Turn Undead (sage ability)
Turn Undead is an amateur-status sage ability that enables the character to force back or destroy undead through faith. Some ability is granted for those with less than 10 knowledge in dweomercraft, the sage study from which "turn undead" derives — empowering every cleric or paladin with the ability to some degree. As knowledge is accumulated in dweomercraft, rather than levels, the character becomes increasingly effective against undead creatures with the ability.
This is a considerable and deliberate departure from the rules that appear in AD&D, or any other edition of D&D ... as is the effect of turning undead as described below. The goal is to both increase the number of persons able to perform the action while at the same time weakening its general effect. There are good times to use it and not so good times ... meaning that turning undead is a choice and not a definite go-to solution to all undead problems.
|Undead Type||Knowledge Points needed for Roll|
|son of Kyuss||–||–||–||20||18||14||10||8||5||4||2||T||T||T||T||D||D||D||D||D|
When attempting to turn undead, the character must commit his or her entire movement towards willing the desired creatures to fall back and give ground. Target creatures must be within 60 ft. — that is, 12 hexes. This action isn't magic, however, and therefore doesn't require concentration as does spellcasting.
The character rolls a d20 and compares it to the Turning Undead table. If the number on the die equals or is higher than the number shown, the turning was a success — which is to say, all affected undead creatures are lifted and hurled back a distance of 2 hexes. No damage is done, but the creature is stunned for one round, making it vulnerable to attack. Effective turnings can cause creatures to collide with walls or other obstacles, pushing them from a cliff or even pushing non-corporeal undead through solid walls.
A failure to turn has no effect except that the effort was wasted. Characters with the ability to turn undead can do so round after round, indefinitely, regardless of success.
Where the table reads "T," this means success is certain and no roll is needed. A "D" indicates that the character is able to destroy the undead at will rather than turning it.
The turning character is able to affect up to a minimum of one creature, or one hit dice per 5 points of knowledge in dweomercraft. Thus, a character with 10 points could affect two skeletons (2 HD) and at least one zombie, ghoul, huecuva or shadow, even though a shadow has 3 HD. A cleric or paladin without any knowledge points could still turn at least one creature of each type shown.
Among undead with an intelligence of 5 pts. or higher, the undead can see what's happening and will focus their efforts against characters who are able to turn. If the character's ability to turn is very strong, greater undead — mummy and above — will seek to retreat and seek some other approach as opposed to direct combat.