Command Undead and Necromancers


Rules Questions


I'm a bit unclear on some of the specifics of the command undead ability of necromancer wizards.

As it is, the description of the command undead feat in the CRB reads:

Quote:
As a standard action, you can use one of your uses of channel negative energy to enslave undead within 30 feet. Undead receive a Will save to negate the effect. The DC for this Will save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Charisma modifier. Undead that fail their saves fall under your control, obeying your commands to the best of their ability, as if under the effects of control undead. Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist your command. You can control any number of undead, so long as their total Hit Dice do not exceed your cleric level. If you use channel energy in this way, it has no other effect (it does not heal or harm nearby creatures). If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict.

And the description of command undead specific to the school of necromancy is:

Quote:
You receive Command Undead or Turn Undead as a bonus feat. You can channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier, but only to use the selected feat. You can take other feats to add to this ability, such as Extra Channel and Improved Channel, but not feats that alter this ability, such as Elemental Channel and Alignment Channel. The DC to save against these feats is equal to 10 + 1/2 your wizard level + your Charisma modifier. At 20th level, undead cannot add their channel resistance to the save against this ability.

First of all, since necromancers don't have a cleric level is the limit of how many undead they can control at once their wizard level? Or do they not have a limit.

Second, how long does command undead last? Can it continue as long as the caster wants? Can they dump their undead minions in a cave while they visit a town and then come back for them when they leave? For that matter, is their a maximum distance or anything that the undead need to maintain to stay controlled? As far as I can tell they only need to be within 30ft for the initial channel energy, and can then be sent as far away as the caster wants for as long as they want.

Finally, How does the process of disposing of commanded minions go? Doed the wizard just say the word and they become hostile again? Can they be ordered to leave without attacking, can they simply be chopped up while still under the caster's control and not fighting back?


So... Now that the holiday season has passed for the most part, does anybody have any answers? I'm still confused as to this.

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Gluttony wrote:

I'm a bit unclear on some of the specifics of the command undead ability of necromancer wizards.

As it is, the description of the command undead feat in the CRB reads:
As a standard action, you can use one of your uses of channel negative energy to enslave undead within 30 feet. Undead receive a Will save to negate the effect. The DC for this Will save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Charisma modifier. Undead that fail their saves fall under your control, obeying your commands to the best of their ability, as if under the effects of control undead. Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist your command. You can control any number of undead, so long as their total Hit Dice do not exceed your cleric level. If you use channel energy in this way, it has no other effect (it does not heal or harm nearby creatures). If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict.

Bold mine.

Let me take a stab at this...

Gluttony wrote:
First of all, since necromancers don't have a cleric level is the limit of how many undead they can control at once their wizard level? Or do they not have a limit.

The Necromancy School feature substitutes Wizard level for Cleric level when determining your DC, so you can safely assume that your Wizard level will substitute as your Cleric level to determine how many undead you can control.

Gluttony wrote:
Second, how long does command undead last? Can it continue as long as the caster wants? Can they dump their undead minions in a cave while they visit a town and then come back for them when they leave?

As the Command Undead feat indicates that the undead fall under your control and obey your commands as if under the the effects of Control Undead, the duration of the effect can be answered by referring to the Control Undead spell:

* How long does it last - 1 minute/level.

Gluttony wrote:
For that matter, is their a maximum distance or anything that the undead need to maintain to stay controlled? As far as I can tell they only need to be within 30ft for the initial channel energy, and can then be sent as far away as the caster wants for as long as they want.

Maximum Distance is unlimited once the channel is completed, so the controller can go as far from the undead as he/she likes and the controlled undead will perform his/her last order until the duration runs out.

Gluttony wrote:
Finally, How does the process of disposing of commanded minions go?

As soon as the caster's control is over, they revert to their normal behavior. If they are hostile, they will become so again. Per the Control Undead spell, intelligent undead remember being controlled and may seek revenge on the one who controlled them.

Gluttony wrote:
Does the wizard just say the word and they become hostile again?

Since this is not addressed in the Command Undead feat, I refer once again to Control Undead. Control Undead is not dismissible (as there is no D in the Duration section), and does not depend upon Concentration, so the undead remain under your control until the duration ends, or the effect is countered in some way.

Gluttony wrote:
Can they be ordered to leave without attacking?

,

Yes - until the duration runs out.

Gluttony wrote:
can they simply be chopped up while still under the caster's control and not fighting back?

Yes. The controller control them, they are not charmed, so they are, in effect, inanimate objects if the controller orders them to stand still. So, they can be attacked with no threat of breaking the controller's control.

Hope this helps!


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Once they are under your control they stay that way untill:

1) You release them.
2) The number of HD you control exceeds your necromancer level.
3) Intelligent Undead get a new saving throw to break free each day, so if they make their save.


Sorry to bump this old thread, but since now we got Variant Multiclassing, does a cleric with wizard (necromancy) as focus combine their level for determining how many undead they control?

Wizard

A character who chooses wizard as his secondary class gains the following secondary class features.

School Power: At 7th level, he gains the 1st-level powers of his chosen school. If any of those powers grant an extra effect at 20th level, the character does not gain that extra effect.

A fighter multiclass varianted wizard (necromancy) at level 7 gain command undead and get 7HD undead under his control.

So, when a cleric multiclass varianted wizard (necromancy) and gain command undead at level 7, would he have 14 HD or 7HD undead under his control?


IMHO you'd get two pools of Command Undead with 7HD for each.

Take a look at Brewer's Guide to Undeath. It has a well thought out approach to building your undead control capabilities.


RegUS PatOff wrote:

IMHO you'd get two pools of Command Undead with 7HD for each.

Take a look at Brewer's Guide to Undeath. It has a well thought out approach to building your undead control capabilities.

Agreed, nothing about VMC or Command Undead indicates that you stack levels to determine effective cleric level. (and in fact, RAW, Power over Undead doesn't actually grant an effective cleric level for the purposes of CU)


Thanks for the link. The guide is also really helpful especially with the whole list of creatures.

Two pools seem reasonable and a variable choice for p6. Always kind felt variant multiclassing blends well with p6 since it's only 1 feat trade.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Larry Lichman wrote:
Gluttony wrote:

I'm a bit unclear on some of the specifics of the command undead ability of necromancer wizards.

As it is, the description of the command undead feat in the CRB reads:
As a standard action, you can use one of your uses of channel negative energy to enslave undead within 30 feet. Undead receive a Will save to negate the effect. The DC for this Will save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your cleric level + your Charisma modifier. Undead that fail their saves fall under your control, obeying your commands to the best of their ability, as if under the effects of control undead. Intelligent undead receive a new saving throw each day to resist your command. You can control any number of undead, so long as their total Hit Dice do not exceed your cleric level. If you use channel energy in this way, it has no other effect (it does not heal or harm nearby creatures). If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict.

Bold mine.

Let me take a stab at this...

Gluttony wrote:
First of all, since necromancers don't have a cleric level is the limit of how many undead they can control at once their wizard level? Or do they not have a limit.

The Necromancy School feature substitutes Wizard level for Cleric level when determining your DC, so you can safely assume that your Wizard level will substitute as your Cleric level to determine how many undead you can control.

Gluttony wrote:
Second, how long does command undead last? Can it continue as long as the caster wants? Can they dump their undead minions in a cave while they visit a town and then come back for them when they leave?

As the Command Undead feat indicates that the undead fall under your control and obey your commands as if under the the effects of Control Undead, the duration of the effect can be answered by referring to the Control Undead spell:

* How long does it last - 1 minute/level....

So here's my question:

Why does the FEAT Command Undead have a duration of min/lvl (as per the spell Control Undead) but intelligent undead get a new saving throw each day (exactly like the SPELL Command Undead) which has a duration of day/lvl? I feel like there was a typo or other mix up somewhere along the lines.


Probably a typo. Can't really imagine a 1440 level caster or an intelligent undead being able to make that DC check. Would be mythic x epic x divine level of power.


Resurrecting an ancient thread here, because i just found it, pun intended for necromancy. IMO: You can control the intelligent undead as if using control undead, it is relaying the differentiating ability between the two spells, and what kind of orders are given. It is not referring to the duration in that instance. It is badly written, but if you check, its the action control of the undead that is vastly different. The ability is still using command undead's timeline. That is how my GM and I decided as it makes the most sense. YMMV.

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