Can undead feel pain?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I always assumed no.


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When Negishi Hisako (my 12th lvl psychic PC) hits 'em with a quickened Will of the Dead amplified Ill Omen followed by a DC29 Will of the Dead amplified Mass Debilitating Pain, they not only feel it, they're stunned by it.


They feel it when you hit them, and they don't like it. What is this feeling, if not pain?


I think zombies and other unintelligent undead feel no pain at all. Vampires feel pain. For other undead, it's in between (eg they probably feel less pain).


Considering undead are immune to stunning, and any effect that requires a fortitude save they probably do not feel normal pain. Fortitude saves are what every pain based spell I am aware of uses. That seems to indicate that they do not in fact feel pain like a living creature.

There are however things that harm undead that do not harm normal creatures, like positive energy. These things probably do cause an undead to feel pain. A vampire would feel pain when exposed to sunlight. Other undead with specific vulnerabilities would probably feel pain vs what they are vulnerable to .


The Purity of Violence wrote:
When Negishi Hisako (my 12th lvl psychic PC) hits 'em with a quickened Will of the Dead amplified Ill Omen followed by a DC29 Will of the Dead amplified Mass Debilitating Pain, they not only feel it, they're stunned by it.

Actually they are not. Will of the Dead allows you to affect undead with a mind affecting spell, but it does not negate their immunity to being stunned.


I'd say that their immunity to nonlethal damage is all that's needed to rule that they don't feel pain.

However, I'd go further, and say that certain things can still cause them to feel pain, like Holy Water, or Searing Light - anything that deals additional damage to Undead would probably harm them in a way beyond physical damage.


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It depends on the type of undead. Most undead are resistent to normal 'stub my toe' pain. Many undead are immune to 'ax in the head' pain. But undead as a whole typically experience new forms of pain unique to their condition. Such as "existing".

There are various conditions that can cause them pain due to their form. Most lose out on the normal living experiences such as warmth, breathing, etc.- and they might suffer sensory deprivation as a result (their remaining semblance of instincts might set off warning bells as a result). Some types such as ghouls still experience hunger, and they don't have the comfort of starving to death if they get locked away for centuries in a tomb. Additionally, some types have to deal with rotting, and might still feel that experience. Ghosts might also have to feel their spirits torn between planes as they struggle to keep themselves tied down.

And lets not even get into the types of undead that have pain as a central concept to their existence- I am sure we can imagine various burning styles of undead and get a picture.

Additionally, as Cuup pointed out- positive energy and other anti undead effects can hit them to the core, which can cause pain beyond the physical nerves.


No.

Quote:
Creatures that are immune to effects that require a Fort save (such as constructs and undead) are immune to pain effects.


Not in any sense that will debilitate them, but it's generally presumed that a zombie will notice if you axe them in the spine from behind despite no working nerves or pain response.

Then there's also genre convention at work for other stuff like having a vampire shriek and smoke after you splash him with holy water or the like.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Not in any sense that will debilitate them, but it's generally presumed that a zombie will notice if you axe them in the spine from behind despite no working nerves or pain response.

I imagine they could still feel the force of the impact.

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