Can incorporeals hear?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

In an undead setting, some shadow dire bears with create spawn (specifically for animals) got loose in the forest. One result of this unfortunate outbreak is the purely hypothetical scenario that I threw a shadow bat swarm at my players. If they were to, hypothetically speaking, simply invisible themselves and "stealth" away, as only a fighter in full plate can, would the bat swarm be able to follow them?

The original bat swarm that I was vaguely using as a template/inspiration for this creature (too low CR to be worth giving actual stats to) has blindsense, presumably as a result of echolocation. Would that still work?

We ended up going with "if echolocation works then so do non-magical sonic attacks", and while I'm not sure if any of them even exist, I think the incorporeal ability is pretty clear that they wouldn't work if they did.

So, echolocation was out, you can't hear shadows and they can't hear you. But you can see them, so lasers are fine. Are there any rules to support any of this?


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Using that logic: Incorporeal creatures can't see either, and are always invisible, on the grounds that they don't have physical photoreceptors for photons to impact on and no physical form for photons to reflect off.
they can never make any sounds because they have no physical form to impact on other physical objects.

Like so much in D&D, it's magic. RAI and RAW, incorporeal creatures can hear you just fine unless there is good reason to assume otherwise, and non-magical attacks don't work even if they are lasers.


RAW, creatures killed by shadows turn into shadows, so they'd just have the same stats as a regular shadow. No echolocation, no flying, etc. It's a creature, not a template.

There's a Shadow Creature template, but it's for offspring of creatures that remained in the Shadow plane, not a type of undead.

If you're creating your own homebrew version of 'create spawn' for your shadows, then you'll probably want to start by creating a template for them and decide which stats and abilities survive the transition.


Yes, they can.

Banshees, Wraiths, Shadows, etc. can all be created by a Necromancer with the spell Create Undead or Create Greater Undead, and then the Necromancer casts Command Undead on them to control them. Non-intelligent undead respond to simple commands, such as "go there" and "kill that", while intelligent undead can be given complex commands such as "wait here until Jack McGeneralNPC shows up and kill him, and then do 10 jumping jacks, and then when you're done with that, fetch me two shrubberies and place them here and there with a little two-layered effect and a path running down the middle".

Command Undead wrote:

Command Undead

School necromancy; Level sorcerer/wizard 2; Domain inevitable 3

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a shred of raw meat and a splinter of bone)

EFFECT

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one undead creature
Duration 1 day/level
Saving Throw Will negates; see text; Spell Resistance yes

DESCRIPTION

This spell allows you a degree of control over an undead creature. 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. An intelligent commanded undead never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

A nonintelligent undead creature gets no saving throw against this spell. When you control a mindless being, you can communicate only basic commands, such as “come here,” “go there,” “fight,” “stand still,” and so on. Nonintelligent undead won’t resist suicidal or obviously harmful orders.

Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the commanded undead (regardless of its Intelligence) breaks the spell.

Your commands are not telepathic. The undead creature must be able to hear you.

Dark Archive

Foeclan wrote:

RAW, creatures killed by shadows turn into shadows, so they'd just have the same stats as a regular shadow. No echolocation, no flying, etc. It's a creature, not a template.

It wasn't a shadow though, it was a shadow dire bear.

http://www.dxcontent.com/MDB_MonsterBlock.asp?MDBID=2340

Their create spawn ability ("Any animal reduced to Strength 0 by a shadow dire bear becomes a shadow animal within 1d4 rounds.") specifically calls out that they become a shadow animal, not a standard shadow.


Easiest explanation: they can hear, just not the same way we do; they can see, just not the same way we do, etc...

*Maaaaaagic*


Librain wrote:
Foeclan wrote:

RAW, creatures killed by shadows turn into shadows, so they'd just have the same stats as a regular shadow. No echolocation, no flying, etc. It's a creature, not a template.

It wasn't a shadow though, it was a shadow dire bear.

http://www.dxcontent.com/MDB_MonsterBlock.asp?MDBID=2340

Their create spawn ability ("Any animal reduced to Strength 0 by a shadow dire bear becomes a shadow animal within 1d4 rounds.") specifically calls out that they become a shadow animal, not a standard shadow.

Ah, I've never seen that critter before. I thought it was just a dire bear that got turned into a shadow.

There's a Shadow Rat Swarm, which kept its Scent ability, and still causes disease, so I don't see why the bats would lose their echolocation.

Dark Archive

Fair enough, I think it's from Tomb of Horrors, my favourite source for specialty undead stuff. Good find on the shadow rat swarm. I'm familiar with them, have used them before, and even had them in mind when I came up with the bat swarm, but at no point did I think to actually go and look at them to see if they set a precedent. Thanks for that.

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