This post on the Living Dead encounter for Vestitas is definitely us intentionally breaking up a large encounter into three parts, and not at all us completely forgetting to write up the rewards section for the encounter until the day after because it’s been two weeks since we wrote any encounters and we’re out of practice. The first one, for sure. Not the latter at all.
Rewards: Maintaining the allegiance of the few sapient zombies is difficult after their immediate vendettas are resolved (or if they go off track from them). If the characters are Nurgle cultists, any successfully enlightened zombies will follow them pretty much anywhere, and have the advantage that they will basically never get fed up with the characters’ actions so long as they aren’t pushing an openly anti-Nurgle agenda (even pro-Imperial or pro-Tzeentch/Slaanesh agendas won’t draw immediate ire). If the characters enlighten, rather than killing, all five sapient zombies, the Nurgle sorcerer will gladly accompany them on any future missions in Chaos territory or at the very outskirts of Imperial territory, bringing his small zombie horde with him. He will not, however, poke the Imperials too hard by venturing more than a hex or two into Imperial controlled territory. If the characters talk him into doing so, the Imperium will in fact mobilize an entire company of PDF response out of Grey Harbour.
For characters who are not Nurgle cultists, the ghost town left over after all zombies are exterminated isn’t worth much. Anyone staying eight hours or more in the area must roll a Challenging(+0) Toughness save or else become infected with the zombie plague themselves. Every eight hours thereafter, whether they’re still in the infected zone or not, they must make another Challenging(+0) Toughness save or else take a level of fatigue. This fatigue will not go away with rest. Once their plague fatigue knocks them unconscious by reaching their Willpower bonus plus their Toughness bonus, they become a zombie. Their Fellowship, Willpower, and Intelligence is reduced by 1d10 per day for a week, their Perception and Agility is reduced by 1d5 in the same time frame. On the bright side, they gain 1d5-3 Strength and Toughness each day for that week (to a minimum of 0). At the end of the week they are fully zombified. Depending on how good their characteristics were to start, they may remain some amount of coherence. In any case, characters who spend eight hours in close proximity to them must roll Toughness to avoid getting infected just the same as if they were in the town. If an infected character receives a successful Very Hard(-30) Medicae check to treat the infection, the disease is halted at whatever stage it’s reached. If the character has taken fatigue levels, they will be removed after rest like normal once treated. If they’re taking characteristic damage but haven’t fully zombified, the damage is not healed (nor are any stat gains reversed), however the character does not take any more characteristic damage and will not become a vector for the plague.
Moving colonists into the ghost town is just going to result in a lot more zombies. About 90% of the population will be killed by the ravenous hordes before turning or hole up in a safe room and starve to death. A significant chunk of those who do become zombies will be killed in the struggle. Those who “survive” will be zombies, which don’t contribute much to any economy and can’t be levied. It’s a good way to bolster a zombie horde if the Nurgle sorcerer is an ally, though. The Imperium probably can’t be convinced to send a large re-colonization population there more than once, but players could turn it into zombie Mecca for their Nurgle cult, sending pilgrims from towns they’ve exerted influence over to soak in Nurgle’s blessings and join the horde.