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Related to my other question: Undead NPC Druid

If an NPC has been turned undead and later destroyed/resurrected does he retain the memory of being undead? Specifically the actions he took part in against the PCs? But also any details to the villain's plans, or other incidental info he may have learned while undead?

For reference purposes, he was intelligent undead but under the control of his creator.

(This hasn't happened yet but I'm trying to be a good DM & prepare for the effects of my actions)

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If there's an explicit answer anywhere, it's probably in the Libris Mortis -- unfortunately that's one of the few books I don't have access to. So hopefully someone else can take a look! –  starwed Jan 15 '13 at 18:53
Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/19909/4089 –  LitheOhm Jan 15 '13 at 18:53
@starwed I just got through LM again cover to cover - I don't recall anything like this. –  LitheOhm Jan 15 '13 at 18:54
+1 for being a good DM and having a plan. –  Phill.Zitt Jan 15 '13 at 19:20
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I have never seen anything official, but if I were a DM in that situation I would say it would depend on the type of undead. Something like a vampire or other form of sentient undead would probably retain full memories. If they spent time as something that was non-sentient or barely-sentient like a skeleton then I would say they would probably have only limited sketchy memories, if any at all.

Though as Jacob suggested, let the drama and story lead on something like that.

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Regular skeletons and zombies don't contain "anyone" at all—they're just animated bodies that have no connection to the soul that used to reside there. They're more like golems than people. The animated/turned distinction is probably a good starting point, then degree of intelligence (because a vampire lord is going to remember more than a ghoul). I'd special-case ghosts too, depending on setting—are they lost souls, or psychic echoes? –  SevenSidedDie Jan 15 '13 at 20:05
@SevenSidedDie All good points. –  TimothyAWiseman Jan 15 '13 at 20:09
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I'm sure I'll be corrected if someone can find an official source, but I don't think this is defined anywhere rules-wise. My initial reaction is that there'd be memories, but they are probably incomplete. As a DM, I'd probably look for what'd make the best story based on what happened and what I'm working on for my PC storyline. If I had to punt on a specific memory, I'd probably go with a Wis check to see if any given specific detail survived.

An interesting corollary is how they feel about their actions while undead—particularly if their alignment was radically different. There's some good drama likely buried in there (and maybe a little comedy if you look for it). Even knowing that you had no control and were under the command of another is bound to bring some feelings of guilt (if only because the memories would still be first-person).

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I really like the social interaction bit you mentioned. Infact I'm hoping it (feeling of regret) goes both ways since the reason he's undead in the first place is Im hoping to have him fall in battle helping the PCs and then forcing them to retreat, abaondoning him there...so the only reason he's undead in the first place is the PCs left him! (Insert DM evil laugh here) –  Ben-Jamin Feb 3 '13 at 17:35
Yeah, there's lots of drama potential there, I think. :) –  Jacob Proffitt Feb 4 '13 at 17:32
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