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    Canonfire :: View topic - Turning/Commanding Undead
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    Turning/Commanding Undead
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    GreySage

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    Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:18 pm  
    Turning/Commanding Undead

    Hello All,

    I am in need of clarification and input from my 1e and 2e colleagues on the turning/commanding clerical tables. There seems to be a disconnect (go figure) between the two systems.

    In the 1e DMG (pages 75-76), it seems that all planar critters (like devils, demons, etc) fall in the "Special" category, irrespective of HD.

    1) Is this true? Does this mean that a cleric attempting to command or turn a measly lemure, dretch, or manes has the same chance to do so with a far more powerful vrock, pit fiend, or demodand?

    2) Is it true, as I read and interpret, from this same table that only 1 or 2 of these planar creatures can be turned, instead of the "normal" number of 2d6?

    However, in 2e on the turning/commanding table in the PH (page 103), they expand by adding entries for HD in addition to specific Undead. There seems to be not direct mention of planar beasts (Special mentions nothing about demons and the like).

    Does this mean they are turned by Hit Die instead? (that is my interpretation, and whether right or wrong, I like it, as I have a very hard time accepting that a puny manes is as difficult to turn or command as a vrock!)

    -Lanthorn

    p.s. posting this in BOTH 1e and 2e forums, as it applies to both systems
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:45 am  
    Re: Turning/Commanding Undead

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Hello All,

    I am in need of clarification and input from my 1e and 2e colleagues on the turning/commanding clerical tables. There seems to be a disconnect (go figure) between the two systems.

    In the 1e DMG (pages 75-76), it seems that all planar critters (like devils, demons, etc) fall in the "Special" category, irrespective of HD.

    1) Is this true? Does this mean that a cleric attempting to command or turn a measly lemure, dretch, or manes has the same chance to do so with a far more powerful vrock, pit fiend, or demodand?

    2) Is it true, as I read and interpret, from this same table that only 1 or 2 of these planar creatures can be turned, instead of the "normal" number of 2d6?

    It isn't ALL planar critters. It very plainly states that "*Evil* creatures from lower planes such as minor demons, lesser devils,
    mezzodaemons, night hags, from 1-2 in number." can be turned, and that, "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." A cleric can't affect powerful *evil* extra-planar creatures in this away. To do that requires powerful divine prayers(i.e. high level spells). And yes, it is 1-2 enemies affected(not 1-2 HD), whether the target is lemures or vrocks. Just be smart and wipe out the lemures before using the ability so that it affects what you would want it to- the vrocks. Happy

    Lanthorn wrote:
    However, in 2e on the turning/commanding table in the PH (page 103), they expand by adding entries for HD in addition to specific Undead. There seems to be not direct mention of planar beasts (Special mentions nothing about demons and the like).

    Does this mean they are turned by Hit Die instead? (that is my interpretation, and whether right or wrong, I like it, as I have a very hard time accepting that a puny manes is as difficult to turn or command as a vrock!)

    2E made an effort make some things easier to deal with, and listing HD next to the various undead types in the Turn Undead table was one of them. You will note that not every sort of undead creature is listed on the Turn Undead table, just the most common ones. What to do with the others? Assign them a Turn Undead value based on their HD, and that is what they did. The HD listed on the Turn Undead table only correspond to undead that are not listed there. In no way do they correspond to the HD of any extra-planar creature. No specific lower planar creatures are actually listed as being affected at all. Unless some monster entry states otherwise, Turn Undead in 2E really does mean Turn *Undead*. You will note that the entries for Baatezu and Tanar'ri state no such thing, not is anything not specifically undead-related singles out. Kind of a big change, but I liked it. Leaves the lower planar nasty harassment to the likes of those who can call down powerful divine prayers instead.

    There is very probably a Sage Advice column from Dragon Magazine that deals with this.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:35 pm  

    Cebrion, firstly, thanks for linking the two forums (1e with 2e), and secondly, for citing passages from both texts for a comparison/contrast.

    I am very interested if anyone has Sage Advice knowledge and access on this one (Argon?).

    It seems that 1e and 2e take different perspectives on the Turn/Command ability with respect to (evil) planar creatures. 1e allows it, but without regard to their relative power (HD) to each other (ex: lemure vs vrock). 2e doesn't even mention these creatures of the lower planes, implying this ability was removed.

    From my perspective (only?), I don't mind clerics (who can either turn or command) having this ability over the foul demons, daemons, and devils. They are, after all, the pinnacles of Evil, more so that even the greater undead. It seems logical to me clerics should be able to turn or command them. After all, I completely see a cleric of Pelor, Heironeous, or Pholtus trying to 'banish' a tanar'ri with the divine power of his/her Power, while a cleric of Iuz (especially), Nerull, or Incabulos might try to bend it to his/her will.

    Furthermore, I find it hard to fathom that a measly 1-4 HD lesser demon is as easy/hard to turn or command as a marilith, glabrezu, or pit fiend, placing all of them on the same "Special" table.

    Collective thoughts on this? Thanks for your input, whatever your stance (debate it good; call me a partial follower of Rao).

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:43 pm  

    According to the limitations Cebrion quoted from the DMG, only the following demons/devils from Monster Manual are subject to clerical turning:
      Demons
      manes
      vrock
      hezrou
      glabrezu

      Devils
      barbed
      bone
      erinyes
      lemure
    Certainly Monster Manual II expands this list, but you can see that only lesser demons & devils can be affected. Your pit fiends are quite safe.
    GreySage

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:29 pm  

    Which edition was it that allowed evil clerics to Turn Paladins?

    How does that wrench fit into your game mechanics? Razz

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 pm  

    2e allowed it for sure. Not sure about 1e. I've been hungering for a chance to 'turn' my player's Heironean paladin, but so far it's not happened. However, I've got at least two nasty mid to high level evil priests capable of pulling it off if they squared off against him. Happy

    Does anyone have a Sage Advice article that may shed some light on these issues?

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:15 pm  

    1e introduced evil clerics being able to turn paladins. Note that they could never get a "D" result on one though. I only ever had the chance to do this once as a DM, but it sure freaked the players out. Laughing
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    GreySage

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    Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:20 pm  

    EXCELLENT! Like the shock effect!
    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:15 pm  

    Instead of posting a new thread, I am adding to this original one.

    Does a successful turn/destroy result only affect Undead the cleric is facing, or is it a 360 degree effect, starting with those that are closest?

    For instance, if a cleric is turning a horde of skeletons, zombies, whatever, that are coming in from all points, and it is successful, would it only affect those in the front, or ALL those that are closest to the cleric?

    Just wondering what you all think on this one.

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:16 am  

    The description really doesn't say, but one assumes that the cleric can turn about in place, turning/destroying undead all around them. It is stated in 2E that a bit of theatrics (the cleric calling upon their deity, forcefully presenting a holy symbol/text, etc.) is required, and turning about could surely count as a part of that. It certainly isn't disallowed by the rules, and, to in my opinion at least, anything that brings to mind a cinematic scene is what a DM should be striving for in their encounters anyways. ;)
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:41 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:23 am  

    The PHB does say on pg 104; "The Cleric must be in a position to step before the undead, and he or she must have time to speak and hold forth the symbol...."

    The step before bit implies that the Cleric must be facing the undead or vice versa. I would certainly rule that only undead to the front and sides of the Cleric would be affected; the Cleric locks wills with the foe by being a visible attacker. Next round the Cleric can turn and attempt it again.

    In later editions this definitely became an "all round" effect; not sure about 2e which is closer in spirit to 1e.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:39 am  

    A cleric can move all about during the course of a round while turning undead, and "step before" doesn't mean "move forward and stand still", but that the cleric must threaten the undead basically. You know, like THIS. Laughing A full round provides for quite a bit of movement for a cleric that is turning undead, which puts no hindrance on movement at all, so we always played it as an all around effect. That is just my opinion though. Depends on how useful a DM wants turn undead to be. Seeing as clerics don't shine much more brightly than when there are undead around to fight, I prefer to let them shine brightly when there are.
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:24 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:52 am  

    Work that exorcism booty sir cleric. And turn, and turn. And clap.

    I agree with Ceb that it's all about choice on this one; I'm just a little bit tight as a DM and turning undead as a 360 degree effect offends my bitter and twisted character. Clearly, Ceb, you are a most charitable and benevolent DM; would your players recognise that in you? Wink
    GreySage

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    Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:38 pm  

    Ceb, I am amused by that hyperlink to the associated picture. Happy

    I would tend to agree about the 360 effect, and interpret much the same that the cleric would be actively moving, perhaps in a wide circuit, during the active turning attempt.

    Next question: would Invisible undead be affected? My gut tells me YES, as they would be influenced by the power flooding through the cleric, even though the cleric may not see the offending creature.

    Thoughts?

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:24 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I would tend to agree about the 360 effect, and interpret much the same that the cleric would be actively moving, perhaps in a wide circuit, during the active turning attempt.

    Next question: would Invisible undead be affected? My gut tells me YES, as they would be influenced by the power flooding through the cleric, even though the cleric may not see the offending creature.


    I agree with both positions for the following reasons:

    The Cleric is required to boldly present his holy symbol - thus it is held high in a forceful manner for all to see, not just those standing before him.

    The Cleric must speak as well - one could assume this is merely a single spoken Word of Power, such as the Cleric's patron god's name, but more likely, in my humble opinion, the speaking is an agressive denunciation of evil, condemnation of the undead form taken by the evil present, and a banishment of the soul back to the nether world. Such 'speaking' can be heard and understood in a 360 degree range.

    The ability affects those undead of lesser hit dice first, and those nearest the Cleric second (if there are more of a lesser hit dice than can be successfully turned by the Cleric).

    Yes, I concede that a DM could still realisticly decide that the Turning effects a cone-shaped area before the Cleric, but I like the Pathfinder imagery of a blast of positive energy centered upon the Cleric (my current character has woken members of the party several times to their chagrin as a blast of blue light penetrated their eyelids when he saw a bat fly by the campfire and assumed it was a vampire come to attack them. Razz )

    SirXaris
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    Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:18 pm  

    Since the obvious model for turning undead is a strongly presented cross driving away a vampire, I think it's clear that it was not meant to be a 360 nuclear blast of positive energy, or whatever rubbish has been peddled by later editions. The cleric steps forward, displays his holy symbol, and renounces the undead in the name of his deity. Undead behind him would be unaffected. Invisible undead that happened to be standing directly in front of the cleric would be turned.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:50 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    Work that exorcism booty sir cleric. And turn, and turn. And clap.

    I agree with Ceb that it's all about choice on this one; I'm just a little bit tight as a DM and turning undead as a 360 degree effect offends my bitter and twisted character. Clearly, Ceb, you are a most charitable and benevolent DM; would your players recognise that in you? Wink


    Laughing Probably not; especially if you ask the player of the a paladin character whose family and family lands were wiped out. Oh, and I should probably mention that the keep and lands bequeathed to him by the King of Furyondy for putting down the ToEE, etc., were also overrun, sacked, and remain in enemy hands to the present. Evil Grin

    You also might not get so positive a response from another player of a bard who, having found himself as a "guest" on a particular slave ship on the waters near a particularly wild coast, was beaten daily by an old nemesis who turned out the captain of said ship. Evil Grin

    Now, you might get a different response from the player of a cleric who, unlike every other character in the party, refused to eat the "vile fruit" of some magical trees found in a particular forgotten temple of some dark god, but who later on received a very beneficial blessing/enhancement to his mace as well as the effect that eating said fruit would have granted him to begin with. Cool

    Almost everything happens for reason, and many times it is because of what the players do; at least in my campaign.

    As it regards the archetypal turning pic I posted, that sort of image is always centered on there being one vampire. Now, go to the overblown version of anything and everything from games and movies, which even 1E AD&D obviously emulates, turn undead is very obviously meant to not target just one thing. The rules go out of their way to include multiple enemies being affected(and even more of them when the cleric is more powerful), and also very specifically does not include an area of effect(just a general idea of the area of effect), which is something that is mentioned in every other effect in the 1E rules. The cleric basically walks about creating a cordon against the number of undead they can affect, but this is definitely one of those things where the cleric will be saying, "I can keep them at bay for a while, but you guys better come up with a plan, because I can't exactly do this forever." Wink
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    Paladin

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    Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:15 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:


    The ability affects those undead of lesser hit dice first, and those nearest the Cleric second (if there are more of a lesser hit dice than can be successfully turned by the Cleric).
    SirXaris

    I think I'm with SirXaris on this one and with emphasis on the order and quantity of the turning based on HD. The only caveat I would add is it would be subject to whether the effected undead had a path to retract to...if not, then there might be a minus to their attack rolls as they attempt to evade the clerics power. Of course this precludes they were not destroyed outright.
    Lastly this is of course strongly a 2e perspective, as memory serves 1e was not so aligned with HD and may even destroyed undead types if there were no means of retreat or escape.. but don't recall for sure.

    I of course.. would be unaffected.... mawahahaaaa
    GreySage

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    Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:13 pm  

    DLG, paladins should beware...as Cebrion mentioned earlier. Just too bad that a high-level fell priest cannot DESTROY a paladin. Yer lucky on that one, my "holy" friend. Wink

    I only successfully 'turned' a paladin once (by a 9th lvl priest of Iuz), and it was an interesting role-playing experience.

    Furthermore, a query once more (did I hear a collective sigh?):

    If a priest can automatically Destroy or Turn undead, would that character receive XP for the event? After all, I recall reading somewhere (not sure which DMG variation...either 1e or 2e) that that XP is only garnered if certain conditions are met, and I think that one of the stipulations was that the character had to be in some type of danger. If you blast lesser undead to smithereens (unless there are LOTS of them that may be able to overwhelm you), then maybe you really don't earn XP for such a "massacre."

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:28 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    If a priest can automatically Destroy or Turn undead, would that character receive XP for the event? After all, I recall reading somewhere (not sure which DMG variation...either 1e or 2e) that that XP is only garnered if certain conditions are met, and I think that one of the stipulations was that the character had to be in some type of danger. If you blast lesser undead to smithereens (unless there are LOTS of them that may be able to overwhelm you), then maybe you really don't earn XP for such a "massacre."
    The DM is advised to reduce XP proportionally to the challenge presented. A skeleton might be worth 20 XP to a 1st-level cleric, but if a 10th-level cleric comes along and annihilates it without breaking a sweat, he'd only earn 1/10th, or 2 XP.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:57 pm  

    Arise, undead thread, arise! Evil Grin

    OK, another question for an older, ongoing thread with respect to Turning/Commanding.

    Would an undead being with a character class still be turned/commanded with respect to the HD of its undead status (ex: spectre or vampire) OR with respect to the level of its character class IF the level is greater than the undead HD?

    Ex: Would a 12th lvl mage vampire be turned as a 9 HD vampire OR as a 12th lvl undead creature?

    In my mind, regardless of the fact that its character class is greater, it STILL is treated as a 9 HD undead creature. To me, the Divine power is acting on its undead status, NOT the character class.Turning/Commanding is not a saving throw per se' (a close cousin, though, if you will), and thus, the character class does NOT play into it...

    Ideas, suggestions, thoughts?

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:16 pm  

    I believe that you would handle this as you would a dual-class character, meaning take the higher of the two.
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    Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:21 am  

    just want to say i do not agree with the turning 360 degrees. I believe it would be the full 180 and not a cone.

    I agree with cebrion about taking the higher of the two regarding HD and level.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:40 pm  

    See, I employ the 360 degrees things so that a cleric turning undead cannot be "snuck up on" by any undead that could be turned. The cleric doesn' have a blind spot (so to speak) when turning. Basically, there will never be this sort of result in my campaign;

    "The cleric boldly strode forth, driving back the pack of ghouls which threatens him and his companions...except that now his flank/rear was vulnerable, so a bunch of the ghouls then simply surged around the edge of the turning effect, getting hold of the cleric, dragging him down, and ripping him apart. A similar fate awaited his companions."

    And if you didn't allow a cleric to turn about during the course of an entire round of movement (which anyone can do), Dr. Van Helsing and Mina would have totally been eaten by the brides of Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula! Laughing
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    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:36 am  

    I have a feeling I may be the only one to take this position, but I feel that, in this case, it is NOT about which of the two is higher. Here is why:

    Turning or Commanding Undead (or even denizens of the Planes, if you use that rule) is based on the power of Faith (holy or unholy) against the inherent power of the undead creature, not its skill with a blade, magic, or thievery. Hence, I don't see why one would take the higher of the two since the priest is acting against the being's undeath status, not its character class abilities. Again, Turning/Commanding is not quite the same as a saving throw (in which case, I would use the better of the two!).

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:24 pm  

    Cebrion's point about a cleric being able to turn in a full circle is the reason that I have always allowed Turning to affect a 360 degree circle around him. I have ruled this way through all editions since AD&D.

    Lanthorn, I agree with your reasoning from a logical point of view. However, from a game balance point of view, I think it warrants reconsideration.

    If you allow undead to possess character classes in your campaign, then you'll need to make some rules regarding the possibilities (since you play 1st/2nd ed.). If a 12th level wizard can become a vampire, can a 4th level fighter, cleric, or thief do so as well? Can a 12th level NPC become a mummy? A spectre, wraith, or ghost? A ghoul or ghast? None of these are mindless undead, IIRC. I think it would be rediculous for a cleric to turn a 12th level NPC ghast as a 4 HD undead.

    Once option is, as the DM, simply never have the party encounter an undead NPC with class levels disproportionate to its undead hit dice. If that is not a satisfactory fix, I suggest you consider the NPC's/monster's total 'character level' as its hit dice. For example, if a 4th level fighter becomes a vampire, he gains all the abilities, including hit points and To Hit bonuses of an 8 HD vampire on top of his 4 levels of fighter. Thus, he is now a 12 HD monster, turnable at that level of power. At least this way you are free to buff powerful undead with a few levels of NPC class without overpowering it, or buff powerful NPCs with a weak form of undeath for storytelling effect without having to worry about it allowing the PCs an easy way to defeat the BBEG.

    SirXaris
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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:29 pm  

    Any character class can become an undead creature of 'greater status' (spectre, wraith, vampire, etc), but they start at 1/2 their lvl upon reaching undeath. Their is nothing that says they cannot continue to progress in levels thereafter.

    Van Richten's Guides (via Ravenloft) vampires to become more and more powerful with the passing of time (same is true with greater mummies), but I am not sure if this applies to Greyhawk. Using these rules, certain undead attain more power, including HD, as they age, and thus, older undead would be more difficult to Turn/Command.

    Furthermore, everything has a weakness, and nothing is truly invulnerable, so I don't see allowing a 12th lvl vampire mage (for instance) to be Turned/Commanded at his vampire (8+3) HD to be unreasonable. Besides, said vampire probably has all sorts of other nasty resources, tricks, spells, magic items, and the like to help offset this vulnerability.

    For instance, I know there is a spell that is in the Complete Book of Necromancers that greatly hinders the chance of Turning/Commanding upon undead (the Iuz priest spell, "Turnbane" is similar).

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:19 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I have a feeling I may be the only one to take this position, but I feel that, in this case, it is NOT about which of the two is higher...

    Never mind what I said. I was suffering from game edition cross-transferal thingamajig stuff. Laughing

    Here we go: a non-unique undead, like a vampire, would be turned on the Turn Undead chart as a vampire, not according to its Hit Dice. It would have to be some sort of unique/special vampire to be turned according to its hit dice, in which case it would then count as a special undead most likely.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:22 am  

    Hey, it happens. Cool At least I have only to worry about 1e and 2e rules. Happy

    I was also going to note that liches (11 HD) are also typically 18th lvl wizards (or clerics), BUT they are turned/commanded as liches (11 HD) and NOT as 18th lvl undead creatures!

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:38 pm  

    I do recall reading somewhere that, beyond draining levels to gain up to their full hit dice (if they are undead spawn and their master is slain), that undead cannot gain experience points. No idea where though. Could be a 1E thing. Could be a 2E thing.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:51 am  

    Offhand, Ceb, I don't remember that, but you are usually pretty good about remembering rules stuff.

    Another question. How many of you permit liches and vampires to command lesser undead? I know that the various Van Richten's Guides offer such a ruling, but this power is not part of the 'traditional' 1e or 2e versions of vampires or liches.

    wondering,

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:39 pm  

    I don't allow vampires or liches to command undead beyond what they would normally be able to do, a lich either being able to command undead that they have animated through the use of a wizard spell or having cleric levels, and vampires only being able to command their own spawn. Those are their basic capabilities; anything more being the DM fudging things.

    One "DM fudge" solution is to have the area that the undead are in tied to some horrific event/great evil, such that all undead in the area are beholden to it. Greater undead could then have some modicum of of control over the lesser undead in the area, but only by virtue of the great evil in the area giving them that capability. This is an intangible, "It just works this way because I decided that it is does." type of reason.

    If you want something more tangible/rules specific, give the greater undead either cleric or mage levels and spells that allow them to control lesser undead, a magic item that allows them to control lesser undead, or install a magic item in some profane place that allows a greater undead keyed to it to control lesser undead in the vicinity. The latter option also has the benefit of enhancing things, because if the PCs find out about this sort of item they can destroy it, thereby lessening some or all of the greater undead's control of nearby lesser undead. That just makes for greater story depth and added fun. Cool
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    GreySage

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    Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:32 pm  

    Colleagues of Canonfire!

    Do any of you use the age categories in the Van Richten's Guides for the greater undead, specifically vampires (but also mummies), that grants them more power as they age?

    I think the Monstrous Manual hardbook does this, too, but ONLY for Greater Mummies...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:42 pm  

    I did, until I moved on to 3.x ed, which made the effort to give class levels to such creatures much easier. I really like how those rules allow you to customize intelligent undead to whatever power level you wish.

    SirXaris
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    Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:10 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:

    If you want something more tangible/rules specific, give the greater undead either cleric or mage levels and spells that allow them to control lesser undead, a magic item that allows them to control lesser undead, or install a magic item in some profane place a greater undead keyed to it to control lesser undead in the vicinity. The latter option also has the benefit of enhancing things because, if the PCs find out about this sort of item they can destroy it, thereby lessening some or all of the greater undead's control of nearby lesser undead. That just makes for greater story depth and added fun. Cool

    Idea Love this Solution....
    I have (even recently) lamented over a more plausible solution than "cause I said so" Neutral
    Utilizing the original DMG, the artifacts were set up for so many powers and effects to be applied.
    Question Speculating, would it be too great a "bend" in the "guidelines" if one of those effects were the equivalent of so many clerical caster levels?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    From: So. Cal

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    Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:15 pm  

    There is a magic item which already does something similar. Why not have a different type of item/profane location that does the same?

    "Hidden in a secret compartment in the Altar of Evil is the bloody heart of a high priest who once held power here. Such was his evil might that, long after his death, his heart still beats with an evil un-life of its own. Long ago, Vampire X found the heart and drank of its blood, thus bonding himself to its evil power. So long as Vampire X remains within the the Dark Fortress, he may command undead as a 10th level cleric.

    The heart radiates evil, but this is cloaked by the altar, which also radiates evil. If the altar is defiled (by applying holy water to it and casting bless or prayer upon it), only the heart will then radiate evil, which may aid in finding it. If the altar is defiled, Vampire X may only command undead if he is on the Dark Temple level. If the heart is destroyed (Heart of Evil: a.c.: 4, H.P. 50, regenerates 3 h.p. per round, +1 or better weapon required to damage it; holy water causes 2d6 damage, which cannot be regenerated, to the heart) he loses the ability to command undead altogether."


    Something like that? Wink
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    Paladin

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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:39 am  

    Laughing
    STANDING AND APPLAUDING... Yes Consider it plagiarized! Great out-of-the-box idea....
    I was not verbalizing anything so entertaining.... was thinking something along the line of the Hand of Vecna. I use the original DMG as a template even in 3.5 so I "power up" artifacts along those guidelines.
    Instead of a power persay as defined in the DMG, was thinking instead to equating one of those "slots" as an ability to control undead at a certain clerical level, or maybe even allow clerical casting up to said level... just hadn't decided how for to "bend the rules" on artifact empowerment so to speak.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:05 am  

    I know this thread has been reanimated once before but my question made sense to reanimate it again! (Hopefully it has enough bones left to do so)

    In my session last night the priest of Wee Jas turned a group of skeletons. Due to his level the attempt was an automatic success. As the undead were part of a trap I considered that they counted as bound by orders rather than free-willed.

    i) The rules state that bound undead retreat and allow the priest and his allies to pass or complete their actions. The players were not content to just pass by and wanted to smash the skeletons to pieces. Would the turned undead defend themselves or under the influence of holy magic stand still and allow themselves to be bashed to bits?

    ii) Also in the case of free-willed undead. The rules state that if the clerics pushes the distance between he and they by closer than 10 feet the turning is broken. What if his allies rush in and attack? Will the undead defend themselves and attack normally?

    iii) In 1st edition rules it looks like to be the case that if the cleric has not managed to turn all undead present on his frst succesful attempt he can try again the following round to turn additional undead (rolling his d20 and 2d6 again). Is this the accurate? If he does so are the first undead turned considered still to be turned? I know second edition changed it to once per encounter but I couldn't see that in the 1st edition rules.
    GreySage

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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:11 pm  

    As to your first and second questions:

    Turning is the only type of 'fear' that undead feel, though it is a magical compulsion rather than an emotion. However, if they cannot flee, they will fight to defend themselves. That goes for the Cleric doing the Turning as well as any other attackers. If the Turned undead are attacked with missile weapons, they will attempt to elude such attacks by fleeing further. If they cannot, they will fight (though you may choose to give them a -2 penalty on To Hit rolls and a +2 bonus to damage when fighting under such extreme, frenzied, conditions).

    I am sorry that I cannot provide any rules references for this opinion at the moment.

    As to question number three:

    That is a problem I recall from my days playing AD&D - how often can a Cleric Turn Undead? Every round seemed far too powerful. I suggest you take advice from one of the later editions of the game that spelled that out more specifically. Wink

    SirXaris
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    Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:44 pm  

    "Reanimate" at will, good posters! Happy

    Wolfling wrote:

    i) The rules state that bound undead retreat and allow the priest and his allies to pass or complete their actions. The players were not content to just pass by and wanted to smash the skeletons to pieces. Would the turned undead defend themselves or under the influence of holy magic stand still and allow themselves to be bashed to bits?


    They can defend themselves even if Turned. However, if the cleric attacks, the Turning is negated. Otherwise, they will only defend/attack those who aggress upon them.

    Quote:

    ii) Also in the case of free-willed undead. The rules state that if the clerics pushes the distance between he and they by closer than 10 feet the turning is broken. What if his allies rush in and attack? Will the undead defend themselves and attack normally?


    I would rule the free-willed undead will surely attack anyone who attacks them, even if Turned. And they would be more intelligent in how they retaliate than the mindless undead.

    Quote:

    iii) In 1st edition rules it looks like to be the case that if the cleric has not managed to turn all undead present on his frst succesful attempt he can try again the following round to turn additional undead (rolling his d20 and 2d6 again). Is this the accurate? If he does so are the first undead turned considered still to be turned? I know second edition changed it to once per encounter but I couldn't see that in the 1st edition rules.


    A cleric can Turn or Command once per round, as often as possible. At least, that is the impression I get. The attempt is NOT affected if the cleric is struck or hurt, so it is not quite like spell-casting. Of course, if you use 'crits' and 'fumbles' in your game, you could rule that a natural 1 makes it impossible to make another Turning attempt.

    Keep in mind that even auto Commands and Turns still need dice to be rolled for the number affected.

    -Lanthorn
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    Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:06 am  

    Thanks for the feedback guys. It sounds like it's down to good old DM common sense then.

    It sounds like you've both gone for a similar ruling on these question that I did during the session it cropped up in (previously the priest had always failed his turning check!)

    I think the main point for question 1 and 2 is that it is the priest who is channelling the holy power and the priest the undead 'fear' most. I agree that the undead in both circumstances the undead would defend themselves and attack back but I like the idea of the mods to the attack and damage you apply SX.

    I think for question three - going by what is written in 1st edition a cleric can turn every round but a cleric must also maintain his turning each round. Therefore I think I'll go with Lanthorn's ruling on this one BUT if the priest wants to turn undead again the following round he must cease turning the original lot. Therefore ideally a cleric can keep at bay a number of undead whilst his fellows deal with those not affected.

    Yay, sorted. Thanks!! Although I'm sure Cebrion could get to the bare bones (sorry!) of the rules on this one for us!
    GreySage

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    Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:55 am  

    Adjudicating the use of Turn/Command is a somewhat tricky one. I think your decision to balance it by having the cleric continue to actively hold the first foe at bay is a good one, but bear in mind that most undead, if successfully Turned, typically flee the area. In my mind, this is especially true if the Turning matrix delineates an Automatic success.

    I also let the roll dictate just how 'fearful' the undead are. If the Turn was successful by a few pts, perhaps they back off beyond the 10 foot radius from the cleric, and begin circling like wolves around the party. If the roll was greater, maybe they run away further still, watching from the shadows in terror til the cleric passes. If the Turning roll was truly good, perhaps 6+ pts, they flee in panic as if truly terrified and never return. In this regard, I reward my player by what was rolled.

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:58 pm  

    My biggest problem with the ability to Turn every round is that a single Cleric of high enough level to Turn or destroy, say, skeletons and zombies automatically, could defeat an entire army of such creatures single-handedly. Obviously, a true army would have other creatures in it, but I am still leary of such a lack of a limit on any ability.

    Therefore, I like Wolfling's idea for how to apply the rules as they are written. Smile

    SirXaris
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    Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:33 am  

    Even if a high priest HAS the Turn ability (not all faiths grant it!) to outright destroy undead, there is still a limit to the number permitted, maxing at 2d6 per round. A horde simply cannot be obliterated in this fashion. At some point the undead will overbear such a person and tear him/her apart...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:51 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    . . . there is still a limit to the number permitted . . . At some point the undead will overbear such a person and tear him/her apart...


    That's what you say! Razz

    Hehehehehehehehehe!
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    GreySage

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    Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:24 pm  

    Wolfling, perusing Turning ability (in preparation for my game tonight and I have undead planned as a potential encounter), and noted that the 1e DMG states (page 65) that "this function may be attempted only once by each cleric." However, the DMG goes on to state that a cleric can turn more than once per encounter is if different types of undead are encountered at the same time, and the first roll for Turning was successful. So long as the cleric is successful in Turning, subsequent rolls are permitted (the lowest HD undead flee or are destroyed first, of course). Once the cleric fails to Turn, no more attempts may be made.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:51 pm  

    thanks for thinking off my turning query Lanthorn! The PCs have been away from the Temple for so long that I'm sure a bunch of the previously defeated undead will have been replenished so I'm sure turning will be cropping up sometime soon!!
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