How do you explain away an undead PC's susceptibility to poison and disease?


Advice


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Did your lich transformation not go as planned? Did your ghoul recently eat somebody that proved disagreeable and that is making them temporarily vulnerable? Is it all in your empty skull; the last fading memory of your long lost humanity? What?

How do you reconcile the notion that all the other undead of the world are immune but that you are, somehow, for some reason, susceptible?

(I am asking for your individual input on how you personally would manage it, and am not speaking more generally in a "how the community should be expected to handle it" sense. This is intended to be a brainstorm thread.)

Liberty's Edge

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Maybe not all the other undead are immune. It's just that those who were not either became immune or were destroyed by those ailments before meeting any adventurer.

I think of it like growing pains on the way to becoming a full undead for eternity.

It is awesome IMO for a devout follower of Urgathoa to be both undead and suffering from diseases.

The Whispering Way, on the other hand, does all they can to squash that knowledge, lest it destroys the myth of the perfection of the undead form, which is their biggest selling point.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Interesting idea!


I'd use the idea that knowing that diseases and poisons should hurt me would work, but only if my character was well-informed on diseases and poisons in the first place.

I'd also considered the damage being a side-effect of simple necrosis. Undead or not, things like disease and certain toxins can cause your flesh to sluff and rot faster, or soften bone or whatever needs to be explained.

If I were a GM for such a game I'd probably use disease and poison sparingly, and make up some line about them having positive-energy infusions in them, or poisons being mixed with holy water, or some other substance that allows them to affect the party.


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Oh, I've an idea.
The negative energy which is used to create undead is said to give them some perverse imitation of life.
Then we should leave our modern understanding of how poisons and diseases work (which is really easy to a lot of people given recent events), and they obviously don't work like that in Golarion anyway.
Now it's rather simple to imagine that poisons and diseases interact with that imitation of life in a similar way. Poisons and diseases aren't positive or negative, they can't really distinguish between them. But because that is an imitation, and indeed twisted, they can't always have the same effect. Most of the time they don't work at all. But for some creatures like PCs these ailments still function. PCs have also other differences like more power, free will and a chance to be non-evil. Guess they are really unique.


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It's just a game mechanic. The same way you might gloss over creatures being randomly immune or not immune to various things or certain ancestries not having abilities that a low level npc might have until much later (strix).

If you want to force verisimilitude, it's easy enough to frame it as something interrupting the process or as a quirk of probability that results in you being a flawed/inferior specimen of whatever

Liberty's Edge

Or you are one of the very small contingent used in Urgathoa's experiments for a new kind of undead.

You are the Chosen one.

Wayfinders

Errenor wrote:

Oh, I've an idea.

The negative energy which is used to create undead is said to give them some perverse imitation of life.
Then we should leave our modern understanding of how poisons and diseases work (which is really easy to a lot of people given recent events), and they obviously don't work like that in Golarion anyway.
Now it's rather simple to imagine that poisons and diseases interact with that imitation of life in a similar way. Poisons and diseases aren't positive or negative, they can't really distinguish between them. But because that is an imitation, and indeed twisted, they can't always have the same effect. Most of the time they don't work at all. But for some creatures like PCs these ailments still function. PCs have also other differences like more power, free will and a chance to be non-evil. Guess they are really unique.

So this has to be my favourite answer in-world. Perhaps PCs retain more of their practical biology and spiritual self-ness simply due to more exposure (and thus adaptation) to varied magical radiation over the years? Sure, your classic Lich has probably seen some weird spells in their quest for immortality, but nothing matches the onslaught of background level magic nonsense that PCs go through on their way to breakfast.

The Raven Black wrote:

Or you are one of the very small contingent used in Urgathoa's experiments for a new kind of undead.

You are the Chosen one.

That said, this plot hook. The Chosen One and you certainly don't want to be. Especially if she's sending anyone to collect the results...


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The Raven Black wrote:

Or you are one of the very small contingent used in Urgathoa's experiments for a new kind of undead.

You are the Chosen one.

The Chosen Undead, if you will.


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I personally like miracle max answer, you are only most undead which obviously means your slightly alive.


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gesalt wrote:
It's just a game mechanic.

I do appreciate that Paizo have given us all these interesting undead and construct options. It is irksome that they don't have the full abilities and immunities. Yes it would be unbalanced they did. So I get that we have a compromise. I'd rather have only the partial effect like we do, and get access to the flavour, than not have the option. So Paizo have made the right call here.

What I would like to see is some more high level ancestry feats that give some more of the abilities back.


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There are sidebars that talk about reintroducing the full immunities into the game, as a reminder. Having the discussion with a playgroup asking if undead archetypes and ancestries will be viable for the game should naturally lend itself to discussing whether the sidebars would be applicable, as well.
I'm a personal fan of the suggestions to allow for the immunities, but adjust the method of awarding experience for situations where those immunities would trivialize an encounter.


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Listen, I'm the ghost of a skeleton. I have no idea how any of this is supposed to work.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Listen, I'm the ghost of a skeleton. I have no idea how any of this is supposed to work.

Good backstory idea : the skeleton "died" from poison and their ghost are stuck trying to understand how this could even be possible.

Liberty's Edge

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Even better/worse. The character was killed by Ghoul fever and rose as a Ghoul. However they caught a flu that was going to destroy them. Thankfully a friendly vampire bit them and they turned into one. After a sad encounter with a stake, only their bones remained. These were animated as a skeleton. Who was poisoned and became the aforementioned ghost.

I am now picturing them as an undead Mr Bean.


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I don't want to do I won't be allowing them in games I run.


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The Raven Black wrote:

Even better/worse. The character was killed by Ghoul fever and rose as a Ghoul. However they caught a flu that was going to destroy them. Thankfully a friendly vampire bit them and they turned into one. After a sad encounter with a stake, only their bones remained. These were animated as a skeleton. Who was poisoned and became the aforementioned ghost.

I am now picturing them as an undead Mr Bean.

Make them an Animal Instinct barbarian, too.

"The Legend of the Curse of the Return of the Ghoulish Ghost of the Vampiric Werewolf's Skeleton."


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Its got to start as a Dhampir Skeleton

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