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62

Rules citations: Animate Dead has the [evil] descriptor. "This is an evil act" is right there in the spell descriptor: Evil: Spells that draw upon evil powers or conjure creatures from evil-aligned planes or with the evil subtype should have the evil descriptor. Good Clerics can't cast [evil] spells: A cleric can't cast spells of an alignment ...


59

Yes, this spell will control a lich. Control Undead states: This spell enables you to control undead creatures for a short period of time. You command them by voice and they understand you, no matter what language you speak. Even if vocal communication is impossible, the controlled undead do not attack you. At the end of the spell, the subjects revert ...


50

This isn't a matter of setting – it's simply because it's an over-used trope. It's a form of lazy writing / lazy scenario design. In a D&D-genre game where the DM is not trying too hard to present a believable world, they might rely on stereotypes and stock situations with regularity: every cemetery is full of risen dead, every peasant town has sacks of ...


47

I believe it is a matter of story, and less a matter of mechanics. Mechanically, any monster, any NPC, any curse, any trap, anything the players encounter will have a solution, a stat to beat, and you as the GM would have calculated their chances and deemed it possible for them to defeat (speaking in generalities) The way to make the Undead scary is not to ...


37

tl;dr: Demiliches were originally weaker than regular Liches back in AD&D. The Lich is found in the 1977 Monster Manual, and the Demi-lich is found in the 1983 Monster Manual II. The Demilich's description is a duplicate of that found in the Tomb of Horrors adventure. Back then, a Lich was what we might think of today as a template. It had the powers of ...


35

No Succubi have the power to charm humanoids. Zombies are undead; they are not classified as humanoids. MM p. 6 section Type (under Statistics) defines these separate types of creatures: Humanoids are the main people of the D&D universe, both civilized and savage... They have language and culture, and few if any innate magical abilities… ...


33

All the information about flameskulls in 5e is on page 134 of the Monster Manual. It is stated that a flameskull "only dimly recalls its former life," but this refers to the life it had before it became a flameskull at all. There is nothing to suggest that flameskulls have a poor memory in general. In the description of the flameskull's rejuvenation, it ...


32

YES!! It took longer than it should have but I found it. Yes, an Undead Cleric could resurrect himself, although, not directly as would normally happen. This is assuming that, aside from his Undead state, he would otherwise be eligible for resurrection. (Mainly that he has been dead (including Undead) for less than 10 years. First the caveats: The ...


28

Damage Reduction is not a penalty. Penalties are negative bonuses applied to a roll, e.g. for having low Strength. As such, your quote has nothing to do with the situation where you deal one-or-more damage, but the enemy has DR in excess of that damage (and you don’t overcome it). In that case, you do not deal any damage at all, nonlethal or otherwise. This ...


27

Protection against Spells Disguise Undead does just what it says - hides undead. Unfortunately Clerics can't cast it, so you'll either need an Arcane casting lackey to do it for you, or an item that can do it (Wands with Use Magic Device, or some other use per day item). Undetectable Alignment can hide the alignment of one creature per casting for 24 hours ...


25

This answer depends a lot upon the method you use to animate him. Your options are basically these: animate dead – Core and lowest-level, but applies the very-weak Skeleton or Zombie templates. Ritual of Crucimigration – From Libris Mortis, this applies the quite good Necropolitan template. On the other hand, it’s a voluntary ritual that ...


24

Without adventurer intervention, cemeteries are a kind of black swan bet. That is, when a cemetery goes horribly wrong, there tends not to be anyone left to learn from the experience. There are, after all, essentially three kinds of towns: Those who burn or otherwise destroy the dead, those who bury the dead but whose dead do not return, and those who bury ...


23

tl;dr The weakness that prevents vampires crossing running water is derived from Bram Stoker's Dracula, but found only in D&D 3.0 and 3.5. Advice from AD&D suggests that vampires should charm people and use them to circumvent weaknesses. What is the history of the D&D Vampire's "running water" weakness? The D&D vampire seems to be ...


22

Tim's answer is great, but I want to expand on it. This especially applies if you're thinking "NPC villain" and not just "powerful monster." Liches are people, too Start by remembering that a lich was a person... human or not, it was an intelligent creature that, for some reason, went to great lengths to cheat death. When you think of your lich as "...


22

By the rules, becoming a lich is a willful and voluntary action on the part of the would-be lich. You can’t do it for someone, and you can’t have it done to you. You cannot even be forced or tricked or mind-controlled into it: The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character. Furthermore, the rules ...


21

Is there any precedence for zombies or other undead seeing in the dark in other media? Yes, in fact I would venture to say the vast majority of depictions of all kinds of undead have them operating just fine in the dark. Why would undead require light to see? They either have: No eyes (skeletons) Rotted burst eyes (zombies) Spirit eyes (all the ...


20

There's no fictional reason why the blinding effect wouldn't be effective on zombies and skeletons: they have to visually sense you somehow, and there's nothing in their descriptions that indicates that they have the power to see through barriers and obscuring effects. Rule-wise, glitterdust doesn't make any special exceptions for undead of any kind, and ...


19

You don't mention a setting, and that could make a big difference. For AD&D 2e (Ravenloft specifically) there was a sourcebook entirely on Liches that at least touched on this. I believe it was Van Richten's Guide to the Lich. But let's look at what we might call a "stereotypical lich". Stereotypically, Liches are obsessive. You tend to need an ...


18

If the zombie is still 'alive', then Resurrection does nothing. From the spell description: You can resurrect someone killed by a death effect or someone who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. You cannot resurrect someone who has died of old age. Constructs, elementals, outsiders, and undead creatures can’t be resurrected. ...


17

Create undead does not specifically state that the soul/undead/etc is of the original creature; it just states that a dead body is required. This leaves it a little open to interpretation as to where that hapless soul is going to come from to fill that corpse that's being filled. However, more powerful undead, eg Mohrg are the "animated bodies of mass ...


17

"Doctor, it hurts when I do that." "Well then, don't do that." It sounds like whatever's going on goes way beyond normal resurrection rules (RAW you can't rez aa vampire, they're already dead). Consider not killing them! If you get them to retreat to their coffins, seal them in and put them into an infinite prison of your choice (You know, like you see in ...


17

You are the GM. There are some important rules to go by before you consider the rules of the game. Will the players enjoy facing against the villain? Will you enjoy playing this villain? If the answer to both the above is yes, you can go ahead with this. The only problem is if adding all the stuff on will make the NPC more powerful than you expected. ...


17

You will no longer have the template at all. That is, none of its features, whether from type (Undead), subtype (incorporeal), or the specifics of the template. You also no longer count its LA against your effective character level. Specifically, under the Undead traits in the Monster Manual: Resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead ...


17

Later on it says "Elementals, corporeal undead, and outsiders are likewise unaffected unless summoned." This clarifying statement confirms that the usage of "incorporeal undead" as a singular noun. Additionally I wouldn't consider an unbodied as an undead type as it is a psionic type so in looking at the overall concept of an anti magic field, an unbodied ...


17

Some yes, some no. And it's a surprisingly-even split. There's no general rule on undead: either the Frightened condition (PHB Appendix A) or the Monster Manual's section on undead (MM pp.6-7, "Types") would be the places to look. But each specific undead's stat-block describes whether it is immune to the Frightened condition. (Is there any reason to why ...


16

No, because the cleric is not dead. Target: Dead creature touched You can resurrect someone [...] who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. [...U]ndead creatures can’t be resurrected. The vampire/zombie/etc must first be destroyed, and then resurrected, as an undead creature is not a dead creature and thus is not a valid ...


16

The Rules Are Contradictory The 7th-level Clr spell resurrection [conj] (PH 272-3) and the 9th-level Clr spell true resurrection [conj] (PH 296) say that You can [bring back from the dead] someone killed by a death effect or someone who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. (emphasis mine), but the spells inherit the entry Target:...


16

Flameskulls are intelligent creatures - they have Int of 16. There's no reason to think it's incapable of retaining memory. But as the mechanism of its rejuvenation is not described in detail, it would ultimately be up to the DM.


15

Undead can benefit from magic items like any other creature. The only exceptions would be items that have conditions they don't meet or do things that don't apply..like CON bonuses. They could technically wear items boost their immunities but it would be a waste in most circumstances (poison/disease/etc). Turn/Rebuke resistance would obviously be a ...


15

Only with a Lot of Planning The description of the vampire reads, "Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed." Emphasis mine. I'll admit 12 gallons per person per round is a lot, but immersing--that is, submerging or ...



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