Zombie (GruntHack)

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In GruntHack, zombies are a type of monster that can be generated as any monster race. They are significantly more dangerous than their counterparts in NetHack: a zombie possesses a sickness-inducing bite attack which has a 15 chance of draining intelligence similar to the attack of a mind flayer.

Zombies can revive from their corpses much like trolls and the Riders, and have a mutual grudge against living monsters; monsters of the appropriate race that are killed by a zombie or the illness they can inflict will turn into zombies themselves.

Eating a zombie corpse will confer terminal illness, as well as the normal effects of eating that monster's corpse and eating an aged corpse.


Randomly generated zombies are always hostile, and can be created if a compatible monster is killed by another zombie.

A zombie will leave an aged corpse of whatever racial monster they were upon death.


Zombies are extremely dangerous early in the game, due to their bite attack. Consumables such as eucalyptus leaves, potions of holy water, extra healing, full healing can cure sickness, but are rare and in limited supply, while the spell of cure sickness requires skill in healing spells and enough energy to use them. A priority for an early character should be to acquire a unicorn horn: they cure illness and restore lost attributes, and allow the player to reliably cure illnesses inflicted in combat.

Ranged attacks can be used to fight zombies without the risk of instadeath; roles such as Ranger or Wizard start with powerful ranged options. More melee-focused roles may wish to gather a small stack of missile weapons such as daggers or darts to use against zombies. Helms can block the bite attacks to the head, especially if greased or oilskin, though this may be unreliable due to a bug.

All non-undead monsters grudge zombies, so leading them to a powerful monster like a shopkeeper or aligned priest can be effective in dealing with them - this makes areas such as Minetown generally safer when fighting zombies, but the zombies can also kill off weaker monsters and even some stronger one if enough combat rolls end up in their favor.

Do not attempt to dispose of zombie corpses by eating them: since they are still treated as corpses of variable age and inflict illness when eaten regardless of that age, a rotten food effect from such a corpse can render you unconscious, leaving you unable to stop the illness from ending your game. A tinning kit or a container that you can lock and unlock is most ideal for preventing zombie corpses from reviving.

Encyclopedia entry

The zombi ... is a soulless human corpse, still dead, but taken from the grave and endowed by sorcery with a mechanical semblance of life, -- it is a dead body which is made to walk and act and move as if it were alive.

[ W. B. Seabrook ]