View Full Version : Undead are... Un-alive [variant, monsters]

2007-01-14, 04:58 AM
Well here goes:

I'm planning a new campaign for my group... and the six elemental energies/substances of the world are the cental focus: Heat (fire) vs Cold (water), Sonic (air) vs Electric (earth), and Posative vs Negative Energies.

So life is equal and oposite to undeath (unlife, from here on in).

So I figure: living stuff has a Constitution, fueling positive energy, and the MMIII has undead using their Charisma for bonus hitpoints... why not give the unliving the same sized hit die as the living, and a Constitution...

Undead that are simply what remains of the soul have no body, and hence are not unliving, but just an undead (not dead) soul. They are unaffected.

So here are the changes to the Undead in the Monsters Manual:

- Bodak
9d8+18 (58 hp)
Con 15

- Devourer
12d8+24 (78 hp)
Con 15

(almost seem too much like outsiders rather than undead to appear in a "undead to unliving thread", but made it through, just)

- Ghoul
2d8+2 (11 hp)
Con 13
(Stench and Paralyisis DC's Con Based, uneffected)

- Ghast
4d8+15 (33 hp)
Con 17
(Stench and Paralyisis DC's Con Based, uneffected)

- Lich (template change)
Hit Dice: as Base Creature.
Damage: The lich may Channel 1d8+CON negative energy through any natural attack (will save DC 10+1/2 lich's HD+CON halves damage)
Special Attacks: The DC fo a lich's paralysing touch is CON based.
Abilities: Con +4. A lich foregoes his own matabolism for magically enduced Negative energy, artificially increasing their own health.

The Lich's Phylactey:
This is the source of the lich's negative energy. Once this is destroyed, the lich looses all constitution, and turns into dust.

- Mohrg
14d8+70 (196 hp)
Con 20
Challenge Rating: 10

Paralyzing Touch: DC 22, DC Con Based.

- Mummy
8d8+32 (68 hp)
Con 19
Challenge Rating: 6

Mummy Rot: DC 18, DC Con Based.

- Nightshades
these seem too much like outsiders than undead to appear in a "undead to unliving thread" for my liking

- Skeletons (template change)
These got a huge overhaul... inspired by... well now I cant find it... but someone wanted skeletons that reform after they are destroyed, and 'die' only when the skull is crushed... (credit to... whoever it was's idea, thanks!)
Hit Dice: As Base creature.
Special Qualities: Regeneration 5.
(no immunity to cold)
Saves: as base creature.
Abilities: Strength +2, Con as base creature +2, Inteligence 10.
Skills: as base creature
Feats: as base creature

Regeneration: A skeleton regenerates 5 points of non-leathal damage a round, reguardless of hit point total. Skeletons are immune to attacks dealing non-leathal damage. Any attack that would deal leathal damage insted deal nonleatal damage. Attacks that deal Positive Energy deal leathal damage to skeletons, and cannot be regenerated.

'Killing' a skeleton:
Once a skeleton is knocked into a pile of bones (in negative hp), the bones reassemble themselves into a whole skeleton again. It matters not how many hit points into the negatives a blow may put a skeleton (the limit is -10), the regeneration process continues. The only way to stop the bones reforming is to destroy the the skull (a critical hit dose this). Once the skull is destroyed, the necromancy that gives the skeleton unlife is destroyed, rendering the bones completely inanimate. A fighter may continue to delay the reforming process by smasking the bones appart, but they will reform within two rounds of him stopping unless the skull is destroyed. Any critical hit destroys a skeleton outright.

- Vampire (template change)
Hit Dice: as base creature
Special Attacks: Blood Drain (Ex): A vampire gains 1 point of con for every point drain from its victim. This replaces the hit point gain.
Energy Drain (Su): For every level drain by this attack, the vampire gains one positive level (as negative level, but reversed). The DC is Con based
Special Qualities: Feeding (Su): A vampire survives off the living. For every day a vampire goes without draining blood, he loses a point of constitution. This is paused only when the vampire is in his coffin.
Abilities: Constitution +6
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +4
Level Adjustment: +9

- Vampire Spawn
4d8+13 (33 hp)
Con 16
Challenge Rating: 5
Blood Drain (Ex): A vampire spawn gains 1 point of con for every point drain from its victim. This replaces the hit point gain.
Energy Drain (Su): For every level drain by this attack, the vampire gains one positive level (as negative level, but reversed). The DC is Con Based (DC 15)
Feeding (Su): A vampire spawn survives off the living. For every day a vampire spawn goes without draining blood, he loses a point of constitution. This is paused only when the vampire spawn is in his coffin.

- Wight
4d8+4 (22 hp)
Con 12
Energy Drain (Su): DC is Con based (DC 13)

- Zombie (template change)
Zombies are cadavers animated through necromantic forces, and as such, are animated objects under this system. As such, they have the following template applied to them. This is a variation to the zombie template presented in the Monsters Manual:
Size and Type: Size is unchanged. Type Changes to Animated Object [Necromancy]. It retains any subtypes apart from alignment subtypes.
Hit Dice: Drop any Hit Dice from class levels (to minimum 1), double the remaining hit dice, and raise them to d10’s.
Base Attack: Hit dice, as cleric.
Abilities: Str +4, Dex -4, Con unchanged. (this replaces the adjustments presented in the Monsters Manual)


As you can see, I have tried to keep them all as close to the origional as I can.

So what do you think? Any questions? Queries? Concerns?

2007-01-14, 02:44 PM
I think zombies should also require brain damage to die... except if they get reduced to -10 hitpoints or less they should just be immbolized and unable to make slam attacks... but they can still bite...

2007-01-14, 02:58 PM
I really like the skeleton idea. I just worry that it'll interact weirdly with the critical hit rules. Normally I'd expect blunt weapons to be best at destroying the skull, but Keen weapons will actually have a better chance. I guess they just cleave the skull in two, and that counts as "destroying" it.

Then there are critical hits with arrows... it might make sense to simply say that a skeleton has become brittle with age and dryness, so the skull just shatters when hit just right with an arrow.

2007-01-14, 03:09 PM
All criticals are one-hit kills for skeletons, and anything less can never fully kill them? ......What? ............So, basically, a level 20 Fighter could hit it forever and take an hour to kill it while a level 1 Wizard could hit it with a lucky unarmed strike and destroy it. Or a level 20 Cleric could keep hitting it with positive energy and never finish it off while a level 1 Commoner's pitchfork might destroy it in one hit. I don't see how this adds anything to gameplay other than even more dependence on random luck.

2007-01-14, 05:01 PM
Interesting idea on the skeleton, but I would add a coup-de-grace ability to smash the skull before the bones reanimate.

Miles Invictus
2007-01-14, 05:24 PM
A scattered skeleton is helpless, right? Instead of keeping the bones scattered, why doesn't the fighter simply perform a coup de grace, which just so happens to be an auto-critical?

By the way, you can make bludgeoning and positive energy effects useful against skeletons again, by making the following changes:
Skeletons have DR/bludgeoning or positive energy equal to their hit die (minimum 5).
Skeletons are particularly vulnerable to positive energy. Any positive energy attack is a critical hit. If such an attack does not normally allow for critical hits, it is counted as a x2 weapon. If it does allow for critical hits, then its multiplier is increased by one.
Skeletons are only killed by critical hits that do damage equal to or greater than half their hit die (minimum 5).

ETA: Looks like someone else picked on that first bit while I was offering suggestions on how to make bludgeoning weapons useful again. I should've seen that coming, honestly.

2007-01-15, 06:55 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

I like the "Skeletons are only killed by critical hits that do damage equal to or greater than half their hit die (minimum 5)", but I'm not so sure about the positive weapons dealing crits non-stop... here's why:

"aww... my sword glows whit and that... yay... etc..."
*swing, blindly, while looking at sword*
"aww... look at that... I chopped a skull in half... cool... etc..."
and so on...

Also, refer to... (well it's gone) ...I am going to use this varient in the campaign... so its not just a matter of "I rolled a twenty, therefore, the BBEG skeleton is dead. YAY!"

Varient: Crits skilled not lucky.

- When you roll a threat, you gain a bonus to attack equal to 5 + 1/2 you BAB (miminum +10 total bonus)

- ANY attack that beats the targets AC by 5 + 1/2 the targets HD is a critical hit. No need to roll for confirmation.

- A natural 1 is NOT an auto-miss, instead, you recieve a -10 penalty to attack.

Oh... also... should there be a change in CR for the skeleton. I think so, but what would it now be...? There is a table in the MM... CR by HD... this would need to be redone, yes?

Miles Invictus
2007-01-15, 07:57 PM
Darn it, I forgot about positive energy weapons. I was thinking of spells and such -- the Cure series, turn Undead, and so forth. With the anti-Undead focus Clerics have, it didn't seem right to nerf those capabilities.

How about this, instead?
Skeletons are particularly vulnerable to positive energy, as well as certain spells and attacks. Positive energy damage (or damage from any spell, attack quality, or ability that specifically targets undead or has additional negative effects on Undead*) that brings a skeleton to negative hit points instead kills it outright, without needing to roll a critical. A skeleton who has been recently turned (ten rounds) is automatically slain when brought to negative hit points, regardless of damage type.

* For example: Disrupt Undead, Sunbeam, Sunburst.

2007-01-15, 09:57 PM
Positive attacks would directly attack the animating force of the skelli...

2007-01-15, 11:57 PM

A should add that Positive energy is not healled by the regeneration the skeleton has.

Turning undead will not happen in my campaign, as this would mean that undead would be able to turn PC's, and thats getting silly. Remember: equal, yet opposite...
"Clerics" in my campaign will be totally different, more like a divine version of a wizard (no armor, sorry), and they will chanell one of the six elements mentioned. Positive Energy will only damage undead, not have any other special circumstances againts skeletons.

However, at your table, feel free to do whatever you want... thats the idea, isn't it?