My aim is to find a way to clone a powerful undead creature as its original human form (albeit far less powerful)for a unique plot twist in my campaign, and the 2nd ed. D&D rules allowed for this...whaddya think?
Suppose you have an undead creature, like a vampire, lich, or deathknight. If a sample of its flesh were taken (perhaps whilst it was still alive), could it be cloned as the original, uncursed creature it started from? The rules for the Clone spell state:
"When the clone is completed, the original's soul enters it immediately, if that creature is already dead."
If undead are soulless, are those souls free to enter a new body? This seems to be the case as some forms of undeath can be reversed with strong clerical magic.
Additional cloning rules:
"To create the duplicate, you must have a piece of flesh (not hair, nails, scales, or the like) with a volume of at least 1 cubic inch that was taken from the original creature's living body. The piece of flesh need not be fresh, but it must be kept from rotting."
The simalcrum was actually my first thought, but their inability to heal or advance makes their utility marginal at best. The OLD clone spell created a vital., living clone of the creature with memories and everything up to the point the sample was taken. The clone and the original could only coexist on the same plane for a short time, as one or both would go insane and destroy the other or themselves. Seemed to suggest a "soul share" issue.
So, my question remains: is there an established game mechanic that supports the possibility of a powerful undead creating a lower-level living clone of itself to, say, adventure to find a cure for the original undead form? Just became relevant in our bi-weekly game, so any additional help is appreciated!
I don't see why not, if you rule that all undead are soulless. The one caveat would be undead made of the dead creature's soul - ghosts and the like.
Some settings rule that undeath "traps" the soul, which is why resurrection effects don't work if the body is undead at the time. If you ignore that rule - I generally do personally, though I make exceptions for certain types of undead (vampires jump to mind immediately) and creatures who became undead willingly (liches, willing vampires, etc. etc. etc.).
As Mysterious stranger says, Wish can do pretty much whatever you need.
Undead being soulless is less than clear in PF, for complicated editorial reasons (soulology and ectobiology are tricky subjects with far-reaching storyline ramifications). This is fine, and you're well within your rights to rule undead are without souls but that rule and topics related to it are going to be largely uncharted territory, and therefore your call.
If an undead critter is without a soul, you could (arguably) use a combination of restore corpse and purify food and drink to make unrotted flesh from dried bone.
A regular clone of the undead critter would have whatever class levels/powers/body it had when it died, but perhaps you want something lower?
If you actually WANT the shared-soul/split-mind nightmare thing I would say undead critter has "captured" its own soul from another plane using some weird dark ritual and is splitting off pieces of that soul to create clones. Side effects include ability to share senses, varying abilities among clones, direct and/or indirect control of the clone, encroaching madness, a slowly degrading original soul, and the possibility of clonal rebellion wherein a clone begins to grow a new full soul based on the "seed" taken from undead critter.
The real question is why anything with access to at least 8th level spells (clone) can't get at least a resurrection up ins and cure all its ills. Even a True Resurrection should be within reach at that point via a scroll or a deal with an extra-planar. I assume you already have the answer to that question, and I am pretty sure it's going to have an effect on the why and how of creating clones and messing around with souls to find a cure.
Is there going to be a dramatic reveal where one of the PCs turns out to be a "Cloud" to undead baddie's "Sephiroth"?
I hadn't thought of the Cloud-Sephiroth parallel, but I dig it!
The species of undead in question are Lich and Deathknight (Graveknight). My deathknight is a cursed paladin (from 2nd edition). Foprmerly a bane of the undead, now he has become what he once hunted and set upon by his former brethren for offending his deity. Later allied by a neutral lich, the cloning is an attempt to remove his curse, with only partial success. The clone is free to adventure amongst the living to find a complete cure. The lich would simply have cloned himself as the "prototype" for the DK's procedure, perhaps adventuring with each other studying an alternate magickal path than previous (an alternate prestige class)
Thanks, all, very insightful!
So Sad Skull the Demi Litch could have a tooth cloned and the clone could enjoy life like he no longer could?
Your vampire would suddenly suffer amnesia. 3rd edition rules are that once activated, the clone becomes the only one of that person. The rest of the body cannot be resurrected. All the memories, levels, and name are transferred. Since vampire is a template, you would have to leave it the levels it got since rising. Either that, or it turns to ash and blows away.
So Sad Skull the Demi Litch could have a tooth cloned and the clone could enjoy life like he no longer could?Your vampire would suddenly suffer amnesia. 3rd edition rules are that once activated, the clone becomes the only one of that person. The rest of the body cannot be resurrected. All the memories, levels, and name are transferred. Since vampire is a template, you would have to leave it the levels it got since rising. Either that, or it turns to ash and blows away.
This presumes no separation between soul and spirit, a separation vaguely supported by such things as generic d20 speak with dead (though not, oddly enough, the PF version).
Real-world theology and parapsychology have long held the idea of many spirits within one being, of souls that are naturally divided (see the Taoist Yin-Yang for the most obvious example) into separate parts of a greater whole. Now obviously this has as little or as much to do with the game rules as you want it too, I'm just blathering because I find the topic interesting...
Another interesting bit of lore from a Dragon magazine "ecology of-" article was the Devourer, a giant (large size) undead which rips out the souls of the people it slays and uses said soul to charge its supernatural powers until the soul is expended and consumed. In the article much was made of them being desperate to regain their own soul, and consuming others to fill the indescribable emptiness of an existence without one. In this story they were first created when a failed rebellion against the githyanki lich-queen (said rebel had the option of having his soul eaten by her or going rebel) left a number of soul-drained bodies floating through the astral near some negative-material-plane portals. It ended with a second rebellion that climaxed with the Devourer and the lich queen fighting atop a pile of the corpses of their loyal servants and uncertainty as to whether either escaped "alive."
But that was another tale of another time, the focus here is why a lich would ever experiment on himself first, when there was a perfectly good fallen paladin to run the risk of madness or ectobiological dissolution for it first. I mean, animal testing protects more important beings, and everything's an animal to a sociopathic undead wizard, especially former paladins.