Arcane Spells And Armor
Aside from the fact that most wizards and sorcerers are not trained to properly benefit from armour, arcane magic experiences issues when called upon through particularly thick material. It is not a sure thing, however, only a chance that arcane spells cast in armour will fail. Even in the thickest armour, there is a chance that spells will cast successfully. Furthermore, there are those arcane casters who have found a way to call on magic even while fully armoured, and certain materials do not interfere with the flow of magic.
If desired, they can wear armor anyway (though they’ll be clumsy in it), or they can gain training in the proper use of armor (with the various Armor Proficiency feats—light, medium, and heavy—and the Shield Proficiency feat), or they can multiclass to add a class that grants them armor proficiency. Even if a wizard or sorcerer is wearing armor with which he or she is proficient, however, it might still interfere with spellcasting.
Armor restricts the complicated gestures that a wizards or sorcerer must make while casting any spell that has a somatic component (most do). The armor and shield descriptions list the arcane spell failure chance for different armors and shields.
By contrast, bards not only know how to wear light armor effectively, but they can also ignore the arcane spell failure chance for such armor. A bard wearing armor heavier than light or using any type of shield incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance, even if he becomes proficient with that armor.
If a spell doesn’t have a somatic component, an arcane spellcaster can cast it with no problem while wearing armor. Such spells can also be cast even if the caster’s hands are bound or if he or she is grappling (although Concentration checks still apply normally). Also, the metamagic feat Still Spell allows a spellcaster to prepare or cast a spell at one spell level higher than normal without the somatic component. This also provides a way to cast a spell while wearing armor without risking arcane spell failure.
Negative and Positive Energy
In Asyeun, Negative and Positive Energy are inherently neutral. They are simply natural forces with downsides (making the dead walk, making the living explode) and upsides (bringing back grandpa when resurrection can’t, healing the living), like fire (burning down houses, providing heat).
As such, there are a few changes to the rules happening. First, both positive and negative energy are channeled, except in certain circumstances, by necromancy (though, in world, people will usually talk about zoimancy when using positive energy, because people are dumb like that). This means that both Cure and Inflict are necromancy spells, and yes, this means that paladins can use some necromancy, and qualify for things that only care that you can use it, not what kind. It’s generally going to be safe to assume that any spell which uses positive energy is going to be necromancy now. Follow the school descriptions (Abjuration protects, Conjuration brings things to you, or creates things, Divination tells you things, Enchantment mindrapes people, Evocation uses the main energies-acid, cold, electricity, fire, sonic-and sometimes others, such as force, Illusion fools the senses and makes unreal things, Necromancy deals with positive and negative energy, and Transmutation changes things.
Now, some undead are still evil, and some uses of necromancy are evil. The implications of my decision are as follows, if something isn’t mentioned, you can assume that there is no change, but please bring it to my attention if you think something needs to be said about it.
Skeletons and Zombies
As Negative Energy is inherently neutral, so too are mindless undead such as these. Their alignment changes to pure neutral. There are, however, evil versions of these mindless creatures, but they are exceptions, not the rule. Animate Dead can, at the caster’s option, create Vicious Skeletons or Bloodthirsty Zombies. Each variant has a CR 1 higher than it’s standard fellows, and gains the Lifesense quality. Vicious Skeletons gain a Claw Attack which deals damage as if it were a size larger, and the Rend ability. Bloodthirsty Zombies gain a bite attack which deals normal bite damage, or the normal damage for it’s size, whichever is greater, the Gaping Wounds ability (deals 1 con damage on critical hits), and the Improved Critical (Bite) feat.
Both of these types of undead have an aggressive default behaviour scheme. If left uncommanded, they will seek out life and attack it. They move a roughly spiral search pattern, and attack life in the following order of preference:
- Hostile Creatures, Living or No (creatures attacking the undead)
- Panicked Living Creatures
- Frightened Living Creatures
- Shaken Living Creatures
- Moving Living Creatures
- Stationary Living Creatures
- Anything showing life energy (plants, sources of magic using Positive Energy)
Vampires are affected by this choice in a perversely strange fashion. Because Negative Energy is neutral, it does not make a vampire hunger for the blood of innocents, and thus vampires are evil, basically because they could have become a ghoul and eaten steak tartar for eternal life, or become a lich and not have to do really anything evil.
That being said, only those who seek vampirism are evil, those who are cursed by another, say, by being bitten by a vampire, or by someone casting Create Undead, are not automatically evil. They are welcome to try to resist the urge to feed on their fellow sentient beings and drink animal blood instead. It’s just remarkably difficult. See Undead Hunger below.
Mummies are not evil, damnit. They are scary, sure, and yes, they have a curse that functions like a disease. Mummy Rot is not an actual disease, however, it’s a curse that is meant to kill would be tomb robbers. Given that Mark of Justice and other such steep penalties enforced upon evil are not evil, neither are mummies.
There are two types of undead hunger, which both function similar to addiction, Inescapable craving and Diet Dependance.
An Inescapable Craving means that the undead does not need the desired thing for subsistence, but that the magic that animates them drives them to consume. If they satisfy their craving, they are satisfied for a day. If they go more than 24 hours without satisfying this craving, they must make a DC 25 will save, or take 1d6 Wisdom Damage.
Diet Dependence means that some part of the undead’s existence depends on nourishment, vampires require blood, for example. An undead who consumes what they are dependent upon are satiated for 3 days. If they have not consumed the substance in 72 hours, they must make a DC 15 will save or suffer 2d4 Wisdom damage.
Once an undead character or creature has reached 0 wisdom, they lose their judgement, and will pursue the substance they crave or need, regardless of risk. If they cannot or, for some reason, do not, acquire the substance, they must make a Fort save (modified by Cha for undead who do not have the Unliving subtype, DC 25 once a day for Inescapable craving, or DC 15 every three days for diet dependance) or take Str damage (1d6 for IC, 2d4 for DD).
Vicious Skeletons and Bloodthirsty Zombies are essentially always suffering from unsatisfied hunger.
By default, Animate Dead creates normal skeletons and zombies, and is thus not evil. At the caster’s option, they can make Vicious Skeletons or Bloodthirsty Zombies, in which case it is evil.
Deathwatch sees life, and is thus not evil. It was likely a typo or something anyway.
Create Undead has an alignment tag based on what is being created. If it is used to create a mummy, the spell is Lawful, but not Evil. If it is used to create a ghoul, ghast, or mohrg, it is evil. Create Greater Undead is always evil, as all of the types of undead it creates are.