Gotham Gamemaster's Playtest (Turning)


Combat & Magic


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

RULE PLAYTESTED: Turning

EVENT: 4th-Level Cleric vs. various CR ghouls

THE GOOD: The healing effects of the cleric's positive energy burst seemed balanced and entertaining. In fact, a TPK would have almost certainly occurred without the new rules--saving the campaign in a stroke. The dungeon layout prevented the cleric from reaching injured party members with touch spells but the burst effect gave the cleric's injured allies just enough of a boost to continue fighting---but not too much that whatever threat they faced was diminished. Overall, my vote is 100% for the healing effects of the positive energy burst.

THE BAD: The damage inflicted by the 4h-level cleric's positive energy burst was minimal once turn resistance (with its resist positive energy effect) was taken into account and did not seem commensurate with the healing benefits provided by the same burst. Or in other words, turning seemed to function mainly as a mass heal with a few hps of damage offered to undead as an add-on.

THE UGLY: Frightened undead fleeing for 1d4+Cha rounds. Combatants fleeing the battlefield for brief amounts of time was awkward, silly and needlessly complicated (tracking particular creatures for X number of rounds as they paraded to and from the battle was neither dramatic nor sensible).

SUGGESTIONS:

1) Increase the damage effect of a turning burst from its current levels, but retain the healing effect at current levels. So a burst that did 3d6 damage, provides half that in healing (rounded down).

2) Replace the frightened effect with either shaken effect or a dazed effect.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not sure if I agree on the damage vs undead ,but one of my players
complained the first time he used it against undead that his damage seemed miniscule. Turn resistance does indeed make it even smaller...so maybe?

I think you bring up a good point ,but it will take a few more chances to see it in action to be sure.


Hmmm. Interesting observations. What about a feat that increases turning damage against undead? How useful was the ability against undead without turning resistance? What about increasing the frightened condition to the standard 3.5 system of 1 minute (10 rounds)?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
shekaka wrote:

I'm not sure if I agree on the damage vs undead ,but one of my players

complained the first time he used it against undead that his damage seemed miniscule. Turn resistance does indeed make it even smaller...so maybe?

I think you bring up a good point ,but it will take a few more chances to see it in action to be sure.

I've noticed this as well.

Spoiler:
During my RotRL game last week, we reached the point where Mammy and her zombies areand my cleric tried to turn the zombies. As a 7th level cleric against 2HD undead, she literally was unable to avoid destroying them outright. I realized at the time, however, that those same zombies would have taken an average of 14 damage from her turn effect before saves which would have not destroyed any of the 16 hp zaombies.

Thus far it is my greatest concern with the new Turn Undead rules; it really seems to demand that you take Extra Turning, if only so you can manage to do in two actions what you used to be able to achieve in one...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jank Falcon wrote:
Hmmm. Interesting observations. What about a feat that increases turning damage against undead? How useful was the ability against undead without turning resistance? What about increasing the frightened condition to the standard 3.5 system of 1 minute (10 rounds)?

There weren't any encounters with creatures without turn resistance but the 2d6 damage would seem balanced there (if the enemies were zombies), so perhaps it is the Resist Positive Energy 5 that's the problem. Good point!

As for the frightened condition, I think extending it is even worse. Fleeing the turner ends the encounter in an unsatisfying, undramatic (and inconclusive) manner.


OK. I've never thought about it but i realized that we play frightened undead- of the mindless variety- as being to dumb to do things like find exits out of the room (assuming we're in a dungeon). They simply try to move as far away from the cleric as they can before hitting some sort of barrier, like a wall. Then they cower, which makes them easy prey for beat sticks. But perhaps dazed or shaken isn't a terrible idea...


I replaced the "Flee" effect with "shaken" in 3.5 with no problems, so I dont see why it would not work for Pathfinder.

Dark Archive

Baquies wrote:
I replaced the "Flee" effect with "shaken" in 3.5 with no problems, so I dont see why it would not work for Pathfinder.

Instead of fleeing, I've toyed with the idea of adding a sanctuary-like effect, so the cleric and any allies within 5 feet requires the undead to make a Will save or lose their action.


I third that frightened is anticlimactic and awkward as mechanic for turning undead.

Perhaps undead that fail their Will save should instead be treated as shaken for 1d4 rds + Chr Mod. Furthermore, If the cleric's class level is at least twice the number of the effected undead's HD they are treated as being dazed for the first round and shaken for the remaining rounds.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

sysane wrote:
Perhaps undead that fail their Will save should instead be treated as shaken for 1d4 rds + Chr Mod. Furthermore, If the cleric's class level is at least twice the number of the effected undead's HD they are treated as being dazed for the first round and shaken for the remaining rounds.

You could always just change it to say that the undead count as frightened whenever they are within 30 feet of the cleric, but otherwise act normally. That way, the undead stay in the fight, but every time the cleric gets close, they have to waste actions moving away, and they cower if they are unable to do so.

As for turning damage, if it turns out to be too low, as the OP's playtest suggests, just drop the positive energy resistance part of turn resistance. Just have turn resistance be a bonus to saves against turning.


Check this out. How about removing the whole "Flee" thing and just leaving the remnants:

Cowering
A cowering creature is frozen in fear or awe,
unable to take actions. It takes a –2 penalty to AC and loses
its Dexterity bonus (in all applications).

It's still effective. But if there is a lot of them the duration may run out before they can all be chopped down where they stand. It would also give bad guy clerics the opportunity to win them back over.

Dark Archive

sysane wrote:

I third that frightened is anticlimactic and awkward as mechanic for turning undead.

Perhaps undead that fail their Will save should instead be treated as shaken for 1d4 rds + Chr Mod. Furthermore, If the cleric's class level is at least twice the number of the effected undead's HD they are treated as being dazed for the first round and shaken for the remaining rounds.

I had a thought.

Why not have any undead that have been turned, rather than flee, or be shaken, have all undead within 30 feet of the cleric be nauseated (can only make a move action), and any within 60 feet of the cleric be shaken (-2 to attacks, etc). for 1d4 + Cha mod rounds.

That would encourage undead to move away from the cleric, but not force them to run helter-skelter ...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I actually think healing and damage AND a fleeing effect is just too much. I'd rather see healing and damage and a 1 round daze effect (with no daze effect on a successful save vs. the damage). Undead just seem too easy to kill otherwise.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Eric Tillemans wrote:
I actually think healing and damage AND a fleeing effect is just too much. I'd rather see healing and damage and a 1 round daze effect (with no daze effect on a successful save vs. the damage). Undead just seem too easy to kill otherwise.

Hmm. I'm inclined to agree. Undead are meant to supply an element of horrot to the game--and watching them behave like Chicken Little in any way, shape or form isn't very scary.


It seems like the whole 'turning undead' mechanic is intended to recreate the classic aversion that vampires (or other undead) have to crosses (or other holy symbols). It seems like the goal is to recreate a system in which even powerful (high HD) undead are unable to approach the wielder of the holy symbol, but are under no compulsion to flee the room entirely or ignore the turner's companions.

Thus, the 'sanctuary' effect mentioned above seems like a step in the right direction, but perhaps something a bit stronger that only protects the cleric and anyone he happens to be shielding (the image of the cleric standing over a helpless villager, warding off Dracula with a cross should come to mind).

From a mechanics standpoint, I like the extra healing built into Turning, just to keep the party going and to allow the cleric to use some spells for things other than healing.

My initial thought is something like:

Whenever the cleric presents his holy symbol opposing the foul blight of undead, his comrades are inspired and reinvigorated by the sight of holy power (effectively healing them for the standard amount as presented). Further, a Warding effect is created, essentially an Anti-Undead Shell, that would require a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 CL + Cha mod) to cross. Even if the undead makes the Will save, it is Nauseated for as long as it remains in the area (20' radius, perhaps) and the cleric continues to hold his holy symbol aloft. This would allow the cleric to protect comrades, but not blow through the entire encounter.

The cleric could also "try again," refocusing his faith (regardless of the effects of earlier attempts), for the benefit of further healing of the party. Each such attempt would add +2 to the DC of the Will save per previous Turning of Undead in this encounter.

Just a thought.

O


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Arcesilaus wrote:
It seems like the whole 'turning undead' mechanic is intended to recreate the classic aversion that vampires (or other undead) have to crosses (or other holy symbols). I

Ah, this could be the key. But i believe the aversion should exist for vampires only and not the other forms of undead. Zombies in a "Living Dead" flick wouldn't blink twice at someone holding a crucifix. The aversion is too broadly applied when it covers all undead and robs them of their rightful menace.

Dark Archive

Gotham Gamemaster wrote:

RULE PLAYTESTED: Turning

2) Replace the frightened effect with either shaken effect or a dazed effect.

I whole-heartedly agree with this -- turning is too powerful now, and I'd also like to see it dazing, stunning or "weakening" undead.

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