Command Undead + Allip wrecking me


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Dark Archive

So please tell me I am missing something here.

My groups cleric now controls 2 allips. they are incorporeal.

1) is there no rule that creatures of massive size can hit them? As far as I can tell, unless a monster has a feat, these 12 HD giant plants and animals just cant do damage to them.

2) There is no save against the Allips wisdom drain. It isnt listed as a SLA or SP so SR doesnt apply. I cant find anything that says creatures immune to mind-affecting things are immune, so as far as i can tell, these can drain plants.

What stops a CR3 Allip from just walking up to a CR10 plant and draining its wis to 0 with touch attacks, immune to any counter attacks?


1.) Why would being big let you hit a ghost?

2.) Correct. If the plant has Wisdom, the allip can drain it. Ill admit i havent used a lot of plant monsters in Pathfinder, is it common for them to have wisdom?

Why did you give him two allips in a campaign mostly made up of plant monsters apparently? And if you want to get rid of them, send an Iron Golem with an enchanted sword (or fists) at the party. The party should win, but the golem should easily be able to kill off the allips before they do.

Liberty's Edge

Don't see how this is much different than a shadow dancers shadow companion. When players can get an incorporeal ally, it's basically an auto win unless the enemies have magic weapons, or an ally casting ghostbane dirge, or at least spells that can affect the allips.

So yes, your plants are hosed. It's time to look into replacing them with more appropriate enemies, or give them a caster ally to deal with the allips.

Dark Archive

I didnt write the adventure. I avoided mentioning its title to avoid spoilers.

Cool, i dont mind them beating the giant plants so long as its legal. i just had some sinking feeling there was a rule or exception i was overlooking.

thanks for the fast replies!


pretty silly adventure youve got there. You never send allips at a party with a necromancer. They basically auto win for a ton of encounters until like level 14 (and you can hide them in the ground for any encounter theyre not auto win in). Id give them the benefit of the doubt assuming there would be no necromancer (silly assumption) but the allips are so low CR that the only purpose they could have is to be controlled.


This is just a breakpoint ability that installs a bar to entry for combat against it.
Same as flight spells making creatures without a ranged attack or their own flight moot.

regardless of how well your cleric has his spirits bound they get a check to break free each day.
If anything happens to suppress or disrupt that effect those allies become adversaries.
And their first action would be to retreat to avoid a secondary capture. It would be a grim time indeed if one of them got away and happened on an undefended hamlet.
Never mind that allied clerics, druid and other "Holy" types are not going to be impressed that the party is trucking around spirits of insanity in populated areas.

The Allips can't detect living creatures any better than a normal mortal with dark vision. Anything that can hide better than they can seek will still be quite free to attack and maim the party. If your party is typical they should be chewing through big plants like that at a decent rate so its not like the wisdom damage route will kill them any faster than just having the party wail on the thing to begin with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Allips are insane - I can't see them being reliably controlled over a long period of time.

Allip description wrote:
Those who fall prey to madness and take their own lives sometimes find themselves lost on the path to the afterlife, trapped in a state between life and death. These unfortunates, known as allips, suffer from the violent and incurable insanity they faced in life and take out their terror, confusion, and rage upon the living. They reach out to those they encounter—possibly in wrath, but also perhaps oblivious to their own insane nature—spreading the psychoses that led to their own untimely deaths.

Sure, give the PC necromancer some fun for the first hour or so (maybe 10 minutes x caster level of the Necromancer). Then the allips will begin to revert to their true nature. Use the random table from the confusion spell at first, then give them an increasing chance to revert to their natural insane rage against the living.

Of course, that's just the Allip. There are many other incorporeal undead critters with stat drain that could give a necromancer the same benefits. IMHO any DM who lets one of his players go down the necromancer route deserves all the aggro he gets. <g>


How exactly is the cleric suppressing the Babble ability?

Quote:


Babble (Su)

An allip constantly mutters to itself, creating a hypnotic effect. All sane creatures within 60 feet of the allip must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be fascinated for 2d4 rounds. While a target is fascinated, the allip can approach it without breaking the effect, but an attack by the allip does end the effect. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same allip's babble for 24 hours. This is a sonic, mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.


shadowkras wrote:

How exactly is the cleric suppressing the Babble ability?

Quote:


Babble (Su)

An allip constantly mutters to itself, creating a hypnotic effect. All sane creatures within 60 feet of the allip must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be fascinated for 2d4 rounds. While a target is fascinated, the allip can approach it without breaking the effect, but an attack by the allip does end the effect. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same allip's babble for 24 hours. This is a sonic, mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Just get fascinated at the start of the day untill you save. Is not like being fascinated interrupts the control. The allip is just going to stand still untill you give him any orders.


shadowkras wrote:

How exactly is the cleric suppressing the Babble ability?

Quote:


Babble (Su)

An allip constantly mutters to itself, creating a hypnotic effect. All sane creatures within 60 feet of the allip must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be fascinated for 2d4 rounds. While a target is fascinated, the allip can approach it without breaking the effect, but an attack by the allip does end the effect. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same allip's babble for 24 hours. This is a sonic, mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

By maybe getting fascinated for a short amount of time once per day while almost certainly not in combat?


I know it's a game, but i cant see any character i ever made getting willingly fascinated for 2d4 rounds and leaving himself vulnerable for that evil, maybe neutral, cleric to do as he pleases with him.

Against 2, maybe more, creatures that can drain his wisdom and make him even more vulnerable against mind-affecting spells.

Every. Day.


shadowkras wrote:

I know it's a game, but i cant see any character i ever made getting willingly fascinated for 2d4 rounds and leaving himself vulnerable for that evil, maybe neutral, cleric to do as he pleases with him.

Against 2, maybe more, creatures that can drain his wisdom and make him even more vulnerable against mind-affecting spells.

Every. Day.

For that to happen, the entire party would have to fail their save, and they would have to fail their saves within 2d4 rounds of eachother over a 24 hour period. Plus it's a Fascination effect, so if the cleric does anything kinda hostile looking they get another save. If they do anything like actually harm someone, the entire party comes out of the fascination effect. The allips themselves can only get 1 free swing in before breaking the fascination effect on a PC.

This isn't exactly a great way of betraying the party. Personally, I would be much more worried about the cleric turning on the party at the end of a tough combat encounter, when the rest of the PCs are going to have trouble against two incorporeal undead and a cleric who hung back the entire battle.


Controlling incorporeal undead is a great tactic to use in most adventure paths. The majority of enemies just aren't equipped to deal with them. This is one of the main strengths of necromancer builds before about 5th to 7th level. I was in a game where a necro-cleric took control of a Shadow at 2nd level, and had it as a companion until almost 6th because not many things can effect them.

Some ideas-

If there's an enemy caster of some sort, tweak thier abilities/class to be able to handle Allips. Even something as simple as swithing a class to Cleric would work. Quickened Channel and/or Command Undead would make a boss fight even meaner since the PCs brought the boss reinforcements.

Force effects and Magic Circle Against Evil are great against undead. Energy attacks still deal some damage. Something like a powerful breath weapon or fireball will tear an Allip up.

Make sure all intelligent enemies with ranged weapons have ammo pre-treated with Blanches. All smart archers and gunslingers carry them. Ghost Salt ammo is great, and makes for an interesting kind of treasure for the PCs after the fight. Don't just dump ghost salt ammo on the Allips right off the bat though unless the enemies have been observing the PCs. Give the PCs the satisfaction of the enemies first attack or two not effecting the Allip, then turn the tables on them as the enemies bring out the specialty ammo.

Having them run into an undead-hunting group of inquisitors/paladins/clerics could be fun. Hard to explain to the good guys that you aren't really evil jerkwads when you're traveling around with a couple Allips.

Past about 7th level incorporeal creatures become a lot less of a problem because enemies start having abilities that can deal with them. Another solution is to just let the PCs steamroll the adventure until then. If they're still having fun letting their pets solo the encounters, then no big deal.


Well, Incorporeal creatures aren't immune to spell damage; they just take half damage from it.

So, with only 30 HP and mediocre saves (+4 across the board), it should be pretty easy to destroy them with damage spells, especially if we're talking CR 10. Not sure how many creatures at this point in the AP have spell casting ability, though.


If he is controlling them via Command Undead then they get a will save to break the control every day. Just have them roll the check while the cleric sleeps. He will stop in a hurry.

Also, Allips have an ability called Madness.

Madness wrote:
Anyone targeting an allip with a thought detection, mind control, or telepathic effect makes direct contact with its tortured mind and takes 1d4 points of Wisdom damage.

I am pretty sure commanding them is mind control... So your cleric will take 1d4 points of wisdom drain whenever the allips break free and he has to re-assert control again.


Quote:
I am pretty sure commanding them is mind control...

I also thought that, but Command Undead works by voice commands, and is similar to a necromantic spell that makes no mention of mental commands or communication.

Dark Archive

Well you can command undead on mindless undead so i dont consider it mind control. But food for thought.

There wont (i doubt) be a day 2. they just came across some, the cleric resisted the babble, and owned them. I assume my players will find a way to eliminate them long before a day 2 takes place.

It was just pretty weird seeing them so powerful against creatures with 130+hp and absolutely deadly attacks, i wanted to double check there was no "Creatures with 10 or more HD have their natural attacks count as magical" or some other dnd-ish thing i had missed.

Seems like, in this very limited case, they got lucky. time to find a megalodon or dinosaur herd.


Allips are intelligent yet insane and unpredictable. The caster should make a check every single time it gives a command to it (though it may be too late to put this in now). Furthermore, the rest of the group should find this terribly unsettling, unless they are all evil, especially since everyone stands to be annoying affected by its babble.

Finally,

PRD Allip wrote:

Those who fall prey to madness and take their own lives sometimes find themselves lost on the path to the afterlife, trapped in a state between life and death. These unfortunates, known as allips, suffer from the violent and incurable insanity they faced in life and take out their terror, confusion, and rage upon the living. They reach out to those they encounter—possibly in wrath, but also perhaps oblivious to their own insane nature—spreading the psychoses that led to their own untimely deaths.

In combat, allips relentlessly attack the nearest living creature, relying on their babble to let them close in before attacking with their touch of insanity. Many seem to be driven to states of ferocity upon witnessing the terror living creatures exhibit when facing their spectral forms, or when faced with the intangibility of their incorporeal states. While allips have no way to kill creatures, those knocked unconscious by an allip's Wisdom-draining touch often emerge from the state suffering from insanity (see pages 250–251 of the GameMastery Guide)—a fate that many would say qualifies as worse than death.

Furthermore
PRD Command Undead wrote:
If the subject is intelligent, it perceives your words and actions favorably (treat its attitude as friendly). It will not attack you while the spell lasts. You can give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn't ordinarily do. Retries are not allowed.

Allips (a)rage upon the living, (b) relentlessly attack the nearest living creature, and (c) only will see the controlling Cleric as friendly.

So my thought here is that the Allips should be constantly trying to attack the party members too (assuming they are living) with the Cleric constantly telling them not to. And of course, as soon as one of the opposed checks to 'leave x alone' commands fails, there is no retry.


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It's Command Undead the feat, not Command Undead the spell. The Command Undead feat turns Channel into a long term duration Control Undead effect. No Cha checks or anything. It does whatever the caster wants. FFS, you can order undead to off themselves with Control Undead and Command Undead channelling.

As for the madness thing, Command Undead isn't thought detection, it isn't telepathy, and it isn't mind control since it isn't affecting the mind (read: it doesn't have the mind affecting tag). Hence the cleric takes no wisdom damage.


@Snowblind:

The Command Undead Feat specifically states that the Feat functions as the Spell Control Undead; the PRD even has a link in the text of the benefit for the Feat that goes to the spell description.:

"Benefit: 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."

There is no reason to believe that it functions any differently from the spell other than in the ways that are specifically mentioned.


There are two relevant spells that are easy to confuse:

* "Command Undead" is lower-level, and is more like a Charm effect.

* "Control Undead" is higher-level, and more like Dominate

The undead channel feat uses the high-level spell effect (I.e. Dominate).

Command Undead feat emulates the Control Undead spell. Confusing wording :p


The Command Undead feat is almost certainly mind control, but it doesn't matter because it's an area effect. The cleric doesn't target anybody, so the allip's ability never comes into play.


Paulicus is correct. My bad.


Apply Automatic Bonus Progression to enemies. Everyone has magical weapons by 4 HD/level. And now they do half damage against those incorporeal creatures.


To be clear, the OP never actually stated whether it was the Feat Command Undead or the Spell Command Undead (at least not that I saw), but there is plenty good advice either way here.


The command undead spell isn't on the cleric spell list, so unless the cleric has the Inevitable subdomain or is relying on UMD, I think we can assume that it's the feat.

Edit: Also, strangepork referred to daily saving throws, which aren't a thing for the spell.


Wheldrake wrote:
Of course, that's just the Allip. There are many other incorporeal undead critters with stat drain that could give a necromancer the same benefits. IMHO any DM who lets one of his players go down the necromancer route deserves all the aggro he gets. <g>

Letting them go necro means that they are literally as strong as the creatures you throw at them. Some wiggle room, sure...but yeah, you get what you send out.

Anyway, for the trees....maybe add a low level evil druid or something that just spams magic fang? I am pretty sure that gives them the chance to damage the buggers since it is an enhancement bonus.

Since there are two, I would aim for one and let the cleric panic about the other. Once he understands that it isn't too hard to threaten these low CR undead (and remember- they aren't class features like animal companions- once they are gone, they stay gone), and he will probably just tell it to hide underground while they go through the adventure, waiting until he is sure that it is safe. Basically, he will likely be too afraid to lose it to abuse it anymore.

Two have too much action economy for that stat lowering attack anyway- makes it even more steam rolly. I mean...even if it isn't reducing enemies into insanity with 0 Wis, reducing the score is fantastic since it lowers will saves.


Answer is simple. You need to have them meet another cleric with the same power.

They will turn on the old controller with haste. Death within moments.

Dark Archive

Wow thank you for the Command Undead reply justaworn. I am indeed discussing the feat, so it wasnt 100 pct relevant in this case, but that was info that is good to know in general, ty.

Ty to all who replied with rules responses


I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but victims do get a save vs an Allip's Wis drain:

"Touch of Insanity (Su) The touch of an allip deals 1d4 points of
Wisdom damage (DC 15 Will negates). A successful critical
hit causes 1d4 points of Wisdom damage and 1 point of
Wisdom drain (instead of double Wisdom damage). With
each successful attack, an allip gains 5 temporary hit points.
The save DC is Charisma-based."

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