When creating undead, what abilities are retained?

When an undead is created through the animate dead spell and you apply either a zombie or skeleton template, what exactly is retained?

Both of these templates specify that

Special Attacks: A zombie retains none of the base creature’s special attacks.

Special Qualities: A zombie loses most special qualities of the base creature. It retains any extraordinary special qualities that improve its melee or ranged attacks.

I cant seem to find clear distinctions of what is a special quality. However special attacks seem clear enough. Any ability that provides an alternate to the full attack or standard attack seems to fit this.

Special qualities retained is less clear. Abilities like pounce, grab, and rake seem like they should stick around, however the Skeletal Megaraptor also seems to retain racial skill bonuses, as well as scent. A skeletal owlbear however, does not.

What about poisons? Poisons seem like special qualities that improve a melee or ranged attack. However it doesnt make as much sense for a skeleton to have poison. Zombie maybe. However they are magic, so anything could go.

So is there any clear definition as to what stays after the creature has been undead-ified? I can see arguments for various features, and some examples of certain things like racial skill bonuses. However it still seems uncertain to me and many forums and things I have read seem mixed on what stays and doesnt.

What are the circumstances of Traxigor’s transformation and do they explain how he retained his magical abilities as an otter?

Traxigor is an Archmage with a rather unique morphology, who is encountered during Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus:

Traxigor was polymorphed into an otter years ago, and decided he preferred the new form to his original one (that of a wizened old man). His otter form was made permanent by a wish spell. He uses the archmage stat block, but is a Tiny beast with a Strength of 3.

What exactly happened here? Are the circumstances of this transformation recorded in any official source material (from any edition)?

This answer establishes that (in D&D 5e) the spell polymorph would not allow a spellcaster to retain their spellcasting abilities while polymorphed into a beast, and this answer establishes the same for true polymorph. On the surface, this seems like an inconsistency (which wouldn’t be surprising), but do the circumstances of Traxigor’s transformation into an otter resolve this inconsistency somehow?

Should abilities have their state and functionality separated?

I’m developing a top-down game using Javascript and Canvas in an ECS architecture.

I’m wondering, which of these is better from a design / elegance point of view?

Method 1: Combining the ability function and its metadata into one object:

// in ability factory createBlinkAbility() {   return {     cooldown: 5000,     castTime: 1000,     hotkey: "q",     execute(entity: Entity, scene: Scene) {       let position = entity.get(CT.Position);        let level = scene.queryComponent(CT.Level);        position.x = Helpers.randomInt(0, level.width);       position.y = Helpers.randomInt(0, level.height);     }   } }  function executeCurrentCast(entity: Entity, ability: Ability) {   ability.execute(entity); // all abilities have an execute function } 

Method 2: Separating ability metadata from its function:

// in ability factory createBlinkAbility() {   return {     type: "blink",     cooldown: 5000,     castTime: 1000,     hotkey: "q"   } }  // in ability factory castBlink = (entity: Entity, scene: Scene) => {   let position = entity.get(CT.Position);    let level = scene.queryComponent(CT.Level);    position.x = Helpers.randomInt(0, level.width);   position.y = Helpers.randomInt(0, level.height); }  function executeCurrentCast(entity: Entity, ability: Ability) {   switch (ability.type) {     case "bow": this.abilityFactory.castBow(entity); break;     case "blink": this.abilityFactory.castBlink(entity); break;     ...   } } 

I know in general in an ECS architecture it is wise to separate "state" from "actions", but I’m not sure if this would also apply to things like abilities. It seems like it might be wise to maintain that separation, but the code seems like it might be "cleaner", or shorter at least, in the former case.

Lastly, I’m not really concerned with the performance differences between these two approaches, but rather which is better from a design standpoint.

Do you lose your class supernatural abilities when using shapechange?

One of my players is wondering whether you lose the supernatural abilities derived from your class when changing for using shapechange. To me the answer seemed pretty straightforward since the spell says

You gain all extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form, but you lose your own supernatural abilities.

But then he found this link

https://forums.giantitp.com/showthread.php?517934-The-3-5-Shapechange-Handbook

And at page 6 it says

enter image description here

But i couldn’t find any source for this claim. I would like to know which version is right and where i can find an official source that clarifies this (unless it’s simply what the spell says and you lose all supernatural abilities)

How are abilities that modify character wealth supposed to modify character wealth by level?

There are a LOT of abilities that relate to purchase or sale of goods or services in Pathfinder. Generally, these abilities cost character resources: feats, rogue talents, traits, class features, etc.

Pathfinder also has an official WBL chart. While our games typically use that chart only for character creation, it appears (based on content on this site) that other groups generally keep their players at approximately that level of wealth, somehow preventing significant departures from the expected total.

How, in a game that does not allow “wealth pumping”, do abilities that modify character wealth, especially those that modify the minimum sale value of goods, work? Put another way, how do you maintain wealth as a function of character level rather than of time when characters have access to such abilities?


Since I’ve been told to list all things that affect character wealth besides magic item crafting feats, the following may be useful (but really, this isn’t about these examples. This is about the question above. Please address that more than this random list of examples):

  • favored son
  • foreign opportunist
  • Duskwalker Agent
  • Investments
  • Caravans(traders, particularly)
  • Kingdom Building Rules
  • Curse of Keeping
  • Profession Skills
  • Perform Skills
  • Diplomacy checks to Bargain
  • Nonmagical Item Creation Feats, like Dragoncrafting
  • Scrounger
  • Blood Money
  • Lyre of Building
  • The Fabricate spell
  • True Creation
  • The Fence 3pp archetype
  • Black Market Connections
  • a Robe of Useful Items
  • Monument Builder
  • Wretched Curator
  • Eye for Ingredients

I haven’t listed them all yet, please feel free to add more if you want.

What does the entry 3/day mean if several spell-like/psi-like abilities are listed?

I am preparing an encounter involving a psionic Yuan-Ti Abomination. The entry in the XPH lists under the section psi-like abilities:

3/day—body purification (6 points*), psionic charm (all targets, 1 day/level, DC 19*), concealing amorpha, deeper darkness, mind thrust (ML 7th, 7d10, DC 18*), psionic suggestion (four targets, DC 16*); (XPH, p. 218)

Does that mean the Yuan-Ti can manifest

a) each psi-like ability listed here 3/day,

b) a total of three manifestations of abilities in this list, including using the possibility to use one ability three times

c) three abilites out of this list once each

A similar issue arises with the spell-like abilities in the gnome entry in PHB, where it says:

1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation.

Does this mean gnomes can use each of these abilities once, or only one of these?

Are all other Spell-Like Abilities standard actions?

I’ve seen a lot of questions regarding SLA but regarding actions and casting time – specifically, do you consider "casting time" as the SLA "otherwise noted" part?

A Witch Tree is casting Dominate Person as a: 1 round action or Standard action?

It seems at one point someone added unless otherwise noted in the spell or ability, but is that official?

Are abilities that “Treat the results as a bull rush attempt” modified by feats and abilities that modify your standard Bull Rush?

Specifically I’m looking at the power Wind Blast from the Wind subdomain of the Air domain. The ability reads as follows:

Wind Blast (Su): As a standard action, you can unleash a blast of air in a 30-foot line. Make a combat maneuver check against each creature in the line, using your caster level as your base attack bonus and your Wisdom modifier in place of your Strength modifier. Treat the results as a bull rush attempt. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

With this and similar abilities, do any bonuses or effects from class abilities, feats, or traits such as Greater Bull Rush apply to the roll or result?