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Turning Undead Variant: Level Check Edit
The standard rules for turning undead allow a cleric to affect a relatively narrow band of undead (up to 4 HD greater than his cleric level). This makes many undead creatures "off limits" for this iconic power of the clerics. This variant changes the cleric's turning check into a battle of personality strength, representing it by a level check that also takes into account the opponent's Charisma scores.
When turning undead using this variant, the cleric makes a turning check against the closest creature first, followed by a separate check against the next closest, and so on. When two or more creatures are equally close, the creature with the lowest number of Hit Dice is affected first (it ti's still a tie, the character chooses which one is affected first. Creatures more than 60 feet away cannot be turned.
A turning check is a level check to which the character also adds his Charisma modifier. (Use the character's effective turning level, which is equal to class level for a cleric or class level -3 for a paladin.) The DC is 10+ the creature's Hit Dice + its turn resistance (if any) + its Charisma modifier. (To speed play, the DM can add a "Turn DC" score to the statistics block of each undead creature.)
If you use this variant, some creature's turn resistance should be increased to keep them from being too easy to turn. Any creature with turn resistance of +4 or higher should gain an additional +2 to its turn resistance. Creatures with turn resistance of +3 or lower need no change.
If the check fails, the creature is unaffected. Its Hit Dice do not count against the total number of creatures the character can turn (see below).
If the character succeeds on the check, the affected creature stands frozen in place for one round, just if it were paralyzed (though this affects even creatures with immunity to paralysis). On each succeeding turn, the character may take a standard action to concentrate on the effect, prolonging the effective paralysis for an additional round (This doesn't count as a turn attempt, and affects all undead creatures that the character had "paralyzed" in this manner.) The character may concentrate on this effect for a maximum of 10 consecutive rounds, after which the undead creature can act normally. If a creature affected in this way is attacked or takes damage, the effect is broken and the creature may act normally beginning on its next turn. (The character's proximity to the creature has no effect.) This effect is the same whether the character channels positive or negative energy.
If the character's check beats the DC by 5 or more, he may instead turn the creature (if he channels positive energy) or rebuke it (if he channels negative energy).
If the creature has Hit Dice equal to one-half the character's effective cleric level or less, the turning attempt automatically succeeds, and he does not have to make a check (the creature's Hit Dice still count against the maximum). Furthermore, such undead are automatically destroyed (if the character channels positive energy) or commanded (if the character channels negative energy).
The character makes checks against each eligible creature until he has affected the maximum Hit Dice worth of creatures, or there are no more eligible creatures. He can affect a number of Hit Dice of creatures equal to three x his effective cleric level on any one turning attempt. For example, a 4th level cleric (or 7th-level paladin) can affect up to 12 HD worth of creatures, which could mean two creatures with 6 HD each, four creatures with 3 HD each, or any other combination that adds up to 12 HD.
An evil cleric can instead channel negative energy to bolster undead or to dispel a turning effect. In either case, the cleric makes a normal turning check (if attempting to dispel a turning effect, add the turning cleric's Charisma modifier to the DC of the evil cleric's turning check). If the cleric successfully rebukes the undead, the undead gains turn resistance +2 (if he was attempting to bolster them) or they are no longer turned (if he was attempting to dispel the turning effect).
For example, a 3rd-level cleric faces three ghouls and a ghast. The cleric can turn up to 9 HD of creatures. Two of the ghouls are 10 feet and 15 feet away respectively. The third ghoul and the ghast are both 20 feet away. His turning attempts affect the closest ghoul first, then the farthest ghoul, and then the ghast. The cleric makes the first turning check. A ghoul has 2 HD, but it also has +2 turn resistance, so it is treated as a 4 HD creature. After adding the ghoul's +1 Charisma modifier, the turning check DC is 15. The cleric rolls a 12, which, with his three cleric levels and +1 Charisma modifier, gives him a result of 16, so the nearest ghoul is halted in place. (If the cleric wants to maintain the effect, he'll have to continue to concentrate on it in later rounds.) He has successfully turned 4 HD worth of creatures, leaving him with 5 HD. This is enough to affect another ghoul, so he makes another turning check against the next closest ghoul. The cleric rolls rolls a 6 against the second ghoul, for a result of 10, so the ghoul is unaffected. Against the third ghoul, his roll is 16 for a result of 20; which beats the DC by at least 5, so the cleric can turn the ghoul if he wishes to do so. Since he knows he can't affect the ghast on this turning attempt- it has 4 HD and +2 turn resistance, and the cleric has only 1 HD of turning left- he chooses to paralyze the third ghoul rather than sending it scurrying back into its burrow where it can gather more allies (Even if the cleric had failed to affect the third ghoul, he would only have 5 HD left- not enough to affect the ghast thanks to its +2 turn resistance.) On his next turn, the cleric can choose to continue holding the ghouls in place, or, if his allies have already destroyed the three ghouls, use another turning attempt against the ghast (which required a DC 19 turning check).