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A typical level 1 cleric—whether that's the cleric's character level or class level—can only turn or rebuke an undead creature that possesses a maximum of 5 Hit Dice. This number of Hit Dice can be increased by bonuses to the cleric's effective cleric level for turning undead, like with the ephod of authority (Magic Item Compendium 215) (800 gp; 2 lbs.), the magic armor or shield special ability sacred (Book of Exalted Deeds 112) (+2 bonus; 0 lbs.), or the phylactery of undead turning (Dungeon Master's Guide 264) (11,000 gp; 0 lbs.). (These game elements provide a +1, +2, and +3 bonus to effective cleric level for turning undead, respectively, so as to increase the HD of undead a cleric can affect to a potential maximum of the cleric's level +6, +7, or +8… or +11 in combination.)

However, that same cleric can have a domain that provides as its granted ability the supernatural ability to turn or rebuke other kinds of creatures, like creatures possessing the subtypes water and fire via the domain Fire (Player's Handbook 187) or the type construct via the domain Warforged (Faiths of Ebrron 105) or the type ooze via the domain Ooze (Fiendish Compendium I 89–90) et al.

What game elements besides the disappointing feat Improved Turning (PH 96)—that, by the way, can be taken but once—, if any, allow a low-level cleric to turn or rebuke higher Hit Dice nonundead creatures in a fashion similar to the magic items above?


Note: My original thought was to use the feat Combine Turning from the Ghostwalk Web enhancement (5), but that feat, while still pretty boss, affects only the turning check and turning damage not effective cleric level. The feat Heighten Turning from Libris Mortis (27) comes close except that for a level 1 cleric, +1 effective cleric level may be the limit. (That is, the benefit of the feat Heightened Turning seems to be worded in a way similar to the PH feat Power Attack (98) in that it doesn't matter how high the effective cleric level (or, for the feat Power Attack, attack bonus), what matters is the actual cleric level (or base attack bonus)), but I'm willing to entertain a good argument in that feat's favor, perhaps in conjunction with the Combine Turning feat. The LM feat Empower Turning, by the way, is no help here at all.

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At low levels, it appears there aren't any tools that would allow increasing the cleric level for either turning or rebuking non-undead creatures. Anything that would grant bonuses for those tests is scarce. Apart from the feats mentioned by you, I found only 2 spells, both from Complete Champion.

Light of Faith spell, is a second level spell, which grants the cleric a sacred bonus equal to one-half of their divine caster level, on the next turning check. It's not strictly tied with undead only.

Only starting from 5th level, clerics may cast Light of Wisdom, a 3rd level spell, that increases effective turning level by 1 per three caster levels.

It might be a balance issue. Domains and feats allow to either turn or rebuke many different types of common enemies, like animals, plants, spiders, and reptilians. In such case, most of the low-level encounters could result in enemies running away and player characters shooting them at a distance or a bunch of enslaved creatures.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the spell light of faith doesn't help: the character—using the Combine Turning feat—can already max out the turning check. (See the question's note.) What the character needs is to count as a higher-level cleric so he can affect more than 5 Hit Dice (as he's a level 1 cleric). Thank you, though! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 at 7:36

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