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Playing Undead

Running a Game with Undead PCs

Source Book of the Dead pg. 45
The options for playing undead are built to closely match the normal play style of adventuring, but not all types of adventures or adversaries work well with undead in the party. Many abilities of enemy creatures become weak or pointless against undead. Take note of the basic undead benefits so you can avoid using enemies who rely on death effects, for example. You'll also need to reconsider adversaries who have heal or harm spells, and potentially switch out the spells they know. Harm isn't useful as an offensive spell against undead, so living creatures with harm won't get any use out of it against a party of undead. Heal, on the other hand, becomes extra useful and valuable for living creatures, as it can both heal their allies and hurt the PCs. Running a game with undead means taking these elements into account but not necessarily removing them all. Sometimes undead shrug off powerful spells and sometimes they get wrecked by a heal spell.

Unleashing the Undead

Source Book of the Dead pg. 45
The rules for undead PCs make some adjustments for playability. The main differences are reducing the undead immunity to disease, paralyzed, poison, and sleep to bonuses, and not having the undead destroyed when they reach 0 HP. If you want something more similar to standard undead for the PCs, you can give them the immunities fully. This means quite a few spells, enemies, and hazards could become useless. You can remove a fair number of these from your campaign and skip rewarding XP for dangers that don't actually endanger anyone. For instance, if undead PCs immune to poison battled enemies that made heavy use of poison, that might be a trivial encounter for your group.

Having the PCs be destroyed at 0 HP is a trickier change. This removes a safeguard intended to prevent total party kills (TPKs) and avoid the need to monitor the whole group's HP very carefully at all times. Implementing it works best if you're playing a high-intensity one-shot game or are playing troupe-style play, with more characters than players, so a character who dies can quickly be replaced.