Querries on Commanding and Controling the Undead

Rules Questions

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Three big querries about the Power over Undead, which grants Command Undead as a bonus feat for necromancy specialist wizards:

Firstly, the Command Undead feat states that undead commanded act as though under the Control Undead spell- a 7th level spell which exerts a level of control not unlike Dominate Person. However, there is the 2nd level spell, Command Undead, which works more like Charm Person... is this what is meant? If not, why the confusing disconnect between the Command Undead feat and the Command Undead spell?

Secondly, what sort of action is it to give orders to these undead so commanded, and how soon after initially exerting command can I issue them?


Command Undead wrote:
...If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict.

How does one resolve such a conflict? Per command given? ...round by round? ...each time the undead come up in initiative?

Context of the in-game situation:
While playing my 3rd level necromancer in a PFS game today, we encountered some animated skeletons and a priest of Urgathoa. I won initiative and took command of two skeletons (a standard action). Our paladin went next, walking by the skeletons who took opportunity attacks against him (since I had not yet given orders to the contrary). When the evil priest came up in initiative, he tried to order his minions, as did I when my turn came around.

It means exactly what it says.

The Command Undead Feat allows control over undead as if you had cast Control Undead on them.

The action? You need only look at the Control Undead spell for that.

"You command them by voice and they understand you, no matter what language you speak."

Talking is a Free action. There you go.

The last one, you again quote the thing that answers your question.

"If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict."

When that comes up will depend on what orders they had.

Giving them an order to stand aside and let you through when their orders were "Stand here and not let anyone through" will trigger an opposed check.

Doing something that doesn't contradict its master's orders, on the other hand, will not.

If their orders were to sit in one spot and guard a prisoner, giving them the order to still stay there...but kill anyone who comes within 5 ft. will not trigger an opposed check.

In your specific scenario, it depends on the orders.

I'm assuming it went something like this.

Other Necromancer: "Attack them!"
You: "No, attack THEM!"

That triggers an opposed check.

I agree with your interpretation, Rynjin- as this was also my own- but the GM went another way.

Any way I could get an official statement on this from an...official?

How did he go another way? I'm hard pressed to see even a potential deviation to such clearly written rules.

Well, he didn't let me give a "stand down" order the round I initiated control, as I'd used my move and standard in doing so. The undead minions went on the initiative of the controller (likely a time saving measure, and we were running out of time at the LGS) and the control was contested between myself and the main villain. The undead minions went twice a round a couple times, lol.

Necromancers OWN fights involving undead, and are uncommon enough that many GMs are unclear on how they work (especially when pressed for time). I'm just looking for an official nod to preempt future discrepancies.

The problem is that "official nods" generally will only come down when there's a bunch of FAQ requests or there's a long, ongoing thread arguing the issue because of some real ambiguity.

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