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How does the knight class's ability loyal beyond death (Player's Handbook II 27) function for an undead creature? If an undead creature's hp are reduced to 0, it is destroyed, but what if the creature possesses the aforementioned ability?

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    \$\begingroup\$ That would depend entirely on which game you're asking about, which we need you to tell us. You can most easily do that by editing in the appropriate tag (eg. [dnd-5e]). Feel free to ask if you're unsure or you can't find the tag for your system. See: Why do I need to specify my game system, and how do I best do it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    May 24 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ This looks almost certainly to be [dnd-3.5e] (the Knight class from the PHB2 has a 20th level feature called loyal beyond death). \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    May 24 at 13:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve checked other editions of D&D and confirmed they don’t have any knight class with a “loyal beyond death” ability, and I’ve searched (in an incognito window to avoid personalized searches that would favor 3.5e for me) for knight class "loyal beyond death" and the only results were the 3.5e class. I’m pretty confident this is D&D 3.5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the edit to confirm we were right about D&D 3.5e—but generally we prefer to keep the system in the tags (see dnd-3.5e under your question), and not in the title. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin (The edit I made is stylistically accurate except that I chose boldface for the ability name for emphasis as boldface doesn't serve a mechanical purpose in this edition.) \$\endgroup\$ May 25 at 13:41

1 Answer 1

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Knight

Class Features

Loyal Beyond Death (Ex): […] If your body is somehow destroyed before your next action (such as by disintegrate), then you cannot act.

(Player’s Handbook II, pg. 27)

Undead Type

Traits

  • Not at risk of death from massive damage, but when reduced to 0 hit points or less, it is immediately destroyed.

(System Reference Document, Types & Subtypes)

This is the fundamental problem: we have no direct information on what it means for “it,” the undead creature, to be “immediately destroyed,” and whether or not that means that their “body is […] destroyed.” I’ve seen campaigns where undead are treated as immediately disintegrating upon reaching 0 hp, leaving nothing behind with which they could act “loyal[ly] beyond death.” I can find nothing in the core rules or in Libris Mortis that directly states that something like this should—or explicitly should not—happen, so it seems pretty up to the DM.

There is at least one indirect statement that undead creature’s bodies are not automatically destroyed when the creature is. The revive undead spell (Libris Mortis or Spell Compendium) has a target of “Destroyed undead creature touched,” that specifies that “The body of the undead to be revived must be whole. Otherwise, missing parts are still missing when the creature is reanimated.” That wouldn’t be possible if the body of formerly-undead creatures were destroyed at the same time that the undead creature was.

Thus, my take is that the most consistent ruling is that loyal beyond death works normally for undead creatures, allowing them to go below 0 or even −10 hp and yet still function for 1 round without being destroyed.

Now if only there were any good knight class features from 5th to 19th to make becoming a 20th-level knight worthwhile...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you KRyan for youre quick and detailed answer. I'm wondering about an almost immortal character build. Have you any suggestion? \$\endgroup\$ May 24 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OnymosCeutho There are quite a few ways to achieve actual invincibility. Easiest is to use a pugilist fighter (Dragon #310) with shake it off, which converts all damage to non-lethal, and then death ward to prevent instant-death effects. Can do the same thing with regeneration (e.g. Troll-Blooded feat, Dragon #319) as long as you get immunities to any vulnerabilities it has. Can get immunity to nonlethal damage, too, to just no-sell everything. Plus there’s always Pun-pun... But of course, you can’t play these—there’s no game left. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ :O. The pugilist is a really awesome fighter class variant, I didn't know it until now. Thank you for youre help! \$\endgroup\$ May 24 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OnymosCeutho Dragon #310 is a good one, lots of good content in there. The pugilist is great for Improved Unarmed Strike, Endurance, and another feat all in one level, which is tough to beat. Shake it off can be really problematic—for instance if you get immunity to nonlethal damage—but outside of that is pretty interesting. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    May 24 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can imagine just not knowing what the text means. Y'know, because we don't know what it means. :-) \$\endgroup\$ May 25 at 0:36

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