Sage Advice Collection

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 151DR048 Dragon #48 If a creature has magic resistance and someone is using a magical weapon against it, does their magic resistance affect the use of these kinds of weapons (fail to work), or do they work normally?  As stated in the Explanatory Notes in the front of the Monster Manual, “Magic resistance indicates the percentage chance of any spell absolutely failing.” Magic resistance does not have any effect on a creature’s ability to withstand damage from magical weapons or any magical item which can damage or otherwise affect the creature, unless the description of that weapon or magic item specifically states otherwise. 
 152DR052 Dragon #52 The DMG is very specific on how magic-users receive their starting spells, but I cannot tell how to give clerics their starting spells and how many of them to start with.  A cleric who is starting an adventuring career has already spent a long time affirming and strengthening his faith. As outlined in the DMG, clerical spells of first and second level are obtained by “inspiration” — that is, without needing the prior approval of a deity or a servant of the deity (such as is the case with spells of third level or higher). A cleric is assumed to be in good standing with his deity when he begins as a first-level character, and is entitled to choose from all of the first-level spells, up to the limit allowable because of the cleric’s wisdom score — 3 spells for those with wisdom of 14 or more, 2 spells for those with wisdom of 13, and always at least 1 spell. If the cleric remains in good standing with his deity, the continued acquisition and replenishment of first- and second-level spells will be automatic, assuming the cleric spends 15 minutes in prayer per spell level each day. However, the DM must constantly assess the relationship between the cleric and his deity. Transgressions by even a first-level cleric should not go unpunished, but that punishment will almost always be meted out by mortal servants of the deity (higher-level clerics). As punishment, a low-level cleric might be forbidden to use a certain spell — or all spells— for a length of time, though this must always be decided by the DM. Low-level clerics should remember that even though they don’t have to ask for first- and second-level spells, they aren’t always automatically entitled to receive them if they don’t remain wholly faithful. 
 153DR052 Dragon #52 If a turned monster is attacked by the cleric who turned him, will the monster fight back?  Wouldn’t you? Of course the monster will fight back. “Hostile acts” of any sort (DMG, page 66) will disrupt and negate the cleric’s effect on the turned creature. However, the monster will not necessarily continue to fight. The disrupt/on only lasts for the round in which it takes place, after which the cleric may again attempt to turn the creature. 
 154DR052 Dragon #52 Even though a cleric can only receive new spells from his/her deity once per day, is it possible for a cleric to appeal to his/her deity for spells more than once a day if the first appeal is not granted?  Well, anything’s possible. A cleric’s chance of getting spells depends almost exclusively on how well he’s getting along with the deity he serves. If a deity withholds spells because of displeasure with the cleric, praying for atonement would be the prudent thing to do, instead of making the same request again right away. Of course, emergency circumstances can dictate extreme measures: A cleric may well justify asking for a replenishment of one or more spells twice in one day if it is truly a life-or-death situation, or if some other serious peril makes it worth taking the chance of asking twice. If the deity doesn’t agree that the circumstances warrant a second request, the second answer may well be more than a simple “no.” 
 155DR052 Dragon #52 How much area may be caused to glow by a Light or Continual light spell? Do the clerical reverses of these spells blacken 4” and 12” diameter spheres, respectively? If so, what’s the good of Darkness, 15’ radius?  An interesting three-part question: Part two answers part one, and part three doesn’t seem to make sense. Yes, the reverses of the cleric spells Light and Continual light would “blacken” globes of that diameter — the same diameter as the globe of light formed when the “normal” version of the spell is cast. Nothing beyond the 4” or 12” diameter sphere of light or darkness would be affected —that is, the light sphere doesn’t “glow” and give off light to the area beyond the limit of the sphere. What’s the good of the Darkness spell? Well, the clerical Light spells can be reversed, but the magic-user spells can’t, so there isn’t any duplication of the sort that the question seems to suggest. 
 156DR052 Dragon #52 How long do the paralyzing effects of a glyph of warding (peh) last?  That’s up to the DM. (If you want a recommendation from the sage, try 1-6 turns.) There are no details in the AD&D game rules on exactly which glyphs should be employed in a campaign or what their characteristics should be. The glyph of paralysis (peh) which is illustrated on page 41 of the DMG, along with some others, is meant as an example of how a glyph might appear and what its general function might be. Other suggestions for “typical glyphs” are found in the spell description in the Players Handbook, but players and DMs must take it from there, formulating all the specific rules governing how severe and how long-lasting the effects of a glyph are. 
 157DR052 Dragon #52 Can an evil cleric cast Cure Wounds spells? Can a good cleric use a Cause Wounds spell? What about clerics who are neutral with respect to good and evil? How do lawful neutral and chaotic neutral clerics behave with respect to undead? Do they befriend/command them as an evil cleric would, or do they turn them as a good cleric would?  Judging by the general guidelines of the AD&D alignment system, causing or promoting pain and suffering is an evil act, while counteracting or preventing that pain and suffering is a good thing to do. It’s not right to say absolutely that an evil cleric can’t use a Cure spell; healing another evil creature (or perhaps oneself) is not necessarily viewed as a good act when performed by an evil character. Likewise, a good cleric cannot always be condemned for using a Cause Wounds spell. Good clerics do use weapons, and the purpose of a weapon attack is the same as that of a Cause Wounds spell: If damaging or destroying an enemy is necessary to save your skin, then causing pain and suffering suddenly becomes a lot less evil — in fact, neither good nor evil, but neutral (in one’s own best interest). But in almost all cases, it’s best for clerics who want to remain in good standing with their deities to choose the version of a reversible spell that best fits their general philosophy and purpose. A good general guideline is given in the description of the reverse of the Raise Dead spell, Slay Living: “An evil cleric can freely use the reverse spell; a good cleric must exercise extreme caution in its employment...” In most cases where a reversible spell is distinctly good in one version and evil in the other, evil clerics have the most latitude in determining which version they’d like to learn. That’s what you get for being good. It can be much more difficult to play a cleric who is neutral with respect to evil and good, and much more taxing for the DM who must represent the deity that judges the appropriateness of the cleric’s actions. To make life simpler, a cleric’s deity may make it known that he prefers his followers to use one certain form of a reversible spell. When a preference is not specified, and no other circumstances prevent it, the cleric would logically be free to choose which version of the spell he wished to learn — and he would still be subject to the judgement of his god after he cast it (you never know what a chaotic neutral god will do). As far as dealings with undead are concerned, the same guidelines would seem to be applicable: The cleric and his deity have a choice of how to cause undead to react to them. A lawful neutral deity, for example, might feel more benevolent toward a ghost than a ghoul, because of the monsters’ alignments with respect to law and chaos. In encounters with such creatures, the actions of a cleric of that deity would be governed by the instruction he has received, or by the cleric’s decision on which course of action would be looked on most favorably by his god. Perhaps a non-evil, non-good cleric of sufficiently high level would be trusted by his deity enough to make “to turn or not to turn” decisions on a case-by-case basis, whereas a lower-level cleric would need an occasional suggestion or instruction — or perhaps might be allowed to learn from his mistakes. Because of the unique personal relationship which must exist between a cleric and his deity, it is impossible to make concrete judgements about any subject which involves this relationship. 
 158DR052 Dragon #52 In previous clarifications in this column and from the DEITIES & DEMIGODS™ cyclopedia, we know that elves and half-orcs have no souls and therefore cannot be raised from the dead or resurrected. Since Raise Dead and Resurrection return the soul to the body, it must reasonably follow that the reverses of these spells (Slay Living and DestructIon) release the soul from the body. Does this mean that elves and half-orcs are not affected by the reverse spells, since they have no souls to release?  Good question, but your reasoning isn’t quite sound. The unreversed forms of those spells do indeed “return the soul to the body” — but they also do a lot more. They reintroduce biological, physical life into a body; otherwise, a lifeless body with a soul inside it would be just that — a lifeless body. The physical trauma that the recipient of a Raise Dead spell goes through is considerable, so much so that the revived person is “weak and helpless” and must rest to regain his former vigor. So, it is reasonable to assume that an elf or half-orc struck by a Slay Living spell would undergo physical trauma to the same degree, and in this case, the trauma is great enough to kill even a soulless being. Likewise, the trauma caused by a Destruction spell, which turns the victim to dust, is something which no creature could endure and remain alive. The reasoning which suggests that a creature can’t be affected by the reverse of a spell if that creature is immune to the unreversed form breaks down under a bit of examination. Many reversible spells are defined in such a way that a figure cannot possibly be immune to both forms of the spell at once. For example, should a blind character, obviously immune (at least for the moment) to Cause Blindness, also be unaffected by Cure Blindness? Of course not. There is no general rule which indicates that someone who is unaffected by one form of a spell is automatically unaffected by the reverse as well. 
 159DR052 Dragon #52 What happens when a Resurrection or a Raise Dead is cast on an undead?  Hmmm. It stands to reason that undead can be resurrected, as long as their living bodies had souls. But according to the spell description for Resurrection, a cleric can resurrect the “bones” of a dead body — that is, there must be some part of the body available for the cleric to touch for the process of resurrection to take place. Any undead which is encountered in an immaterial, gaseous or ethereal form could not be resurrected, because there’s nothing for the cleric to lay his hands on — even if he dared to touch one. An undead creature which is corporeal, and especially one which has retained at least a vestige of the appearance it had in life, could conceivably be resurrected with a touch — again, if the cleric is willing and able to withstand the effects of that touch. It’s worth noting here that a cleric who casts Resurrection is incapacitated for at least one day afterward, during which time the cleric cannot engage in combat or spell-casting. Unless some means is at hand to control the resurrected creature and save the cleric’s skin, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble after the spell is cast. A further guideline on the subject is found in the Monster Manual in the description for ghouls. A human who is killed by a ghoul will himself become a ghoul., unless a Bless spell is cast upon the corpse (in which case the victim is simply dead). The corpse could then be resurrected — after being blessed. Logically, the same procedure — bless first, raise later — could be required for an attempt to resurrect any undead creature. Depending on the DM’s interpretation of “touch,” it might be possible for a cleric to lay hands on, for instance, the immobilized body of a vampire without suffering the loss of 2 life energy levels which accompanies a vampire’s hit on a victim. (Since the vampire isn’t doing the “hitting” or “touching,” he can’t do any damage.) But what about the mummy? Its touch “inflicts a rotting disease on any hit,” but it’s logical to assume that anyone who initiates contact with a mummy would also be subject to the disease. Since each type of undead is at least slightly different from each other type, there are no general rules which can apply. Whether or not to require a Bless spell, whether or not to assess damage upon a “touch,” and any other particular questions are left to the DM’s discretion. Raise Dead is a different matter entirely. The spell description pretty well covers it: The vital parts of the body must be present, which rules out skeletons and any non-corporeal undead, and the undead creature must have been in a non-alive state for a length of time which does not exceed the limit of the spell’s power. The Monster Manual gives specifics for some cases: spectres, wights and wraiths will be destroyed by a Raise Dead spell (unless they make a save vs. magic), and a mummy can be resurrected by casting Cure Disease followed by Raise Dead. If a Bless is required before a Resurrection attempt can be successful, the blessing need not also be required for a Raise Dead attempt, because the soul hasn’t been away from the body as long and the newly created undead hasn’t fallen entirely into the clutches of eviltry. 
 160DR052 Dragon #52 An evil cleric has control of a spectre. The spectre drains the life force from another character, making it a half-strength spectre under control of the full-strength spectre. Does the cleric automatically have control of the half-strength spectre, or does the cleric have to attempt to command it to service (turn it)?  can control the new one. What does matter is that there is now a spectre where there wasn’t one when the first spectre was brought under control. A new spectre, even a half-strength one, must be dealt with separately just as if the beastie were another full-strength one that had just come onto the scene. Wights, wraiths and spectres all have the ability to turn victims into half-strength creatures of their own type. The half-strength creatures are not affected by the result of any successful attempt to turn which preceded their becoming undead. Another attempt to turn should be rolled on the appropriate row of the “Clerics Affecting Undead” chart. Alternatively, because the new creatures are only half-strength monsters, the DM may allow rolls on the chart to be treated as if the half-strength undead were a type of undead with half as many hit dice. 
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