Today we delve into one of the great debates of 40k – are Poxwalkers Romero or Rage Zombies?!
Welcome to another 40k Pop Khorne – the cross section of Warhammer and Pop Culture. Today we’re taking a slightly different approach to the Pop Khorne. Instead of looking at different movies, we’re going to take a look at a particular unit from Warhammer 40,000 and see if we can determine which movie fits them best. And we’re kicking it off with a classic: Zombies!
Now, if you didn’t know Poxwalkers are basically Zombies. According to the Chaos Codex:
“The zombie plague, the malady of unliving abomination for which Typhus the Herald is the vector primoria, has variegated into countless strains since the Great Rift yawned wide.”
The keyword there is ZOMBIE. And, as I’m sure you’re aware, zombies are pretty popular in pop culture these days. However, there is a lot of zombie-lore out there and that by itself can create a lot of confusion. For the purpose of this thought experiment, we’re going to ignore all the other types of Zombies and focus on two main types: Romero Zombies and Rage Zombies.
Romero vs Rage
If you’re not familiar with the terms, a Romero Zombie is your more archtypical Zombie from the 60’s-80’s zombie movies. These are named after George Romero who essentially defined the zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead (1968). Were there zombie movies and zombie lore before this movie? Absolutely. However, this idea of a Romero Zombie became the “default” concept of what a zombie was for decades. Romero Zombies aren’t actually that dangerous solo – but they are nigh-unstoppable in a horde. These zombies shamble, are tough to “put down” again, and will keep coming if you don’t destroy their brains.
A Rage Zombie is a little different. These are the newer style “fast” zombie. They often are somewhat “enhanced” by whatever turned them into a Zombie. It could have been a virus that was based off of rabies, or it could be something that just re-activates the primal part of the brain. Whatever the case, these Rage Zombies are your runners, leapers, and are hyper aggressive. The movie that really kicked off this type of zombie concept was 28 Days Later – which is where the term comes from. These zombies are people infected with “the Rage Virus”- and they sure are mad!
Now since then, we’ve seen a mix of these types of zombies – sometimes even in the same movie. These two concepts have really blurred in the past 15-20 years or so.
So What About Poxwalkers?
The easiest place to start is with their datasheet:
Let’s start with the most obvious part: there speed. They are considered pretty slow in game terms with a movement of 4″. That certainly starts the case for a Romero Zombie. They aren’t particularly strong either – no super strength from the Rage virus here. Their basic stats also hide their durably. A toughness 3 unit with a 7+ armor save means it gets wounded very easily…like a Romero Zombie. However, Disgustingly Resilient means they can keep coming at you on a 5 or 6. Seems like they are only going down if you destroy their brain.
Curse of the Walking Pox adds models to their unit when they kill an infantry model. That actually points closer to Rage Zombies because they reproduce very quickly. And Diseased Horde adds some danger when there are more than 10 of them – which, to be fair, is true for either Romero of Rage Zombies.
However, Poxwalkers are borne out of a Virus – spread by Poxwalkers and Typhus. That’s definitely a point for Rage Zombies. And, while their movement speed is limited to 4″ – they can still run or even charge 2D6, akin to Rage Zombies. There are also other ways to enhance them with the right mix of characters, traits, psychic powers, and stratagems.
The basic Poxwalkers, even though they are Virus born, strike me as Romero Zombies. However, if you wanted to “juice them up” and make them even scarier, they can turn into Rage Zombies if you wanted to run them that way, too. Just keep that in mind when you’re coming up with a Zombie Escape plan. Fast or Slow? Better have a plan for BOTH!
There is a case to be made for either – what do you think? Are Poxwalkers Romero Zombies or are they Rage Zombies? Let us know why in the comments!