Turn Undead

Combat & Magic

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I love the new turning rules! Brilliant. It's like taking the variant in Complete Divine and kicking it up a notch. I always wondered why channeling positive energy in an area effect didn't result in healing. Heck, it even uses a similar solution to turn resistance that I used.

Speaking of turn resistance, I don't know if I care for the 5 for every +2. It seems to go against the grain of streamlining the rules. Additionally, coupling it with a bonus to the will save for half means the half is nearly negligible as it would likely not even break through the resistance.

I'm honestly not fond of it as written, only because a rebuking cleric is suddenly a menace to his entire party... ^.^

Liberty's Edge

Also, a turning cleric will be healing the enemy if they are living. The cleric should be able to select targets within the burst of divine power.

Looking at it, have to agree the one big problem with Rebuke, and Turning is that is a 30 ft blast radius. This will make party members want to stay FAR away from the Rebuking Clerics, and turning healing will used only outside of battles, or thoes where the enemy is completly undead.

Can't think of a solution at the moment although. Best I can think of is allowing the cleric to make it a cone blast....but I think thant not how te skill works.

Perhaps some kind of feat to either alter the area (make it a cone or such), or a way to choose targets within the area (so it ignores allies or enemies) might be a good way to go to. I love the idea of healing/damage from turn/rebukes, that is something really fun. Of course, I can also see evil clerics just having to suck it up and risk damaging their living allies if they want to rebuke with them nearby. In a way, kinda fitting.

Grand Lodge

Actually I like this change as is.

It requires some thought and strategy on the part of the PCs, which discourages static combats.

And for evil characters they would not likely hesitate throwing some damaging spells out on their allies.

I like the burst as well, it makes things both more interesting and to a degree, more realistic. If I throw a hand-grenade in real life I can't say "only hit my enemies".

It also seems, in my mind to emphasize the different alignments; a cleric that turns has the good of life at heart, his power should not disciminate between the living any more that an evil rebuking cleric's blast ofunholy power should.

Grand Lodge

To be munchkin about it, if my Fighter is down to 1 HP and is facing a monster still at 50 HP I don't care if that monster gets a few d8 extra points I want that fighter back up! Then he is at least alive and we can figure a way out of this mess. If he dies, well heck I loose my meat shield!

If I were evil, I just might pop off a few rebukes for the fun of it to watch my poor pitiable minions suffer at my greatness. Here have another and tell me you love me.

Oh man the possibilities with evil clerics! So much fun!

There's an issue here with neutrals. Wee Jas (deity of choice for one of my PCs) only allows rebuke. Except that neither she nor the cleric in question are evil. Both LN.

My gal would be in the unhappy position of not being able to use her major class power without maiming her allies. If we go with the new rules (which is looking likely and in principle I'd love to), she's going to have to undergo some kind of religious crisis I think. It'll make for interesting rp, but it also kind of stuffs me as a useful combatant.

Personally, I'd decouple the turning effect from the whole Positive/Negative energy dichotomy again, and make it a standard power of certain domains instead. Keep Positive and Negative energy in the healing/harming department, and let Undead run away or cower because a deity is channelling his personal like/dislike for the living dead through his cleric. This could be expanded to affect elementals, demons/devils, celestials or fey depending on deity or domain.

Scarab Sages

I'm not so sure about this whole "Turn Undead" thing. Maybe we should just do away with the rules entirely....

Just kidding. Seriously, my group was already using the "does damage" variant, but not quite this way. I like this. Although I can see the concerns expressed above about accidently healing the enenmy, or even harming your allies if you channel negative energy. Not sur eabout a solution, but that's what the playtesting is for.

Rosey is one of the players in a game I DM and we're trying to come up with a solution to this. Obviously, we could keep the old turning method, but part of me likes the burst of energy method. Although, it does strike me as rather Street Fighter-esque. Ha-du-ken!

Dark Archive

Rebuking damage or turning healing, should not affect allies of the cleric. Or at least a cleric must be able to select which of the two effects she desires to apply turning or healing) or both (turning and healing).

Don't like it much. I'd prefer it not to affect the living. And the commanding part sounds too easy.

Scarab Sages

Love the update to turn/rebuke, but since it's multi-purpose now I think it should be renamed to something like Divine Radiance and Profane Something-or-Other.

Also, making each effect optional when you expend one use of this (so you could do either effect, or both at once) would address some of the concerns I've seen here and elsewhere about the update.

The Exchange

I like the new rules, though the power level is unclear without trying it. I agree that the name of the power should be changed - I suspect it will be used for healing much more than turning undead.

And it also makes being an evil cleric PC more interesting. Sure, you still can't spontaneously heal, but you get a nice area effect attack instead a few times a day, which instead ups the possible damage the party can inflict. The power-gamer in me rather likes that.

The rules don't specify that the burst is centred on the turning character. I assume it is a given, but is ambiguous in the current write-up.

Dark Archive

I hate the turn undead rules as written in PHB, but I don't think the Pathfinder changes are good either. Like others have stated, good PCs will heal non-undead enemies and evil clerics will harm non-undead allies. I also don't like the idea of this being abused outside of combat as a group healing measure. What I think might make more sense is to give a benefit rather than healing:

For good-aligned clerics - allies within the burst radius gain +2 atk & dmg vs undead affected by the turning (those that took dmg) and those undead are -2 atk & dmg vs cleric and allies in burst for 1/rd per cleric's Cha mod.

For evil-aligned clerics - rebuked undead gain +2 atk & dmg against targets they are commanded to attack by the evil cleric and cleric's enemies are -2 atk & dmg vs. the cleric and any rebuked undead.

Undead take damage from good-aligned turning (positive energy) and heal damage from evil-aligned turning (negative energy) due to their unique nature and direct ties to the negative material plane. Living creatures do not have such a tie to the positive material plane so they are unaffected hit point-wise, but still may benefit or suffer from the other conditions.

Though the positive energy nuke is cool and the mechanics are also quite usable, I think the whole system is not.
Being a danger to everyone near you as an evil cleric is bad, but gaining controll over weak undead while healing the powerfull ones makes it really a bad choice to try rebuking. Of all the presented rules, the only one I really think doesn't work.

While it may be seen as a tactical choice; it can also be very depressing long term to be trying to undermine one's undead opponents by controlling some of them, but instead healing the tough ones.

I like the suggestion above of attack bonuses and minuses; I may well try that.

I love this rule, I wish it had been in place last week when the group I DM was fighting a bunch of undead.

What I really like:

1) Clerics can spend turning as curing out of combat, this allows them to use more spells as they were meant to be and not swallow them up as spontaneous casting.

2) Evil clerics having the ability to blast good guys.

3) A much more streamlined and quicker solution than the existing rules.

I like the cinematic of a huge battlefield with Evil clerics blasting ranks of good warriors to dust while the wounded gather around the good cleric for his curing.

These rules just encourage rebuking clerics to go up and frontline it like their Death Gods want them to do anyways. Totally OK in my book. Ad the thing where you only get to try to take control of enemies if they are undamaged makes it something you do at the start of combat and not over and over again, which is also OK in my book.

The part I'm sketchy on is where as things currently stand you can open up a battle with a a Shadow with a "Will Save or Serve ME for Eternity" as a third level character. That's potentially quite powerful.

What I would like is for Rebuke to give you a big army of zombies. What it is currently doing is giving you a spectral cohort who is nominally just as powerful as you are.

Maybe 1 Int worth of undead per level and "-" creatures count as 1? Followed by a caveat that no single creature can have more CR than your level? I honestly don't even mind a 1st level rebuking cleric having a human zombie carry their stuff around. It's the thing where an 8th level Cleric is walking in with a Spectre on a leash - that's frighteningly not OK.


think the positive energy burst isn't a bad idea, but I think it's still awkward, it's either ineffective at low levels, or too powerful (making undead obsolete). I've always viewed it as a mook killer, or a croud controller...


How about this mechanic instead;

Turn Undead:

1. Determine what CR of undead you can affect by adding your Cleric Level + Charisma Bonus.
1a. divide by 2 (rounded down), within 30'.
1b. divide by 4 (rounded down), within 30' and 60'.

1A - CR 1/2 turn undead of that CR within 30' (6 squares).
1B - CR 1/4 destroy undead of that CR within 30' (6 squares) or turn them within 35'-60'.

This means a cleric of first level with a +4 wisdom bonus can turn CR2 undead within 30' (level + charisma /2), can turn CR1 undead up to 60' and destroy CR1 undead within 30' (level + charisma /4).


if staying with the positive energy burst, might I suggest:

3d6+chr bonus +1d6 per 5 levels within 30'.

This gives lower level clerics a much better ability, and doesn't get overly powerful as the cleric levels up.

Dark Archive

Maybe the turning effect can also be a cone or line?

As a cone it would be easy only to effect the enemies and as a line it would be easy to focus soley on one Undead to control it.

I don't like the "must flee" portion of it. Making undead flee through the dungeon is a needless headache. Which direction do they go? Do they cause other monsters to attack? It's just a hassle.

How about making the 30 radius a sanctuary for the cleric and anyone in it? The thought of slavering undead, hovering 30 feet out waiting to get at you is a lot cooler than undead just running away.

You'd want the cleric to do repeat Turns to continue doing damage. So maybe damage to 30 feet, sanctuary out to 20 or something.

I like the idea of the negative burst. You're @#$%ing evil! That's the price you pay for channeling negative energy and using undead. You can't be evil and be a goody-goody healer, too.

By the wy, regarding Wee Jas, she is actually a goddess of death, but not an evil one. If you follow strict Greyhawk lore, she actually protects the dead, and using undead is a bad thing in her book. I usually replace the death domain with the repose domain.

I don't see a limit on the number of times you can Turn Undead. Is it unlimited or supposed to use the current # of times per day?

The Exchange

I approve of the switch from (auto-cower/destroyed) seen in the 3.5 PHb, though I'm still on the fence regarding the ability of the cleric to "mass cure" with turn attempts...

With regards to power level, this ability was previously only used in fights vs. the undead (or to fuel turn-based feats in several splat-books). Now, it can be seen for regular combat usage....

Personally, a 19th level cleric using ~4-5 of these a day (maybe more) for 10d6 healing seems potent, though no more than a Mass Cure Light Wounds of that level (1d8+20).

And I think the tactical choice of healing both allies and enemies when undead aren't involved does seem to help balance out the effect (my caveat is when if the party is largely outnumbering the enemies, meaning that, proportionally, they benefit more from the healing).

I think the link to positive/negative energy is a solid move and I like the rules for turn resistance including "positive resistance".

I like the evil cleric "negative energy nuke," especially since it moves all evil clergy from having to rely upon undead-- after all, what use was the power for them otherwise?

To finish-- give consideration for this ability's power in a 8-person party, vs. a 4-person-- if the burst heals all within 30', this provides effectively more hp per use than for a smaller group.

Good stuff, all in all.

While I like the simplicity of making it damaging to undead, I'm not into the healing/harming living beings part. While there are also other mechanical issues to work out (such as how long or how many HD evil clerics can command), my initial reaction is to try a version where the dice are bumped to d8, but the effect of non-undead is dropped altogether.

Liberty's Edge

I am very fond of the use of positive and negative energy here. It makes the Turn attempt more like a flash of the raw power of the gods than a simple spell.

Limiting how many undead can be commanded by the evil cleric, and/or how long is a good idea. Perhaps the cleric can control them a number of rounds equal to the cleric’s level of the cleric?

Still, this new rule idea is a lot better then the system in the SRD. Much smoother and easier to remember.

DMFTodd wrote:
I don't see a limit on the number of times you can Turn Undead. Is it unlimited or supposed to use the current # of times per day?

Page 11, top of the right hand column.

"A cleric may attempt to turn undead a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier."

makes extra turning more attractive again.

Dark Archive

A house rule I am implementing in an upcoming campaign used a similar 1d6 per 2 cleric lvls in a blast radius, but also allowed a more powerful attack if touching undead with the holy symbol. In this case, the damage was 1d6 per cleric lvl but required a successful touch attack on the undead with the holy symbol. An undead with turn resistance gained the turn resistance as a bonus to their touch AC against such an attack. You see this type of attack in old vampire movies where the cross burns the vampire as its pressed into his flesh.

I actually like the idea of a cone effect with the cleric being able to included theirself.

I could see a cleric of Iomedae and a lich cleric of Asmodeus channeling bolts of primal energy at each other's forces while healing themselves and their allies.

I see the purpose of the new rule, but have the implications of such a POWERFUL ability been considered?

In effect, it will be similar to Mass Cure Light Wounds in addition to damaging undead AND making them flee! So you take the old turn undead ability, and add a fifth level spell on it for curing and another say second level spell on it for damage. And you get that three times per day or more, as of first level! Turn undead would become the ultimate ability... Evil clerics would have a reason to be feared...

I'd suggest that the turn undead deals damage to undead and keeps them at bay, but not fleeing. Fleeing is a bummer anyway, you have to run through the corridors to reach the stupid fleeing undead, or wait until they fall on you in another inappropriate time. Rulewise, damage as per the actual alpha version, and on their turn the undead that failed their save need to remain at least 30 feet from the cleric (i.e. move away if they're closer), unless they get attacked by the cleric.

Then, the cleric could trade his turn attemps for cure spells, a bit like spontaneous casting is now. Perhaps cure one ally of an amount equal to the turn ability damage (or whatever, it doesn't matter), but not a mass cure!

Inversely for negative energy, you could mass heal undead (and perhaps control them), you could also keep them at bay; or trade one rebuke attempt to deal damage to one opponent as per an inflict wounds spell (touch attack, single opponent).


I think the energy surge for turning and rebuking is nifty idea. Not sure about the undead fleeing, unless they are smart enough to relaize they could be toast if they get a second wave of positive energy. that has always been an annoying part of trun undead for me as DM.

Maybe just freezing in awe?

Scarab Sages

I'm leaning toward liking this rule, however I still have some questions as to all of its implecations. For example:

A LG Cleric (who channels positive energy) takes the feat Turn Outsider(Law). As written it looks like undead would be replaced with lawful outsiders. So this cleric's turn attempt will deal damage to lawful outsiders ...and what else? Does it still heal all non-undead, or all non-lawful outsiders, or all non-outsiders, or all non-lawfuls?

Any ideas?

I'm leaning toward the idea of removing the "Outsider" prerequsite and having the feat effect creatures with the law, chaos, good, and evil subtypes (regardless of whether or not they ar outsiders - though most will be). Then energy then has the opposite effect on anyone not of that subtype. Same thing goes for the elemental feat. If your turning attempt deals damage to creatures with the Fire subtype, then it will heal all those not of that subtype.

Scarab Sages

I would change the rule to allow the Cleric to choose to include their Allies and or Enemies in the effect of the Turning. After all the Cleric can choose to include or exclude him\herself as the rules are currently written.

Scarab Sages

Turning in 3.5 has always been a thorn. It's one of the few rules in the book not based on a DC/save system. The variant in Complete Divine: Destruction of the Undead was the answer for my game. In an undead heavy adventure this one rule change made the game twice as fast.

Straight damage or healing to undead in a radius burst. DC and damage set by the "caster", no fear effect/fleeing, and turn resistance works as a resistance bonus.

Pathfinder comes close, but it's still seems clunky. Removing the fleeing part would be one way to go. It's hard enough to keep up with 20 undead on the table, much less those that have fled not to be chased by the party. Where did they go? When do they return? If they made their save against fear the first time are they immune for the rest of encounter/day/lifetime? Fiddly bits that don't matter. Damage them and move on.

Controlling undead can be a headache also. Now with one cheap turning attempt the cleric now becomes a necromancer with undead meat shields. This can skew later encounters due to the 'stronger' party having undead as summoned creatures that never expire. Again more paperwork for a DM and cleric. Heal them and move on.

If a player really wants a controller of undead use a necromancer class or PRC.

The Pathfinder added bonus to healing and damaging living creatures in the radius is just icing on the cake.

This varient really does change turning to a huge degree. Its not just a mechanics change. It changes everything about the ability.

To me it now seems like turning is a healing power with the added bonus of damaging undead...not the other way around as it should be.

Also evil clerics are now a lot more powerful being able to harm the PCs with devistating turning attacks. Once again I see rebuking as a damaging power with a added bonus of controling undead...not the other way around as it should be.

The whole healing and harming part added to turning and rebuking is overshadowing the main reason the power existed originally.

Grand Lodge

I also like the cone idea over an area.

My concern is if a cleric is to rely on turn undead to heal the party, in a fight against living creatures, if a cleric only has his turn undead left hes going to end up healing his enemies as well! in-between encounters though this is a viable use of healing power.

Clerics and healing is a big issue with alot of people these days and one option I have seen that really struck me as a good idea was from monty cooks book of experimental might. The idea is that clerics do not heal others, he simply acts as a conduit to his deity, other characters must spend a standard action to touch the cleric and gain healing from the clerics deity.

I had a similar idea that might work better for pathfinder.

Channel Divine Essence
3 + cha/day as a standard action , a cleric can turn himself into a conduit for his deities essence.
For 1 round per level a cleric can direct his deities divine power as a swift action in one of the following ways;

Turn Undead: (Good or neutral clerics only) The cleric can designate a single undead creature within 30 ft of the cleric take 1d6 points of damage +1 per cleric level. All undead within 30 ft of the cleric when this power is used must succeed on a will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cleric level + charisma modifier) or cower from the cleric, unable to approach for the duration of his channelled divine essence.

Healing word: (Good or neutral clerics only) The cleric can designate a single living creature within 30 ft of the cleric to receive healing equal to 1d6 hit points +1 per cleric level. In addition any creature so healed receives the benefit of a bless spell for the duration of the clerics channelled divine essence.

Rebuke Undead: (evil or neutral clerics only) The cleric can designate a single undead creature within 30 ft of the cleric be healed 1d6 hit points +1 per cleric level and must make a will save or act as the cleric wishes as if under a compulsion for the duration of his channelled divine essence.

Vile word: (evil or neutral clerics only) The cleric can designate a single living creature within 30 ft of the cleric take 1d6 points of damage +1 per cleric level. All living creatures within 30 ft of the cleric when this power is used must succeed on a will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the cleric level + charisma modifier) or become shaken for the duration of his channelled divine essence.

By expending his channelled divine essence in a powerful burst a cleric can produce powerful effects. This use of the ability immediately ends the effect and halts any ongoing conditions from the abilities listed above.

Destroy Undead: (good or neutral clerics only) As a standard action the cleric may dismiss his channeled divine essence in a massive wave of positive energy that deals 1d6 points of damage per 2 cleric levels to all undead within a 30 ft radius.

Command Undead: (evil or neutral clerics only) As a standard action the cleric gains control over the actions of all undead within a 30 ft radius. This effect lasts for the duration of the encounter. During this time he can also set mindless undead unending tasks, such as guard or patrol similar to teaching an animal a new trick. The undead continue doing this task until they are either commanded for a new task or destroyed.

Healing Wave: (good or neutral clerics only) As a standard action the cleric radiates with divine power that heals all living creatures within 30 ft radius, providing 1d6 points of healing per 2 cleric levels.

Desecrating Wave: (evil or neutral clerics only) As a standard action the cleric radiates with divine power that damages all living creatures within 30 ft radius, dealing 1d6 points of damage per 2 cleric levels. The cleric is immune to this damage.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

After giving the matter some thought it seems to me that the d6 is a bit weak against undead (who have a d12 HD). I also don't like the idea of mindless undead fleeing. On the other hand, the release of negative energies might be a little overwhelming

I think in my playtesting, I am going to run the turning rules as suggested with the following changes: The turn damage (positive and negative) is a d8 base. The healing effect on living creatures is half of the turn damage as living creatures are more resilient to the unfocused energies. Mindless undead never flee and intelligent undead act intelligently. Likewise raw negative energy will affect living creatures half as well as undead.

This I hope keeps turning as being better at affecting undead than it is at healing/harming the living, but still keeps a lot of the flavor of the burst idea.

The new Turn/Rebuke Undead have some major flaws.

The most striking is that the "immobilized" effect listed for Rebuke *Does Not Exist*. Call on negative energy, heal the undead, and if that tops them off (+1), then you command them after a will save. No "Rebuke" at all.

The massive heal effect is strong, probably overly so, but is doable.

Making the negative energy wielders a danger to any other living creature is just silly. PC's play evil or neutral undead controlling clerics too. A 30' radius burst worse than fireballing yourself constantly (and I've got a player who hasn't lived down *that* reputation in over 8 years).

As for NPC's, I can see it now. Malfoy, high cleric of Asmodeus, summons forth a mighty devil to fight the goodly PC's. Halfway into the fight, he is attacked, and responds with a burst of Negative Energy! Oops, killed his devil with that, sorry Big A. Evil Clerics don't *always* hang out with Undead.


1. Make it a cone - makes sense from a "I hold forth my holy symbol" way, and isn't *too* counter to the past.

2. The ability is called Turn Undead. Tone down the effect on others to half healing/damage (similar to the Holy Smite/Chaos Hammer spells), none on a save (still leaves the good clerics ahead in the game).

3. At the cleric's option, any Undead healed by a Rebuke makes a Will save or immobilized (cowering, etc.).

4. If a Rebuke would heal an Undead an amount equal to its current hp (before healing), Will save or be controlled. E.g. Zule the zombie is unhurt, at 16 hp. If Malfoy the 5th level evil cleric rolls 16 or higher on a Rebuke, Zule makes a will save or is controlled by Malfoy. On the other hand, if Viktor the 15th level fighter Vampire has been beaten down to just 25 of 98 hp, Richard the 11th level evil cleric can capture his allegiance with a roll of 25 or higher.

5. Make 'em d8's. Clerics are all about the d8's.

Scarab Sages

Majuba wrote:
1. Make it a cone - makes sense from a "I hold forth my holy symbol" way, and isn't *too* counter to the past.

I vote this.

I'm all for switching the "flee" to "held at bay".

Gotta agree with the post above, this is Healing Burst with a bonus of turning undead thrown in.

Secondly, we've got plenty if splat books offering variant uses for the turn undead charges. What happens to those? Do they all get the healing bump?

Why not separate the two out - Turn Undead just Turns Undead. Healing Burst uses a Turn Undead charge but heals as described.

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

A couple of things jumped out at me:

Pathfinder RPG - Turning Undead, p.45 wrote:
Undead who take damage greater than their hit points crumble to ash"

So the PCs enter a shrine and see a few undead. The cleric wins initiative and uses her turning power, and does some damage, but doesn't destroy them (not quite enough damage). OR she loses initiative, the wizard casts an area spell that does some damage, and then when the cleric does her turning, the damage is enough to drop them and they are destroyed. So basically, there's no real advantage to rolling really well, unlike in the core 3.5 rules with the turn/destroy dichotomy. It's really all just the damage.

But then we look at Rebuking:

Pathfinder RPG - Rebuking Effects, p.45 wrote:
Undead who would be healed above their total hit points by this effect must make a Will save or fall under your command."

This one is the real problem. The same group of PCs (but now with rebuking cleric) enters that same room. If the cleric wins initiative, she rebukes the undead, who were at their full hit points so would be healed above their total hit points and therefore obey her. But if she loses initiative instead, the wizard casts his area spell first, then the cleric rebukes and because the undead were weakened by the area spell, they are only healed about 80% of the damage they just took, so she can't command them, and they're not adversely affected, so they're even more of a threat than they were after the wizard's action. And rebuking works best on undead that are at their full power, and not on undead that have been weakened already in combat?

I like the new approach to turning, dealing damage with a fear effect. I also like the idea of clerics being able to channel turning as healing or harming depending on alignment. I share the concerns about the overall mechanics.

A good cleric effectively healing everyone within a 30 foot radius with a turn strikes me as overpowered. Imagine a few clerics on a battlefield healing large groups of warriors all at once. This power effectively mimics the mass cure spells, the lowest of which is 5th level in the SRD. There is also the problem of healing enemies within the burst radius. Your fighter rises to his feet, refreshed and ready for battle, unfortunately so do the three unconscious orcs lying near by....

Likewise, an evil cleric can harm every living thing in a 30 foot radius. Imagine the effect on low HD threats as the cleric progresses. Even with a save for ½ damage, it is a bit like circle of death. Another concern is an evil cleric in the midst of living allies. If he rebukes enemy undead, and his allies are in the turn radius, won’t he harm them as well? The orc body guards suddenly and surprisingly drop as the priest of Amadeus rebukes the attacking ghouls.

I suggest giving the cleric an option as to how he uses his divine energy. He can use the burst effect to turn/rebuke undead or as a touch to cure/cause wounds to allies and enemies alike.

I am concerned about or confused by the wording of rebuke. [i] Undead who would be healed above their total hit points by this effect must make a will save or fall under your command.[i/] As I read it, that means if a cleric rebukes a crowd of skeletons who have taken no damage, he could effectively take command of them (providing they fail a save of course), but he is less likely to be able to command them if they are wounded? Or are you trying to say if the damage exceeds the undead’s total hit points, a cleric could take command of them? That seems more reasonable to me.

Liberty's Edge

I don't like that a "rebuker" is pretty much ineffectual in a standard party. Heck, a "rebuker" villain is a powerhouse. They gain an AoE effect that does not incur an attack of opportunity. It inflicts a good deal of damage that scales with level and this can be done a number of times equal to 3 + cha. modifier. The save for half damage helps but this is a Will save, usually the weakest save for your fighter. The times per day limit is a "false restriction" for NPC villains who will spend all of these attempts in combat.

Evil clerics will almost never have living companions, at least not in combat. These undead minions can receive healing every round for at least 3 rounds (presuming the evil cleric does not have a negative Cha. modifier) and the party receives at least some damage in those rounds. Sure, the party cleric can help by turning undead but placement has to be perfect or else he ends up healing the evil cleric. And any villain worth his salt will know that and place themselves for optimal damage output and potential free healing. I would hate to see the combat that involved an evil cleric and a few ghouls or ghasts with their positive energy resistance of 5.

The new system rewards certain actions and nearly punishes the good PC cleric for using Turn Undead in a combat with living combatants. Rebuking PC clerics almost never gain the opportunity to dish out damage on a regular basis without weakening their party members. Enemy clerics are encouraged to fall into repeatable actions that inflict damage in a large area. It doesn’t effectively solve the “healing” issue either. Most clerics won’t want to use it in combat against living opponents, especially from their traditional front line or mid-range combat role. Though, as stated above, I can see some meta-gaming reasons why they would use the ability.

This also creates interesting issues with out of combat use. Good clerics gain an astounding number of slightly weaker mass cure spells at 1st level while their evil and neutral friends (those that pick the ability to rebuke that is) are unable to supplement their healing in any way.

There are other ways to alleviate the issues surrounding the clerical “healbot” status. This is not it.

DMFTodd wrote:

Gotta agree with the post above, this is Healing Burst with a bonus of turning undead thrown in.

Secondly, we've got plenty if splat books offering variant uses for the turn undead charges. What happens to those? Do they all get the healing bump?

Why not separate the two out - Turn Undead just Turns Undead. Healing Burst uses a Turn Undead charge but heals as described.

This isn't a bad idea. Actually, divine feats are in the SRD and are considered OGL. Why not simply make healing burst a divine feat or even a seperate class ability?

Than again, this still goes against the idea of an evil cleric channeling negative energy. It also ignores the fact that turning/rebuking is supposedly channeling positive/negative energy, and if the turning ability is designed to invoke damage to undead, then it should adhere to the same rules of positive energy and heal the living.

Sovereign Court Wayfinder, PaizoCon Founder

Brian Dunnell wrote:

A good cleric effectively healing everyone within a 30 foot radius with a turn strikes me as overpowered. Imagine a few clerics on a battlefield healing large groups of warriors all at once. This power effectively mimics the mass cure spells, the lowest of which is 5th level in the SRD. There is also the problem of healing enemies within the burst radius. Your fighter rises to his feet, refreshed and ready for battle, unfortunately so do the three unconscious orcs lying near by....

Just throwing this out:

I generally view this cleric ability as an "aura".

Why not develop it sort of like auras (like the dragon shaman, crusader, etc)? Those auras can target only allies for healing, and target enemies for damage.

As for evil clerics damaging their own allies....hmmmm, sounds perfectly evil to me!

I like the damage/healing to undead the turn/rebuke provides. Straight and simple. I'm a little less convinced about the "take control" aspect and the healing/harming burst.

I don't play evil characters, but if I did - or played a neutral cleric with rebuke - and I ran into an NPC cleric with undead, I'd try and take 'em. Or at least create a 3-round tug of war for control.

I'm not sure a 3-round tug of war is fun for anybody. Any living allies that get too close to the ego-war, they get zapped.

Which of course, brings us to the heal side of the equation. The mass healing between encounters doesn't bother me as most players I know run out of desirable spells before they run out of hit points.

The biggest risk I see is extending combat if everybody, and I mean everybody, gets healing up to 3 times an encounter. A 10-round encounter against mooks is certainly possible if a) the mooks have just 1 moderately threatening undead or b) a few players get bad rolls and take significant damage. One or two heal bursts and the fight never ends!

A previous poster (sorry, I forget whom) suggested a bonus to allies. This I like. Sort of like a Bless or Bane effect. That's not overly tied to positive and negative energy though so you lose some of the turn undead theme.

I'm not sure what the answer is, unless the effect only affects undead and not living folks. Then it is just "turn undead".

I'm starting to ramble. Time to go.

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