Albino Ravens and Blightwalkers
Zombies - Not Zombies
When the a game of Goldmother's Vale begins, Sorceress Orana is focuses almost completely on cracking the remaining protections on Salmu Seru's library in The Broken Spire. She knows there is a great power source in Windsong Cave but she doesn't know what it is exactly, how to get to it (it's behind seals) or how to corrupt it to her personal use. She also knows that the snows are coming soon and that the valley folk are about to become hyperactive and hypersensitive to anything they might connect to the "sleeping evil" (Orana always laughs and uses air quotes and melodramatic accents when she says this phrase to her henchmen), and she knows that Sinnu Daku (her personal mercenaries) are not yet assembled in full force. Thus Orana's plan is twofold:
1. Build up a utility force to distract/fragment/control the people of the valley without needing to risk her own troops (the Cult of Blood and Briar might work for this but they're too bumpkiny for her tastes, and she doesn't fully trust them).
2. Create a utilitarian grand-ritual-pentagram around the petrified altar in Windsong Cave. She's not exactly sure how she'll use the pentagram, but she's begun to piece together enough about the necromancer who used to live in her tower to know that it will probably be called for in whatever relevant ritual she finds.
She figures zombies (well, Blightwalkers) paired with the cult's mutated beasts should do the job nicely.
One to two weeks before the game begins, Sorceress Orana and several prominent members of the Cult of Blood and Briar set up a ritual pentagram in the mountains where the treeline ends and created The Black Line. Each night 3d4+3 albino ravens are birthed from the pentagram there, and at sunrise they fly away to drain the souls of humanoids. A raven must deal 20 HP worth of damage to consume an entire soul and they prefer to do so after a target has already dropped to 0 HP, is sleeping, paralyzed, restrained, young, old or can't otherwise fight back.
During an attack the raven will open its beak and begin to literally suck the soul from its victim (+5 to hit, 5ft reach, 1 target). On a successful hit the raven becomes attached to the humanoid by a ghostly beam. The beam suspends the white raven in the air and it spreads its wings and feathers (like a heraldric eagle) as it drains its target. The target takes 1d4+3 damage at the start of the raven's turn (DC 15 wisdom saving throw).
Once a raven has consumed a soul it flies directly to The Broken Spire (before Orana has cracked Salmu Seru's library) OR to Windsong Cave (after Orana has begun her ritual to corrupt the trapped Goldmother). When it arrives at the appointed destination it vomits up the soul for Orana's use before returning to the valley to seek out more targets.
[Stats like a Stirge, pretty stat box 'n whatnot to come eventually]
Any humanoid drained of their soul (takes 20 HP worth of damage from a single albino raven), will fall into an apparent deep sleep. They will appear whole and beautiful with regular breathing and a rosy complection, but their eyeballs will be completely black, hard, and smooth like polished obsidian. This bodily restoration/beautification will also occur in corpses drained after death (e.g., a hunter is mauled by a bear and dies in a shreaded mess. Two days later their body is found and drained by an albino raven. After being completely soul-drained their body will appear whole, beautiful and sleeping, but their clothes will still be destroyed).
Humanoid corpses CANNOT be drained IF:
1. They have been dead for a week and a day
2. Funerary rites have begun on the body (even simple, rudimentary or incomplete rites)
3. The tears of a loved one have fallen on the body
A drained corpse will appear to sleep for at least 24 hours, then, at the next sun set, it will open its eyes, begin screaming, and the pentagram at The Black Line will erupt with a swarm of roaches OR rats OR frogs OR snakes. The swarm will travel directly to the corpse that called for it and can pass through one hex every two hours. Swarms CANNOT travel over sacred or consecrated ground and cannot pass through doors, windows or under lintels. They can however enter homes through cracks, holes and chimneys. Once the swarm has gained access to its body, the creatures will enter it through all available orifices, rapidly hollow it out and then proceed to shamble around with it like a slow moving zombie. Each blightwalker contains a single swarm or a single creature type and if multiple corpses are ready at sunset, multiple swarm eruptions will occur at The Black Line.
[Stats as a Zombie, with different attacks by variant]
Slam - +3 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, 1d6+1 bludgeoning damage
Sticky Tongues - +4 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, DC 15 dexterity save or GRAPPLED (frog tongues erupt from everywhere on the blightwalker's body and stick to the target. If the blightwalker is grappling a target they cannot Slam, only Bite)
Bite - +1 to hit (+5 if grappling), reach 5ft, one target, 2d4+2 piercing damage
Scream: All the roaches scream and buzz simultaneously. Anyone within 10', DC 12 constitution save or be STUNNED for 1 round and DEAFENED for the remainder of combat.
Exodus: All the rats leave the body enmasse and the skin and bones crumple to the ground like paper. Anyone watching this event DC 15 wisdom save or FRIGHTENED
Swarm: If the rats have exited their body they can swarm over a single target in a clawing, biting mass. DC 20 dexterity save or GRAPPLED and take 1d4+1 damage each turn.
Venomous Slam - +3 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, 1d6+3 piercing damage, DC 12 constitution save or POISONED
Blightwalkers are capable of following and carrying out simple instructions such as "gather flesh", "gather innocents", "dig", "bury" etc.