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    Canonfire :: View topic - Undead rope climbers?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- AD&D 2nd Edition
    Undead rope climbers?
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
    Posts: 328
    From: Minnesota

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    Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:54 pm  
    Undead rope climbers?

    I believe the party in the adventure I am running is going to hole up in the top levels of a keep (Bone Hill Ruins, L1) to try and recover from their initial assault on the keep.

    I have altered the module a bit and made the keep the home of a necromancer (now dead) that has an altar to the same demon in L3 (trying to tie them together).

    As nightfall reaches the group, the undead are going to come out in droves. The party has mistakenly left a rope hanging from the roof. They had used it to gain access to the keep.

    My question is, does anyone think undead skeletons or zombies can climb ropes? I am not sure how I want to rule on this.

    If specifically ordered, and they have two arms and two legs, would you allow them the ability to climb up and down ropes? While we are at it, how about ladders, etc?

    This might be a mute point as the party will likely just cut the rope or pull it up once an assault starts but I am still curious what y'all think.


    Last edited by Sheepdog on Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:18 pm  

    I should read more carefully. When I first saw this post, I thought it said "Undead Ropers." Embarassed

    To answer your question, YES. I think they can climb ropes and ladders. They are mindless, of course, so they won't climb ropes or ladders unless specifically told to do so. Now, if you like, you can determine this is not an automatic feat (I'd say it isn't) and roll to decide success or failure for each. This could become comical, or downright scary, depending on your perspective and the chances of success. Use basic climbing chances for success (as per PHB, DMG, and/or Wilderness Survival Guide), modify based on what factors are present, and go from there.

    That's my suggestion.

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    From: So. Cal

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    Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:50 am  

    I would be inclined to not allow uncoordinated zombies to climb ropes, but allow skeletons to do so (they would still need to be directed to do so, as Lanthorn mentioned). The zombire and skelter could both climb, and the wraith can fly. NOM! NOM! NOM! Laughing
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 27, 2005
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    From: Winnipeg Canada

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    Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:05 am  

    The Ghoul Stiriges can just fly.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2013
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    From: Minnesota

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    Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:20 pm  

    Thanks for the input.

    I edited the page as I mislabeled Bone Hill as L2 instead of L1.

    It should get interesting if they hunker down.

    As you have mentioned, the zombies and skeletons will really be a minor threat compared to what else threatens them.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:03 pm  

    If zombies and skeletons aren't enough of a challenge, you can add shadows and ghouls to the mix. Both should be able to perform the feats you mentioned, unless you want some tougher undead creatures to menace the party.

    -Lanthorn
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:09 am  

    They have enough problems.

    I have added some compulsions for each character (if they didn't make saving throw). The compulsion are designed to work against the party in some form or another. Making them paranoid of each other or haunting them in some way. They will be unable to rest peacefully to regain spells, etc.

    One of the group is running the dead necromancer's head to the altar in the basement. Once there, the necromancer will rise again as an undead creature.

    Their best bet is to fight their way into the lower levels and destroy the altar before it completely destroys their mind (and bodies).

    They have a priest of Sehanine who had receive a vision hinting at the altar's location and importance.

    Be interesting to see how it pans out. They are likely going to be split into several groups if they are not careful.

    If they hole up in the top of the keep they will be fighting the undead and each other before too long.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:03 am  

    When I ran The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth I had a similar effect as to what you are describing given the inherent evil of the place. PCs and NPCs, especially those of Good alignment, found it very difficult to rest and recover while delving into the subterranean depths. I played up a very sinister Gothic-style setting the entire time.

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:12 pm  

    The effect is a bit over-the-top, considering spellcasters can regain spells when they are in THE ABYSS or in THE NINE HELLS. But, whoa! This evil temple on the Prime is...just...CRAZY EVIL, so no spells for you! Razz Not being able to regain spells is a really big deal, as it effectively neuters spellcasters, and only spellcasters.

    Instead, I recommend you have everyone be "unnerved/unrested", such that they are -2 on all to hit rolls and skill checks and are +1 to AC. Also, spellcasters must make skill checks (Int or Wis based on class; with the -2 penalty) to cast their spells. That way everyone is feeling it, not just spellcasters. This is similar to being fatigued, but a is a bit more insidious and pervasive, which I gather is the effect you are going for. Wink
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:41 pm  

    I didn't qualify that well. I use my own system of spell points. The recovery of the spellpoints would have been hindered. They would have been able to get a few but not many.

    Also, everyone was going to be hampered as they all received their own type of problem depending on how the character's personality has unfolded so far.

    It all became a mute point when the altar was assaulted with holy water and I allowed the compulsions to end.

    I am a pretty player friendly DM. I do not have many player deaths so I do a lot of things to keep them worried about character death.

    Anything I do to mess with them is not designed to kill them.

    TPK games would not even consider my application for employment as a result.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:38 pm  

    Sheepdog wrote:
    TPK games would not even consider my application for employment as a result.


    Laughing

    Truth be told, we're more bark in that respect than bite. Wink

    Constantly killing off PCs would be bad for business.

    SirXaris
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    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:14 am  

    Sheepdog wrote:
    I didn't qualify that well. I use my own system of spell points. The recovery of the spellpoints would have been hindered. They would have been able to get a few but not many...

    Sounds good! Happy

    Sheepdog wrote:

    Anything I do to mess with them is not designed to kill them.

    TPK games would not even consider my application for employment as a result.

    LOL!!! Oh, sure, Sir Xaris says that would be bad for busnienss, but you just know their hiring process is probably like The Walking Dead new group member question, but they instead ask "How many PCs have you killed, and why?" Those that answer "I lost count a long time ago, and does the 'why' really matter?" are auto-hires. Laughing
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    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:29 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Sheepdog wrote:
    TPK games would not even consider my application for employment as a result.

    LOL!!! Oh, sure, Sir Xaris says that would be bad for busnienss, but you just know their hiring process is probably like The Walking Dead new group member question, but they instead ask "How many PCs have you killed, and why?" Those that answer "I lost count a long time ago, and does the 'why' really matter?" are auto-hires. Laughing


    Shhhh...! Let applicants discover that the hard way. Wink

    SirXaris
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 06, 2015
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    Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:41 pm  

    Too funny..

    "How many player characters have you killed and why?"

    Very fitting for a post about the walking undead no less!

    As far as climbing goes, the basic nature of an animated corpse, muscular or skeletal aside, hints that the ability to even move is inherently magical and guided by a passive force created by the initial casting or element that reanimated them. If this wasn't the case, how could a skeleton, with no muscles lift a club or sword?

    Zombies indeed may be mindless, but the skeletons would be as well as by definition neither have working brains..

    I would agree that if they were told to climb directly, or it was obviously the only way to accomplish a direct order the magic that animates them would coordinate the ability.

    Possibly even meaning that the level of the caster or strength of the magic that reanimated the dead would determine how coordinated they are in accomplishing given tasks. Maybe a weaker spell would have them move about and attack targets on the same plane, but would be unable to open doors or search out hidden targets where as a high level caster or spell would increase their coordination as driven by powerful magic; opening doors, climbing ropes, searching in shadows etc, might then be reasonable..
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