Need help figuring out a player's undead companion


Advice


So, this Saturday, I'm going to start a group of friends through Rappan Athuk. They're starting at level 1 and one of my players is going to be playing an Undead Lord Cleric.

I've no real problem with him going the undead minion route (he's a definite power gamer and has been wanting to do a "minion master" for a while), but his starter undead companion seems way off in terms of power at that lv. (even if it is for Rappan Athuk), namely in the attributes department. So, I was hoping I could get help auditing it.

Note: This may just be my lack of experience with undead templates being used by PCs.

Here's what he has down:

Corpse Companion (su): Herald Skeleton:

Points (-17) (-10) (0) (+4) (+2) (+1)
Race [+8] [+2] [+4] [-2] [-4] [-4]
Bloody Skel [+0] [+2] [N/A] [N/A] [10] [14]
Archer Skel [+0] [0] [N/A] [N/A] [10] [10]
Abilities -Str 26 -Dex 20 -Con ---- -Int ---- -Wis 10 -Cha 14
Modifiers - +8 - +5 - - - +0 - +2

Weight: 40 lbs Height: 7' Build: Bones Size: Medium Speed: 30 feet
Race: Blood Orc Skin: None Hair: None
Eyes: None Age: 27 Medium Load: 307 - 613 lbs Heavy Load: 614 - 920 lbs
Alignment: Neutral Evil

Saves -Fort -Ref -Will
Base +1 +1 +1
Ability +2 +5 +0
Magic
Misc.
Total +3 +6 +1

Armor Class (AC) 24 = + 3 armor + 5 Dex + 4 Shield + 2 Natural Armor
Base Attack Bonus (BAB) + 1
Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB) 7 = 2 + 5 + 0
Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD) 21 = 10 + 4 + 5 + 2

Initiative: +9
Health Points (HP): 10 = ( 8 + 2 Cha mod Lvl 1)
Racial Hit Die (HD) 1d8

Offense

Battleaxe +9 (1d8+8/×3)

Natural Weapons:
Bite (1d4) as a secondary attack
2 Claws +10 (1d4+8) B and S Primary

Racial Traits

DR 5/bludgeoning

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 onConstitution(such as when calculating a breath weapon’s DC).

Darkvision 60 feet.

Immunity to cold
Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).
Immunity to bleed, death effects, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning.
Not subject to nonlethal damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength), as well as to exhaustion and fatigue effects.

Cannot heal damage on its own if it has no Intelligence score, although it can be healed. Negative energy (such as an inflict spell) can heal undead creatures. The fast healing special quality works regardless of the creature's Intelligence score.
Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).

Not at risk of death from massive damage, but is immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points.

Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead creatures. These spells turn undead creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming undead.

Proficient with its natural weapons, all simple weapons, and any weapons mentioned in its entry.

Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Undead not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Undead are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.

Undead do not breathe, eat, or sleep.

Per the spell magic jar: "Undead creatures are powered by negative energy. Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls." This is an important sentence when considering any spells or effects which reference "souls."

Special Qualities:

Deathless (Su): A bloody skeleton is destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points, but it returns to unlife 1 hour later at 1 hit point, allowing its fast healing thereafter to resume healing it. A bloody skeleton can be permanently destroyed if it is destroyed by positive energy, if it is reduced to 0 hit points in the area of a bless or hallow spell, or if its remains are sprinkled with a vial of holy water.

Feats:

Improved Initiative
Point Blank Shot
Precise Shot

Gear (99 gp out of 227.5)

Weapons

Battleaxe
Scythe

Armor

- Black & Silver 20ft Speed
Studded Leather +3 AC +5 Max Dex AC Penalty -5 20 lbs 25 gp
Tower Shield +4 AC AC Penalty -10 45 lbs 30 gp

Equipment

Backpack 2 lbs 2 gp
Flint and Steel 1 gp
Rations, 2 days 2 lb 1 gp
Bedroll 1 sp
Rope, Hemp (50 ft.) 5 lbs 1 gp
Sack 1/2 lbs 1 sp
Water skin 4 lbs 1 gp
Torch 1 lb 1 cp
Small Tent 20 lbs 10gp

Weight Carried: 115.5 lbs

Anyways, I'm just confused at how a lv. 1 skeleton companion is netting a 26 strength, and 20 dex. Is it possible he's thinking that the skeleton gets the same point buy as the character? I.e. 25 point buy for the players.


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Undead Lord wrote:
Corpse Companion (Su): With a ritual requiring 8 hours, an undead lord can animate a single skeleton or zombie whose Hit Dice do not exceed her cleric level. This corpse companion automatically follows her commands and does not need to be controlled by her. She cannot have more than one corpse companion at a time. It does not count against the number of Hit Dice of undead controlled by other methods. She can use this ability to create a variant skeleton such as a bloody or burning skeleton, but its Hit Dice cannot exceed half her cleric level. She can dismiss her companion as a standard action, which destroys it.

I may be reading a different power or archetype and I don't know what level the PC is other than you said it's a level 1 skeleton. As far as I can tell, it's basically going to just be a level 1 skeleton that arrives if he's 1st-level.

That means use the stats for the skeleton in the Bestiary, broken scimitar and armor included (though I don't think it matters if they have a rapier or a shortsword or different armor). He can always mend those to make them more effective.

If he's making it a template type, like bloody, then it can only half his total level. So at 6th-level, he could either have a 6HD skeleton or zombie, or a 3HD skeleton or zombie with a template, like fast or burning.

Unless there's a different version of the Undead Lord Cleric in Rappan Athuk or I am misunderstanding your question.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Why is he even statting up this creature himself? Generally, one begins with the stats for a standard creature from one of the beastiaries, then applies relevant templates.

No idea where this "blood orc" race comes from, but those extreme stat mods look like somebody has been playing with the racial toolkit a bit too much.

Bottom line: If you as DM decide to accept this monstrosity, in the name of fun, you're going to be looking for ways to remove it from the party in short order. Telling your friend that his critter is too extreme might not make him happy, but the other players may appreciate being a little less sidelined.


Rappan Athukk is generally considered quite the meat grinder, but that said, this just seems very, very wrong. He gets a skeleton. That's it. He's free to start changing that skeleton into the skeletons of other creatures once he gets a hold of them as you progress but otherwise, level 1, hes got a generic as piss human skeleton, he can't even apply Bloody to it yet.

Also I notice he already has his skeleton equipped. That is coming out of his own starting wealth correct?

Also I can't believe I missed this. Why does this skeleton have feats beyond improved initiative? His skeleton doesn't level with him. It doesn't even gain levels. It only has HD.

This player is either really dumb, or really smart and clearly pulling a fast one.


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I don't see anything called a Herald Skeleton anywhere, and looking over the stats, that's a lot of gear to be paid for by a 1st-level character. Those stats look to me like a player trying take advantage of something.

Not just the Str and Dex scores. He's got 3 feats on a 1 HD creature. Unless Undead Lord is granting bonus feats, skeletons and zombies don't get feats except for Improved Initiative, which is a bonus feat (for skeletons).

I don't about blood orcs, if they have a bite attack they may keep that as skeletons, otherwise, the actual skeleton he gets gets 2 claw attacks, or a weapon attack and a claw as secondary.

He's also got some odd numbers listed that I am not following. He's listed his CMB as 7 and CMD as 21. I get CMB 9 = 1 (BAB) + 8 Str and CMD 24 = 10 + 1 BAB + 8 Str + 5 Dex. Obviously these numbers shouldn't even be here however, since he should have basically a skeleton out of the Bestiary.

He's also given the skeleton a tower shield, not just a shield but a tower shield. Since skeletons are not listed with tower shields (or shields) in their description, they aren't proficient, that means he's not only taking a -2 for having a tower shield (and he's got a scythe is a 2-handed weapon) he's taking an additional -10 (-12 total) to attacks from the ACP on the shield for nonproficiency, which should be reflected in his CMB (if he's taking the -2 which account for the math differences, then he should be accounting for the -10 as well.) That, or he just assumes that as soon as he puts a piece of equipment in a statblock form for his skeleton that suddenly counts as granting proficiency.

Additionally, while his studded leather does have a Max Dex of +5, a tower shield has a Max Dex of +2. While it's possible he may plan to not have the shield in use primarily, which is why it may not be listed, it probably should be listed as a secondary note, since that +2 max dex is going to affect his CMD and his AC and it would be really easy for you to overlook and for him to 'conveniently' forget that penalty while looking at the statblock during those times.


Pizza Lord has the right of it: looks like your player has cherry-picked a third party race with (presumably) the addition of a 'herald' template, then added the skeleton template over the top, making a few errors along the way, and grabbing some sort of archer template too: he's basically given himself a top-flight skeleton to work with as his starting equipment.

Note that there's no actual presumption that you START with a corpse companion: if you're feeling generous you could grant him a 1HD skeleton from the bestiary, but otherwise he needs to source his own 'materials' in play.


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Hey, Third Mind:

I ran the Carrion Crown AP awhile back for my group and one of my friends played an Undead Lord Cleric as well. He had a blast, but it quickly became a hassle and not very much fun for the rest of the group once his army amassed. Be warned!

Concerning your friend's starting skeleton, the stat block you have listed is rather absurd to say the least. I say that as politely as possible :3 For ease of reference I listed some of the necessary information below (the bold is mine for emphasis):

d20pfsrd.com wrote:

Corpse Companion (Su)

With a ritual requiring 8 hours, an undead lord can animate a single skeleton or zombie whose Hit Dice do not exceed her cleric level. This corpse companion automatically follows her commands and does not need to be controlled by her. She cannot have more than one corpse companion at a time. It does not count against the number of Hit Dice of undead controlled by other methods. She can use this ability to create a variant skeleton such as a bloody or burning skeleton, but its Hit Dice cannot exceed half her cleric level. She can dismiss her companion as a standard action, which destroys it.

Undead Lord Archetype - Ultimate Magic

Skeleton Stat Block - Bestiary 1

Zombie State Block - Bestiary 1

Your buddy gets either the listed skeleton or the listed zombie from the Bestiary. This means his corpse companion does not benefit from your PCs' 25 point-buy. So, whatever those stat blocks say (which are listed just above) is what his corpse companion receives. In addition, his companion only has its one starting feat - Improved Initiative (Skeleton) or Toughness (Zombie) - and cannot add feats such as Point-Blank Shot and Precise Shot to the list (his corpse companion is not a PC with levels in a class; it simply has HD). Plus, the bloody quality cannot be applied to his corpse companion at first level because that would increase his corpse companion's HD past half his cleric level. Also, reference what Pizza Lord had to say about some of those wonky numbers concerning the CMD and the tower shield. (A tower shield requires a proficiency feat that a skeleton or zombie does not have access to.)

Questions: How did he add extra feats to his skeleton? How did he add the bloody quality to his skeleton? How did his skeleton achieve better stats than PCs? How did his skeleton achieve such customized starting gear? What is a "Blood Orc"? What is a "Herald Skeleton"? Ask these questions and have him cite his sources. Are you allowing 3rd party material during their character creation? This could explain some of my confusion as to what all he has listed here (as I'm not familiar with most 3rd party publishers)...

Also, remember there is an 8-hour ritual he must perform in order to summon his corpse companion. My personal choice as a DM was to have my friend summon his corpse companion in game as opposed to simply walking onto the scene with one already summoned fully geared and ready to go - I find that to be, personally, cheesy.

In summation, read what everyone else has contributed as well; there is a lot of good information for you and your friend to gestate in order to get this corpse companion on track! I hope the dungeon is a blast :)

Cheers!


Thanks everyone. I figured he was getting quite a bit ahead of himself and / or misunderstanding things. He is paying for the gear out of his own gear, I know that much. But there are a lot of good points about feats and ability to use said gear, along with other great points too.

I'll bring all these up with him later tonight and hopefully get them fixed up before the game tomorrow.

He's not dumb, but he has been known to conveniently misunderstand things in his own favor sometimes... wishful thinker.

Thanks again.


Third Mind wrote:

Thanks everyone. I figured he was getting quite a bit ahead of himself and / or misunderstanding things. He is paying for the gear out of his own gear, I know that much. But there are a lot of good points about feats and ability to use said gear, along with other great points too.

I'll bring all these up with him later tonight and hopefully get them fixed up before the game tomorrow.

He's not dumb, but he has been known to conveniently misunderstand things in his own favor sometimes... wishful thinker.

Thanks again.

The big issue here is he is treating his "corpse companion" as a cohort, along with a multitude of other issues. Corpse Companion, despite saying the word "companion" is neither an undead "companion" in the Ranger/Druid sense, or a cohort, as if gained through the Leadership feat, and he seems to have HEAVILY skewed his understanding to think he's getting a free cohort.


if he treating it as cohort, via leader ship. the stat boot can be explained by monsters with pc class levels rules. The moment the get PC class level they get a boost to lot of stats. This is because monster stats are based on like 8 point buy or something, really low. this increase put them in line with npc hero point buy.

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