The Sun Domain grants a Cleric that chooses it the following power:

Granted Power: Once per day, you can perform a greater turning against undead in place of a regular turning. The greater turning is like a normal turning except that the undead creatures that would be turned are destroyed instead.

The key word here is "destroyed". There are undead creatures that can come back after they were slain, such as vampires and, most famously, liches. The vampire specifically describes this as a difference between "slaying" a vampire and "destroying" it, with destruction being the permanent solution:

Slaying a Vampire: Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see the note on fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight disorients it: It can take only a single move action or attack action and is destroyed utterly in the next round if it cannot escape. Similarly, immersing a vampire in running water robs it of one-third of its hit points each round until it is destroyed at the end of the third round of immersion. Driving a wooden stake through a vampire’s heart instantly slays the monster. However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the body is destroyed. A popular tactic is to cut off the creature’s head and fill its mouth with holy wafers (or their equivalent).

Does that mean that an undead creature destroyed with the power granted by the sun domain (or similar effects) are permanently destroyed? Or is this just worded awkwardly, and they can still come back?


1 Answer 1


Yes and no.

LM pg10:

In game terms, when an undead is reduced to 0 hit points or less, it is permanently destroyed. No aid, magical or mundane, is sufficient to restore the undead to its previous state of animation. Since they are already dead, undead that are destroyed cannot be returned to existence through raise dead or reincarnate.

Undeads are already dead. Someone once said "you can't kill what is already dead", if I remember correctly, this is stated in the LM. Also according to the Libris Mortis, the correct term for an undead that you defeat is "destroyed", not "killed". When an undead is destroyed it remains destroyed... Well, most of times.

Reviving the undead.

There a spell to revive destroyed undead in LM/SpC, Revive Undead:

Your restore animation to an undead creature destroyed by hit point loss (even zombies and skeletons that can't normally be reanimated once destroyed). You can revive a destroyed undead that has been inactive for up to one day per caster level.

Also, the spell True Resurrection explicitly says that it can resurrect a destroyed undead as a living being again. It allows someone to kill the creature again and raise as an undead once more if someone needs to revive an undead destroyed for longer than the Revive Undead spell can do.

True Resurrection:

You can revive someone killed by a death effect or someone who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. This spell can also resurrect elementals or outsiders, but it can’t resurrect constructs or undead creatures.

Greater Turning vs Liches and Vampires.

If you use the Sun Domain and destroy an undead, it will remain destroyed unless someone brings it back to (un)life. While the lich entry explicitly says "As a rule, the only way to get rid of a lich for sure is to destroy its phylactery.", the vampire entry says several unusual methods of destroying and things that usually destroy undead that do not work. Greater Turning would destroy permanently a vampire, but only temporarily incapacitate a lich that can return to unlife from complete obliteration if its phylactery remains.


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