Why are undead immune to mind-affecting effects?


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    Why are undead immune to mind-affecting effects?

    I started thinking about this today. It's been a rule since 1E, but back then I think the justification was something along the lines of "they have alien
    thought processes". 3E has no stated reason for it, though. Any ideas?

    (The reason I ask is that I'm considering getting rid of it, but I want to see if someone can give me a good reason not to.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrick View Post
    I started thinking about this today. It's been a rule since 1E, but back then I think the justification was something along the lines of "they have alien
    thought processes". 3E has no stated reason for it, though. Any ideas?

    (The reason I ask is that I'm considering getting rid of it, but I want to see if someone can give me a good reason not to.)
    Because mind affecting stuff is based on living creatures.

    The ancient wizards/Clerics never researched non-living.

    Really, it must have something to do with not living because constructs get it too.
    "If you can't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you."

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    Well, undead monsters having no-mind/soul was an odd concept indeed. If a ghost does not have mind and soul, what does it have? So, 4e finally removed this concept.

    Maybe, if you dare to reason it in 3.5e, undead monsters do have minds but they are too different from minds of living creatures and thus cannot be affected by mind affecting effects. Or, it is something due to negative energy which is supporting their existence.
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    I've always seen it as either they're mindless undead, zombies, skeletons, or what have you and therefore have no mind to affect, or they're intelligent undead who no longer perceive the world the same way as a living creature, so they tend to ignore anything that attempts to fool their senses and perceptions.
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    Really, it must have something to do with not living because constructs get it too.
    Constructs don't have an Int score. No Int = mindless = immune to anything that affects the mind.

    I've always seen it as either they're mindless undead, zombies, skeletons, or what have you and therefore have no mind to affect, or they're intelligent undead who no longer perceive the world the same way as a living creature, so they tend to ignore anything that attempts to fool their senses and perceptions.
    That's a good reason. Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrick View Post
    Constructs don't have an Int score. No Int = mindless = immune to anything that affects the mind.
    The Inevitables are constructs with Int scores, as is the homunculus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrick View Post

    That's a good reason. Thanks.
    I'm more inclined to go with "the brains of nonliving creatures are fundamentally different from those of living creatures - so the stuff that messes with constructs and undead are fundamentally different (e.g., Control Undead is Necromancy, while Charm Monster is Enchantment).
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerrick View Post
    Constructs don't have an Int score. No Int = mindless = immune to anything that affects the mind.
    Vampires have immune to mind stuff and vamps have Int.
    "If you can't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you."

    and

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    It's simply because they have no living brains, and thus no brain activity. Can't mess with the thoughts and actions of a critter when they have no working greymatter to manipulate. A vampire's got brains, but they're dead and inactive, so mind-affecting stuff can't do anything with the dead brain cells and their lack of activity.

    Same reason why constructs are immune to mind-affecting effects; they lack any kind of living brain tissue, so no electrochemical organic processes to manipulate, let alone glands.

    Undead only think and act through their soul and the manipulative forces of negative energy/necromantic magic that animates their corpse/spirit.
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    I always thought it came more from the notion that undead 'minds' are set in stone.

    For a zombie, it's pretty simple, they're either 'commanded' by their creator, or they just have the ghoulish neverending hunger for flesh. A ghoul hungers so much that it overrides any and every magical manipulation.

    A ghost or a banshee is controlled by whatever reason they 'haunt' the world. If a ghost of a woman who lost her lover and then killed herself still haunts some old graveyard, it's not like she can just be shaken off by some spell. She only exists because she wants to get revenge for her death, and so revenge is the only motivator.

    However, I will say that my reasons don't make 'undead' immune to mind effecting spells (as a blanket statement in 3e). It gives me a reason to make many undead immune, just not all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkhandus View Post
    It's simply because they have no living brains, and thus no brain activity. Can't mess with the thoughts and actions of a critter when they have no working greymatter to manipulate. A vampire's got brains, but they're dead and inactive, so mind-affecting stuff can't do anything with the dead brain cells and their lack of activity.

    Same reason why constructs are immune to mind-affecting effects; they lack any kind of living brain tissue, so no electrochemical organic processes to manipulate, let alone glands.

    Undead only think and act through their soul and the manipulative forces of negative energy/necromantic magic that animates their corpse/spirit.
    That is an interesting approach. But the problem is, Elementals are NOT immune to mind-affecting effects. Surely a large mass of Fire should not have grey tissues.
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