Necromancy and AL

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Inconnunom

Explorer
It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable extrapolation of the existing rules:

- Undead are immune to Cure Wounds and all similar spells, thus cannot gain hit points by healing.
- Undead are immune to having their life force destroyed via a Nine Lives Stealer.
- Some undead are given explicit healing abilities; the Vampire, for instance, needs them to adjudicate how long it takes for the creature to return from its gaseous form after being reduced to zero hit points.

The long rest is presented as a form of 'natural healing': not only do "characters" (SRD 5.0, p.87) regain their HP when finishing a long rest, they also regain some portion of their previously expended hit dice, reduces the character's exhaustion level (if any) by 1 (SRD, p.192), and can recover from diseases (SRD, p.204).

The undead (a.k.a.: "restless dead") are not vulnerable to most of these things, not having a life force to need 'refreshing', and thus have no reason (or, to some, ability) to rest.

A DM could certainly allow animated undead to use the rest and recovery rules to regain hit points, but there is plenty of justification in the rules for making the alternative ruling, that undead do not heal 'naturally' and only regain HP if they have specific means to do so (as the Vampire does) or are restored in some other fashion.

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Pauper

I can agree with the idea that magical spells of health restoration would not work on undead (just as the spells specifically say they cannot). But hit dice and the healer feat are non-magical. If a creature has hit dice, it can use it to recover health unless a spell, ability, or stat block specifically says it cannot. Nowhere in the game does it say "undead can't recover health".
 

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kalani

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I may have been misremembering how undead work in this edition (as I was answering away from my books). I do recall simulacrum not being able to heal as well as undead in previous editions also being unable to regain HPs naturally.
 

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
I may have been misremembering how undead work in this edition (as I was answering away from my books).

Based on the SRD, there is no blanket prohibition on undead healing. The trick comes in when you consider that, instead, every effect that otherwise would heal or otherwise affect undead as they affect normal characters has to call that out specifically (such as the cure spells, the Nine Lives Stealer, etc.). The rules for short and long rests don't explicitly forbid undead from using them, so are allowable. That doesn't mean they are explicitly allowed, either, though.

I do recall simulacrum not being able to heal as well as undead in previous editions also being unable to regain HPs naturally.

Similacrum (OGL 5.0, p.177) does have a paragraph about how, if it is damaged, it can be repaired in an alchemical lab for 100gp per hit point regained. However, nothing in the text of the spell prohibits the similacrum from healing in other ways. If you rule that the similacrum can *only* heal in the manner described in the spell, then it's just as reasonable to say that vampires can *only* heal using their innate healing abilities described in their write-up. And if vampires can't heal normally, that would be more reasonable based on them being undead rather than some explicit weakness of vampires as a monster type, thus all undead would be unable to heal normally, even the ones that don't have explicit healing abilities.

In the absence of an explicit rule that says yes or no, the DM must make a ruling, and in AL can legally make any ruling justifiable from the printed rules. I believe the 'undead cannot heal normally' ruling is justifiable.

(Also, I'd encourage AL to adopt a ruling that simulacra cannot themselves cast the Simulacrum spell -- this closes a lot of potential abuse.)

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Pauper
 

Inconnunom

Explorer
Based on the SRD, there is no blanket prohibition on undead healing. The trick comes in when you consider that, instead, every effect that otherwise would heal or otherwise affect undead as they affect normal characters has to call that out specifically (such as the cure spells, the Nine Lives Stealer, etc.). The rules for short and long rests don't explicitly forbid undead from using them, so are allowable. That doesn't mean they are explicitly allowed, either, though.

One more thing. In the errata:
Ranger’s Companion (p. 93). Like any creature, the beast can spend Hit Dice during a short rest. If you are incapacitated or absent, the beast acts on its own, focusing on protecting you and itself. It never requires your command to use its reaction, such as when making an opportunity attack.

Between that and Crawford's post specifically addressing how to heal undead, I think a dm would be moving off into homebrew territory since they are extrapolating their own ideas on how undead should be.
 
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RulesJD

First Post
Thanks for everyone pointing out that Undead can, in fact, heal. Which removes one of the concerns, which I though was an extremely minor one at that for the undead that have at best a few hit die.

No, I am not willing to accept the difference between expending money on a piece of equipment and expending money on a spell. It is literally just as easy to record "Spent 100 gold repairing my Simulacrum for 1 HP" as it is to record "Spent 5000 gold buying an Elephant and putting Plate barding on it". There is zero difference, zilch, nada. The same "Notes" section of the Adventurer's Log that is used for equipment purchases and writing Spells into a spellbook can be used for expending gold on casting spells.

Also, if we bar that then forget about the spell "Revivify". Or any spell that is cast with some regularity that requires the consumption of an expensive material component. So yes, AL does need to accept that either players can log things like Animate Dead, Simulacrum, etc., or admit its hypocrisy for only allowing the logging of some resources (equipment, spells written to a spellbook) but not others.
 

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
No, I am not willing to accept the difference between expending money on a piece of equipment and expending money on a spell. It is literally just as easy to record "Spent 100 gold repairing my Simulacrum for 1 HP" as it is to record "Spent 5000 gold buying an Elephant and putting Plate barding on it". There is zero difference, zilch, nada.

I agree. And as a DM, there's just as much chance I'll let you use that elephant with plate barding at my table as I would let you use a half-dozen simulcra (each of which created another one) to overwhelm my adventure. That is to say, zero chance. That is the authority AL gives me as a DM ("A DM's ruling at the table is considered final for the purpose of that play session."), and that is *especially* true if you're going to be a jerk about it.

The difference is, if you write down that you spent gold and downtime days to copy spells from a spellbook, and list the spellbook under the treasure for the adventure where you got the spellbook, I can take a quick look and say, 'OK, that checks out.' If you mis-record some of the spells, I can tell you to correct them, or if you refuse, forbid you from using the spells that weren't actually in the spellbook you claim to have gained.

If you've got an elephant, though? Where are the records of you feeding it, or if you're going to argue that you're feeding it with your lifestyle, why are you still sitting on the Modest lifestyle from your original background? Where do you keep it? How did you get it to Mulmaster from Phlan? Give me a good, interesting, rational explanation for all this stuff, and sure, I might be persuaded. But the point is, as others have already pointed out, that AL is not a venue for anything a player can dream up. AL is about getting together and telling shared stories around the gaming table. Anything you put forward that gives me the idea that you're not planning to share, and are instead going to hog the limelight and troll my table for the lulz, is another reason for me to make as full a use of my authority as DM to stop you from ruining the game for the other people at the table, each of whom is just as deserving of having time in the spotlight and feeling as though they have an awesome character as you do.

I don't expect players to try to police each other -- if the players are threatening each other to keep the adventure on track, I've already failed as DM.

If this means you're uninterested in playing Adventurers League, because you suddenly realize that every DM you play with isn't just going to trust you so that you can pull of whatever shenanigans you feel like pulling, then I for one am breathing a heavy sigh of relief, for my own tables and all the other tables that won't be wrecked by a selfish player who uses the rules as a bludgeon to beat the fun out of what should be an entertaining pastime.

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Pauper
 

Pauper

That guy, who does that thing.
Between that and Crawford's post specifically addressing how to heal undead, I think a dm would be moving off into homebrew territory since they are extrapolating their own ideas on how undead should be.

Crawford's rulings are not binding on AL DMs any more than they are binding on other DMs -- AL specifically notes that Sage Advice is not official AL material.

As for the ranger errata, that's interesting, but the comment about spending hit dice during a short rest says nothing about the long rest question, so doesn't really help resolve that question. The DM is still required to make a ruling, and can make any ruling justifiable from the printed rules.

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Pauper
 

kalani

First Post
Clarification: AL specifically states DMs are not required to use Sage Advice, but encourages them to do so (providing it does not contradict an AL-Specific rules source). Part of the reason for this ruling was because we did not want DMs to feel obligated to keep track of a half-dozen different rules sources and wanted to keep the work load to a minimum.
 

I don't see animate dead as evil, IF the necro sticks to mindless, soulless undead such as zombies and skeletons which unless they changed it for this edition are nor evil.

I could do more evil by far with fireball than animate dead.
 

Tyranthraxus

Explorer
Its time like this I miss this old modified quality of Animate Dead:

Gotta love it when your undead minions turn on you.

Animate Dead: This spell works almost too well in Ravenloft. Normally the caster can animate a number of skeletons or zombies approximately equal to his level in Hit Dice. When a priest casts this spell in Ravenloft, however, it animates twice the usual amount. (Use the regular formula, but double the result.) The caster can add as many Hit Dice to the monsters as desired, as long as the total is no more than twice his own level.

Dungeon Masters should keep in mind that the Hit Dice of an undead creature affect its resistance to turning. Further, those creatures whose Hit Dice exceed the caster's level can attempt a saving throw vs. spell to break free of control.

The casting of this spell prompts a Ravenloft powers check.
 

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