Help on explaining certain concepts in Pen-and-Paper Gaming Posted January 10, 2009 · Edited January 10, 2009 by Sammael Speaking of which, since I'm tackling undead here, there's always been something I found disturbing about them - or rather, how they are seen by divine-based characters and groups. Supposedly, Turn Undead has certain effects against them because the gods that bestow these powers on PCs consider undead to be an abomination to life, correct? Is this because the deities are resentful, in the sense that undead can no longer be acolytes of theirs? Because they can no longer be followers (to the same extent, at least)? Because undead are seen as evil? From memory, some undead can be neutral and not all acts of necromancy may be evil - a necromancer hired by a localy family to raise a dead person in order to make peace with it isn't exactly the same animating dead to torment a village. Of course, I may be looking for explanations where creative liberties may be taken to devise certain plot hooks. After all, most of undead in Torment's Drowned Nations didn't exactly seem evil (exceptions being cases like Acaste). I'm wondering if TNO could have been a Paladin, if he could just kill them all with TU even if they posed no particular threat to him or the people above the catacombs. But I'm trying to make it so Clerics and Paladins are a viable character option, and creating several areas with dialogue and role-playing options may go to waste if players just reap the rewards by spamming TU. Although Sawyer did bring up the notion of dead magic areas, I *think* TU is a supernatural ability and is thus exempt from its effects. I'll try to tackle this question. First off, the easiest issue, which is whether TU works in dead magic areas: they work like antimagic fields, but generally affect only Weave users or only Shadow Weave users (the second type being a lot more rare than the first type). The antimagic field creates the following effect: The space within this barrier is impervious to most magical effects, including spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. Likewise, it prevents the functioning of any magic items or spells within its confines. Thus, only (Ex) abilities function within the dead magic area. Note that constructs and undead function normally within such areas (as per the rules), but their abilities may not work. Personally, I think wild magic is a much better option than dead magic - it allows you to be a lot more creative, allowing some effects and disallowing (or warping) others. I had a lot of fun with wild magic areas and Far Realm cysts (which work similar, but even more twisted) in my Rebirth campaign. Now for the undead. Unlike the general D&D 3.5 approach which states that undead = evil, this has never really been the case in the Realms. In my opinion (which is supported by previous editions), non-sentient undead (normal skeletons, zombies, and such) are neutral, just like constructs, because they lack the capacity to make moral/ethical decisions. Intelligent undead may be of any alignment, although I would hold that most are neutral or evil because spontaneously occuring undead are generally cursed into that state because of some crime they committed during their lifetimes. I cannot envisage a good ghoul, for instance. Ghosts can certainly be of any alignment. I'd say the same applies to revenants, although their single-mindedness implies neutrality on the good/evil axis. Liches can be good (and there are several good liches in the Realms). While they probably can't be good, I'd say that vampires can certainly be neutral (I had a N vampire working as Khelben Blackstaff's agent in Skullport... a very tragic character). In Ravenloft 2: Stone Prophet (which is linked to the Realms, since the PCs are supposed to be FR characters), one of the joinable NPCs was an undead paladin (LG) who could not be put to rest until she completed her quest. Now for the issue of religion vs undead. The divine power over these beings is assumed to come from the link between priests and positive and negative energy (which supposedly animates undead, except for mummies in previous editions, which are animated with positive energy). Basically, turn undead allows the priest to channel positive energy and thus disrupt the negative energy which animates undead. Likewise, rebuke undead allows the priest to take over the negative energy which animates undead and thus grants the priest a measure of control over such beings. In the Realms, each church has its own rules regarding undead. This was detailed in the 2nd edition trilogy (Faiths & Avatars, Powers & Pantheons, Demihuman Deities), and these materials remain to this day, IMO, the reference manuals on religion in the Forgotten Realms. According to those books, some churches have the power to turn undead, some to rebuke them, and some (generally neutral ones) have both powers. Others have no specific powers over undead. If you need information on any specific church, I'd be glad to provide it, but it'd be too cumbersome for me to write a list of 120+ deities and the way their church handles undead. In general, I'd rule that clerics of Chauntea and Lathander are justified by their religion to turn undead on sight, no questions asked. Members of other non-evil churches should probably first check whether the undead being in question is sentient or not (if not being attacked by the said undead being, of course). Evil clerics have it easy, as always - turn or rebuke, whatever is the most convenient at the time. That's the way I'd play it, anyway.