Fiend Folio & Monster Manual 2 Undead

Undead in AD&D Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about Undead in AD&D, with a focus on the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide.  [Part 1]  [Part 3]

I got a lot of likes and comments on it, some wanting to see what I had to say about the Fiend Folio.

So today, I will touch on undead as mentioned in the other books in my collection. As someone with a BA in history, and learning to do research via card catalog and actually handling and reading books, the search features of PDFs and other electronic media is so handy. I will ignore the AD&D books I have in physical form, but have not gotten the PDF form.

To be thorough, the Unearthed Arcana does not have any monsters, so no undead there.

Oriental Adventures’ list of monsters does not contain the word undead, and turn is not used in relation to undead.

Fiend Folio
Different searches gave different results.
“turned as” only brought up the Apparition
p. 12 Apparition turned as spectre.

“undead table”
p. 19 Coffer Corpse as wraith
p. 83 Son of Kyuss as mummy

“undead” finds the three above, plus the following:
p. 26 Death Knight – can’t be turned. (I would argue against that.)
p. 51 Huecuva turned as wight
p. Necrophidius (death worm) not an undead so can’t be turned.
p. 71-72 Penanggalan – one form can’t be turned. true form turned as wraith.
p. 73 Poltergeist – wandering poltergeist turned as skeleton, in its “home” turned as ghoul.
pp. 75-76 – Revenant – cannot be turned motivated by sheer force of will. (Magical protections and turning would have a chance and might require a high level cleric for turning in my opinion. Liches combine their force of will with magic, so why not be able to turn a revenant? )
p. 78 – Shadow Demon turned as Special.
p. 78 – Sheet Ghoul turned as spectre
p. 78 – Sheet Phantom turned as wraith
p. 79 – Skeleton Warrior – no chance to turn (they are lich-like, why not turn as a lich or special?)
p. 97 – Yellow Musk Zombie – not a true undead, so can’t be turned. (I’m ok with that. In a sense they are like golems, automata, or animated statues. A druid might be able to turn a plant/fungi type creature.)
p. 115 Undead Subtable that includes MM1 & FF undead on one encounter by terrain table. (There is no such table in MM2.)

There is no revised Turning Undead Table in the Field Folio. I think this would be really handy if you are going to use the undead from this book.

p. 21 Crypt Thing – It does not say it is undead, but its name gives one that initial idea.

Monster Manual 2:

After trying to find one term for searching ended up being “undead” for the Fiend Folio, I stuck with it in other PDFs.

p. 100 Phantoms “Phantoms are often mistaken for ghosts, haunts, or groaning spirits, but they may not be turned as undead. The clerical spell exorcism will dispel a phantom.”  (I would argue that such a thing can be turned. Perhaps as a higher order undead or special.)
p. 109 Skeletal Animals turned as normal skeletons.
p. 32 Demilich – ghost form and wraith form, only ghost form can be turned. (I argue that all “true” undead can be turned.)
p. 131 – Juju Zombie – turned as a spectre
p. 131 Zombie, Monster – turned as a ghast

There is no combined undead sub table with all the undead by terrain type, as we found in the Fiend Folio. Neither is there a revised turn undead table.

I built my own updated turn undead table. It is crude, but illustrates the information one may wish to include.

The groaning spirit (banshee) falls between the mummy and spectre in hit dice, so as I suggested in yesterday’s article, use that to help decide how a cleric can affect it.

TYPE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9-13 14      
Skeleton 10 7 4 T T D D D* D* D* Poltergeist, Wandering (FF p. 73) Skeletal Animals (MM2 p. 109)  
Zombie 13 10 7 T T D D D D* D*      
Ghoul 16 13 10 4 T T D D D D* Poltergeist, “At Home” (FF p. 73)    
Shadow 19 16 13 7 4 T T D D D*      
Wight 20 19 16 10 7 4 T T D D Huecuva (FF p. 51)    
Ghast 20 19 13 10 7 4 T T D Zombie, Monster (MM2 p. 131)    
Wraith 20 16 13 10 7 4 T D Coffer Corpse (FF p. 19) Penanggalan (True Form) (FF p. 71-72) Sheet Phantom (FF p. 79)
Mummya 20 16 13 10 7 4 T Son of Kyuss (FF p. 83)    
Groaning Spirit                          
Spectreb 20 16 13 10 7 T Apparition (FF p. 12) Sheet Ghoul (FF p. 78) Juju Zombie (MM2 p. 131)
Vampirec 20 16 13 10 4      
Ghostd 20 16 13 7 Demilich, ghost form (MM2 p. 32)    
Liche 19 16 10      
Special**f 20 19 13 Shadow Demon (FF p. 78)  

Of course, if I missed an undead creature, please let me know.

I also searched my OSRIC PDF and found the following information:

Turning Undead table on pp. 129 & 130 lists the same creatures as on the table on page 75 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Monsters are organized by type, so Undead are all in one place on pp. 245-252, each undead has a type number to know how easily it is turned, from 1 to 13 for fiends (term used for demons & devils.). NOTE: Some undead from the Fiend Folio and Monster Manual 2 are included, and others not. I don’t know why this might be other than author preference or copywrite issues.

Banshee (Groaning Spirit) (turned as type 13) This is the same as Special! Wow! That makes a banshee seem even more powerful.

Coffer Corpse (turned as type 7)

Ghast (turned as type 6)

Ghost (turned as type 11)

Ghoul (turned as type 3)

Lich (turned as type 12)

Mummy (Turned as type 8)

Poltergeist (Turned as type 1 or 3)

Shadow (turned as type 4)

Skeleton (turned as type 1)

Spectre (turned as type 9)

Vampire (turned as type 10)

Wight (turned as type 5)

Wraith (turned as type 7)

Wraith (turned as type 7)

Zombie
Normal (turned as type 2)
Monster (turned as type 6)

Zombie, Juju (turned as type 9)

So one ends up with quite a lot of varied undead, 27 by my count. I am sure there are many new undead ideas in all of the OSR and perhaps other editions of D&D that I am not familiar with. I won’t continue this exercise with other versions of D&D, or OSR products at this time. If I did, it would only be those resources I already own in PDF. It still takes an hour a book to do all the searches I do.

To keep the size of this article under control, I will have a separate article on holy water and magical protections in AD&D. If all goes well, I will post it tomorrow.

NOTE: All the links for the AD&D books are Affiliate Links that help me support my RPG/Blogging habit.

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3 thoughts on “Undead in AD&D Part 2”

  1. I hate the mm2 monster zombie. There are monster zombies in the dmg under the spell animate dead. It’s like the mm2 author didn’t read the dmg. How do you handle half strength wights, wraiths, and vampires? I give them half hit dice, easier to turn, same damage, half life drain (or saving throw allowed for 1/2 strength wight)

  2. Yeah, some of the later monsters duplicate other efforts. Perhaps they were just trying to state the creature, and through editing it veered from the original?

    For half strength undead, I would do as you mention. Makes it simple.

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