Most creatures suffer only one death in the wastes. This is not the case with "The Dead", or more commonly beings infected with Ghoulism. The Dead have been around for a very long time, long enough that most social cultures have references about The Dead. Little is understood of their existence. They seem to require sustenance to persist. However if probed they will show no signs of biological life and are for all other purposes are quite dead. All of The Dead exhibit varying levels of decay and putrescence save the most recently "animated" (who will acquire it shortly themselves). They seem to be extremely tolerant to levels of trauma and damage that would cripple or kill a living human. Missing limbs, atrophied organs and indeed destruction to any portion of their body is relatively common in all members.
Recently Humans have been studying the dead, as their race is most susceptible to ghoulism. Ghoulism is a form of fungal infection that shows no signs of being infected, can infect after death, and lies dormant in an infected creature. Upon death of the creature, the fungus becomes a symbiotic entity, and will repair nerve and brain damage. Depending on how severe the initial damage was, the creature might become a Ghoul, Ghast, or Zombie. Ghoulism requires an oxygen processing respiratory and circulatory system. Most creatures in the Wastelands can be infected by ghoulism, with the exception of Botans since their physiology is incompatible. Due to the currently diminished state of known (and understood) science and technology in the Wastelands, Ghoulism cannot be artifically bred, or inflicted upon another organism. However, regular exposure to decaying organisms and wet environments raises the likelihood of infection. The only "cure" for ghoulism is fire. Since most ghouls are still sentient creatures, it's considered taboo to burn a ghoul before his natural lifespan passes. Ghasts and Zombies are considered threats, and regularly burned before their time.
Creatures infected with ghoulism usually live another five to twenty spans after death. When the dead die of a natural lifespan, their body spouts puff spores which are known infect creatures in the area.
Of "The Dead" race, Ghouls are the only playable race.