Romero Zombie
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Basic Information

A Romero Zombie is the slow-shuffling brain-eating monster popularized by Night of the Living Dead and it's ilk. The hallmarks of the Romero Zombie are the Zombie Gait and the infectious bite. They tend to have a deathly palor, looking much like a cadaver. They can be out-raced on open ground, but are dangerous in close quarters or if they catch you in a dead end.

It usually takes a Critical Hit to the Brain to kill them for good. Chopping off limbs will usually stop the severed parts, but you have to be careful with Zombie Heads which can still bite even after a Beheading. Setting them on fire will kill them, but don't expect them to sit still since they probably don't feel pain anymore. What's more dangerous than an army of zombies? An army of flaming zombies that burn down your make-shift fortress. It's totally the GMs call whether Romero Zombies last forever, eventually starve, or rot away over time.

Sometimes Romero Zombies are depicted as moving silently, and make excellent Ambush Predators. In other films they moan eerily, or even cry out for Brains.

Of the various zombie types, the Romero version provides the most leeway to the GM for deciding what the cause of Zombie-ism is. It could be Black Magic, Radiation, a slow-acting Disease, a fast-acting disease, a Zombie Legion raised by some other form of undead, a stratagem of alien invasion, or it could remain a mystery for the whole campaign. While typically only humans become zombies, there's no reason a non-viral zombie explanation couldn't end up with zombie animals in their ranks as well.

How fast zombie-ism sets in, and whether or not the zombies can tell an zombie infectee from a healthy person will determine whether this is a localized infestation, or balloons to a zombie apocalypse. Do they rip apart their prey, or ignore the infected so as to swell their numbers?

A Romero infestation is far more likely to be overcome by the government (or Rednecks) than Rage Zombies. With the Romeros, once the initial shock is past, a person can learn some simple rules to survive, and humanity may be able to fight-back or out last them, especially if the Zombies need food or rot at a rate similar to normal Human Decomposition.

Somewhat cynically, it might be noted that, looked at from a certain angle: that of the undead, infectious anthropophage, vampires can act a lot like Romero zombies.


1. Film: Night of the Living Dead by George Romero
2. Semi-Non-Fiction Book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

Game and Story Use

  • Figuring out how the zombie infestation started, what the nature of zombie-ism is, and how to combat it or cure it, could be goals of a long term campaign, especially if the PCs work for the CDC or have a Mad Scientist amongst their number.
  • A campaign could be set in the years after a zombie apocalypse, with the majority of plotlines having nothing to do with zombies. Most of the time, the only sign of the back story is a Walled City or Cremation practices, but every once in a while, there'd be a flare up.
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