One important, and potentially life-saving, combat ability available to
priests and paladins is the ability to turn undead. This is a special power granted
by the character's deity. Druids cannot turn undead; priests of specific mythoi may be able to at the DM's option.
Through the priest or paladin, the deity manifests a portion of its power,
terrifying evil, undead creatures or blasting them right out of existence.
However, since the power must be channeled through a mortal vessel, success is not
When encountering undead, a priest or paladin can attempt to turn the
creatures (remember that the paladin turns undead as if he was two levels lower--a
5th-level paladin uses the level 3 column in Table 61). Only one attempt can be made per character per encounter, but several
different characters can make attempts at the same time (with the results determined
Attempting to turn counts as an action, requiring one round and occurring
during the character's turn in the initiative order (thus, the undead may get to
act before the character can turn them). The mere presence of the character is
not enough--a touch of drama from the character is important. Speech and gestures
are important, so the character must have his hands free and be in a position
to speak. However, turning is not like spellcasting and is not interrupted if
the character is attacked during the attempt.
To resolve a turning attempt, look on Table 61. Cross-index the Hit Dice or type of the undead with the level of the
character (two levels lower for a paladin). If there is a number listed, roll 1d20. If
the number rolled is equal to or greater than that listed, the attempt is
successful. If the letter “T” (for “turned”) appears, the attempt is automatically
successful without a die roll. If the letter “D” (for “dispel”) is given, the
turning utterly destroys the undead. A dash (--) means that a priest or paladin
of that level cannot turn that type of undead. A successful turn or dispel affects 2d6 undead. If the undead are a mixed
group, the lowest Hit Dice creatures are turned first.
Only one die is rolled regardless of the number of undead the character is
attempting to turn in a given round. The result is read individually for each type
For example, Gorus, a 7th-level priest, and his party are attacked by two
skeletons led by a wight and a spectre. The turning attempt is made, resulting in a
roll of 12.
Gorus's player reads the table for all three types of undead using the same roll--12--for all three. The skeletons are destroyed (as Gorus knew they would be). The
wight is turned (a 4 or better was needed) and flees. The spectre, however,
continues forward undaunted (since a 16 was needed to turn the spectre).
Turned undead bound by the orders of another (for example, skeletons) simply
retreat and allow the character and those with him to pass or complete their
Free-willed undead attempt to flee the area of the turning character, until
out of his sight. If unable to escape, they circle at a distance, no closer than
ten feet to the character, provided he continues to maintain his turning (no
further die rolls are needed).
If the character forces the free-willed undead to come closer than ten feet
(by pressing them into a corner, for example) the turning is broken and the
undead attack normally.
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