Q: Dear Sage,
If a cleric commands a shadow using rebuke undead, and that shadow then spawns other shadows, is the cleric also in control of the newly spawned shadows? What if these new shadows spawn other shadows?
A: Strictly speaking, the cleric does not have “mental control” over any shadows spawned by the one he commands (and so on down the chain), since he didn’t use rebuke undead to command them. He can indirectly control these undead by issuing instructions to the one he does command, but if that creature isn’t present, the cleric would have no influence over the newly spawned shadows.
This trick shouldn’t allow a cleric to bypass the normal limits for commanded undead. The Sage sees two reasonable house rules for handling this situation:
- Count these indirectly influenced undead toward the cleric’s limit of HD commanded (see PHB pg. 159); relinquishing command of such a creature renders it no longer under control of its creator.
- Rule that newly created spawn aren’t under the control of the commanded undead; they’re immediately free-willed.
About the Author
The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.