Zombie Infectee
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Basic Information

The Zombie Infectee is someone who's been bit by a zombie (or other undead), and is doomed to become one themselves. They're in the early stages of what will likely be a painful transformation into a hideous flesh-eating monster. Happens mostly with Romero Zombies as Voodoo Zombies don't typically bite or infect, and Rage Zombies tend to have fast-acting viruses that turn you evil before you can get morose or hide anything. In fantasy RPGs, the role of infectious undead often belongs to the ghoul.

The smart choice here is suicide or mercy kill, but in fiction you tend to see the Zombie Infectee in denial try to hide the bite that's already killed them. As a result, they later bring further doom and suffering upon their companions.

Particularly heroic infectees may also be found engaging in acts of self sacrifice in the knowledge that they are already dead - this may include volunteering to lead a zombie herd away from their companions, sealing up doors from the outside and triggering suicide bombs. Of course, unless their last stand is final enough, they may re-appear later in a somewhat less heroic guise.

The other gruesome fate that potentially awaits an infectee - especially where the zombie apocalypse is still gathering speed - is to be dragged off to a laboratory somewhere and vivisected, or otherwise studied, by scientists trying to understand and cure the zombie infection. In darker settings, infected survivors of a sucessfully contained outbreak may instead find themselves dissected by people aiming to weaponize the plague.

See Also:
A House Divided
Dying Like Animals
Fighting For Survival
Poor Communication Kills
Vampire Refugee
The Virus
What Have I Become



Game and Story Use

  • As with any Doppelganger or Shape-shifter, it's sometimes hard to pull off infiltration by a Zombie Infectee. Special measures may be required.
    • In a one-shot, you can plot with a player before the group gets together. That PC was bitten off-camera before the PCs get together. Half way through the session at some prearranged cue, he turns.
    • In a game where infection involves a saving throw or endurance roll instead of being automatic, you can make it a hidden roll. Then you pass notes to each player every time they're hit (regardless of whether or not they rolled good enough), so as to spread paranoia amongst the group.
      • Or the roll could be public, but you let the players know that there will be a secret / blind modifier applied to the roll by the GM. This modifier is based on some variable stat, such that different zombies (or different methods of exposure) involve different odds of contraction.
  • Although it's not typical of the genre, zombies may not attack an infectee once the infection has passed a certain point - perhaps they prematurely recognise one of their own…
  • Mechanically, a rules set may have the zombie infection damage two separate scores - the health stat (representing the character's progress towards death) and the stat that measures their self control (wisdom for example).
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