crawl Stone Soup RULES. End Of Story.

Fact. --Msallen

Also, I still haven't bought or played L4D2, so the original four (and the normal fast zombies) are the only ones close to my heart. -Slitherrr

I love the fast zombie in all its incarnation. If there was no Danny Boyle, would zombies still be the monster of the moment? -gm
I just love post-apocalyptica. The Postman is one of my favorite books of all time! -Slitherrr
How did I let this go without response? I, too, love The Postman! David Brin is the shiz. Also, I was revisiting this page for no reason at all.

Also, not fucking with L4D2 as been sort of mentally liberating, as I can at least work out a balanced hunter and everyone else can deal with smoker tongue causing helplessness. (Veracity over balance in homages, and its a piss easy status to drop in this case.) That being said, enough of the swift zombies have been encountered to warrant .. (from my notes)

Common Infected - Small Base Creature Hit Dice 1d12 (7 HP)

Initiative +5

Speed 30 ft.

Armor Class 13 (T: 11 FF: 13)

Attack Slam: +1/1d4-1

Special Qualities (Most) Undead Traits, Flammable (1d4/round)

Saves F: +0 R: +0 W: +3

Feats Improved Initiative, Turning Resistance

CR 1/4

Special Infected - Boomer

Hit Dice 1d12 (7 HP)

Inititive +1

Speed 15 ft.

Armor Class 13 (T: 11 FF: 13)

Attack Slam: +1/1d4-1

Special Qualities Breath Weapon, Bile Explosion, Flammable (1d4/round), Loud (10' radius)

Saves F: +0 R: +0 W: +3

Feats Turning Resistance

CR 1/2

Breath Weapon: May be used once every ten rounds. Cone of Boomer Bile, 40'. DC 15. Failed save covers target in Boomer Bile for 5 rounds.

Bile Explosion: When a Boomer Infected is killed, it explodes in a goopy, gooey mess. Everyone in a 10' radius around the boomer when he dies is covered in boomer bile. A DC 25 Reflex Save will avoid contact. If a boomer explodes in range of someone already covered in bile, add 5 rounds to the duration.

Boomer Bile: When a player is covered in bile, he or she suffers the following effects : -1 to hit, -2 to AC, -5 Movement. Additionally, common infected will auto-charge anyone covered in boomer bile and attack them exclusively, and passive infected will aggro. Boomer Bile can be removed by jumping in a body of water, or it will naturally wear off in 5 rounds.


Talk to me when you've fought more than one smoker. -gm