I've been running the Temple of Elemental Evil for some young 'uns to show them that we really did have to walk 12 miles uphill to play AD&D and 18 miles uphill home afterwards back in the day. However, I find that my Gygaxian has become a little rusty.
On p.65 of the DMG it says:
As stated on the CLERICS AFFECTING UNDEAD TABLE, this function may be attempted only once by each cleric. Of course, if there are two, both may attempt the function, each trying once, etc. There is also an exceptional case where turning may be practiced more than once by each and every cleric concerned. This occurs in cases where multiple forms of creatures subject to turning are involved. If the cleric attempting the turning is successful against any or all types within the group of multiple forms of undead, that type or multiple types, to the maximum number indicated by the dice roll or otherwise indicated by the rules, are turned, and on the next round the cleric so successful may attempt to turn other undead of the group. This process may continue as long as each successive attempt is successful and the cleric lives. Undead so turned (from the group of multiple types) are lowest hit dice types to highest hit dice types, i.e. first listed to last listed on the table. Any failure to turn undead disallows a further attempt by the same cleric. Turning can occur at the same time as missile discharge, magical device attacks, and/or spell casting. It also is subject to initiative determination.
In true Gygaxian fashion, the Table is nowhere near the rules. It's on p.75. It's also not called a TABLE, it's called a MATRIX. It also isn't relevant to the question, it's just me venting that my sadism towards the players is not matched with equivalent masochism towards myself. Ah well, when you're young you endure all sorts of hardships for your pleasure: now it's just Long Island Iced Tea and a swimming pool thanks.
So two, questions:
- "... once by each cleric." I'm almost certain that I don't think it means what it says - if you play a cleric, you can turn undead once in your career and never again. From its position in the COMBAT chapter (like that's any sort of guide), I think it means once per combat. Does anyone have any insight?
- Informed by the above, if new undead join the combat, can a new turning attempt be made?
- The "... exceptional case ..." seems to allow a cleric to keep succeeding over and over as long as the original group consisted of "multiple forms". So:
- What does "multiple forms" mean? The text uses "forms" and "types" - types is clear from the table: skeletons are a different type from zombies and so on. But are "forms" synonymous with "types": that is, does "multiple forms" mean more than one type of undead or just more than 1 undead.
- If the former, what happens if the mixed group is reduced to a homogenous group by this process? Can the cleric keep trying so long as they keep succeeding?