Create Undead PSA

The following public service announcement is brought to you by the necromancers of Nero International.

Here’s a summary I wrote for the Create Undead spell a year or two ago:

  • Body Points equal to ½ the value listed on your Character Sheet
  • Melee Damage equal to the base damage of the weapon itself. This includes the additional damage from a Damage Aura on a magical weapon, but not any ProficienciesSuperhuman StrengthStrong Arm, or any other skills or abilities.
  • Lesser Undead creature type: You are affected by the Control UndeadFree UndeadHarm UndeadHelp UndeadTrap UndeadTurn Undead and Sanctuary spells, as well as the Voice Control Lesser Undead monster ability. Your weapon damage is not absorbed by the Desecrate spell. You are completely destroyed by the Destroy Undead spell regardless of your Body Point total. You are healed by Cause spells, damaged by Cure spells, and take double damage from the Healing damage type. Being undead is a visible effect and should be stated as such if you are asked for your description.
  • Immunity to: all alchemical substances, all Poison attacks, Waylay, Calm, Cause Disease, CharmDeathLifeParalyzeShun, SleepTaint Blood, and Wither Limb.
  • Mindless: You are a mindless berserker. When the spell takes effect you must immediately stand up and attack the nearest living creature (except the caster) with your weapons. Generally you will “zone in” on the nearest target you see and relentlessly attack that character without concern for defense or tactical fighting. You will follow the target into a crowd unless other characters completely block your way, in which case you will re-orient to the nearest target. You will continue to fight until destroyed or ordered to stop by the caster. You may not use any game skills or abilities whatsoever, only melee combat. Finally, you will not remember anything that happened while undead.
  • Controlled: You must obey the commands of the caster to the best of your ability, taking into account the fact that you are now mindless. For examples of commands that you can and can not understand, see the Control Undead spell.
  • Death Count: When affected by this spell, continue to count down your five-minute Death Count. If you are reduced to zero Body Points or otherwise destroyed before your Death Count is finished, you fall down dead with your Death Count continuing and may be given a Life spell as normal. Additionally, you may only be affected by this spell once for each time you enter your Death Count. Once Created and then destroyed, you are immune to further castings of the spell until you are given a Life spell and then killed again. If you are destroyed after your Death Count has finished, or if the spell’s one hour duration expires, your body immediately dissipates and you can seek resurrection

Here’s what you WON’T do:

  • Yell “I’m a zombie!” at the top of your lungs. This is cheating.
  • Loudly groan, moan, or otherwise yell anything. The spell does not instruct you to make loud noises. This is cheating.
  • Yell, “Visibly undead,”, “You see an undead,” or, “You see a zombie!” Players should only indicate visible effects if ASKED for them. This is cheating.
  • Throw your weapons out to your sides and make no attempt to fight. “Mindless berserker” does not equal gimpy, defenseless lump. The spell does not say you can fight poorly on purpose, or refuse to block.
  1. #1 by Rullerr on June 22, 2009 - 6:51 pm

    Yelling visibly undead is wrong, but when you’re approaching your group and attacking them, visible effects should be mentioned. There are any number of reasons you’d be attacking your former party, the fact that you are visibly undead seperates both the reason and the solution from the rest of the pack.

  2. #2 by Lord Byron on June 22, 2009 - 7:06 pm

    The way that visible effects work in our game is that they’re not obvious unless you take a moment to squint at the person. At a glance, someone who is imprisoned is just standing still. If you take the time to look, you’ll notice the shining barrier keeping them in place.

    Characters who were just created as undead probably don’t look very undead – it’s not like their blood all ran out of their face or their bones are showing. You might be able to tell by squinting at them for a second (ie, asking for visible effects). But a character recently created as a zombie isn’t /obviously/ a zombie.

  3. #3 by Abercrombie on June 22, 2009 - 8:01 pm

    According to the letter of the rules, being undead is not a visible effect. There is a section of the rulebook which lists which spell effects are visible, and there is another section which gives a short list of visible alchemical effects, and undead is not listed in either section. The spell description for “Create Undead” does not explicitly state that it is a visible effect, and the section about applying makeup would seem to imply that it is not a visible effect.

    A number of people I know have been back and forth about this subject at length. While it may seem logical for the effect to be visible there is no support in any rules I have found that supports this.

  4. #4 by omegacow on June 22, 2009 - 10:36 pm

    This is the quote from page 58 of the rulebook in the entry for Create Undead, “The creature’s visual appearance does not change immediately. Makeup is not immediately required for this spell, but should be donned at earliest possible convenience. A Hold may never be called in order to acquire proper phys-reps or makeup.”

    This is from page 46 of the rulebook under Spell Rules, “Bind, Confine, Disease, Imprison, Paralyze, Pin, Silence, Sleep, Taint Blood, and Web are all visible to any viewer while they are in effect, so long as they take the time to observe them (they must ask the affected player). The spells Wall of Force, Wizard’s Lock, Ward, and Circle of Power are also visible, provided that the physical representation (rope, building or otherwise) can be seen and the viewer takes the time to observe them.

    You cannot call a Hold to determine whether any visible effects are present. The amount of time it takes to ask if your character sees the effect is the amount of time it took your character to notice the effect.”

    It’s true that Create Undead is not listed under the specific spells that have a visible effect. Going by the strictest interpretation of the rules, if asked for “visible spell effects” then Create Undead would not be listed. However, if asked, “What do I see,” you would respond with, ” as a zombie,” because the zombie creature has a different descriptive phrase than the base PC races. Your creature type has changed. If you don’t have appropriate makeup (and almost nobody ever brings makeup or masks for the Create Undead spell) then you must reply with your creature’s descriptive phrase.

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