…that is the question.
Is it better to have tweaked and lost
than never to have tweaked at all?
There is a thread on the the ICE forums about undead and sunlight. (http://www.ironcrown.com/ICEforums/index.php?topic=18536.0)
This is exactly the sort of question that I think screams “Setting over Rules”. The very question of how undead are created, how they ‘live’ and how they die are all entwined with the magical system in which they are created. Some people see Necromancy as a wizardly thing, others a dark priestly thing. I can certainly see the argument for a hybrid Channeling/Essence (Chessence?) Necromancer.
I like Skeletons. When I think of Skeletons I think of Jason and the Argonauts where the wizard throws down the bone fragments and the Skeletons emerge from the ground.
In my vision, Mordrig’s idea of sunlight effects on the undead has no place. These are more Essency than Channelly Skeletons.
In all those 1970s and 80s Zombie movies, night of the living dead types of films, sunlight had no place to play.
On the other hand, I ran a zombie apocalypse adventure for my players recently and in that session the undead came out at night and retreated before sunrise. I used the dusk until dawn mechanism simply because I was sending impossible odds against the players and the objective, although they didn’t realise it was to survive until dawn. It was never going to be possible to fight their way out unless they had solved the clues and left before sunset, and with my group that was extremely unlikely to happen!
If you did introduce a rule that directly sunlight harms or kills the undead then that piece of information becomes vitally important. There is a good time to go undead hunting and a very bad time. Earth Law suddenly becomes a really useful spell list if you can cracks call the ceiling and bring sunlight down into crypts and dungeons.
So Creatures and Treasures has some rules on the effects of sunlight. Vampires are the only ones with explicit damage from sunlight. My own Vampires and Vampire Spawn, converted over from the D&D 5e SRD both have the flaw of…
Sunlight Hypersensitivity. The vampire takes a A Fire critical
when it starts its round in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has -25 on
attack rolls and skill checks.
So this puts the 5e vampire firmly in the Bram Stoker/Hollywood camp. This is also where the C&T vampires lay.
The question is are there many forms of undead in your world with different creation methods, natures and ultimately game mechanics or just one unified mechanic that means all undead should behave in a coherent and consistent way.
I like the plurality of different mechanics. I like the idea of lost souls becoming ghosts or will ‘o’ wisps, mages sacrificing their mortal souls to achieve lichdom and necromancers reanimating corpses. Some have bodies, some don’t, some are purely magical and no more spiritual than a golem or animated suit of armour. Others are the willing a show of power by a dark god. I do not see a need for one mechanic or one unified Undead Lore.
Just as a bit of a straw poll, how do other GMs see the whole spectrum of undead? Is there a need for a common set of rules to bind them or is the entire concept of Class I-VI undead doing them a disservice?