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Norm Read This, Turning and Protection from Chaos

Norm: Any thoughts on how these two items should be adjudicated? TURNING UNDEAD Men & Magic: p.22 "Numbers [on the turning chart] are the score to match or exceed in order to turn away, rolled with two six-sided dice. T=Monster turned away, up to two dice in number. D=Dispelled/dissolved, up to two dice in number. N=No Effect." D&D Basic Rules (Moldvay, 1981): p. B9 "When a cleric encounters an undead monster, the cleric may attempt to "Turn" (scare) the monster instead of fighting it. If a cleric Turns an undead monster, the monster will not touch the cleric and will flee from the area if it can." p. B9 "When a cleric attempts to Turn one or more of the undead, consult the Clerics vs. Undead table. Cross-index the cleric's level with the type of undead encountered. The result will be "no effect", a number, or a T." p. B9 "'No Effect' means that the cleric cannot Turn that type of undead monster ( the cleric has not yet gained enough experience to do so)." p. B9 "A number means that the cleric has a chance at Turning some or all of the undead monsters. If the player rolls the given number (or greater) on 2d6, then some of the undead monsters are Turned. If the cleric rolls less than the given number, the attempt to Turn the undead monster fails (as in 'no effect')." p. B9 "A 'T' means that the cleric automatically Turns some or all of the undead monsters." p. B9 " If a cleric is successful at Turning some undead monsters , the player must roll 2d6 to find how many hit dice of undead monsters are Turned. A successful attempt at Turning undead will always affect at least one undead monster, no matter how few hit dice are affected." DM NOTE: In D&D basic, even the automatic successes must roll a 2d6 to see how many total hit die are affected. Planet Eris: p.8 "Clerics of Law and priests of Chaos possess the power to affect undead creatures and extra-planetary demon-type creatures. For lawful clerics, this power manifests as the ability to (T) "turn" or (D) "dispel" such creatures...When employed against demon-types of 9 HD or less, the creatures targeted will equate to 3 levels higher than their undead equivalent on the Cleric Affecting Undead Table, and only 1-3 such creatures will be affected. Against demons of 10 HD and greater, this power is of no effect." DM Ruling: Nothing is mentioned in the M&M quote or on page 7 of M&M about how many undead are turned on a non-automatic success, however it does state how many are turned on an automatic T success or D success: "two dice in number". If I was to use a strictly M&M interpretation, I would say that if you have to roll on the chart to see for success you only effect one creature, while a T and D allow you to turn up to 2d6 in number. Planet Eris House Rules do not specify which method to use, so I will combine the two. This should allow Clerics to always be able to turn something, but not to the extent that difficult encounters can be completely bypassed by a single roll. Below is the full ruling on how I think Turning Undead should work: Turning must be declared along with spells before initiative is roll. The Cleric turning must strongly present their holy symbol, making use of a verbal command such as "Begone!" and continue presenting the symbol. Turned undead will immediately regain their senses if the Cleric takes any other action aside from movement while Turning, unless the undead have fully fled from the party. Turned undead will also regain their senses if any of their group are attacked. If the Cleric must roll to see whether they turn undead, they will affect up to 2d6 total HD of creatures (minimum of 1 creature). If the result indicates an automatic T or D, they roll 2d6 to determine the number of creatures instead of how much HD is affected. If a turning attempt is failed, no further turning attempts are allowed by that Cleric for that combat. If undead somehow regain their senses from the turning, they cannot be turned again by anyone that combat. If a mixed group of undead is encountered and turning is used, it effects the weaker undead first, much like the sleep spell. PROTECTION FROM CHAOS Men & Magic: p.23 "Protection from Evil: This spell hedges the conjurer round with a magic circle to keep out attacks from enchanted monsters. It also serves as an "armor" from various evil attacks, adding a +1 to all saving throws and taking a -1 from hit dice [it means "to hit" dice] of evil opponents. (Note that this spell is not cumulative in effect with magic armor and rings, although it will continue to keep out enchanted monsters.) Duration: 6 turns." p.25 "Protection from Evil, 10' Radius: A Protection from Evil spell which extends to include a circle around the Magic-User and also lasts for 12 rather than 6 turns." D&D Basic Rules (Moldvay, 1981): p.B15 "Range: 0, Duration: 12 turns. Protection from Evil: This spell circles the cleric with a magic barrier. This barrier will move with the caster. The spell serves as some protection from "evil" attacks (attacks by monsters of some alignment other than the cleric's alignment) by adding 1 to the clerics' saving throws, and subtracting 1 from the "to hit" die roll of these opponents. The spell will also keep out hand-to-hand attacks from enchanted (summoned or created) monsters (such as living statues), but not missile fire attacks from these creatures. The cleric may break this protection by attacking the monster in hand-to-hand combat, but still gains the bonus "to hit" and saves." D&D Expert Rules (Cook/Marsh, 1981): p.X15 "Range:0, Duration: 12 turns. Protection from Evil 10' Radius: This spell circles the caster with a magical barrier that will protect all friendly creatures within 10' of the magic-user or elf [or cleric]. This barrier will move with the caster, and acts exactly as a protection from evil spell." Planet Eris: p.25 "Protection from Chaos: This spell is the same as the spell Protection from Evil...except that it is effective against attacks and opponents aligned with 'Chaos' rather than 'Evil.' The spell blocks all attack forms initiated by enchanted creatures, including melee, missile attacks, spell-like powers, and mind attacks. Beings that are conjured, created, gated, or summoned are considered enchanted for purposes of this spell. The spell may be cast in reverse, thus providing protection from 'Law.'" DM Ruling: Nothing is mentioned about whether the hedging out protection is broken when someone inside the radius makes an attack. No mention is made about which forms of attack will break the spell in the Planet Eris rules either, but it does specifically say what actions are blocked from "enchanted monsters". In keeping with the spirit of the intended use of this spell, I would have to say that direct interaction of the "enchanted monster" with anyone in the radius of the spell is blocked, and that anyone within the protection of this spell willingly directly interacting with the "enchanted monster" will break the spell. Direct interaction does not include normal conversation. Below is the full ruling on how I think Protection from Chaos should work, and can be inferred for how I would adjudicate other protection vs ____ spells: Protection from Chaos hedges the conjurer around with a magic circle to keep out attacks from "conjured, created, gated, or summoned creatures" regardless of their alignment. This barrier will move with the caster. It also serves as an "armor" from various chaotic attacks, adding a +1 to all saving throws and -1 from "to hit" dice of chaotic opponents. This spell is not cumulative in effect with magic armor and rings. The full protection granted from "conjured, created, gated, or summoned creatures" will keep out all forms of attack initiated by those creatures, including melee, missile attacks, spell-like powers, mind attacks, and any other form of direct interaction which seeks to affect the bodies, minds, or spirits of those under protection. Anyone under this protection who takes a similarly described action against the creature the spell is protecting against, will break the spell for everyone.
I hate rules lawyering in D&D, and I nearly outright cancelled the campaign last Wednesday due to it. AD&D goes into hundreds of pages of finely detailed rules which restrict how each and every little thing can be DMed, and one of the great things about OD&D is that I shouldn't have to do that. I have a much better understanding of the rules than most of the players in the campaign, and many of the rules are left intentionally vague to suit the situation and aid in keeping the game moving. When you encounter creatures that behave differently than what you expect, it may be due to things your character are not aware of. If a spell or action behaves differently than you expect, it may be that I have found a better way to rule on it. OD&D is not about leveraging the rules or the letter of the law to your advantage, it's about doing fun things and things that are interesting to you. Part of keeping things interesting involves challenges. You guys faced such a challenge last Wednesday. Now, looking at how the Vampires carry anti-turning stones, I have decided to remove them from the game. I think each class should be able to use their abilities and feel useful. I didn't want to take these away from them before because that would remove the challenge around the core design of this dungeon. I feel better about doing this now, because only one vampire will ever be able to be Turned by a Cleric at a time. In the future please accept my interpretations without complaint, they ruin the fun, and they bog the game down. I always try to remain an impartial judge, and simply seek to make some sort of logic out of magic land rules. Feel free to remind me of less contentious things like: "Don't I get a garlic saving throw for that attack?" or "Shouldn't that be a climbing check instead of strength check?" If something hasn't occurred to me, I like being reminded that the option to resolve it that way exists.
Kevin the Barbarian
Sheet Author
API Scripter
I hate rules lawyering as well,especially during the game. I think some of the gnashing of teeth was from the perception that the rules changed. I could be wrong, though, as I find myself zoning out while waiting for 30 minute spell declarations.
I'm sort of against laying down hard rules. It's ok/good for fundamental aspects of character abilities (such as turning). Players deserve to know how there stuff works. But there is always the (implied) caveat of "something DM has can trump/change/etc. how you think things work"; anti-turning stone, cursed ares that provides -4 to turn attempts, undead lords that require you to beat their "control", things that look and act like undead but aren't, etc. I make up shit all the time, at the time. I feel little need to explain. Most times it makes sense to me (follows some internal logic to how game world works). I rarely explain this to players, sometimes after the fact (usually cause otherwise it seems I'm being arbitrary or a dick, or worse "nice"). Rarely I do something completely DM fait and made for game reasons, usually to tone down monster/encounter/trap that is too "Fuck You" to players or I totally can't make sense of some prewritten module (both of these are more common in old modules). [FU aside: I believe in harshness, punishment, and instadeath. But, only if there's a way to avoid/figure it out/see danger/recover and it should not be behind every door, and it should roughly align with overall risk/reward. Such as choosing not to touch it, or getting a saving throw. "Oh btw the lord came round and chopped your head off tween sessions" is a FU. Touching door knob on 1st level of dungeon summons 16hd demon is a FU. Now same door knob/demon on 10th level of dungeon leading to what players could surmise was a tomb / vault, that might be reasonable.] Fundamentally the DM and all he controls does not have to follow the same rules as what players see. If DM want to have a Necromancer who can store spells in zombies and thus able to cast way more spells than his slots would allow. DM can. Even if DM decides this in the middle of a combat because the idea just came to him and he thought it would be cool. Being granted all that power, the DM also has weighty responsibility. To not be a dick. In games like PE where no punches are pulled, dice aren't fudged, poison kills, walking in woods risks encountering Balrog flying Red Dragon (btw you were way to nice with that), you can walk into a room with too many level draining bastardos. It may often (or always) seem like DM is being a total dick. But, these games are harsh, they are Iron Mode, and they have some amount of FU in them. We play them cause they are hard. As DMs we're suppose to inflict that level of meaness on players. But doing it fairly, not picking on specific players, not countering *every* good idea players come up with just so their pet bad guy "wins", etc. For instance, I can't make all the dungeons filled with hobbit killing gas just cause they are dirty and smelly and deserve to suffocate. Ultimately players have to trust their DM is trying to make the game fun and interesting AND accept/expect, being human, they will fail at times. About Steven rullings... I kind of think Clerics should totally own undead, 90% of the time. In part cause level drainers suck giant troll balls. Yes to everything you said (and that is how I thought it worked) But, I will keep 2d6 as number turned. If I needed certain undead to be more of a threat I'd give them immune/-4/-8/whatever anti turning stones. Or make one area their sanctuary with similar effect. Or being highly intelligent have some critters/traps/whatever immune to turning and focused on slaughtering those stupid symbol thumpers. Or undead should come in HORDES 20-40 skels/zombies, 10 wights, etc. I would also feel totally justified in saying while weaker esp mindless undead flee, high level vamps, mummies, liches, demons are more just "held at bay" can't approach/attack cleric, maybe retreating behind minions into next room (like it works in old vampire movies). Clerics must be in/near front and visible/heard to turn. The turn is only against the Cleric, the undead are free to molest other party members. In mixed groups turn lower HD first. Prot Chaos yeah cept I would have ruled breaking only breaks for the individual (vs all creatures not just one acted against. Unless caster does action then spell is cancelled. But your way is simpler. Spell is meant for defense, let's get out of here. Not how can we cheese gank the bad guys. btw I believe XP is based on threat. If threat is reduced or eliminated then so is the XP reward. So I usually grant 1/4 or less for turned undead. P.S. Steven if you worried about preserving undead threat of PVQ you probably shouldn't allow the Mace of Disruption through the portal. My reading is a hit allows roll on turning chart at 12th level. Any turn result pr better vaporizes target... That's 7+ on 2d6 for vamps. P.P.S while we are looking up rules have you noticed the line that says magic swords don't give damage bonus unless they have bonus vs certain creatures. I almost want to enforce it... Swords, Damage Bonuses: The swords all receive bonuses as far as the probability of hitting an opponent is concerned, but some also gain a damage bonus when they do hit. These swords are those with a +2 or +3 against specific creatures, but not those with a general bonus of +2 or +3.
Yeah I saw that swords rule when I first started the campaign. I'm still hesitant to nerf anything melee since Magic-Users get all the glory as it is in high level play.
So make a ruling on how the Protection spells and turning are going to work, and post it here. You guys are the DM, it's your rules. As for removing the stones... why? The dungeons are full of puzzles and things we have to figure out, that shouldn't be any different, granted I would have preferred to face it first against lesser vamps than Lord Virez and his royal guards, but apparently the dice were mad at us. I think we all knew what it meant when Ramkus rolled high enough to turn the vamps and they laughed at us. It just seemed a little over-whelming considering the situation. But surprise, a high ranking vampire wasn't playing fair! Well you don't live long in this world if you don't find ways to protect yourself. Maybe that's his 200th set of guards and he was tired of lowly cleric's destroying them, so he sat and sat and sat to try to figure out a way to stop it. Along comes this guy Xylarthan that teaches him about scrying and protection, Lord Virez goes on to show the queen the idea and claims it as his own, now he's pissed off Xylarthan. There had to be a reason there was a rift between the powerful creatures abiding in the palace. Maybe the queen will take it a step further since she had that psychic link and saw the whole thing go down. We know things change, we encounter something and you make a ruling. Sometimes it's made up, then you go talk to Jimm or someone and find out how it was supposed to work. Fine, but maybe post those changes here so we aren't learning about them in game, stinks to pull out a spell and assume you got the situation under control, only to find out right then and there that it's useless. **** My take on the sword thing... and again you guys are the DM, but IMO taking away the +2/+3 damage from a weapon makes having them useless. While I wouldn't mind a +2/+3 to hit, smacking a creature for 1 to 6 damage when magic users are throwing magic missiles and fireballs for 30+ dmg... you may as well count on everyone being a magic user going forward. While I like being a cleric, there's no offense in my magic (what I wouldn't give for the Holy Bolts from Diablo!). Being able to add on that extra 2 dmg when I do get in melee makes me feel useful in combat. I suppose I could just carry a ton of Striking scrolls with me..