The combat example on p.79 of the Savage Worlds Deluxe pdf shows zombies doing d6+d4 damage. The Bestiary entry for the zombie (p.147) lists only "Claws: Str" (and the zombie's Str is d6), whereas a werewolf, for example, has Claws: Str+d8 listed.

Is the Bestiary entry for the zombie incomplete, or am I missing some rule here? (Totally newbie SWD owner here, sorry. :))


2 Answers 2


The section of the combat example that you are looking at says the following:

[The zombie] does Str+d4 with its claws. It’s Strength is a d6, so the GM rolls a d6+d4 and gets a 5. Dan’s Toughness is 5, so he’s Shaken.

In this case, the d6+d4 is the result after you replace Strength (Str) with the Strength of the zombie, which is a d6.

However, you are keen to note that the bestiary zombie's claw attack only does Str damage (in other words, just the zombie's d6 Strength), rather than Str+d4 as is in the example.

The opening for the combat example says that it is in a "Weird Wars: Vietnam campaign", which would mean it's part of the Weird Wars: Tour of Darkness setting. Interestingly, that book has zombies with a damage of Str+d4*, which matches the example.

Looking at a few other books as well, Pinnacle seems to flip-flop between the damages. Deadlands Noir has zombies with a damage of Str while the Horror Companion has zombies with a damage of Str+d4.

So what does this mean? Probably just that the editor didn't notice the difference between the two books and didn't make the connection. So I'd say you can use either one as you see fit, depending on how lethal you want zombies to be.

*Actually, it's listed as "Str+1", which is how melee damage was written in Savage Worlds Revised. When the Explorer's Edition came out in 2007, damage formulas were changed and Pinnacle said that pre-EE settings should be converted where "Str+1" becomes "Str+d4", "Str+2 becomes Str+d6", etc. It wouldn't surprise me if whomever created the example was looking at an updated version of Tour of Darkness that hasn't been released yet.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Excellent response, although I'm pretty sure it's not an accident that their stats vary from book to book. Take a look at Zombie Run or War of the Dead and you'll see another two variants of zombie - as with any creature, their stats depend very much on the setting. The Horror Companion even gives guidelines for customising your own zombies. However I do agree that the example in the core rules should have used the stats from the same book. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zadmar
    Jun 29, 2014 at 10:23

The errata doesn't mention anything relating to this, and I haven't read any corrections on the official forums.

The damage from a punch or unarmed attack is usually Str, whilst creatures with natural weapons such as claws often do more. Typically for claws/sharp teeth etc, this is often Str+d4 as in the combat example you mention. Based on this I would be inclined to up the damage for the zombie in the bestiary to Str+d4.


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