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45

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 ...


43

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 ...


41

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 ...


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 ...


20

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 ...


19

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 ...


18

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

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 ...


17

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


13

"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 ...


13

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 ...


13

This seems to be a case of the creature description being based on a development version of a spell that was changed before publication, but the bloody skeleton's ability wasn't updated to match. Or the design notes for the bloody skeleton read something like "or 0 hp on blessed ground" and the developer that actually wrote the text didn't do due diligence ...


13

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 ...


12

The HD for the created skeleton or zombies is based off the creature's original HD. When the template is applied to a creature, you use the creature's HD (minus any class levels) and raise them to d12s. From the SRD entry for Skeleton: Drop any Hit Dice gained from class levels (to a minimum of 1) and raise remaining Hit Dice to d12s. So, for ...


12

The key to fear is the unknown. It is familiarity that breeds the complacency you see. So, in your case, do not use creatures your players know. And give the ones they do know different, unexpected abilities. I once ran a campaign where my personal rule was to never use a monster out of the book. There were certain ecological niches - the orc niche, the ...


11

No, potions of healing don't hurt undead (unless you hit them really really hard with the vial). Monsters and NPC usually have 1 healing surge per tier, and potions are one of the few ways they are able to tap on them. Some humanoid monsters from early monster manuals have the Second Wind power explicitly listed in their stat block (most template-created ...


11

(Overhauled for initial misread, my apologies!) 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 ...


11

Just use flesh to stone and then rock into mud, scoop them into a pot and plant a tree in them. Doing it that way stops resurrection because The subject, along with all its carried gear, turns into a mindless, inert statue. The creature is not dead, but it does not seem to be alive either when viewed with spells such as deathwatch. They could be be ...


11

Yes. Turn/Rebuke Undead states: Turning undead is a supernatural ability that a character can perform as a standard action. It does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You must present your holy symbol to turn undead. Turning is considered an attack. You turn the closest turnable undead first, and you can’t turn undead that are more than 60 ...


11

They're not a fighter any longer According to PF SRD, on both the ghoul and ghast description of the fever: A humanoid who becomes a ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. Therefore unless other spells or foul play are in effect they would be the basic form.


10

First off, dandwiki has a bad reputation. I'm not sure who this is with, but I'd personally suggest using d20srd instead. Here's their excerpt on Incorporeal Creatures (as a subtype): Incorporeal Subtype An incorporeal creature has no physical body. It can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons or creatures that strike as ...


10

I don't think there is a rule that describes exactly how this works, so the following is interpretation. Well, in order to Turn Undead you need to "brandish your holy symbol". The way I've always explained it when it came up is that Undeath itself is an abberation: it's magic reanimating that which should be dead. There's no natural life there, just an evil ...


10

“Always” alignment does not actually mean always Always: The creature is born with the indicated alignment. The creature may have a hereditary predisposition to the alignment or come from a plane that predetermines it. It is possible for individuals to change alignment, but such individuals are either unique or rare exceptions. Note that creatures with ...


9

I don't think the evil nature of the spell is too much of a problem. It should add conflict to the party for sure - the Paladin should oppose evil acts. Habitual, unrepentant use of evil necromancy may eventually drive a wedge between the characters and split the party. More immediately, the paladin may feel obligated to seek legal recourse on behalf of ...


9

As a fallback against them coming back once they're dead you can always try a wish spell to stop them coming back once you've killed them. However, if it is True Resurrection that is bringing them back, there is a gotcha; Even true resurrection can’t restore to life a creature who has died of old age. Now given that these are Drow anyway this is a bit of ...


9

I believe it depends entirely on the type of undead and how they were created. Liches very explicitly keep the same soul they started with. Vampires and mummy lords seem to as well. I have always viewed lesser undead, even those with some intelligence, as having no soul at all. As Rob mentions create undead is mildly ambiguious, but my interpretation is ...


9

If it doesn't specify a damage type and doesn't specify that it's [Mind-Affecting] then it's just normal damage. It'd work against undead, and it'd even work against doors and walls or whatever if you really wanted. In this case, you're probably psychically altering the density of your weapon at the right moment to add more damage on impact, or using ...


9

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 ...



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