Turning Undead

We continue to work on our modified Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition game and I think I’ll have a serviceable player’s handbook ready for use by the end of the week. One of the many tweaks we’ve made is to the turning undead function. I love the turning undead ability of clerics, but I have always thought that it was over-powered, particularly once they start vaporizing skeletons and zombies willy-nilly. So we’ve changed it up a little to still allow for that while toning things down a notch.

Interestingly, a current thread on Dragonsfoot is discussing this topic and someone posted a bit from Gygax on turning:

So many of the very most interesting “monsters” were subjected to that rude capacity of turning/destroying that I initially bestowed upon the cleric class that I did indeed come to rue the initial benison gven to that class. My plan for a revised edition of AD&D was such as to limit that power somewhat while adjusting things for the capacity of undead to withstand “turning” so as to make things more challenging for PCs without emasculating the power of the cleric.

I was actually thrilled to read this, as it reinforces my belief that turning needed tweaking and that my solution is viable.

Here’s what we’ve done:

Cleric Level Turning Undead (d20) #
1 HD 2 HD 3 HD 4 HD 5 HD 6 HD 7 HD 8 HD 9 HD Spec.
1 13 16 19 20
2 10 13 16 19 20
3 7 10 13 16 19 20
4 4 7 10 13 16 19 20
5 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 20
6 1 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 20
7 1 1 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 20
8 1 1 1 1 4 7 10 13 16 19
9 1 1 1 1 1 4 7 10 13 16
10 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 7 10 13
11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 7 10
12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 4 7
# When rolling to turn undead:

Rolling target number +12 indicates that undead have been destroyed (save if 5+ HD)

Rolling target number +6 indicates that undead have been driven off for 2d6 rounds

Rolling target number or greater indicates that undead are held at bay (5’ radius)

A roll of natural ‘1’ always indicates failure

3d6 HD of undead are affected beginning with the weakest in terms of HD

The result of this is that turning is not pass/fail but graded. Standard turning does not scare away undead but only holds them off. Rolling higher may drive them away as normal and rolling real high may destroy them outright (or take control of them if the cleric is evil/chaotic/Dark Sided).

This has only very limited play-testing so far, but the initial results have been good. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

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