Rebuke Undead wording


Combat & Magic


1.1 Alpha wrote:
Undead creatures within the area are healed a like amount by this wave of negative energy. Hit points above the undead’s total are lost. You can choose whether or not to include yourself in this effect. Undead who are healed by this effect must make a Will save or fall under your command.

Are undamaged undead immune to rebuking? ^.^


Ooops, wrong thread.


Edit: 3rd time lucky....

You are correct in your interpretation of the rebuking as written, I would argue that this is just bad wording, I think the spirit of the wording is that if you do enough healing to take an injured undead above its maximum, or you heal an uninjured undead you get to rebuke them.

This brings up an interesting quandary, If you heal some wounded intelligent undead, but don't take them above their maximum hit points, how do they react? Are they happy and greet you as a long lost buddy or do they panic, fearing that your next heal will make them your thralls, thus making you enemy number one?


I don't think your interpretation is accurate. It doesn't specify that the undead has to be fully healed.

It is probably the intent of the rule that any undead in the burst area, regardless of whether or not it recovers HP, is subject to the rebuke attempt, but I would like some clarification...

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

The wording apparently still needs a bit of work. Undead should make a save whenever they are subject to this effect, regardless of whether or not they are healed of any damage.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
The wording apparently still needs a bit of work. Undead should make a save whenever they are subject to this effect, regardless of whether or not they are healed of any damage.
Jason, I'm still quite concerned about the lingering language regarding rebuking:
Pathfinder RPG wrote:
Evil characters ... channel negative energy instead, which heals undead and can cause them to become immobilized for a number of rounds...

There is nothing in the rules about this effect (which I think is a reasonably good idea).

Perhaps something along the lines of the current effect, except save vs. immobilized instead of controlled. But if the healing effect (or half the effect if save is made) is equal to their current hit-points then they are commanded instead. This mirrors the Turning effect (destroyed if.. well, damaged enough to be destroyed). Multiple rebukings are unlikely to result in Command, but perhaps that's appropriate?

Example: A 3rd level Cleric walks up to a group of 4 zombies, max hp 16. One is at 3 hp, one at 8, one at 9, and one is at 15. The cleric calls on his divine power, and rolls 2d6, coming up with 10.
The first zombie makes the save, but is still destroyed/commanded (depending on good/evil) because of its low hp. The second fails the save and is destroyed/commanded. The third makes the save and is damaged/healed but does not get frightened/immobilized. The fourth fails the save, and is damaged/healed and is frightened/immobilized.

To sum up:
Good: Damages, Scares on failed save, Destroys on greater than hit-points (regardless of save).
Evil: Heals, Immobilizes on failed save, Commands on greater than hit-points (regardless of save).


I think Majuba has the right idea about how the rebuking should work. The mechanic should work the same wether you are turning or rebuking. I think the condition given to undead that are turned/rebuked should be shaken. This gives a clear definition of the effect, though usually undead are immune to fear effects.

Personally I've not been a proponent of the positive/negative energy burst that the ability is being turned into. Like everyone else, I have an opinion about what should be in PRPG and feel I need to share with the group, so bear with me a moment.

Perhaps instead of using damage dice, a negative level could be applied to the undead. On a failed save, the udead suffers from 1 negative level per 2 cleric levels. If the number of negative levels exceeds the undead's total HD, it is destroyed. The reverse of this would work as a bolstering effect if desired or could just be the mechanic used to determine wether the creature is rebuked or commanded. This idea removes the healing/harming effect as written, but IMO turning undead was meant for that. As I posted elsewhere, if the clerics need more healing ability, I think they should have a Lay on Hands ability like a paladin (only better) or a healing aura like a dragon shaman (from PHB2).


I'd simply point out in turn that turn/rebuke as it exists in Pathfinder is entirely in keeping with other changes made to the system. If you're facing undead, the cleric is still good to have around, but the rogue is no longer useless. If you're not facing undead, the cleric now gets to do something besides twiddle his thumbs and heal fighters at early levels. The turn/rebuke mechanic works beautifully in conjunction with the cure/inflict dynamic to give the cleric a limited use AoE ability that will grow with their power level, keeping them vital against more than just undead. It also balances nicely with the Necromancy school abilities. Sure, the Necromancer can have 8 HD of the dead running around, but the Cleric can potentially heal their undead mooks. This sort of "de-specializing" of abilities is one of the things that really has me liking where Pathfinder is going. You can have different classes fill similar roles using entirely different ability sets, and nobody ends up just standing around when the opponent types change.

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