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Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration

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"My brother, Melchiah, was made last, and therefore received the poorest portion of Kainís gift. Although immortal, his soul could not sustain the flesh, which retained much of its previous human frailty. This weakness, it seemed, was passed on to his offspring. Their fragile skins barely contained the underlying decay..."
— Raziel, about Melchiah and his clan being a hybrid of Type I/III, Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver

Generally speaking, if it's dead, it rots. What's more, corpses become more fragile than when alive (rigor mortis notwithstanding), and it goes without saying that they can't heal injuries or damage.

But what of The Undead? They aren't really dead, but they aren't alive either. So what does that mean in terms of healingnote ? Well, since Our Monsters Are Different, it can mean any of the following along a spectrum of options. Sometimes multiple options if there is a whole undead ecology.

  1. No healing, and progressive rotting. Usually the sad lot of Zombies, this set-up means that even without human intervention, every zombie will eventually become a moaning pile of bonesnote . In the case of ghouls and Frankensteins, they might delay the decay by grafting stolen body parts to replace the decayed or damaged ones, which in turn continue to rot.
  2. No healing, but no rotting. Much more dangerous for humans, this means that unless dealt with, every zombie is a Perpetual-Motion Monster that can last forever in this less-than-glamorous form of immortality. The Mummy and his ilk are like this as well. Skeletons and liches have a form of this where they can reassemble themselves.
  3. Healing, but progressive rotting. Rare, this set-up means the undead decays but can repair injury. This is usually the case of the Technically Living Zombie, who is a human that will eventually die, but until then can heal some wounds. There are also Liches, who are sentient undead mages ó in their case, the further they rot, the more powerful they are. The healing is sometimes conditional; eating something (likely unpleasant) heals wounds and counteracts rot.
  4. Healing, and no rotting. The (un)Holy Grail of undead healing. This is usually reserved for the "freshest" and more powerful undead, like vampires. Provided enough blood, they can heal any injury, except perhaps those made by Weaksauce Weaknesses like holy artifacts or sunlight. Particularly powerful Revenants also have this type.

It's worth noting that "No Rotting" includes preserving muscles, bones, and ligaments despite everyday wear and tear. This is often implied of many perpetual motion zombies said to never die. Another variable is just how much and how "neat" the healing is. Some undead just have enough healing to patch themselves up over a long period, leaving massive and ugly cancerous scars. Others have a full-on Healing Factor that leaves no scarring, effectively locking their appearance forever.

Their healing is never strong enough to bring them back to life, just back to "fresh corpse"note . Also note that no matter how powerful an undead's healing ability, it is always of the "blasphemy against nature" variety, so Revive Kills Zombienote .


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sankarea: Rea the moe zombie girl (yes, really) is Type I, with the rotting slowed by consuming hydrangea, part of the drug that made her into one... and staying in a room with the AC turned up. She also has to manually sew shut the gruesome wounds that killed her.
  • Gungrave: "Beyond The Grave" is a Type III. Unless he receives new supplies of blood daily, his body rots and falls to pieces. The blood also has to match whatever type he was when he was alive which is revealed in the sequel to the videogame that he has to receive it from Mika, the only character whose blood type matches his.
  • Brook of One Piece is a tough example. Similarly to the Arcanum example down in the Video Games section, he took a single-shot resurrection ability. However, it worked much later than desirable, so his flesh rotted off, leaving him a skeleton, thus classifying him as undead... probably. Since then, he survived over fifty years without losing any parts, on an abandoned ship, without eating. He can apparently heal his broken bones... with milk, but is apparently sure he can't regrow his hair if he ever loses it, which he miraculously kept on his skinless skull. So... Type IV, probably.
  • Naruto: Zombie ninja resurrected via Edo Tensei are departed souls summoned from the afterlife (Pure World) to the living plane (Impure World) via DNA and ninja magic. They use a living sacrifice as a battery, and the earth and dust constantly surrounding them to emulate their appearance (and genetics) before death, as well as heal any and all injuries/illnesses/missing limbs/etc. Any souls not in the Pure World cannot be summoned, and sealing jutsu that affect souls are still effective on them. Other than that, they can be physically reduced to dust, only to near-instantly recompose themselves. Type IV all the way. In an interesting twist, the resurrected do not have any memories after death, leading to interesting interactions between characters who died decades ago all being summoned at once. Any experience they have in the afterlife seems to be completely null and void while they are under the binding of Edo Tensei.
  • In Hellsing, ghouls (walking corpses created when a vampire drains a human of blood) are either Type I or Type II. Vampires are usually Type IV with Weaksauce Weakness, but Alucard can regenerate from things that would kill normal vampires, usually very quickly. However, Alucard is on the border between a vampire and an Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Is This A Zombie?, Ayumu is a zombie who does not rot, but relies on his Necromancer for healing. Direct sunlight is his Weaksauce Weakness.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • After being killed and surviving through Heroic Willpower, Bucciarati becomes a Type II - no rotting, but can't heal wounds naturally. Fortunately, Giorno can use his powers to mimic Healing Hands. However, it eventually becomes clear that this is only temporary, and by the end of Part 5, Bucciarati is unable to return to his body after a "Freaky Friday" Flip and finally ascends.
    • Dio Brando and his zombie thralls in parts 1 and 3 are type IV and II, respectively.
  • Zombina, from Monster Musume, is a type II, which is kind of a problem when you're the suicide unit of a SWAT brigade that deals with extraspecies criminals. Not that she seems to mind, as she'll often riddle herself with bullets just to hit someone behind her. She "heals" wounds by placing skin grafts over them or simply outright replacing body parts, giving her a patchwork appearance. She has undergone several treatments (including replacing her blood with formaldehyde), so it can also be argued that she's a type I who managed to slow her rotting to the point where it has effectively stopped.
  • Sunday Without God is a Type I. The living deceased can't recover from injuries and their bodies are always rotting, and this decay also affects the brain, often driving them mad. If someone dies cleanly, the decay can usually be stalled with the right treatment, but if they died messily or violently, they usually have no choice but to be buried by a gravekeeper.
  • Magical Girls in Puella Magi Madoka Magica are a Type III. Their souls are contained inside gems, meaning their bodies are empty shells that are remotely controlled. This means they can take tons of punishment without feeling pain and be endlessly repaired with magic. However, when the gem and body are separated, they lose control and their body reverts back to its corpse-like state. In one of the bad endings in Madoka Magica Portable, we learn what happens if this separation lasts for too long. Poor Sayaka.
  • Princess Resurrection has a few types since it deals with a lot of undead
    • Hiro Hiyorimi is technically type II. He needs Hime to give him her blood (flame in the anime) to stay alive as he was killed at the start of the series saving her from falling steel beams and she returned the favor by making him her Blood Warrior. He can take a good chunk of punishment due to this but can't heal until he gets more blood and there's a limit to how much damage he can take. Though by the end of the series, he gets the flame of the phoenix in him and doesn't need the blood anymore. He can still be hurt and killed, but he's more then trained by that point.
    • Reiri Kamura falls under Type IV due to being a vampire. She can (and does) lose limps, but they don't really cause much damage to her other then some disability, leaving her vulnerable. Once she gets the limb back, she can reconnect it no problem with no ill effects.
  • The girls in Zombie Land Saga are at least Type IV. They can develop mushrooms if cooped up in an area for too long, but so far, the girls have yet to turn into bones (especially Yugiri, who is at least a 200 year old corpse), and reattach limbs and head if they were removed. Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain also doesn't apply, as Sakura stabbed a still-mindless Ai through the head with a fire poker and it did nothing.

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges have bodies that can be destroyed by violent means, but they don't decay on their own. Ever. In Judge Death's first story, a lab tech examining a piece of his skin notes that it's easily been dead for centuries.
  • Lucy Westenra in Victorian Undead II is Type IV. In the second issue she's hit by Holmes via a flare in the face and the third shows half of it horribly scarred. After feeding on Holmwood, it regenerates her back to normal. So blood is a bit of a component in the healing.

  • Death Becomes Her: After imbibing an eternal youth and immortality potion, a person stays alive and can heal whatever a normal person could. But they can't die. When two of the protagonists almost immediately suffer mortal wounds, they just have to patch themselves up. They go on accumulating injuries, and in the Distant Epilogue have started to decay, making them Type II.
  • David's friend Jack is Type I in An American Werewolf in London, and will continue to decay until he is released by the death of the original werewolf.
    • Note that Jack is a ghost rather than a zombie, so his worsening appearance is more a cosmetic issue than a mechanical hinderence.
  • An example of Type III is seen in My Boyfriend's Back. The protagonist zombie is able to regenerate by eating brains, but is otherwise slowly decaying.
  • Romero zombies fall into the second category as demonstrated in Land of the Dead where years after the events of the first movie the zombies still look pretty good.
  • 28 Days Later is Type III, as humans infected with the rage virus will heal but will also starve to death given enough time (two month tops). They're technically not undead, just irreversibly psychotic, so they need to eat regularly to survive but lack the intelligence necessary to do anything beyond chasing down animals.
  • The zombies in Dead Heat are an extreme case of Type I. Once resurrected they have about 12 hours before they liquify.
  • In the Return of the Living Dead, the corpses brought back by trioxin gas are (probably) Type I. They eat brains to ease the pain of rotting.
  • In The Crow, Eric gets Type IV, thanks to the titular crow which accompanies him (having brought him back from the dead). But he's brought down to a Type II for the final showdown after one of the villains severely injures the bird.
  • Yorga's brides in Return of Count Yorga kinda zig zags it due to not really explaining things. It's possible they're Type III as, at the start of the movie, we see a few brides with discolored or slightly disfigured skin. Though considering that they were buried before Yorga summoned them. It's possible that the vampirism didn't take hold until that point to stop the decay. Otherwise, it could be straight Type IV as in the climax of the film two cops who encounter them shoot them with their guns point blank. The two brides that get hit flinch a bit and we see blood spurt from the wounds, but they continue to keep coming. Later we see that the wounds have healed.
  • Vampires in Van Helsing are Type IV. Unless hit directly in the heart, they can heal from pretty much anything. Mariska takes a few crossbows from Helsing's crossbow, but when she goes to human form the wounds heal instantly. Dracula willingly runs himself through a sword Helsing is holding and hardly feels anything, and Aleera gets hit by frozen acid thrown by the heroes, when she recovers, most of her face is burnt off but quickly regenerates.

  • In the Skulduggery Pleasant series, Skulduggery is of the class two with what appears to be normal healing of injuries to the ghost form around the bones if it is harmed. There is also one mention of an undead being created by the first big bad called the white cleaver, which is class four and a half, as it not only heals, it heals instantly and does not feel pain. the lack of pain likely has more to do with being undead than magic used after it was killed though.
  • Zombies produced by the Zombie Master in the Xanth books are capable of regeneration; they can put themselves back together no matter how thoroughly they are destroyed, as well as never running out of rotting matter to lose. They can also become nearly human if they're cared for, though their zombie traits still show on occasion.
  • In "The Island of the Immortals", in Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin, the bite of a certain fly will grant you immortality. After a few centuries' worth of accumulated injuries, you're basically a limbless, faceless torso. Quite a bit longer, and your carbon is compressed into a diamond (which may still be aware).
  • H. P. Lovecraft's story "Cool Air" features a rather poignant case of Type I.
  • World War Z (and the previous book by the same author, The Zombie Survival Guide) are unquestionably Type I. Decomposition is slowed because The Virus is toxic to most bacteria, but evidently some can still break down a shambling, undead corpse in spite of infection, decay is explicitly stated to be retarded by cool, dry climates and sped up in hot and humid environments and mention is made of the slow breakdown of muscles because, unlike those of living animals, zombie muscles never repair the wear caused by normal use. That said, there is clearly some kind of regeneration and damage protection going on; zombies can be frozen solid for centuries and reanimate with no apparent tissue damage after thawing, and millions of them are milling around under the sea at depths that should completely crush them. This is commented on in-universe as an enduring mystery.
  • Vampires of the Black Court in The Dresden Files fall under "healing but rotting" category. Over time a vampire of this type will gradually rot until they are a dry, withered husk, but this won't really slow them down much. The older a Black Court vampire is, the stronger it gets, and damage to its body (outside of massive obliteration or exposure to its weaknesses like garlic, sunlight, staking, etc.) can generally be healed by consuming flesh from living creatures. A Black Court vampire that gets a limb blown off by a shotgun, for example, will only be moderately annoyed by the loss and can replace it with a quick meal.
  • Jim and the other zombies in Mogworld are Type II (possibly type one- most have already rotted before being brought back) having to stitch their various limbs back on repeatedly throughout the novel.
  • Discworld zombies seem to neither rot nor automatically heal (Type II), but they do tend to lose the occasional body part which needs to be stitched back on, and infestation by mice is a concern. One book mentions them smelling of formaldehyde, which may indicate they use mundane preservation techniques ó so they may be more like very slow-rotting Type Iís.
    • Reaper Man implies that freshly-minted zombie Windle Poons could heal, if he could remember how; zombies no longer have any autonomic processes, and have to "manually" control every aspect of their bodies.
    • The Last Hero contains what may well be a really old zombie: a walking skeleton. Another such appears in Unseen Academicals.
    • Pyramids features Egyptian-style mummies (and there are one or two other references to this elsewhere). These are subject to complex preservation techniques, which prevent serious decomposition ó which, deliberately or not, means that dead pharaohs have the option to get up and walk around even after millennia, if correctly provoked.
  • The Lifeless of Warbreaker are somewhere between Type II and IV, they heal, but not as well as a living person, and if they get too badly damaged it's necessary to put more Breath into them to keep them going.
  • The undead of Abarrach in The Death Gate Cycle tend to slowly break down, and their makers have the lost the magic to repair them. Old enough cadavers are essentially just a small heap of bones in a field with a soul hovering mournfully above them.
    • Averted with the lazar who are capable of repairing the damage that they take.
  • Laura in American Gods is a type I. She gets a Reset Button towards the end, but it is implied that she still stays dead.
  • Zombies in The Grimnoir Chronicles are a definite Type I: no healing, they just rot ... but it's even worse because they forever feel the pain of the injuries that killed them and they retain their human sentience the whole way through. Most go homicidally insane.
  • Servants in the Web Serial Novel The Zombie Knight are Type IV with a vengeance, thanks to their reaper companions. Even having their brains destroyed will only prove a temporary setback as long their reapers are still kicking, and growing back anything else you break off them is easy.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: Sid is a Type 2. Any damage done to his bones is permanent, as evidenced when he broke a rib during Georgia's youth and it had to be glued back together.
  • Elantris: The Elantrians become a Type IV after the supernatural catastrophe of the Reod disrupts the Background Magic Field that sustains them. Not only do their injuries not heal, they always hurt as much as when they were fresh, so the pain of accumulated wear and tear eventually drives them completely catatonic. Until Raoden fixes things and restores their full powers, that is.
  • Mr. Crowley from I Am Not a Serial Killer turns out to be a type III example. He can rapidly heal from cuts, gunshots, and the like, but his essence gradually "burns out" his stolen bodies, causing them to break down on a cellular level and requiring that he either steal a new body or steal individual organs to patch up the old one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Torchwood: after Owen dies and is brought back he has to deal with things like a broken finger which will never heal.
  • Vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are Type IV, having enhanced healing combined with a distinct lack of rotting.
  • Pushing Daisies has a rather strange take, somewhere between Types II and IV. People brought back to life by Ned regain full cognizance and physical capability (or rather, as much physical capability as how intact they are would allow), but their actual bodies are not repaired. A person who has had their head impaled would be brought back with no neurological problems, even while the wound itself remained. A person who has little physical damage or decay would still register as physically dead. And yet all people brought back thus seem to be capable of as much biological process as their bodies allow (capable of things like eating, but unclear whether it is necessary). There's also no further decay, or any change at all (a dog that was knocked down and brought back in the prime of life remains perfectly healthy some twenty years later).
  • Being Human's had Type I zombies (that they happened to call Type IV supernaturals). The victim rotted progressively, without any healing, but maintained sensation, so she could feel herself rotting, and eventually, feel her joints collapsing and dislocating, her bones breaking, and her boyfriend's rugby trophy stabbing her in the gut and CORING her. Worse the other three cases before her were dissected 'alive'. Painkillers and anaesthetics were ineffective. *shudder*

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu. Zombies created using the Gray Binding spell are Type I's.
    • Zombies created using the Create Zombie spell are Type II's, until their caster dies, at which point they become Type I.
    • Meanwhile, the undead Minions of Glaaki (basically smart zombies) are Type IV's... as long as they keep out of sunlight.
  • In Mage: The Awakening magically created zombies gradually decay, to the point where the spell no longer keeps hold. The rate of decay and/or how much decay it takes for the spell to stop working depends on how much power is put into the spell. It is possible to create zombies that can repair themselves by feeding off of other corpses.
  • In Nomine has several variants of undead, mummies and vampires, which fall into Type IV, and zombies which are a variant Type I - they rot unless they can get enough of a certain substance (which varies but is generally brains, blood or similar), and they can be repaired magically although this is normally considered a waste of Essence. Incidentally, Revive Kills Zombie is averted in both cases, due to the fact that the Corporeal Song of Healing will repair non-living (even inanimate) objects as well as living things.
  • The player-character vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade are a mix of Type II and Type IV. In the sourcebooks and novels, the vampires wake up every night exactly the same as they were when they died (although they of course look thinner and paler). If you had a beard, you can shave it off, but it will return the next night, and so on. Injuries suffered after death must be manually healed by expending blood; injuries suffered before you died come back every night, though they can be healed with blood as well. (Don't piss off your sire or you might have to regrow your face every time you wake up.)
    • In its sequel, Vampire: The Requiem, the Burakumin bloodline are a rare vampiric Type III: while they don't rot, they wither and mummify with age, eventually looking like ancient corpses. Coincidentally, they're necromancers.
  • The zombies in Palladium's Dead Reign are between Type III and Type IV. They decay and lose limbs in battle, but these zombies feed off the life-energy released by their victim's deaths (causing them to rise as zombies as well). If the zombie feeds often enough, they can stop their decay, and even reverse it, restoring their damaged flesh as well.
  • Zombies and skeletons created by spells in GURPS are generally Type I - and a little more fragile in the face of regular old murdering, to boot. They'll keep on coming after you knock limbs off (and the limbs may keep coming too) but they tend to fall over after much less abuse than a healthy human. And skeletons are downright brittle. Wraiths and vampires are Type IV, either regenerating while they have their binding token (Wraiths) or by drinking blood (Vampires). Ghouls are actually alive, not undead, and so don't count.
  • As could be expected, All Flesh Must Be Eaten allows for pretty much every permutation of the trope imaginable.
  • Warhammer has undead exhibiting all these types, though it is not made explicit in most cases precisely what condition each type exists under. Zombies are definitely type I, while most Vampires are definitely type IV (though some, such as the Necrarchs, do still decay), the rest seem to vary. The physical remains that make up skeletons seem to persist for thousands of years under the right conditions, but that's more to do with the natural toughness of bone than any magical preservation. In general any healing experienced by undead in Warhammer is the result of Necromantic spells being cast on them, rather than an inbuilt regenerative capacity (with one or two exceptions, most notably Vampires).
  • Third Edition Dungeons & Dragons makes most undead Type II by default, including many upper-level Undead. Some versions of Type IV also exist, typically reserved for Vampires and the like, who have a full-on Healing Factor. Owing to Third Edition's tight embrace of Revive Kills Zombie, undead are harmed by healing spells, but there are a whole host of "negative energy" spells that heal undead while harming the living. Evil Clerics (the system's go-to Necromancer class) and Dread Necromancers (a splatbook class that specializes in Necromancy) can produce negative energy more or less at will, meaning even lowly Type II minions can expect to be magically repaired after a battle.
    • A notable Type IV is the Necropolitan from Libris Mortis, a template designed to allow for a minimally invasive undead Player Character. They have some visible decay, and lack a full-on Healing Factor, but recover hit points naturally over time like a living creature.
    • A ruling of Third Edition is that all intelligent undead heal by default, meaning they are either Type III or IV, while mindless ones don't and are usually Type I or II. Since rotting is not covered by the rules, whether any given undead type rots or not is anyone's guess (a notable exception is the lich, which is Type III and is either destroyed or turned into a demilich when it has decayed enough).
  • The Discworld Roleplaying Game reflects the situation in its source material (see under Literature above), complete with special features for Zombie characters (which are playable) governing how effectively they can be repaired.

    Video Games 
  • The Graveborn of AFK Arena are Healing But Progressive Rotting. Their bodies respond to healing magic and medical procedures, and chemical preservatives such as embalming oils are used as basic personal care, but injuries will not heal on their own, their bodies can be destroyed, and being in sunlight too long will accelerate their decay... especially if you're one of the surprisingly many Graveborn who think it's still okay to go sunbathing.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce has two types. The vampire Yukiko enjoys Heal, No Rotting granting her the ability to restore her own health in battle. In story, the severity of the damage can prolong the healing process, such as when Michael's MA-26α Angel Figure decapitates her midway through the story. Late in the game, there is a case of No Healing, Progressive Rotting following the attack on the Kinreikan Headquarters and the death of Mr Liu. If he avoids contact with sunlight, he can delay his decomposition. But otherwise it is inevitable, and there is no way to reverse the process. That he can hold himself together despite the beginnings of decomposition is a testament to his spiritual ability.
  • In Planescape: Torment the corporeal undead that reside in Sigil are Type I. The contracted zombies in the Mortuary are kept going with sutures and embalming fluid for as long as they last, but left alone they just decompose until they're skeletal. One memorable quest involves helping a rapidly decaying zombie with identity crisis - all her identifying features are literally melting off and she can no longer remember her name. Once a zombie or ghoul has decayed to the point that it's a skeleton, it abiguously becomes a Type II or at the very least becomes a much longer-lasting Type 1.
  • Arcanum has Type I, with a little bit of Type III; undead will eventually decay until they become dust, but a potion exists that will allow the Player Character to restore an undead character into a flesh-and-blood human - not a very alive-looking human, but still.
  • The Necromorphs of Dead Space generally fall under "no healing, no rotting", but the Hunter (artificially created by Dr. Mercer) is almost completely invincible thanks to its high-speed regeneration abilities.
    • The Necromorphs are an interesting case, as they're corpses that are assimilated/mutated by living alien creatures, a la The Thing. Some parts continue to look like the corpse, but it's possible that all the dead cells are replaced with alien flesh, in which case they aren't true undead at all.
  • The feral ghouls in Fallout 3 are irradiated humans, not undead. However, there are some known as "Glowing Ones" who can send out a flash of radiation — this injures normal humans, but heals any ghouls it touches.
    • Ghouls in the Fallout series are effectively immortal and are in fact healed by exposure to otherwise fatal radiation. However, this does cause their skin to constantly fester and peel, giving them their perpetual necrotic look.
      • It's stated that ghouls can die of old age, it just is a VERY long time compared to normal humans. They also have other problems to worry about, like eventually going feral due to neurological (or possibly psychological) causes.
    • Raul, a ghoul companion in Fallout: New Vegas, is a Pre-War ghoul, meaning he was alive and well 204 years before the game when the bombs fell. Through conversation with him, we find out a lot about how ghouls actually age. He's got a touch of arthritis (though it doesn't affect his combat prowess), but it's only been bothering him for the past decade or so. The game also implies at least some of it is in his head.
  • Undead units in Gladius can buy a passive ability that lets them regenerate health (quite useful, as undead summoners need spend their own health to power their spells).
  • The various zombie types in Resident Evil are all over the scale, depending on what they're infected with, and how far the disease has progressed.
  • The "infected" in Left 4 Dead and its sequel cannot heal, even by attacking humans and consuming their flesh. But their health bars remain stable when not taking damage, making them Type II.
    • Although basic infected will sometimes randomly puke their guts up or keel over and die of their own accord with no encouragement from player. This leans them towards Type I.
    • This seems to vary between the types of zombies. Smokers can regrow tongues and Chargers develop rock-hard scabs on their arms, implying that they are still healing on some level making them Type III.
  • Dungeon Crawl has three playable undead races (among many others) who each fit differently into the scale:
    • Mummies are a straight Type IV, although things that would mutate the living cause them to rot instead and they can't drink healing potions.
    • Vampires are a Type IV so long as they have blood, but they turn into a Type II if bloodless.
    • Ghouls are a Type III; they can regenerate minor wounds at the same rate as the living (relatively quickly), but their max HP slowly rots away. HP rot can be reversed with meat, preferably rotting.
    • Zombies and skeletons are Type II, and actually treat all damage as Maximum HP Reduction. This makes it impossible to tell how damaged they are, since they are effectively always at maximum health.
  • The Forsaken in World of Warcraft are Type III - they obviously rot and movement causes the flesh on their joints to peel off, resulting in their iconic look. But they regain health and can heal rapidly by consuming humanoid flesh. They also avert Revive Kills Zombie and can be healed by Holy Magic (though, according to lore, healing this way causes them a lot of pain).
    • Death Knights get healing and no rotting after the minor decay that occurred before they were raised... unless they're Forsaken death knights.
      • The Forsaken are a strange case. They do indeed have rotting bodies, but they never rot completely, and can "regrow" flesh by eating corpses. There's something about the Lich King's magic that prevents them from becoming skeletons, but also prevents them from being able to regrow all their flesh.
  • Warcraft III: The Undead can regenerate health, but only if they're standing on Blighted ground (a corruption of the soil produced by their buildings). Otherwise their health remains static. Heroes regenerate health no matter where they are, but in both cases it's a very slow process (the same speed as the other factions).
    • Some of their units can regenerate health by eating corpses.
    • The Death Knight's Unholy Aura increases the regeneration speed of all nearby friendly units whether or not they're on Blight and even applies to mechanical units.
  • The zombies, skeletons and phantoms in Minecraft are all Type II. The Wither on the other hand has gradual regeneration as a Type IV.
  • In the Legacy of Kain series, the vampires of the Melchiah clan are afflicted with decay, and are forced to graft human skin onto their bodies to maintain their vampiric immortality.
  • Those reanimated as zombies in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are extreme cases of Type I, lasting for a very short period during which they make mindless groans before disintegrating altogether - usually uttering a disturbing "thank you" as they go. The only exceptions would be the Type IV vampires, who have a ton of Weaksauce Weaknesses, and people revived by the Dead Thrall spell; these not only last until killed, but can be raised more than once and eventually even resume their old mannerisms and dialogue. The Draugr, meanwhile, are Type II, as they show no signs of rotting (beyond the rotting they experienced before awakening) yet lack any explicit healing powers.
    • A readable handbook for aspiring necromancers recurring in the series advises them of the importance of holding together animated skeletons using harnesses and wire, since they have no muscles, presumably implying Type II in-universe; you don't have to do this yourself, however.
  • Skullgirls has Ms. Fortune and Squigly. Ms. Fortune swallowed the lifegem, granting her immortality and making her a Type IV with an impressive Healing Factor. Squigly is a Type III, showing clear signs of decay (most obviously an arm rotted to the bone and an empty eye socket usually hidden by her bangs), but healing the damage she takes in fights.
  • Horrors created by the Necromancer class in Guild Wars are strong Type Is. Rather than having a timed expiration date like the Ritualist's summoned spirits, undead Horrors suffer constant health degeneration that mounts over time. This even extends to the mighty Flesh Golem, a minion created by an Elite skill that a player can control only one of at a time. The Necromancer can heal his minions, either through Necromancer skills or healing abilities from his secondary profession (Revive Kills Zombie is averted), but eventually the degeneration will become so severe that it's impossible to keep up with even outside of combat.
  • Undead in Lords of Magic are Type II, and consequently have no natural ability to heal. They can still be healed by magic though, ironically making Life spells very useful for a Death army. Vampires also drain life from their enemies, and against weak enemies can drain it faster than the enemy can hurt them.
  • Type III later crossing towards Type I is the usual fate of undead in Pillars of Eternity — normally, undead are created by (through necromancy or animancy) sticking a soul to a body so it doesn't leave as it should when the body dies. Such undead start out mostly as their pre-death selves (called fampyrs)... but suffer from a hunger for the flesh of sapient beings, which is also the only thing that staves off physical and mental degeneration. Eventually they degenerate far enough to go from vampire analogues to ghoul analogues (darguls, then into guls and finally revenants) before finally ending up as utterly mindless skeletons. There are some types of undead in terms of magical interaction who do not follow this progression, but most of them are the result of other sorts of soul-meddling (sticking souls in metal bodies, sticking animal souls into soulless but alive human bodies, etc) that don't really look as undead. Liches are a special case — through obscure soul-trickery involving phylacteries they only get the physical degeneration, not the mental or hunger for flesh, and consequently tend to quickly end up as (self-aware) skeletons.
  • The zombies in Cataclysm are a Type IV. No matter how long it's been since the Zombie Apocalypse started, each new area you explore will be full of new zombies to kill. Even after months or years, the zombies will still be waiting there for you to arrive. And once you kill them, you need to further damage the corpse by pulping, chopping up, or burning it, or they will just come back again, unless you kill them really hard.
  • Qiqi from Genshin Impact is a Chinese Vampire that looks fairly fresh. She seems to be a type IV, as she can heal herself and her teammates in-game, but she also contains elements of type III because of rigor mortis setting in if she doesn't stretch every night. She doesn't have a Weaksauce Weakness like other types of The Undead, making her pretty rare as far as zombies go.

  • Uncroaked units in Erfworld can heal damage between turns, but progressively rot. The more experienced the croakamancer, and the more care is put into their creation, the more slowly they rot. Interestingly, they can still gain levels.
    • Those brought back to life by the Arkenpliers, on the other hand, don't seem to rot at all, and may even be able to heal.
    • It's unclear if they can be healed by Healomancy, but it's been all but stated outright that they can be healed by Croakomancy. But once they die again, they go down permanently.
  • Unsounded:
    • Murkoph is apparently a type IV with the ability to quickly heal injuries such as a slash to the face. He's also an Inexplicably Awesome entity who's trapped in the Eldritch Location of the Khert, so the fact that he seems to enjoy the best of both life and undeath is one of the lesser mysteries about him.
    • Duane is a Type I case who's rotted to a near-skeletal state over six years and is held together with braces and wire. The power animating him allows Appendage Assimilation, so he can replace bones that get damaged too badly to function, but he needs magic prostheses to see and speak.
  • The undead race in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures are a type IV. Dark Pegasus created them with the ability to regenerate by eating living flesh; however, most find it too disgusting so they act like type III. They tend to gradually lose flesh to injuries, but since they're magically animated this is mostly a cosmetic issue. They can also stick severed limbs back in place, and get prosthetic limbs if they lose the originals.
  • The zombies in The Other Grey Meat are subject to wear and tear, but have Limb Replacement Facilities which allow for the replacement of any damage, except for destruction of the cranium. The higher the category, the easier access they have to replacements. The lowest level, Ones, are generally considered a waste of time and neglected, leading to a higher level of decay.
  • Vampires in Bloody Urban are somewhere between Type II and Type III depending on which is funnier at the time. They have regenerative powers, and look mostly human, but they will start to rot if they don't regularly drink human blood. However, they're not totally immune to the effects of extreme heat.
  • The Zombie Hunters contains at least Type II, unclear if it is Type IV for normal zombies. However Charlie, a "Half-Life" (Not quite dead, but not quite alive), is capable of healing his wounds given enough time and sustenance. This may or may not be linked to him having been a berserker (fast, strong, smart and sadistic zombie; possibly the most dangerous category) prior to the experiment that made him half-life.
  • Sluggy Freelance zombies are Type III; they rot as corpses, but can regenerate by eating human flesh - with the quirk that they only regenerate whatever type of flesh they eat. This is why the wise zombie learns to crave "braaaains..."
  • Looking for Group has Richard the Warlock, who can be seen at work in Too Kinky to Torture, blessed with Type IV, apparently. He finds it amusing to put himself back together all incorrectly to troll Cale. The denziens of the town he seems to be the hereditary lord of also seems to be affected by this highly durable undeath, and seem to be okay with it. They appear to be somewhat rotted once the magical illusory pretense is dropped, but it may have been a side effect of the initial undead-ification. After his near-death at the hands of the Archmage, Richard seems to... not be healing, despite Benny's ministrations.
  • Erma's dog Siris is revealed to be a Type IV after surviving being shot three times in the face and being run over to the point it left a very noticeable divot horizontally through his middle. And it was only these wounds that revealed his undead status in the first place, even to his Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl owner and her mother (who is also a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl).

    Web Original 
  • Mortasheen's Oovule, a Technically Living Zombie, is arguably a Type V, since it can not only heal without rotting, but it heals everything around it to the point of restoring zombies back to their pre-death state.

    Western Animation 
  • The Terrorcons in Transformers: Prime are Type II, but as they were Mechanical Lifeforms in life, there's no flesh to rot, and may not have been capable of healing themselves while alive, though being reanimated as little more than particularly vicious piles of walking scrap metal means that any of them capable of repairing themselves in life no longer has the mental faculties to do so... and given their viciousness, the idea of anyone else trying to repair them is not even worth considering.