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View Full Version : Adjusting Turn Undead after tweaking Con, undead, and undead HD

TuggyNE
2013-06-02, 01:11 AM
So. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Undead (and Constructs, not that it matters here) are allowed to use Con scores, and no longer have it as a non-ability. Suppose further that their bloated HD counts are cut back to keep roughly the same HP, and perhaps their special abilities tweaked to keep the DCs reasonable, or make them more reasonable. How would you adjust or replace the Turn/Rebuke Undead mechanics to make it a little more sensible for Clerics to use their turns on actually blowing monsters away, without allowing for giant death-armies of skeletal doom to be rebuked and controlled by a Clr 1?

Preliminarily, I'm thinking of having a pool of d6s (1 per two Clr levels?) that can be spent as area damage to undead, or doubled and all undead with HP under the roll are treated as turned (undead with half the HP or less are destroyed, obviously). Not sure how existing ways to optimize turning should or would play into that. For now, rebuking would just be the regular reversal.

I'll probably post later with some more concrete numbers and comparisons, if someone else doesn't. I know sweeping changes are dangerous, especially several at once, so any edge cases would be good to know about up front.

KillianHawkeye
2013-06-02, 07:48 AM
I don't understand. Changing the size of undead HD or adding modifiers to their HP per level will have no effect on turning, since that is based strictly on number of Hit Dice. What is it you're trying to accomplish exactly?

Eldan
2013-06-02, 07:58 AM
I don't understand. Changing the size of undead HD or adding modifiers to their HP per level will have no effect on turning, since that is based strictly on number of Hit Dice. What is it you're trying to accomplish exactly?

He's saying that he's reducing the number of HD undead have. They have similar amounts of HP, but lower HD. So, turn just got a whole lot stronger.

Without looking at some of the numbers you'd end up with, it's difficult to say how much you should lower it. Perhaps give us the HD numbers of some standard zombies?

KillianHawkeye
2013-06-02, 10:01 AM
He's saying that he's reducing the number of HD undead have. They have similar amounts of HP, but lower HD.

Ah, I see. I misread it as reducing the size of the HD, not the number. Apologies!

TuggyNE
2013-06-02, 08:38 PM
He's saying that he's reducing the number of HD undead have. They have similar amounts of HP, but lower HD. So, turn just got a whole lot stronger.

Yes, thanks, exactly. Although I might also try dropping the HD size, but that's a little different (and doesn't necessarily solve much), so I'll put that alongside the simpler conversion. Oh yeah, one further idea: modifying the templates in question to give extra Con as needed.

Without looking at some of the numbers you'd end up with, it's difficult to say how much you should lower it. Perhaps give us the HD numbers of some standard zombies?

OK, let's try zombies first. Maybe later devourers, nightwalkers, and dread wraiths.

Since I don't like the idea of having 2d6 turning damage with no change as you level until 4th, I'm adjusting my suggestion to 1d6+1d6/2 levels over 1 direct damage, or 1d6/level HP check* vs turn.

Troglodyte zombie, 4 HD, 29 HP; CR 1, Clr 1 with 14 Cha has 20% chance of turning, while Clr 3 with 14 Cha has a 50% chance of turning (but a very good chance of turning 2 or more, if any). Trogs have 14 Con, which would probably not be changed.

Conversion A, keeping d12: 3d12+9, or 28 HP; unmodified turning gives 35% and 65% chances respectively, while preliminary suggestion gives 1d6/2d6 damage, a 0%/0% chance of turning at full health, or a 0%/16.2% at half health.
Conversion B, dropping to d8: 4d8+11, or 29 HP; unmodified turning remains the same as before conversion, while suggestion chance at half health is now 0%/16.2%.
Conversion C, keeping base creature's HD count, changing HD size to undead d12, and adding +6 Con: 2d12+13, or 26 HP; unmodified turning goes up to 50%/80%, and suggestion to 0%/25.9%.
A 20% chance of level=CR Cleric being able to turn at all (with moderate Cha) seems considerably too low to be useful (even though the result on success is fairly impressive). But 0% is worse, although guaranteed 1d6 damage isn't so bad. Even the half-health turn figures for over-level clerics are kind of dismal.

Ogre zombie, 8 HD, 55 HP; CR 3, Clr 3 with 14 Cha has 0% chance of turning, while Clr 5 with 16 Cha has 25% chance (and a ~40% chance of turning two if the initial check succeeds). Ogres have 15 Con.

Conversion A: 6d12+15, or 54 HP; unmodified gives 20% and 55% respectively, and suggestion gives 2d6/3d6 straight damage, 0%/0% chance to turn at full health, or 0%/1.6% at half.
Conversion B, dropping to d8: 8d8+19, or 55 HP; unmodified turning remains the same, and suggestion at half health is 0%/1.6% similarly.
Conversion C, keeping base creature's HD count, changing HD size to undead d12, and adding +6 Con: 4d12+23, or 49 HP; unmodified turning goes up to 50%/80%, while suggestion hits 0%/5.9%.
Here's where regular turning starts to become useless; a higher-level cleric has a small chance at even turning one, and an even smaller chance to turn two (and no chance at all of turning three or more). The turning half of the suggestion is getting less useful too, though.

Gray render zombie, 20 HD, 133 HP; CR 6, Clr 6 with 16 Cha has -infinity%** chance of turning, while Clr 8 with 18 Cha has 0% chance. Gray renders have 24 (!) Con.

Conversion A: 10d12+73, or 138 HP; unmodified gives 10% and 45% respectively, and suggestion gives 3d6/4d6 straight damage, 0%/0% chance to turn at full health, or 0%/0% even at half health.
Conversion B, dropping to d8: 11d8+80, or 129 HP; unmodified goes to 0% and 30%, while suggestion still is at 0%/0%.
Conversion C, keeping base creature's HD count, changing HD size to undead d12, and adding +6 Con: 10d12+73, or 138 HP, same as A.
At this point, regular turning is stupidly useless beyond belief; you have to be level 15 with a feat to even have a chance to turn even one of these CR 6 critters (25% chance to turn one with 22 Cha, 0% chance to turn more than one). And, of course, the suggested turning check didn't scale nearly fast enough and is thoroughly behind now.

Looks like my suggestion might need some tweaking already, which is not entirely unexpected. It is more flexible, and it does work better with cooperation (since beating them down makes turning more likely to work), but a 0% chance of turning even lower-level undead upon encountering them is kind of lame. In fact, so far turning has required beating them down to half health or less to get even a chance at the pseudo-fear effect, never mind the dusting.

*An HP check is basically the mechanic used by the Death domain's granted power; if the target has less HP than the amount rolled, it fails the check and is killed/turned/whatever. In this case, if it has less than half the HP, it's destroyed.
** OK not really, but pretty close. Seriously, don't try this one at home, kids.

DracoDei
2013-07-12, 03:13 PM
So go to d8's or just more d6's? Or twice the number of d4's?

I'd actually work backwards. Find the average target numbers for each CR, then work backwards from that to get the XdY that turning should use.

AugustNights
2013-07-12, 10:12 PM
For sake of simplicity; instead of doubling turn damage to turn with damage being at a 1/2 progression of d6s, why not have turning function as 1d6 per Cleric Level HP check, and destroying undead with half or less the HP.
That is to say, instead of doubling a thing that is at half progression, why not give full progression and half it?

I'm a bit light-headed at the moment, but what I think you're saying, and maybe I'm wrong, is that the proposal is that with a Turn Undead check, a Cleric can deal 1d6 + 1d6/2 Cleric levels damage to undead (with positive energy), or they may double that number, and compare it to Undead's HP and Turn any undead with HP equal to or less than that number (and Undead with HP equal to or less than half that number are destroyed outright).

Would it not be easier to have Clerics turn undead at 1d6 Hp per Cleric level, and have an option to instead simply deal half that number as raw Positive Energy damage?

nyjastul69
2013-07-12, 10:51 PM
I agree with ChumpLump about that particular progression. You might get more/better feedback in the homebrew forum however.

TuggyNE
2013-07-13, 09:57 PM
Wow, this post took forever to write. Probably at least three hours of drafting.

I've been doing some more thinking about HP checks, and came to the conclusion that not only is the result of turning a lot weaker than damage (it's not even a save-or-lose, much less a save-or-die, just a save-or-gimp), but the check itself is too (because it works only when straight damage to that amount would as well, and otherwise does nothing). So I might bump the straight damage up a bit, and will definitely increase the HP check a lot.

It also occurs to me that I don't have any translation for bolstering at present. Not sure I need one, strictly, but it'd be nice. Maybe temporary HP?

So go to d8's or just more d6's? Or twice the number of d4's?

I'd actually work backwards. Find the average target numbers for each CR, then work backwards from that to get the XdY that turning should use.

First off, thanks for the much-needed bump. :smallwink:

But yeah, target is tentatively something like 50-80% of a group of CR -2 undead turned with modest optimization, and 10-40% of a group of equal-CR undead, both of those at full health.

For sake of simplicity; instead of doubling turn damage to turn with damage being at a 1/2 progression of d6s, why not have turning function as 1d6 per Cleric Level HP check, and destroying undead with half or less the HP.
That is to say, instead of doubling a thing that is at half progression, why not give full progression and half it?

I'm a bit light-headed at the moment, but what I think you're saying, and maybe I'm wrong, is that the proposal is that with a Turn Undead check, a Cleric can deal 1d6 + 1d6/2 Cleric levels damage to undead (with positive energy), or they may double that number, and compare it to Undead's HP and Turn any undead with HP equal to or less than that number (and Undead with HP equal to or less than half that number are destroyed outright).

Would it not be easier to have Clerics turn undead at 1d6 Hp per Cleric level, and have an option to instead simply deal half that number as raw Positive Energy damage?

I suppose; they come to roughly the same thing, though. (Although those specific numbers are about to be changed again.)

I agree with ChumpLump about that particular progression. You might get more/better feedback in the homebrew forum however.

Hmm, perhaps so. This might go over there soon, once I finish the brainstorming phase and get to working out the exact wording and such-like.

1All right, new round of ideas. This time, suggestion 3 is that the turning check is 2d12 + 1d12 per Cleric level, or 1d6/level straight damage. (If the undead is hit by a turn attempt with HP amounting to half or less of the check result, it is destroyed instead of turned. This gives an incentive to try turning rather than damaging in many cases in order to destroy undead.) Turning resistance is multiplied by 5 for existing monsters and acts to reduce the check result (but not damage).

Suggestion 4 is similar, except 1d12+Cha + 1d12+Cha/level turning check. Suggestion 5 is even crazier: 1d20+Cha/level.

In this table, percentages after a slash are chance of destruction. All check probabilities are for full health, since turning proper should be done early in a fight to break up enemy formations. (Charisma, where it matters, is 16 up to level 5, 18 from 6 to 9, and 20 onward.)

Level = CRLevel = CR + 2Level = CRLevel = CR + 2Level = CRLevel = CR + 2
Troglodyte zombie26117%81%0%24%0%93%
Ghoul13+10132%90%/5%0%56%5%96%/32%
Wolf skeleton13187%/17%100%/81%17%100%/24%55%100%/93%
Owlbear skeleton32222%81%0%31%30%98%/29%
Allip26+10335%86%0%55%68%99%/38%
Ogre zombie4932%37%0%0%22%93%/1%
Ghast29+10322%79%0%28%57%99%/22%
Wight26381%99%/26%24%100%93%/14%100%/89%
Vampire spawn29+10452%72%1%99%/91%/2%100%/74%
Wraith32+10567%95%/1%10%100%98%/11%100%/88%
Mummy55517%65%0%62%84%100%/30%
Gray render zombie13860%0%0%0%0%10%
Young adult red dragon skeleton12380%0%0%0%35%96%

I skipped conversions A and B, since they're not template-able, and none of the monsters presented except the zombies have been converted yet (so they're using their Core HP). The gray render here is a horrible, horrible outlier, but there you are: some monsters are still nigh-unturnable, but at least you can beat them down a bit first to make them easier.

Finally, I think a feat is in order:

Focused Turning [General]
Prerequisite
Ability to turn or rebuke creatures.

Benefit
You may increase your effective level for a turn or rebuke attempt by 2 by halving the range. This increase stacks with Improved Turning and similar effects, as usual.
Alternatively, you may increase your effective level by 4 in order to focus on a single target within the usual range: only that target is affected.

DracoDei
2013-07-13, 10:07 PM
That feat looks like it needs a turning level requirement. Even 3 or so would do.

Tock Zipporah
2013-07-13, 10:08 PM
If you want a quick, simple way to make Turning Undead a more effective ability without needing to create a complex rules change, there is an (optional) alternate Turn Undead rule in the Complete Divine, pg. 87:

"Instead of making undead run and cower, turn attempts deal positive energy damage to all undead within 30 ft. of the cleric. The goal of the system was to have the cleric contribute to the destruction of the undead in a fashion that interacts well with the other characters in the party such as the fighter and the wizard...

Turning undead is a standard action that deals 1d6 damage/cleric level to all undead within 30' of the cleric. The affected undead get a Will save (DC 10+cleric level+charisma modifier) for half damage

Evil clerics instead heal undead within 30' for 1d6/cleric level."

Basically, this idea gets rid of any rule related to the undead's Hit Dice, and just deals area effect damage. It's a very simple, efficient alternative in an official 3.5 book.

TuggyNE
2013-07-14, 01:15 AM
That feat looks like it needs a turning level requirement. Even 3 or so would do.

Hmm, perhaps so.

If you want a quick, simple way to make Turning Undead a more effective ability without needing to create a complex rules change, there is an (optional) alternate Turn Undead rule in the Complete Divine, pg. 87:
[…]
Basically, this idea gets rid of any rule related to the undead's Hit Dice, and just deals area effect damage. It's a very simple, efficient alternative in an official 3.5 book.

Yes, but I am stubborn, and want to have some way of inflicting the turned status. :smallwink: Otherwise I'd already be done: I put damage in to begin with.