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D&D 3E
In the vein of Libris Mortis, I have an undeadish question. What's… 
13th-Sep-2004 07:56 pm
In the vein of Libris Mortis, I have an undeadish question. What's the shelf-life of a zombie? Assuming it doesn't get hacked apart by adventurers or traps or its fellows, how long can a zombie remain zombish?

Just, umm, just wondering, y'know . . .
13th-Sep-2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
They do rot. I eventually change 'em into Skeletons...but the odds are they don't last that long. Some necromancers use oil of timelessness on them and then they keep for a considerable amount of time.

Figure an untreated zombie probably rots slower than a human due to the necromantic magics involved. Human flesh rots at different speeds depending on the climate its interred in (if interred at all). A desert zombie, for instance, would be around for a good, long time. Years...potentially even developing into a lesser mummy as it continues.

The translation: As long as you want.
13th-Sep-2004 05:37 pm (UTC) - Depends
I image they can go into torpor, hybernation when they have nothing to do. They re-bury themselves or sit quietly and mummify. If there are flesh eating bugs and maggots, you may have a skeleton left. But what is a skeleton but a fleshless zombie? Same thing.
Short answer? Zombies can last a long time in some form or another.
13th-Sep-2004 11:08 pm (UTC)
according to my fading memory of the zombie survival guide, i believe most zombies (due to the sheer unnatural-ness of either the virus that spawns them or negative energy--whichever you prefer) last around ten years with most of their necrotic flesh still intact. after that, i'd say reduce them to skeletons. however, now that i think about it, there are some other options.

for one, when certain fatty tissues decay just right, they turn into a soap like substance called adiopecere, which then hardens into various types of stone and eventually coal (interestingly enough, this is fascinating stuff, creating the american "soap mummy"). perhaps old zombies sealed away just right in old tombs get a natural +2 to AC?

also, maybe the negative energies that animate the undead eat away at their forms, slowly but surely ticking off fleshy hit points until a skeletal state is reached (i don't know how to really flesh it out, so to speak, but the idea makes sense).
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