Most of those encountered in Spearbreakers (and indeed a large portion of the Coastal Reaches of West Everoc) are the products of Deler Inkblushed, The Union of Haunts and his disciples' necromancy. However some are also rejected experiments by companies such as Parasol or Ballpoint, and others are simply the results of the magic contaminated forests and plains of the Coastal Reaches.
Zombies are generally classed as a handful of broad categories.
Shamblers are zombies who, for one reason or another, have lost the ability to run but not the ability to walk. Generally this is due to decay. They are slow and clumsy, but when armed and led by a necromancer these undead tend to form the bulk of their fodder. Useful only as meatshields in the army, as they are often picked off or cut down before they can reach their foes.
Runners are typically fresher corpses of things like humans, wolves, or kobolds. They are quick, generally skilled with the weapons they may have, and were it not for their seemly suicidal behavior and externally visible tissue damage they could easily be mistaken for a living soldier or poorly equipped militiaman.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Severed heads that are silent, save for their constant bumping along the ground and when they snap their jaws angrily at perceived threats. They are often fired by catapult into towns and fortresses along with severed reanimated limbs by Necromancers laying siege for the purposes of conquest rather than simply adding more bodies to their hordes and as 'living' landmines of sorts.
Severed arms with the hand still attacked or just the hands. They are seen creeping along with the shamblers to a fight and are sometimes used as expendable messengers for Necromancers and as catapult ammo.
Reanimated partial or full skeletons that are somewhere between shamblers and runners in speed. It is generally accepted by academia that these strange creatures' mobility is solely the product of dark magic. They are fragile compared to their rotting relatives but by no means weak. A solid assault that can smash bones will dispel the dark magic holding them together.
Creatures that are not sapient and still have their heads attached. Wolves, yeti, coati, and gerbils all fall under this classification and are subgrouped under any of the above Shamblers, Runners, or Skeletons.
Shells, hair, untanned skins, and other such nonsense. Generally not a threat unless the skins in question came from something large like an elephant. These are difficult to kill, as they have very little surface area (with the exception of skins and shells) and are therefore hard to hit.
There are a handful of undead hordes that can be classed in different ways.
- Novice necromancer horde (most common)
- Necromantic Army
- Military (used by Necromantic states and Ballpoint Technologies)
Lead by unskilled and aspiring Necromancers or simply those who accidently read a slab (often the result of simply to verify it was the slab the reader was sent to retrieve) and can't control the things they raised out of curiosity. They are poorly organized at best, and often the necromancers simply follow the horde to keep it fighting, if they follow it at all. Such hordes can also be the result of experienced necromancers entertaining themselves or aiming to sow chaos in settlements and fortresses.
Lead by skilled necromancers and often containing the entirety of the spectrum in some fashion, two were thrown at Spearbreakers before the death of Deler Inkblushed and nearly succeeded in crushing the fortress to dust. They are often very well organized and positioned to attack a location from every direction in a semi-planned manner and many of the sapient undead tend to come packing various knives, swords, and other weapons up to even bows and crossbows. A Necromantic Army assault managed to tear an entire siege of Holistic Spawn to shreds with only minor losses.
Zombies raised by Necromantic generals. They tend to be embalmed to preserve their tissues beforehand, clothed in a uniform, given armor and weapons, and raised. Necromancers who lead such forces tend to be of such powerful skill that they can even return a portion of sentience to their hordes, allowing them to follow complex orders and fight in formation.
Occasionally a large group of zombies will happen to be shambling in the same direction. These zombies have either lost their master or are those from the contaminated areas of West Everoc. They are generally little if any threat to a well armed and trained force of even pre-firearm soldiers, as their cognition is too impaired to assess major threats, and they have no organisation or concept of organized combat, the closest thing to it being to swarm potential prey, and even at this they will often fail as they are easily distracted by things such as cats or squirrels running by.