On Thu, 14 May 1998, J. D. Lail wrote:
> The concept that you are going for (unnaturalness) is not the one upon
> which the designers based the game concept of turning/controlling undead.
> In their view the act of turning is one of abjuring a supernatural evil.
> A warping of something once living. Which would be fine if they were
> consistent in their usage. They aren't of course. In the MM since 1st ed.
> it has consistently said Skeletons and Zombies are neutral in alignment.
> Frankly I can support your idea somewhat in theory at least. But what
> about Golems ? They too are unnatural.

But they're not as bad, because they were never alive to begin
with. It would, I imagine, be a rather thorny theological question: the
undead are clearly a perversion of the natural order, in that they remove
something from the cycle of life and death; golems, however, give a
semblance of life to matter that was never alive (well, most golems -- I
imagine for druids there would be little doctrinal difference between a
flesh golem and the undead), so they're not quite as bad.
(And as a side note, I will recommend Terry Pratchett's _Feet of
Clay_ as an exploration of the place of the golem in a fantasy society,
and a peek at what magical industrialization might be like.)

> What about all of the other magically created forms of life that can
> breed true ?

Well, once they're alive and breeding and eating and dying and all
those other things that living creatures do that the undead don't, they've
become part of Nature and thus part of what the druids are supposed to
protect. Sure, most druids would rather help an eagle or a lion than a
griffon, but since most griffons around "now" in most game worlds are
created naturally as children of other griffons rather than directly by
magic, druids would just have to deal.

> Where do you draw the line ?

Probably wherever the blood ability Detect Life (at great
strength) would. Of course, golems are extremely resistant to most types
of magic, so they'd have to be turned as "special", which sort of puts
them out of the turning picture for just about everybody anyway.
One of my justifications is also that in some sense, druids are in
more direct contact with their god than other priests: the sun and moon
are far away, and love and learning are concepts, but Nature and the earth
are where you are all the time, and the land can lend you its strength
(which can in some way be measured by mebhaighl) more easily than can most
other material instances of dieties.

> How about this for an idea. Druids are unaffected by the level draining
> and other special abilities of undead.

Hm. Possibly. What draining does is steal life force, and you're
suggesting the land itself provides most of the energy so that the druid
can better continue to defend it? Very interesting. As an attendant
drawback, perhaps druids should have a good chance of just going berserk
and trying to rip the undead apart with their bare hands in their rage at
such a perversion of Nature? This seems to be what happened to the
half-elf druid mentioned in _Van Richten's Guide to the Lich_...
But we're really going out on a limb ;) here.

- --Ryan