Undeads and cybertech


Rules Questions


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Cybertech implants are restricted by Intelligence and Constitution scores. Having more implants with total implantation score higher than your Constitution bestows penalty to saving throws.

Undeads don't have Constitution score. Lack of ability scores is different than having 0 ability score.

Should the undead with implants count as having more implantation value than their nonexistent Constitution score, or should they ignore lack of Constitution, thus for practical purposes counting it as infinite for purpose of comparing it to implantation value?


2 options, either they use their charisma score (when in doubt, undead use charisma to replace constitution for stuff) or the cybertech simply cannot interface with the commands and connections of a walking corpse which only remains animate through black magic.

I can go either way, I liked the Nim from Mirrodin with their cybernetics and their undeadness.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

given that undeads use charisma in place of constitution for everything, I'd say that rule do apply even in this case


Yes, they would substitute Charisma for Constitution, as per standard undead rules.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Vera Gemini wrote:
Yes, they would substitute Charisma for Constitution, as per standard undead rules.

Problem is, they don't.

PRD wrote:


No Constitution score. Undead use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating hit points, Fortitude saves, and any special ability that relies on Constitution (such as when calculating a breath weapon's DC).

Cybernetics aren't hit points, fortitude saves or a special ability. They are gear. Quite often in games cybernetics and magic are antiethical to each other and cause problems if outright aren't even allowed to be combined. It would be quite possible that undead aren't even allowed to have cybernetics due to no constitution score. They could interfere with the magic that sustains the undead.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cybernetics probably constitute a special ability. Can I say this for sure? No. But it makes a lot more sense to follow the general rule CHA=CON for the undead, than to assume a special exception to the rule for cybernetics which is not actually articulated. Maybe in your mind it's possible the undead aren't allowed to have cybernetics, but that's not the rules of the game or even a necessarily logical conclusion in a magical world. Keep things simple, for the undead, CHA=CON. If something relies on CON it does not mean the undead cannot utilize it, unless the rules explicitly say so.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
boring7 wrote:
2 options, either they use their charisma score (when in doubt, undead use charisma to replace constitution for stuff) or the cybertech simply cannot interface with the commands and connections of a walking corpse which only remains animate through black magic.

Cybernetics rules explicitly state that creatures without both Intelligence and Constitution scores can't benefit from implants but creatures that don't have only one of those scores can. Undeads come to mind first.

Also, bone sages (Eoxian liches) are explicitly stated to sometimes augment their undead bodies with robotic parts.

As for Charisma instead of Constitution - while normally that would be way to go, in case of cybernetics the Constitution cap could refer to the cybernetics being usually designed with living flesh in mind and thus being unsuited to work with undead flesh. Or it could be something else...


Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun. Shadowrun's rules make it clear that cybernetics and magic don't mix. But again, Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun.


AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun. Shadowrun's rules make it clear that cybernetics and magic don't mix. But again, Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun.

Shadowrun isn't the only game, though it might be the first that comes to mind for some. Rifts is another, Robotech is a third, various fantasy writing does the same. We're talking a niche ruleset with little background. What is clear is that we don't have enough in the rules to answer the question for this instance.

We don't have rules for what happens, so it is all guess work. Your opinion is as valid as mine, which is as valid as the next person's.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.


It depends on the reasoning for the CON cap.

If we assume that it represents the strain the implants cause to a living being, then undead would have no cap, because they don't have a living body to strain.


Drejk wrote:
Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.

Does it say anything about undead skeletons running around with cybernetic muscles? Or undead being augmented by cybernetics in general? In guessing not (as you are here asking).

Mixing magic and technology is common, creatures imbedding technology into an otherwise magical or mystical force, or their bodies (that were used to maniputlate those forces) is where the 'hiccups' often occur. Not saying it isn't intended or that it is not possible, just saying we don't know. Thus your questions.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Technology Guide, page 35 wrote:

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an

Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech,
but a creature with only one of these scores can.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Skylancer4 wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.
Does it say anything about undead skeletons running around with cybernetic muscles? Or undead being augmented by cybernetics in general?

Yes. Which part of my earlier post: "Also, bone sages (Eoxian liches) are explicitly stated to sometimes augment their undead bodies with robotic parts." is hard to read? I have my Distant Worlds open at the moment and it says about bonesages sometimes using robotic replacement parts. Page 29, right column, near the bottom.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I would quite unabashedly use Charisma for Constitution for cyber-zombies. The alternative is no limit, which sounds like a bad, unintended, idea.


Sissyl wrote:
I would quite unabashedly use Charisma for Constitution for cyber-zombies. The alternative is no limit, which sounds like a bad, unintended, idea.

The limit in that case is the (not insubstantial) cost.

Also nearly any form of PC as undead scenario is already going to be heavy on fiat, so balance is an unlikely outcome.

Charisma works fine though, if you want a limit.


It's not necessarily a PC we're talking about. =)


Sorry, i just want to step in to correct this:

Quote:


Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun. Shadowrun's rules make it clear that cybernetics and magic don't mix. But again, Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun.

You are quite wrong sir.

While that is true for the most part of the system (metahumans), thats not 100% of the cases. There is something called "cyber zombies" in shadowrun that are created fusing technology and magic to keep the mind inside the body, even when it was so changed by cybernetics that would be impossible to stay alive inside the metal husk.
When the body simply cant take cybernetics anymore, the guy can go into a process of holding his mind in place using spells while his body is pretty much dead and/or replaced by machines. The guy will retain some of his cognitive capabilities, will have some of his emotions and memories replaced by computer programs, and everything else will be cybernetics.

The 6.0 essence limit is completely skipped, and the character will have a negative essence, that will define how deformed he is and how little mind he has left to control his (now) zombie-like character.

Like this guy.

Also, in last year's metaplot, we found out that there is the spirit of a deceased dragon living inside one of those zombies.

@Topic
In this case, i would rule that undead can ignore such limits.
There is little difference between a muscle and bone dead leg and a mechanical one.


Sissyl wrote:
I would quite unabashedly use Charisma for Constitution for cyber-zombies. The alternative is no limit, which sounds like a bad, unintended, idea.

There is still Intelligence limit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Personally, unless the robotic parts are designed to work with dead flesh and bone (which is sort of what I assumed for the bone sages), I would probably not have cybernetics of a living creature still function correctly on a "normal" undead. If it was important for that to do for the monster design, I would probably just go ahead and create a new monster (to be honest, cyber-zombies and stuff like that feel like they should be more unique)

There might be general exceptions to this however. For instance, I could see cybernetics being part of or the primary component of a Grave knight's armor. And the more human-like a undead is, the more likely i would be okay with some cybernetics still functioning (makes more sense for a vampire than say a skeleton in my head)


Drejk wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.
Does it say anything about undead skeletons running around with cybernetic muscles? Or undead being augmented by cybernetics in general?
Yes. Which part of my earlier post: "Also, bone sages (Eoxian liches) are explicitly stated to sometimes augment their undead bodies with robotic parts." is hard to read? I have my Distant Worlds open at the moment and it says about bonesages sometimes using robotic replacement parts. Page 29, right column, near the bottom.

Great so we have fluff (which isn't always backed by crunch/rules) and just may be plot driven (aka "special") and not something that is supposed to be allowed normally, or at all outside the stated exception.

In absence of written rules to cover the point, ask the GM what to do. If you are the GM make the decision due to lack of written rules. We don't have a definitive answer, we have flavor text suggesting it is possible, but nothing covering the situation due to it's differences from the "norm" that the rules do cover. Flavor text isn't the same as written rules, they often dont "mesh" this isn't anything new.

Again I'm not saying it is or isn't possible, just the rules don't give details on what is happening in such a case, and anything being suggested to do anything besides what the rules say, is opinion and conjecture, which could go either way. But apparently that is "hard" for you to "read."


Also, you paraphrased (incompletely) in your opening post instead of quoted which could make a difference.

d20pfsrd: Cybertech wrote:


Each piece of cybertech has an implantation value that indicates how invasive the implant is. The total combined implantation values of all cybertech implanted in a single creature can't exceed either that creature's Constitution score or Intelligence score—a creature's Constitution sets the physical limit of what its body can accept in the form of cybernetic implants, while the creature's Intelligence sets the mental limit of what its brain can control. An implants whose implantation value would cause the total to exceed either of these two scores does not function but still takes up a body slot. In addition, as long as a character has cybernetic implants installed whose combined implantation exceeds his Constitution or Intelligence, he takes a -4 penalty on all saving throws.

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech, but a creature with only one of these scores can.

It is dependent on the lowest score of the two, not just constitution, normally. For undead who don't have the score at all that the lowest score would be intelligence by default. At least by RAW.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Skylancer4 wrote:
In absence of written rules to cover the point, ask the GM what to do. If you are the GM make the decision due to lack of written rules.

I am game designer considering writing article for Wayfinder. The question was directed to creators of this game - as can be seen by FAQ tag on my post.


Skylancer4 wrote:

Also, you paraphrased (incompletely) in your opening post instead of quoted which could make a difference.

d20pfsrd: Cybertech wrote:


Each piece of cybertech has an implantation value that indicates how invasive the implant is. The total combined implantation values of all cybertech implanted in a single creature can't exceed either that creature's Constitution score or Intelligence score—a creature's Constitution sets the physical limit of what its body can accept in the form of cybernetic implants, while the creature's Intelligence sets the mental limit of what its brain can control. An implants whose implantation value would cause the total to exceed either of these two scores does not function but still takes up a body slot. In addition, as long as a character has cybernetic implants installed whose combined implantation exceeds his Constitution or Intelligence, he takes a -4 penalty on all saving throws.

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech, but a creature with only one of these scores can.

It is dependent on the lowest score of the two, not just constitution, normally. For undead who don't have the score at all that the lowest score would be intelligence by default. At least by RAW.

Right about the saving throws, my bad in that aspect - I conflated the two parts of the ability score limit for implants into one in my reading. My question is still valid one, though, because of the line in italics - exceeding either of those scores prevents the implant exceeding the limit from working.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Skylancer4 wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.
Does it say anything about undead skeletons running around with cybernetic muscles? Or undead being augmented by cybernetics in general?
Yes. Which part of my earlier post: "Also, bone sages (Eoxian liches) are explicitly stated to sometimes augment their undead bodies with robotic parts." is hard to read? I have my Distant Worlds open at the moment and it says about bonesages sometimes using robotic replacement parts. Page 29, right column, near the bottom.

Great so we have fluff (which isn't always backed by crunch/rules) and just may be plot driven (aka "special") and not something that is supposed to be allowed normally, or at all outside the stated exception

In absence of written rules to cover the point, ask the GM what to do. If you are the GM make the decision due to lack of written rules. We don't have a definitive answer, we have flavor text suggesting it is possible, but nothing covering the situation due to it's differences from the "norm" that the rules do cover. Flavor text isn't the same as written rules, they often dont "mesh" this isn't anything new.

Again I'm not saying it is or isn't possible, just the rules don't give details on what is happening in such a case, and anything being suggested to do anything besides what the rules say, is opinion and conjecture, which could go either way. But apparently that is "hard" for you to "read."

For the sake of argument let's accept strict separation of "fluff" and "crunch" (which is problematic dichotomy in itself, but that's a different discussion).

Even if we accept lesser weight of "fluff" when compared to "crunch", the fluff is still a premise for in-game facts until contradicted by further products.

Facts: (a) there is no explicit rule for undeads and cybernetics interaction. (b) there is a crunch statement that gives provision for creatures without Constitution score using cybernetics. (c) there is explicit statement about undeads and cybernetics meshing well in Pathfinder default setting. (d) I know of neither explicit statement nor implication anywhere that cybernetics don't work for undeads.

When you requested for factual statement about cybernetic undeads I provided you with the reference to explicit statement. You provided absolutely no evidence or references that might support your wild guess that undeads might not be able to use cybernetics.

Are you really claiming that opinion based on absolutely no evidence of any sort is equally valid as opinion based on evidence? In such case we really have nothing to discuss anymore.

If not, please provide evidence that would support your opinion that undeads might not be able of using cybernetics.


Drejk wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
In absence of written rules to cover the point, ask the GM what to do. If you are the GM make the decision due to lack of written rules.
I am game designer considering writing article for Wayfinder. The question was directed to creators of this game - as can be seen by FAQ tag on my post.

To clarify: I have no option for guessing and houseruling in that capacity. I expect the answer to be 'undeads only compare implantation value with Intelligence' and for personal purposes I would go with that interpretation in no time but for something that would see the light of the day in publication I want explicit answer.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Skylancer4 wrote:
It is dependent on the lowest score of the two, not just constitution, normally. For undead who don't have the score at all that the lowest score would be intelligence by default. At least by RAW.

Can really nonability be considered higher than existing number? Or is there no process of comparison at all? That's the core of my question. Is there a specific section describing non-ability scores at all and what happens when rules request for interaction with ability that isn't there? I found a three sentence note in 3.5 monster manual "reading the entries" section ("Nonabilities: Some creatures lack certain ability scores. These creatures do not have an ability score of 0—they lack the ability altogether. The modifier for a nonability is +0.") but I can't find corresponding text or rule in Pathfinder.

EDIT: I found more of nonability rules in 3.5, hidden in Types, Subtypes, And Special Abilities section but Pathfinder does not seem to have equivalent rule in Creature Types or Universal Monster Rules section. It describes no ability score for each ability. It seems to be cut away when Pathfinder was designed.


I think having no CON score a cybernetic implant will simply not work on an undead, since it's made to interface with living creatures, not with supernaturally animated corpses.


Threeshades wrote:
I think having no CON score a cybernetic implant will simply not work on an undead, since it's made to interface with living creatures, not with supernaturally animated corpses.

The rule that explicitly allows creatures with Intelligence score but no Constitution score (and those that have Constitution but lack Intelligence) to benefit from cybernetic implants was cited already a few times in the discussion.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay sorry for the rushed post.

I read up on the thing. Seeing as how the impantation value can't exceed either INT or CON, and being undead means there simply is no CON, i would say that undead only have the Intelligence limit.

Look at it this way:

Implants: My implantations have a total value of 14
Intelligence: my intelligence is 15 so that's within the limit.
Constitution: There is no constitution so there is no limit.

Honestly it can only be either that or 0, (anything else would be completely arbitrary), but 0 would mean it can't use cybernetics so that can't be right.


EDIT: Snark withdrawn.
Moving on...

Regardless, I'd recommend that, in lieu of other input, to presume it's based on Charisma. The reason? This is the only other element in an undead's case that has any sort of comparison, and the rules for undead were written before, say, technology actually existed.

That said, it's not an airtight case for the reasons you've outlined, Drejk, which is why I hit FAQ. I'm might interested in learning the answers to this...

Incidentally, if it is only intelligence instead of INT/CHA dichotomy, that makes the liches of Eox (or similar creatures) terrifying... well, more terrifying, anyway, because most of them would be wizards or magi from my reading/recollection (the impression I got, anyway), they have a naturally high INT, which is boosted further by lichdom, probably had everything pumped into it from leveling up (which means at least +2 more) and was likely their best stat. That's at least a +6 to a presumably already-good stat, not to mention any magic items or effects they have to increase it. And they probably had dumped CON previously, too.


At the moment I think we have following options here, with one highly unlikely:

1. Undeads (and Constructs) counts as having Constitution 0. However, that would make them unable to actually benefit from non-cosmetic implants so this is highly unlikely in light of eoxian cyber-liches. Even if they haven't appeared with full stat blocks.

2. Undeads (and Constructs) are unrestricted by Constitution limit on implants. That will make for wicked eoxian cyber-liches...

3. Undeads use Charisma in place of Constitution when calculating implant limit. Not as potent as 2. In this case Constructs would probably use their own rule found in description of Construct type: "Any DCs or other statistics that rely on a Constitution score treat a construct as having a score of 10 (no bonus or penalty)."

4. Undeads are unrestricted by Constitution limit and Constructs use the "use 10 in place of Constitution" rule.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

People didn't see my quote, straight from the rules, above?

If they have no int score, they use only their con score.
If they have no con score, they use only their int score.

If they have neither, they cannot use cybertech.


Byakko wrote:

People didn't see my quote, straight from the rules, above?

If they have no int score, they use only their con score.
If they have no con score, they use only their int score.

If they have neither, they cannot use cybertech.

That is not quite what the rules say.

Byakko wrote:
Technology Guide, page 35 wrote:

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an

Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech,
but a creature with only one of these scores can.

... is not the same as "if you don't have CON, use INT" - it simply means you need either CON or INT to receive the benefits.

The problem is that cybertech is MAD - but what happens to a MAD system when there is only one attribute?

Your interpretation is certainly one valid way of taking it, but it's not the only way of reading that text in plain English.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tacticslion wrote:
Byakko wrote:

People didn't see my quote, straight from the rules, above?

If they have no int score, they use only their con score.
If they have no con score, they use only their int score.

If they have neither, they cannot use cybertech.

That is not quite what the rules say.

Byakko wrote:
Technology Guide, page 35 wrote:

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an

Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech,
but a creature with only one of these scores can.

... is not the same as "if you don't have CON, use INT" - it simply means you need either CON or INT to receive the benefits.

The problem is that cybertech is MAD - but what happens to a MAD system when there is only one attribute?

Your interpretation is certainly one valid way of taking it, but it's not the only way of reading that text in plain English.

Ok, I agree it requires a small leap in logic, but keep in mind it also states:

"An implants whose implantation value would cause the total to exceed
either of these two scores does not function but still takes up a body slot."

So, if we have a rule that says if implants exceed a creature's Con they do not function, and another rule that says a creature without a Con score can benefit from cybertech it should be evident that the second is a specific exception of the need for a Con score in order to function.
And the same for a creature without Int.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Iron Gods #6:
There is a cyborg lich page 66.


shadowkras wrote:

Sorry, i just want to step in to correct this:

Quote:


Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun. Shadowrun's rules make it clear that cybernetics and magic don't mix. But again, Pathfinder isn't Shadowrun.

You are quite wrong sir.

While that is true for the most part of the system (metahumans), thats not 100% of the cases. There is something called "cyber zombies"...

Yes, I am aware of Cyberzombies (always wanted to play one, but my GM would never allow them) but they are a very specific and very strongly penalized exception to the basic rules that cybernetics and magic do not mix, and really they still don't very well even with the cyberzombies...

But, Pathfinder has shown no precedent that cybernetics and magic don't work, again as others have pointed it it's been the opposite with enchanted magic items and Bonesages of Eox (and the spoilered thing above me is the largest and most perfect example of why it works)


Byakko wrote:

Ok, I agree it requires a small leap in logic, but keep in mind it also states:

"An implants whose implantation value would cause the total to exceed
either of these two scores does not function but still takes up a body slot."

So, if we have a rule that says if implants exceed a creature's Con they do not function, and another rule that says a creature without a Con score can benefit from cybertech it should be evident that the second is a specific exception of the need for a Con score in order to function.
And the same for a creature without Int.

That's a pretty solid basis for the presumption. I do see where the logic comes from.

I am, in fact, curious how it works - and I agree with the basic premise. My only point was that it wasn't the only conclusion to come to. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

the rules for cybernetics are this

A creature with neither a Constitution score nor an
Intelligence score cannot receive benefits from cybertech,
but a creature with only one of these scores can.

so as long as it is intelligent undead i think they can have them


Skylancer4 wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Actually we have quite explicit statement that magic and technology mix with each other quite well in Pathfinder default setting: technology devices can be made into magic items, already mentioned Eoxian liches and neigbourhood Vercites combine magic and technology and produce various devices and augmentations.

Does it say anything about undead skeletons running around with cybernetic muscles? Or undead being augmented by cybernetics in general? In guessing not (as you are here asking).

Mixing magic and technology is common, creatures imbedding technology into an otherwise magical or mystical force, or their bodies (that were used to maniputlate those forces) is where the 'hiccups' often occur. Not saying it isn't intended or that it is not possible, just saying we don't know. Thus your questions.

The fail scenario for Wrath of the Righteous includes a segment on demons moving through Numeria and merging the high-tech weapons found there into their bodies.

That's about as mixed as you can get.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Undeads and cybertech All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.