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All About RebukingEdit
Rebuking is a potentially wonderful, and horribly underused ability that is itself shockingly level dependent. Additions to your Rebuking checks are virtually worthless, as you can only command undead that are half your level in Rebuking in hit dice. Undead have the BAB of a commoner and no Con bonus, so high CR Undead have many more Hit Dice than their CR. Even if you keep your Rebuking up to full level, the creatures you will be able to control will become increasingly outgunned by the monsters you meet in your day-to-day adventuring. And if you allow your Rebuking to fall behind even a tiny bit, you might as well not have the ability at all. The Rebuking handed out by such classes as the Blackguard is useful only for powering Divine Feats – it should not be confused with an actual manner to control or bolster the Undead.
Rebuking can of course be increased, and rather easily. The key is that the ability itself is “as Turn Undead” with no provision on level bonuses. So any bonus to Turn Undead also bolsters Rebuking by default, but the reverse is not also true. So an Amulet of Turn Undead increases your effective level of Rebuking, but a Mark of Apostasy won’t aid Turning in any way. Remember that all bonuses to Turning (Rebuking) level are unnamed, so they all stack. You can even have multiple copies of the same item and they’ll still stack. For those of you keeping track at home that means that a character with an Amulet of Turning (+4), a Scepter of the Netherworld (+3), and a Sacred Shield (+2) can command 5 Hit Die Undead even as a first level character.
The creatures you can command become relatively weaker when compared to you unless you pull Turning bonus shenanigans, but they also become easier to command in the first place. By the time you can command a 5 Hit Die undead monster it is actually impossible for you to fail to do so. The turning check itself just isn’t that meaningful. Your real enemy of course is Turn Resistance, as every +1 Turn Resistance means you need to have 2 more whole levels worth of Rebuking to command the creature. Surprisingly, many abilities such as “Necromantic Presence” actually make it harder for you to push your undead minions around. Hilariously, when you take over an undead monster when you have this ability, it gains +4 Turn Resistance: almost assuredly making it ineligible for you to control it (this always happens, as Rebuking only has a range of 60 feet, the same as the range of the feat).
Rebuking isn’t something you use on a day-to-day basis. Undead, once controlled, follow you around until you get tired of them or they are destroyed. So if you can spend your Rebuking attempts on things, that would be good.
Rebuking by level and Source:Edit
1 or less: Nothing!
2 Human Skeleton (MM), Ghostly Visage (FF)
4 Wolf Skeleton (MM), Kobold Zombie (MM)
6 Shadow (MM), Murk (LM), Raiment (LM), Tomb Mote (LM)
8 Ghoul (MM), Wight (MM), Troglodyte Zombie (MM), Slay Mate! (LM), Bone Rat Swarm (LM), Desiccator (LM), Skin Kite (LM), Vasuthant (MM3)
10 Deathlock (LM)
12 Allip (MM), Ghast (MM), Vampire Spawn(MM), Skulking Cyst (LM), Spectral Lyrist (LM), Voidwraith (LM), Spawn of Kyuss (MM2)
14 Wraith (MM), Brain in a Jar (LM)
16 Mummy (MM), Corpse Rat Swarm (LM), Entomber (LM), Plagueblight (LM), Bhut (FF)
18 Bodak (MM), Spectre (MM), Atropal Scion (LM), Crypt Chanter (LM), Quell (LM), Skirr (LM)
20 Bleakborn (LM), Blood Amniote (LM), Bloodmote Cloud (LM), Cinderspawn (LM), Crypt Thing (FF)
22 Bonedrinker (MM3)
24 Devourer (MM), Boneclaw (MM3), Ephemeral Swarm (MM3), Grimweird (MM3), Salt Mummy (MM3), Quth-Maren (FF)
26 Wheep (LM), Crimson Death (MM2)
28 Mohrg (MM), Forsaken Shell (LM)
30 Bone Naga (MM2)
32 Dread Wraith (MM), Visage (LM), Dust Wight (MM3), Plague Spewer (MM3), Abyssal Ghoul (FF), Hullathoin (FF)
34 Nightwing (MM), Boneyard (LM), Dream Vestige (LM), Ulgurstasta (FF)
36 Blaspheme (LM), Slaughterwight (LM), Blood Fiend (FF)
38 Entropic Reaper (LM)
40 Hulking Corpse (LM), Drowned (MM3)
42 Nightwalker (MM), Charnel Hound (MM3)
44 Deathshrieker (MM3)
50 Nightcrawler (MM), Jahi (MM2)
52 Angel of Decay (LM), Banshee (MM2)
54 Effigy (MM2), Horrific Vasuthant (MM3)
56 Crawling Head (FF)
60 Corpse Gatherer (MM2), Deathbringer (MM2)
62 Grave Crawler (MM2), Ragewind (MM2)
64 Famine Spirit (MM2), Necronaut (MM3)
Templated undead (with the exception of the very earliest skeletons and zombies), such as the Ghost and Vampire, are not listed because they don't exist at a specific standard hit die. Generic undead, such as the Vampire Spawn, are shown at the level you can command them. You can generally use Rebuking to smacks them down very much earlier if that's important to you. Undead Monsters which themselves have Rebuking (and can thus be used in convoluted schemes involving handing scepters of the netherworld around) have been underlined.
Rebuking Doesn't Work how you Think it worksEdit
You have a "level for the purposes of Rebuking". If you never take any level other than Cleric or Dread Necromancer or prestige class that adds to Rebuking, that level with equal your class level. If you multiclass, that number will be lower. And if you take feats like Improved Turning or magic items like an Amulet of Turning, you can have a level for these purposes that is higher than your Class level.
Undead have a "hit dice for the purposes of Rebuking" as well. This is normally equal to their Hit Dice plus their Turn Resistance. While Positive Energy Levels exist that will reduce their effective Hit Dice, they are so broken when used on living creatures (which is almost every player character) that your DM isn't going to use them. Ever.
If your level for the purposes of Rebuking is twice the hit dice for the purpose of Rebuking of the undead, and the undead is affected by your Rebuking attempt, and you have space for it under your control, you control it.
Your turning check does not affect your level for the purposes of Rebuking. It affects the maximum hit dice of the undead that can be affected. If you completely bungle your Rebuking check, you can only affect a creature 4 hit dice less than your level. Of course, this means that if you are Rebuking at the 8th level, even getting a negative check result won't stop you from commanding the most powerful creature you could command.
Turning Check: The first thing you do is roll a turning check to see how powerful an undead creature you can turn. This is a Charisma check (1d20 + your Charisma modifier). Table: Turning Undead gives you the Hit Dice of the most powerful undead you can affect, relative to your level. On a given turning attempt, you can turn no undead creature whose Hit Dice exceed the result on this table.
The reason why getting a big roll on you Turning Check doesn't let you command a more powerful undead creature is that it doesn't add to your level for the purposes of Rebuking. It adds to the maximum Hit Dice of an undead creature you can affect relative to your level. If something does actually add to your level for the purpose of Rebuking, then of course it would increase the Hit Dice of what you could command.
If you have more than one class that provides Rebuking, all those levels stack together. Normally that’s not very hard to figure out. If you have 2 levels of Dread Necromancer and 2 levels of Cleric, your Rebuking level is 4 (although you have a terrible character and we in no way condone this sort of unmin/maxed build). It gets more complicated if you get access to weirder classes like Wearer of Purple from Faiths and Pantheons. That class specifically doesn’t ad to Rebuking, but it gives you a domain, and if the domain it gives happens to be Scalykind it gives its own special Rebukin, which then makes it a Rebuking class – you can now have an argument with your DM over whether or not the class adds to Rebuking. CustServ has come down on both sides of that issue.