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 Vorpal Blades and decaptitation
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jordanz
Senior Scribe

509 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2012 :  06:24:36  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Question for you guys. I haven't played the actual D&D game since the 2nd or early 3rd addition or so but I always wondered about the limitations of vorpal blades and difficulty in slaying powerful outsiders via decapitation .

Now I'm not sure if this even works under the currentl rules but for arguments sake lets say a powerful Paladin - say 18th level or so- is wielding a holy vorpal blade and while battling Kostchtchie, scores a critical hit.... Will his head come off? Or do very powerful beings have some sort of defense against this?

Perhaps the heads comes off if the being is not on his native plane? Or perhaps that does not matter?

Next question , is decapitation enough to kill a powerful (ie "unique") outsiders provided it is mostly humanoid in appearance with only one head?

I know many fiends for instance have powerful regenerative abilities some perhaps matching that of trolls but how "common" is that? How common are life saving contingencies for Demon princes and the like? Does the head need to be destroyed in most cases if it comes off?

canikoblivan
Seeker

Turkey
43 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2012 :  09:13:41  Show Profile  Visit canikoblivan's Homepage Send canikoblivan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ahh, the good ol' days when you could sever any head that you came across with that Vorpal Blade in Baldur's Gate II..
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Marc
Senior Scribe

618 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2012 :  14:30:55  Show Profile Send Marc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They probably have on them magical contingencies cause vorpal swords are common among balors. Otherwise they should die, I think most are vertebrates, look in FC1 for their anatomy, there are exceptions like Jubilex, Pale Night.

.
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Thauranil
Master of Realmslore

India
1591 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2012 :  10:31:26  Show Profile Send Thauranil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
if it worked on the Jabberwocky it should work on anything with a head.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5803 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2012 :  19:32:06  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
apparently doesn't affect golems and undead (except vampires) according to 3.5 dmg. So, you can cut off a lich's head and they continue fighting.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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jordanz
Senior Scribe

509 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2012 :  02:13:52  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

apparently doesn't affect golems and undead (except vampires) according to 3.5 dmg. So, you can cut off a lich's head and they continue fighting.



It just seems somewhat unbalanced that an 15th level fighter's critical hit wouldn't faze a JUJU Zombie but could possibly take out someone like Grazzt....
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30204 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2012 :  03:19:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jordanz

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

apparently doesn't affect golems and undead (except vampires) according to 3.5 dmg. So, you can cut off a lich's head and they continue fighting.



It just seems somewhat unbalanced that an 15th level fighter's critical hit wouldn't faze a JUJU Zombie but could possibly take out someone like Grazzt....



That critical hit should cause enough damage to destroy the zombie, either way.

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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1361 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2012 :  04:19:10  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd impose blindness penalties for hacking the head off something that has eyes. Being a vorpal blade, I'd roll 1d4 and start lopping limbs off the target after the head goes too. And how does a lich continue to cast spells when you just sheared its head in half? These type of 3E rules are one of its weak points. I'd make calls as a DM based off what will make the most memorable encounters for the characters. Taking the leg off a golem won't stop it, but will slow it down. If the lich is missing its head, maybe it can only cast spells on creatures it sees. I suppose it could pick up it's head and hold it like a lantern, but that could give the PC's a breather round or so during combat.

I change tedious rules and/or ignores certain rules in favor of fun factor as long as it doesn't turn the party into walking gods.

I'd probably make gods, demipowers, or major celestials/demons etc immune to instant kill type effects and opt for triple damage or something along those lines. Especially if we're talking about the end boss or encounter or major battle. A vorpal blade is such a powerful weapon I'd take whatever steps are necessary so it doesn't unbalance things yet still can be fun and used. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the sword of sharpness and hewing off limbs. Can make certain combats quite memorable without instant killing the foe.

If you're looking for a way to keep your main foe alive, have a contingency spell whisk them out of harms way on the vorpal crit (triggered right before the hit). And from a safe distance have the boss drop a Disjunction on the sword wielder and strip the magic right out of the sword and everything else in range. Awful tactic, but at such a high level, even things like that aren't bound to slow PC's down for long.
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