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D&D 3E
Undead Campaign? 
24th-Nov-2004 11:50 am
I bought Libris Mortis last week and am beginning to develop some ideas for an undead campaign I plan to run early next year. Still debating on whether to set the PCs up as the good guys or the bad guys, though. Anyone here ever run, or play in, an undead campaign? What worked? What didn't?
24th-Nov-2004 04:57 pm (UTC)
I played a vampire in a high level campaign once. But a vampire must exist at night typically which creates difficulty.

I'm about to playin another one. It was an evil based game, but with purpose. The problem with evil games is party fighting. Keep them on a purpose and you'll be okay.
24th-Nov-2004 05:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Libris Mortis yet, but there was an article in Dragon a few months back (maybe last year) covering half-undead and deathtouched characters. I thought those would make GREAT PCs or enemies.
24th-Nov-2004 05:41 pm (UTC)
Libris Mortis is great. Besides the requisite supplement fodder of new feats, spells and prestige classes, it includes great background material and full information on Undead Monster Classes (as opposed to high-powered templates from the Monster Manual) for creating undead characters with full level-by-level progressions. There's also a short but interesting chapter of new equipment (including undead armor and grafts), a slew of new monsters, and some great ideas for incorporating it all into your campaign.

The Dragon info was cool, too, and fits in pretty well with the stuff from LM.
24th-Nov-2004 05:46 pm (UTC)
I'd only do an evil game if the entire tone of the campaign was flipped, where evil ruled, or was at least on equal footing with good. If I go that direction, I'd only allow Lawful Evil and the PCs would likely be employed by the cleric of an evil deity that's attempting to topple the undead ruler of the realm. Or, they could be undead mercenaries working to wipe out the rebellion.
24th-Nov-2004 08:46 pm (UTC)
why only lawful neutral? As a dm, neutral would be a much truer pc, and le is a lot harder to play correctly. And a well played chaotic evil character can add flavor and spice to the campaign. Both LE and CE are as challenging to play as LG however.

An evil game can work just the same as a good game, but the levels your pcs might use to achieve tasks could be different. Gives you a nice chance to use battle stats for silver dragons and coatls however.

Evil Games are a great break, but not good all the time. Try it. If you truly don't like it after a few sessions, drop it and try something else, but I encourage every skilled dm to give it a shot.
25th-Nov-2004 02:17 am (UTC)
I'd only allow Lawful Evil because there's some underlying principles that guide those of that alignment, despite the fact that they are Evil. With my gaming group, Chaotic Evil tends to be seen as a license to kill anything and everything without question, even each other if the opportunity arises, and Neutral Evil simply means they can do whatever the hell they want!

Of course, the other six aliggments would be allowed, too, though some of them would be a stretch using the Undead Monster Classes.
25th-Nov-2004 05:20 am (UTC)
Of course, they CAN and will kill anything they want. But there are consequenses. Don't be afraid to have a player or two killed off (in some cases again). Their new character will certainly be more careful. A lawful evil character, if correctly played, will do more horrible things than a chaotic or neutral character, because they will do it in worse ways.

What's worse, a pc who tries to kill someone, or one who hires a truly talented assasin to do it for them?
24th-Nov-2004 05:36 pm (UTC)
I far prefer good game to evil games, but thats personal preference.

The one thing I'd tweak in an undead heavy game is the cleric's turn undead abilities. If everything is likely to be an undead, this gives the clerics a real advantage. I'd either scale back the number of times per day, or the power/effect of a turn. Might also have to help the thieves a bit, as most undead are immune to backstab damage. Fighters shoul dbe fine. Arcane spellcasters should be fine. I don't deal with things like Monks often enough to have an opinion.
24th-Nov-2004 08:49 pm (UTC)
Why on earth would you tweak a cleric's only defense besides heal spells? They can only do it a few times a day, and most higher level undead have turn resistance anyway. Review turning rules again before making a nerf like that to the already overloaded clerics. In an undead game they will have their hands so full they won't be able to breath.
24th-Nov-2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
Because, in my opinion, cleric's turn undead abilities are balanced against an occasional undead appearing. If every fight has undead in it, its like giving the cleric some solid attack spells.

Lets assume a reasonable cleric (chr bonus of +2). So 5 times a day, the cleric can turn undead of roughly up to his level. Turning level +9 (on average) hit dice. So at low levels, the cleric can effectively disrupt 5 undead attacks per day (since most attackers will be level 1-3). Thats pretty powerfull. At mid levels, the cleric can turn 2 undead of his level, and at upper levels can turn 1. Scattering the attacks makes it that much easier for them to be destroyed.

If this is just an occasioanl power, thats fine. But if its used every single day, thats really pwoerfull. The equivelent of say 5 sleep spells at lower level. or some of the mid level Cause Fear spells.

And I dispute clerics are only good for turning and healing. They've got reasonable HP and BAB. They have lots of other spell options. And I wouldn't completely remove turning. Just dial back the times per day (maybe to Chr bonus) or make it weaker (-2 to attacks if turned, flee if HD < level/2, destroyed if HD < level/4).

I'd be inclined to do the same thing to dwarves in a game based on Giants , for example. If 80-90% of your foes are going to be effected by a special ability, then its really pwoerfull. Its my opinion that these specials were balanced against only facing maybe 10% foes of a specific type.
25th-Nov-2004 02:22 am (UTC)
I get where you're coming from with this but, in an all-out undead campaign like I'm considering, Clerics simply step up a notch and become similar to Fighters in a standard campaign. Not so powerful that they could survive alone, but definitely the main ingredient for a successful party.
25th-Nov-2004 03:43 am (UTC)
Sure. Its just an option I was mentioning. Something to be aware of (the change in balance between the classes). I just worry that the cleric will short-circuit a bunch of encounters every day if they're undead.

'Oh look, 10 Zombies, I turn them and the archers slaughter them. Next encounter.'
25th-Nov-2004 05:23 am (UTC)
If they are zombies, and you cleric can turn them all without though, either the party is too high level to be encountering zombies or the challenge level was wrong. A 25th level cleric couldn't manage to turn my 21st ECL vampire fighter. They are just to powerful to listen. And with things like desecrate and unhallow, the effect is even greater. Put an evil cleric with them to bolster their resolve, and you have a real problem.

Kill the cleric first right? Well that's a tried and true party tactic, and the enemies will certainly try to do it as well.

Properly run, the cleric should run out of turn attempts and spells rapidly.
24th-Nov-2004 06:26 pm (UTC)
I love undead. I've had Libris Mortis since it came out. I heavily favor evil campaigns because of my love of undead. What I do though, is try to find a way to somehow bond the PCs together, so there won't be too much in-fighting. But anyway...

Some of my favorite campaign ideas are ones which undead are not accepted or not on an equal footing, as loudpoet had said. I like playing the underdog side, with the PCs responding to the plans of good instead of the way it is usually played. Stuff like that.

Of course, if you want to be good-ish and still be undead, you can say the PCs are rebels, whatever, fighting against their kin. It doesn't make too much sense, as the undead are powered by negative energy, but it can work in some instances. Especially with things like the half-vampire (Blade, anyone?).

Just my opinions.
26th-Nov-2004 05:26 am (UTC)
I play a lot of undead in my game. LM has some really fun ones to throw, too. If they can take the CR, a bleakborn is really fun. especially when they kill it, stand around and decide what to do next, or roll a fallen comrades body, then stare at you in horror when it gets back up and slams someone!! heehee. \m/

But yea, biggest downfall of undead that I've ran into, no treasure, most of the time. How you handle that is your option though.
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