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In a campaign I'm running, I'm wanting to send a Revenant (MM p. 259) - or a few - after the party. It's of an Orc War Chief (MM p. 246) that they killed after they entered an Orc camp and killed everyone.

In 5th Edition, is there a template for Revenants that I can apply to a base Orc War Chief stat block, or do I just use the default Revenant stat block in the Monster Manual and say it looks like the War Chief?

Originally I was going to just apply the Zombie template to the Orc, but I think a Revenant works much better for my purposes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question you edited in seems to be a totally separate one from your original question. You might want to ask it as a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 26 '18 at 9:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do templates exist in 5e? I've always thought it's a 3.x/PF thing. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jun 26 '18 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor There is a sort of template for Half Dragon in the Monster Manual, but there's nothing like the 3.5 tool. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 26 '18 at 12:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast so basically the answer might be "there is no a revenant template, because there are no templates in 5e"? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jun 26 '18 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor if the question is "a template like 3.5" then I think that's at least part of an answer if the general question is what is being asked. There is a "how to make anything a zombie" instruction in the MM, but I am not sure if that's a "template" or not. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 26 '18 at 12:55
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There is no template, but just use the revenant.

There is no revenant template, but I don't think you should worry about it. Unless you let your players read your monster stat blocks during combat, they will likely not notice the difference between the old and new stats for this enemy if you use the revenant stat block as-is and just convince them it's the orc war chief through the narrative. You'll know the difference, but your players aren't psychic, even if we as DM's are often paranoid that they are.

If you describe the revenant's appearance as a recognizably dead and rotted version of the former orc that discarded its weapons to mete out vengeance with its blood-encrusted fists, you'll get player buy-in without having to make any changes to the revenant stat block whatsoever. In my experience, having used a similar stat block swap on many occasions, the most that players tend to notice is a difference in AC, and but usually only if they happen to also have DM experience. Even if they make such a comment on a difference in AC or other properties, your players are likely familiar with how easy it is to hit zombies and other undead, much easier than their living counterparts in general, and with how mindless and instinct-driven they can be. It's an easy cover story.

If you want the revenant to have a bit more orc flavor, you can add the orc war chief's Battle Cry feature, but only if it has minions and only if it was iconic enough in a previous battle for the players to remember its use. By contrast, unless you were to announce "the orc uses Gruumsh's Fury," that feature would be indistinguishable from a higher damage bonus, and unless you were to announce "the orc uses a bonus action to move," the Aggressive feature is indistinguishable from the enemy simply having a high speed. You wouldn't gain anything but complexity by adding those two features to the revenant, and the revenant's features are already useful and flavorful.

So... the simplest solution is to just use the revenant as-is and narrate how you want the players to perceive it. Less prep, less fiddliness, less chance for confusion at the table.

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Things are about to get spooooooooky...

In the thirteenth Unearthed Arcana, "Gothic Characters", there is a revenant subrace template that one can apply to a PC and, I suggest, would work just fine for your purposes.

The first bit of the description is poorly written and deals with subraces, which your orc-chieftan doesn't have to worry about. Basically it boils down to: give them a +1 to constitution, and take away a point elsewhere. Or don't--frankly I can't imagine it mattering for your monster.

And then the revenant's restless nature is described, and there's where the magic lies. Slap those three traits onto your orc, describe their glowing eyes, and let 'er rip.

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The stat blocks on the Orc War Chief and the Revenant are very similar, as is their base damage (1d12 vs 2d6, with two attacks). Although the Orc has better armor, it has fewer HP (this may balance out). The main differences are the Revenant's resistance/immunuties, undead traits, and bonus damage.

Revenant Variant:

Revenants that wore armor and wielded weapons in life might continue to do so (MM p. 260)

However, there isn't a pre-existing template. I'd start with the Orc War Chief, remove his feats (Agressive and Gruumsh's Fury) and add the Revenant's feats (undead traits), the Revenant's damage and condition resistances/immunities, and finally the bonus damage against the person he seeks revenge on.

Here is a CR Calculator to see how the changes have affected your CR.

I get a CR5, and CR 7 vs the person he seeks revenge on; which is the Revenant's CR. If you go with the Revenants HP, the CR climbs to CR7 and CR9 respectively.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think, and this is a tiny criticism, this would be better if there was a line that directly answers the question. Something like ”There is no pre-existing template for Revenants, but here’s a description of how you can easily adjust the Orc War Chief to be what you’re looking for.” would suit perfectly! (Excellent answer even without this, however.) \$\endgroup\$ – royalmurder Jun 26 '18 at 9:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @royalmurder -- added in the phrase \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Jun 26 '18 at 10:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much for the suggestion. Also, one of my players is playing a Ranger who has Orcs as her favored enemy. Would that ability activate when fighting an Orc Revenant (or any Undead Orc)? \$\endgroup\$ – Arekkusu Jun 26 '18 at 10:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Arekkusu as that would require a separate answer it is best to create a new question to ask it. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jun 26 '18 at 10:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I quite like the typo in Gruumsh's Fury :D \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Jun 26 '18 at 13:15

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