One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I was thinking about a Cleric's ability to turn undead today and I remembered that high level Clerics even have a chance to turn Greater and Lesser powers, which is extraordinary when you think about it. In the Player's Handbook this ability is listed under Special on the Turning Undead table and it does require a high roll, but not an impossible one, particularly for Clerics over 14th level. While it does say certain Greater or Lesser powers can be turned, it doesn't give anymore specifics than that. Has anyone dealt with this in the course of a game or put any serious thought to what powers could be affected?
I believe that was intended to mean planar fiends, not actual deities (although I can't locate where it is stated). I think that text was a hold over from 1e, and they failed to update it. If you choose to allow the turning of actual deities, it should only work on avatars and other manifestations, and never on their home plane. It would use the Special category.
Of note, the 1999 release Guide to Hell has a brand new chart for turning Baatezu, and the book recommends adapting it for Tanar'ri and Yugoloths as well.
Agree with AuldDragon on this. I don't think a mortal has any chance to Turn/Command an actual deity. The Special category you mentioned doesn't apply to Powers in this case, but rather unusual undead (and perhaps fiends) that don't fall into previous categories.
I have a copy of Guide to Hell, but I haven't opened it up in a while. I'll check it out and take a look at the turning tables for devils for sure. Thanks AuldDragon!
As far as your and Lanthorn's comments that the special category on the turning table meant fiends/devils, I'm not sure I agree totally. I agree that devils/demons are indeed under that special category, but the text specifically says Greater and Lesser powers, which I take to mean some type of god. Whether that's a demigod, lesser god, intermediate god, or even a greater god it's definitely not clear. I agree that a mortal being able to turn a power of any kind is a huge feat, but again it takes a very high level cleric and as the past has shown high level characters can affect gods (Zagig being just one example). Maybe they did mean powerful demon princes or one of the Lords of the Nine, which are hard to classify because most are extremely powerful and on the verge of becoming gods, but not quite there yet (except for Demogorgon, Jubulex, and a few others). I can see valid arguments on both sides. Thanks!
The original 1e text for the Special category reads "Evil creatures from lower planes such as minor demons, lesser devils, mezzodaemons, night hags, from 1-2 in number. (As a rule of thumb, any creature with armor class of -5 or better, 11 or more hit dice, or 66% or greater magic resistance will be unaffected.)"
That rule of thumb would eliminate most deities in 1e, so there's little reason to suspect the authors actually intended priests to suddenly be able to turn deities/avatars, rather than trying to come up with a neutral term for demons and devils (tanar'ri and baatezu hadn't been created yet). In addition, "Powers" wasn't yet the default term for deities. That came with Planescape; Legends & Lore only uses the term gods.
Ok AuldDragon, when you put it that way you're beginning to sway me to your side of the fence ;) However, as you said 1st edition's version of the turning tables does say minor demons and lesser devils so that still doesn't correspond to Lesser and especially Greater powers as listed in the 2nd edition PH. I guess the only way to find out for sure is to hear from David Cook. I wonder if he's a member of Canonfire....
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