D&D General have we had a player race of undead?

Kurotowa

Legend
What good is an "undead race" if you have to excise all the tropes that define undead, just to make them work mechanically as a PC race.
Because people are still going to want to remove all the things that make undead unsuitable for a PC, which is to say all the big negatives like their special vulnerabilities and their all consuming hatred for the living. And If you cut out the negatives while leaving all the "signature undead traits" that are beneficial, then you've just got an immortal who doesn't age and can ignore a vast swath of the messy biological necessities of the living. And that's before you tack on any sort of magical powers. That's the kind of unbalanced nonsense you get on D&D Wiki, not officially published works.

Something like the reborn is the closest you can get to a zombie PC without being an actual zombie. Because D&D is not a blank slate for creating whatever characters you can imagine. If you want that, go write a novel. D&D is a game with a defined mechanical framework, and PCs have to exist within that framework.
 

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Positive energy mummies was a weird one off in AD&D.
There were others, they weren't a total one off. I'm trying to remember the name but there were a number of you trawled the various Monstrous Compendium appendixes and so on. For example there was some kind of Elf Lich which was positive energy, and I know the art was by Tony DiTerlizzi - it was in a Forgotten Realm MC appendix.
And If you cut out the negatives while leaving all the "signature undead traits" that are beneficial, then you've just got an immortal who doesn't age and can ignore a vast swath of the messy biological necessities of the living. And that's before you tack on any sort of magical powers. That's the kind of unbalanced nonsense you get on D&D Wiki, not officially published works.
Very outdated viewpoint I'd suggest.

This kind of OMG OVERPOWERED!!! line worked before a zillion people played Warforged, which are exactly what you're describing - "an immortal who doesn't age and can ignore a vast swath of the messy biological necessities of the living".

Now that they have played that, we've all seen that it's not really that much of an advantage, in real, at the table play. You can not age, not eat/drink, not breathe, not sleep even, but all that means is the party packs less rations and you're on guard duty every night!
 
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Kurotowa

Legend
This kind of OMG OVERPOWERED!!! line worked before a zillion people played Warforged, which are exactly what you're describing - "an immortal who doesn't age and can ignore a vast swath of the messy biological necessities of the living".

Now that they have played that, we've all seen that it's not really that much of an advantage, in real, at the table play. You can not age, not eat/drink, not breathe, not sleep even, but all that means is the party packs less rations and you're on guard duty every night!
You're not wrong, and that's why reborn aren't an issue. It's the people asking for more than the reborn gets that set off warning signs for me.
 

You're not wrong, and that's why reborn aren't an issue. It's the people asking for more than the reborn gets that set off warning signs for me.
What more are people asking for though?

I think that's the issue. Any race can be overpowered if you just stick enough bells and whistles on it, it doesn't matter whether they're normal mortals, undead, constructs, or whatever. I'd say even with all they have, they're probably significantly less powerful in real at-the-table terms than say, an Elf of almost any subrace. If anything I think the collection of "undead/construct" abilities that Reborn and Warforged largely share may be slightly overvalued in the same way that natural weapons are insanely overvalued by 5E's designers.

(I note Ancestral Legacy really needs revising for 1D&D - indeed the whole design of the VRGtR "Lineages" are kind of an evolutionary dead end in race/species design for 5E/1D&D, not because they're bad, but because that approach is between two chairs, and doesn't really fit with either.)

One lens I'd say is useful in analyzing this kind of this is to look solely at the upsides of being a species/race - that sounds perverse, but my experience is, unless the downsides are so overwhelming as to make the character virtually unplayable or a real problem for the entire party, clever players will quickly find a way around them, or generous DMs will give (at some point in the first five levels usually) a way to negate the disadvantage (or the species will only be picked for classes/subclasses where the "disadvantage" is irrelevant). I feel like more recent 5E species design reflects this too. So design should focus on what you get, rather than what you supposedly lose.
 

Because people are still going to want to remove all the things that make undead unsuitable for a PC, which is to say all the big negatives like their special vulnerabilities and their all consuming hatred for the living. And If you cut out the negatives while leaving all the "signature undead traits" that are beneficial, then you've just got an immortal who doesn't age and can ignore a vast swath of the messy biological necessities of the living. And that's before you tack on any sort of magical powers. That's the kind of unbalanced nonsense you get on D&D Wiki, not officially published works.

Something like the reborn is the closest you can get to a zombie PC without being an actual zombie. Because D&D is not a blank slate for creating whatever characters you can imagine. If you want that, go write a novel. D&D is a game with a defined mechanical framework, and PCs have to exist within that framework.
why would the undead have an all-consuming need to kill the living?
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
You're not wrong, and that's why reborn aren't an issue. It's the people asking for more than the reborn gets that set off warning signs for me.
Reborn aren't really all that powerful. Far from Yuan-Ti or, well, V Humans

In my Endless Pile of Homebrew, I've come across one that gave some bigger and thematic stuff. I remember skeletons in particular got a 'Can re-attach parts of your body' trait for skeletal fun
 

Voadam

Legend
What more are people asking for though?
3e's model was both tough and flimsy for undead as a base.

Immunity to anything requiring a fortitude save. Immunity to ability damage and drain. Immunity to all mind affecting effects.

On the flip side no con bonus to hp, the nonstandard healing stuff, turning.

In 5e most undead have a decent list of immunities or resistances. Taking the revenant as a conceptually sort of PC friendly model they get:

Damage Resistances necrotic, psychic
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, stunned
 

Kurotowa

Legend
why would the undead have an all-consuming need to kill the living?
You might as well ask why dragons hoard treasure or mind flayers eat brains. Because that's how the lore defines them and those are the narrative roles they fulfill.

Is it possible to re-write the lore so that undeath is an ascended state, an immortality earned after a life of struggle where councils of enlightened undead rule in a necrocracy? Of course it is. It already exists, with the elven nation of Aerenal in Eberron. But this is not the baseline. By default, mindless undead attack the living on sight because they're blasphemous constructs of negative energy. By default, vampires and liches need to feed on the living to selfishly extend their own eternal existences.

If you want to change that for your campaign because you find the idea of undeath interesting or attractive, you are free to do so. But don't expect everyone to share your view point, or for the official lore to bend in that direction.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
3e's model was both tough and flimsy for undead as a base.

Immunity to anything requiring a fortitude save. Immunity to ability damage and drain. Immunity to all mind affecting effects.

On the flip side no con bonus to hp, the nonstandard healing stuff, turning.

In 5e most undead have a decent list of immunities or resistances. Taking the revenant as a conceptually sort of PC friendly model they get:

Damage Resistances necrotic, psychic
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, stunned
it was a lot more than just no con bonus
Undead Type: Undead are once-living creatures animated by
spiritual or supernatural forces
Features: .tin undead creature has the following features.
—12 sided hit dice.
—Base attack Bonus equal to 1/2 total hit dice (as wizard)
—-Good Will saves.
----5kill points equal to (4 + lnt modifier. minimum 1 per Hit
Die. with quadruple skill points for the. first Hit Die. If the Undead
Creature has an Intelligence score. However. many undead are.
mindless and gain no skill points or feats
Traits: An undead creature possesses the following traits (unless.
otherwise noted in a creature's entry.
—No Constitution score.

—Darkvision out to 60 feet
—Immunity to all tnind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions.
phantasms, patterns, and morale effects
immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning. disease,
and death effects.
—Not subject to critical Hits. nonlethal damage, ability drain, or
energy drain. immune to damage to its physical ability scores
(Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), as well as to fatigue and
exhaustion effects. .
—Cannot heal damage on its own if it has no intelligence
score, although it can be healed. Negative energy such as an inflict
Spell can heal undead creatures. The last healing special quality
works regardless Of the creature's Intelligence score.
-—-Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (Unless
the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
—Uses its Charisma modifier For Concentration checks.
—-Not at risk Oof death from massive damage, but when reduced
0 hit points or less, it is immediately destroyed.
——Not affected lay raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities.
resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead creatures. These
spells turn undead creatures back turn the living creatures they
were before becoming undead .
-- Proficient with its natural weapons. all simple weapons. and _
any weapons mentioned in its entry. _ _
—Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or
heavy) it is described as wearing. as well as all lighter types. Un-.
dead not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor.
Undead are proficient With shields if they are proficient With any
Form of armor.
—Undead do not breathe, eat, or sleep.

For comparison with warforged here are construct, humanoid, & living construct types
 

You might as well ask why dragons hoard treasure or mind flayers eat brains. Because that's how the lore defines them and those are the narrative roles they fulfill.

Is it possible to re-write the lore so that undeath is an ascended state, an immortality earned after a life of struggle where councils of enlightened undead rule in a necrocracy? Of course it is. It already exists, with the elven nation of Aerenal in Eberron. But this is not the baseline. By default, mindless undead attack the living on sight because they're blasphemous constructs of negative energy. By default, vampires and liches need to feed on the living to selfishly extend their own eternal existences.

If you want to change that for your campaign because you find the idea of undeath interesting or attractive, you are free to do so. But don't expect everyone to share your view point, or for the official lore to bend in that direction.
dragons hoard treasure because old stories say they do, mind flayers need a reason to be against us, but the undead do not, if in tomb then it is defence if in army they are here to kill us, vampires we all already know.

negative energy is incomprehensible, not like magic impossible as in wrong in all possible worlds energy lacks polarity.

I assume it is a cope out for why necromancers have to be evil as people do not what to question why something is wrong beyond god/feeling say so hence 5e adding of lich needing fuel.
 

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