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D&D 5E PC wants to become undead

ElterAgo

Explorer
Wow! A lot of responses very quickly.

Don't know esteban1997
Unless horribly disruptive I am generally open to trying to make the in-character goals playable in some fashion. the other PC's are also going for kinda wierd stuff. I'm ok with that stuff.
We are playing a modified Storm King's Thunder campaign.
The character build is a half gnome arcane trickster thief named Jed. So far he has mostly just been focused on throwing daggers. Only 4th level at this point.
He really isn't all that much of a power-gamer.
In all honesty I think the real-out-of-game reason that he wants to be undead is that he finds the name "Undead Jed" to be amusing. So he is developing an in-character personality reason to be an undead.
Yes, I believe he wants to keep playing the PC.

I think a rotting smelly zombie would make being a thief very difficult (but I might find it entertaining).
I think he wants to be something that he could manage to pass as a 'normal' living race unless someone looks real close.
I don't think the other players or characters would have too much of a problem with it. Although if the choice required him to kill large numbers of innocents, one of the PC's would have an issue if he finds out about it. (I thought the lich lore said you had to sacrifice massive numbers or people to the ritual. But I may be remembering a previous edition.)

I will look for the Wildemount book.
I also look into the possibility of "...In 3E, there was a "necropolitan" race..."
 
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Dausuul

Legend
Not needing to eat-drink-breathe - or sleep - is huge!

I've got a PC in my game who picked up a blessing/curse a while back, that he only needs to sleep one night in thirty. This seemingly-little thing has made a massive difference in the party's ability to keep watch while resting.

Poison immunity is also a pretty big deal if the PC is a Thief or similar, or itself deals in poisons.
Not needing to sleep is a big deal, yes, but that's far from a universal trait of undead, which is why I didn't list it. Plenty of undead are dormant during the day.

The need to eat is generally trivial in D&D--one 1st-level spell slot each day can feed the whole party indefinitely. Not needing to breathe is handy when you need to explore underwater, but seldom relevant otherwise.

Poison immunity is the most significant item, but it's still not a game-breaker by any stretch. It's just a solid racial benefit.

You can set a clone's age???? That's a new one on me!

I've always read it that the clone appears exactly as the caster at the moment of spell resolution, even to the point of including any injuries the caster might have sustained.

The soul transferring from one clone to another is also a new one on me.
From the spell description:

"You can also choose to have the clone be a younger version of the same creature."

"At any time after the clone matures, if the original creature dies, its soul transfers to the clone ... The original creature's physical remains, if they still exist, become inert and can't thereafter be restored to life, since the creature's soul is elsewhere."
 

DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
Revenant is a possibility. If you want to see how that might be done, there is an example on
Critical Role - Vax becomes a revenant towards the end of the first campaign.
Not, really, with only a year of life... (or "unlife")...
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if the PC wants to be immortal. :(
 


DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
@ElterAgo:

Also, keep in mind you don't need a specific "monster" undead to model the PC after. The game has examples (at least one...) of an NPC who is undead, without being considered any specific "monster" undead--it just has the undead type. 🤷‍♂️

You can always just make something up, like a curse that causes the PCs heart to stop, making it so he is "undead" and will live forever, but maybe the trade-off is he only heals half as much or has vulnerability to radiant damage or something?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not needing to sleep is a big deal, yes, but that's far from a universal trait of undead, which is why I didn't list it. Plenty of undead are dormant during the day.
"They only come out at night", yes; but I've never read that as their being dormant during the day, more that they have to hide from the daylight. Underground, undead keep going 24/7.
From the spell description:

"You can also choose to have the clone be a younger version of the same creature."

"At any time after the clone matures, if the original creature dies, its soul transfers to the clone ... The original creature's physical remains, if they still exist, become inert and can't thereafter be restored to life, since the creature's soul is elsewhere."
Yikes! When did this come in?

In this case yes, effective immortality* can be achieved by casting Clone every time you get to about (Human-equivalent) age 50 and setting yourself back to (again HE) age 20.

* - as in, not dying of old age. Swords, poisons, falls, and all those other hazards can still get ya... :)
 


ElterAgo

Explorer
There isn't much undead that can even remotely pass for 'normal' living race IME, but maybe you'll find something. shrug
I would think a vampire or lich could pass as normal if someone wasn't looking too closely. Plus there are always magical disguises and spells.
 

GSHamster

Adventurer
I think vampire would be the best fit. Pass as normal, good for thieves and daggers. The gnome part would be a little weird, but just go with it. The only real problem would be having to adventure at night, but it's surmountable--witness all the tv shows and books with vampire characters--if the other players are willing to go along with it.

I would recommend finding a decent vampire prestige class on the internet, and making the character multiclass into it. That will mitigate most of the power concerns.
 


Perhaps there is a quest said PC can go on and when it is done, said PC gets the Hollow One Supernatural Gift from the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount book. It's a 5E template that changes your race type from Humanoid to Undead IIRC. It was pretty much a tease for the Theros book that introduced the gameplay mechanic of Supernatural Gifts. Even if your not a Crit fan, you can still pretty much cherry pick it and go with that option.
 
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toucanbuzz

Legend
He want to become an undead and live forever....

What other options are there and how would you handle it as a GM? We're still at the looking for ideas stage.
1. That's pretty dark. In literature, the desire to live forever is generally linked to doing so at the expense of others and never turns out well, or immortality is simply a curse. For example, the original AD&D formula for lichdom required the blood of murdered victims and babies. This wasn't generated so players could follow the same path (jeez, that'd go over really well at the family dinner table of what you do for your hobby); it was written for the "reveal," so gamers could see how really nasty and evil and vile being a lich is. You don't get to live forever and it be a good thing.

2. Has the player thought how this will play out with the rest of the group?

3. Is he simply curious about trying something new? I can't recall if it was homebrew or a published adventure, but ages ago I played in an AD&D adventure where the party got turned into undead, willingly, for a time to infiltrate a realm the living could not suffer. The DM gave us templates for our new forms. It was something fresh.

4. Is he bored with his current character, or is there something else he's missing from the game? He's already playing non-PHB material ("half gnome"), and my DM senses tingle when I see gamers continually looking for the next big thrill...for them. Is this a solo project, or is he thinking in terms of "would this make the game more enjoyable for everyone else?"
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
When the Cleric uses his Channel Divinity to Rebuke Undead, what happens to the PC? And how about the subclass that can Destroy Undead?

Another option (not easy to hide from others, and big Achilles' Heel if BBEG does his homework) is to get somebody to transform him into a Mummy.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Ok I have a player whose PC can't stand the thought of eventually becoming old and weak then eventually dying. He want to become an undead and live forever. I am willing to work out something with him for this. He's not sure if his character is vicious enough to sacrifice large job lots of people to become a Lich. Could get turned by a vampire then be a free agent when the creator vampire is destroyed. But the whole "burns in sunlight" thing is a serious weakness.

What other options are there and how would you handle it as a GM? We're still at the looking for ideas stage.
I'd make SURE to tell the player that what his characters ultimate goal is, is permanent RETIREMENT from the campaign. After that, if the Player was still interested, I'd let the Player have his PC do all the "hard work and research". I'm not, as DM, going to just up and say "Ok then, just do X, Y and Z, then you'll become a [insert undead type]"...that's called "taking sides". It also completely sucks all the self-determination that the Players are supposed to have in the game world. In short, it's not my job to tell players the answer to every question they ask or how to achieve everything they desire for their PC's.

Personally... I'm fond of the "Mysterious and Legendary Item/Spell/Location/Creature" story. So if and when the PC starts to look into the most appropriate locations for trying to figure out how to do it, I'd have several possibilities semi-fleshed out for my world (assuming it's possible in that world, obviously). The PC then just has to spend the gold, take the time, and make the effort to discover them (or even one of them), and then just start following the leads. Eventually they'll make a decision and start down their own personal goal of "Discovering where the lost Decanter of the Ages" is and off they go! Adventures aplenty!
:)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
It sounds like a pretty cool character arc, to be honest. I'd let the character become a lich, deathlock, mummy lord, or death knight (their choice) over the course of their career. They would have to travel far and wide, collecting bits and pieces of ancient rituals, long-forgotten tomes, rare ingredients, etc. By the time they have all the things they need to become the undead of their choice, the main campaign will be at an end. Everyone will be 20th level and ready to ride off into the sunset to "live happily ever after."

I would be very hesitant to allow it any sooner in a character's career, however. Undead monsters have a very disproportionate amount of resistances and powerful abilities than other monsters have. If the player insists on becoming an undead monster at low- to mid-level, I'd work with that player to make a custom class or subclass to handle it. Then you could ensure it's no more or less powerful than the other characters in the group.
 

Ace

Adventurer
Ok I have a player whose PC can't stand the thought of eventually becoming old and weak then eventually dying. He want to become an undead and live forever. I am willing to work out something with him for this. He's not sure if his character is vicious enough to sacrifice large job lots of people to become a Lich. Could get turned by a vampire then be a free agent when the creator vampire is destroyed. But the whole "burns in sunlight" thing is a serious weakness.

What other options are there and how would you handle it as a GM? We're still at the looking for ideas stage.
If you group is Evil and is OK with it make an event of it. Maybe they all want to be undead or something.

Otherwise questing for potions of longevity and elixirs of youth are mystical, on brand and cool .

Also making friends with a high level druid/druid circle is a possibility. This opens up quest options for you , you have to do X and I will cast reincarnate on you when you die. This unlike resurrection does work on being that have died of old age which is nice too.

There is also questing for a wishing ring or the like This could allow someone to stop aging if you as DM allowed it. Again this is epic level magic so there is plenty of space to make this a reward for a lot of hard work
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I had a PC Ghoul- Ghouls are intelligent and Gravetouched Ghouls retain their skills from life.

You could also go for Revenant (see the Paladin Revenant in Curse of Strahd) or Mummy or even Ghost
 
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GSHamster

Adventurer
Actually, if you just want to live forever, why not a classic adventure to find the Fountain of Youth? At the end, have the PCs find the Fountain deep in an uncharted wilderness, each takes a drink, and as they leave, have an earthquake or massive rock slide bury the Fountain.

The PCs become unaging, but can still be killed. This avoids all the problems with power and weaknesses, as well as the various moral dilemmas which come with the undead.
 

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