Undead are immune to the ability-score altering attacks I know of, but hypothetically, if one somehow suffered ability damage to their mental stats, would they suffer the adverse effects of having those stats reduced to 0?

(Not Drain. They are specifically immune to drain, and damage to their physical scores, but not their mental.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, since their hit points are determined by charisma bonus, dropping that to 0 could arguably destroy them. As a side note, this is why dracoliches don't want to fail their saving throw on Feeblemind (d20srd.org/srd/spells/feeblemind.htm) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Mar 12, 2013 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Undead creatures' hit points are not modified by their Charisma bonus by default in D&D 3.5. Further, undead are immune to the Feeblemind spell due to it being [Mind-affecting]. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ernir
    Mar 12, 2013 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ernir - Huh, so Pathfinder added the hitpoint thing, but yeah I blanked on the mind-affecting. I believe when I saw that happen the sorcerer used Threnodic Spell metamagic to make it work. My bad, carry on. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Mar 12, 2013 at 16:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos Yeah, 3.5 has undead with d12+nothing, while Pathfinder has d8+Cha. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 12, 2013 at 16:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I dont think undead are coup de grace'able, it involves an automatic critical hit and a fort save both of which an undead is immune to. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novian
    Mar 12, 2013 at 17:29

1 Answer 1



All creatures are subject to the adverse effects of having a "0" in any of their ability scores, but it should be noted that having a "0" is very explicitly not the same as having "-" or "N/A" in that score (that is, a creature with Intelligence 0 suffers averse effects from having a 0 in their Intelligence, but a creature with Intelligence - cannot suffer such effects. See "Ability Scores" in the System Reference Document). Some objects have ability scores, and strictly speaking the matter of if they're affected by it is up in the air; however, Undead are not objects in the game rules, but rather explicitly "creatures".


There's not a lot of effects actually capable of dealing ability damage to an undead's mental scores. They're immune to a lot of spells that would do it because those spells are [Mind-Affecting], and they're likewise immune to poisons and frankly almost all other means of inflicting damage of this kind. The only methods to harm undead in this fashion that I can recall are Positoxins (Libris Mortis), Ravages (Book of Exalted Deeds) and Afflictions (also Book of Exalted Deeds), and I'm not certain that both Ravages and Afflictions work - I think one of them (Afflictions if I recall correctly) still straight-up does not work. As Ernir pointed out in comments, Ravages and/or Afflictions note an specialized effect on undead, but fail to make a specific exception for the normal Undead immunity to effects requiring a Fortitude save; it's safe to assume that they were intended to work, but by RAW the lack of the crucial exemption clause indicates that they don't. As always, bring it up with your DM to get a ruling if you intend to use those avenues of attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a note, anything that has a Wisdom score has a Charisma score and vice versa, and anything that does not (i.e. Wis –, Cha –) is, by definition, an object. All creatures must have both scores (and are therefore subject to unconsciousness when one or both is dropped to 0). Intelligence is the only mental score that a creature can lack (Int –), and mindlessness is quite likely the most common nonability score in the game (though probably close with Con –). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 12, 2013 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually Ravages do not even note the type of save allowed against them. it is implied that they work like poison and allow fort saves but at the same time is not explicitly noted. Poorly put together,if they were correctly put together there would be some happy Rouges out there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novian
    Mar 12, 2013 at 17:16

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