Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In an upcoming session, there will be an NPC, who made a couple of ghouls who are under his command.

Rise of the Runelords Spoiler:

I am talking about the "Skinsaw Man", who is a unique ghast himself.

Now one of the players in the group that I am DM'ing has the feat "Command Undead (DC16)". And I am certain that he will try to take the ghouls under his command to defeat the NPC.

Would you allow this by just doing the normal will saves of the ghouls to resist the PC, or should the ghouls be not susceptible to the "Command Undead" feat at all?

What are your suggestions? I personally would like the ghouls to not fall under the spell for making the encounter harder for my players, but I don't know how to argue for that.

share|improve this question
I took the liberty of generalizing your question by moving the RotRL part to a spoiler. If this NPC has an ability that makes him exceptional for this problem, feel free to roll back. – MrLemon Jun 13 '14 at 10:26
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Going by the rules, I would say that an opposing charisma check is in order:

Looking at command undead

As a standard action, you can use one of your uses of channel negative energy to enslave undead within 30 feet. Undead receive a Will save to negate the effect. The DC for this Will save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Charisma modifier. (...) If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict.

And the Dread Ghast's Command Ghasts and Ghouls ability

A dread ghast can automatically command all normal ghasts and ghouls within 30 feet as a free action. Normal ghasts and ghouls never attack a dread ghast unless compelled.

The ghouls are automatically being controlled by the ghast, so your player would have to make an opposing Charisma check to take over control. But beating a Charisma score that high certainly won't be easy - Still, there is a chance.

share|improve this answer
This sounds ideal for me. One additional question: how do you play an "opposed charisma check"? I did not find a page on for that. Which one of the characters rolls what and what's the outcome? – mawimawi Jun 13 '14 at 12:17
@mawimawi Both characters roll d20+Cha modifier, higher result wins. Translating from the rules on opposed skill checks, a draw results in the "defender" winning. – MrLemon Jun 13 '14 at 12:33

While you, as the GM, can invoke Rule 0,

Never fiat a players feat away, if not absolutely necessary.

The player took this feat for a reason, invalidating it because it actually works will very likely make the player feel cheated, and rightfully so.

That being said, it's actually not that bad. Ghouls have +5 Will saves, which means that they have a 50% chance to resist in the first place. Furthermore, the Cleric can only control level/2 Ghouls at any time, and they get new saves each day, in case he tries to keep them (due to being intelligent undead).

Compromise solution

If you want to keep the challenge up without completely invalidating a feat, you might want to give the NPC (who I'm not familiar with) the ability to get them back. Since he has the Ghouls under his control in the first place, maybe he also has access to Command Undead (by GM fiat).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.