A zombie dragon is created by use of the animate dead spell or by a vampiric dragon. It functions as a normal zombie in most ways, though it retains a few of its draconic abilities and qualities even after death.
A zombie dragon stinks of death, and its once glorious scaled hide sports gaping holes chewed by worms. Because of the creature's utter lack of intelligence, the instructions given to a newly created zombie dragon must be very simple, such as "Destroy anything that comes within sight."
Zombie dragons are often used as sentries (although they aren't capable of calling for help, the sounds of the battle usually serve to raise the alarm) or guardians. Draconic spellcasters capable of creating such creatures may use the bodies of dead rivals or, in the case of particularly vile necromancers, deceased family members.
Creating A Zombie Dragon
"Zombie" is a template that can be added to any dragon of at least adult age (referred to hereafter as the base dragon)*. The creature uses all the base dragon's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead, and it loses any subtypes it had in life. Do not recalculate the creature's base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.
Hit Dice: The base dragon's Hit Dice remain the same, but it loses any Constitution bonus to its hit points (see Abilities, below). However, a zombie dragon gains bonus hit points equal to twice its HD.
Speed: Reduce flight maneuverability by one category (to a minimum of clumsy).
Armor Class: Reduce natural armor bonus to one-half the base dragon's value (rounding down).
Special Attacks: A zombie dragon retains any exceptional special attacks of the base dragon (such as improved grab), except for special attacks with a save DC based on the base dragon's Charisma (such as frightful presence). It loses all supernatural and spell-like special attacks possessed by the base dragon, except for any breath weapon attack, which is altered as noted below.
Breath Weapon (Su): A zombie dragon keeps the base dragon's breath weapon (if any), though it deals only half the listed damage. Breath weapons that don't deal damage (such as the brass dragon's sleep breath weapon) are unchanged. The save DC to resist the dragon's breath weapon is 10 + 1/2 zombie dragon's HD + zombie dragon's Cha modifier.
Special Qualities: A zombie dragon loses all supernatural and spell-like special qualities possessed by the base dragon. It retains any exceptional special qualities (such as immunities or blindsense). It loses any subtypes it had, though if the base dragon had any immunities based on its subtype (such as immunity to fire for the fire subtype), it keeps those immunities despite losing the subtype. It also gains additional special qualities as noted below.
Damage Reduction (Ex): Zombie dragons gain damage reduction 5/slashing.
Slow (Ex): like zombies, zombie dragons have poor reflexes and can perform only a single standard action or move action each round.
Undead Traits: A zombie dragon is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, magic sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage to its physical ability scores, ability drain, energy drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or death from massive damage. It cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. It has darkvision out to 60 feet (unless the base dragon had greater range).
Saves: As undead, zombie dragons are immune to anything that requires a Fortitude save unless it affects objects.
Abilities: Adjust from the base dragon as follows: Str +0, Dex -2, Cha -6. Being undead, a zombie dragon has no Constitution score. It also has no Intelligence score. Its Wisdom score becomes 10 (regardless of the base dragon's Wisdom).
Skills: A zombie dragon loses all skill ranks and racial skill bonuses possessed by the base dragon.
Feats: A zombie dragon loses all feats possessed by the base dragon. It gains Toughness as a bonus feat.
Challenge Rating: Base dragon's CR x 1/2 +1 (minimum 2).
Alignment: Always neutral.
Advancement: Up to +2 HD.
Level Adjustment: -
Sample zombie dragon: Zombie Young Adult White Dragon.
*The vampiric dragon description indicates that this restriction does not apply when the zombie dragon has been created by a vampiric dragon. In that case vampiric dragon's blood drain creates Zombie Dragons from Young Adult or younger dragons (adult or older dragons become vampiric dragons instead) while the vampiric dragon's energy drain ability can turn any dragon into a Zombie Dragon.