Created By: RegShoe on March 30, 2010

Fearless Undead

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A Video Game Trope and Tabletop Game Trope. When Undead exist in a game with rules of morale the undead are invarably immune.

  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic games undead are immune to both good and bad morale.
  • In Warhammer undead units never have to make leadership tests.
  • Averted in World of Warcraft. While The Forsaken Undead gain a bonus against fear abilities, it is implied to be willpower rather than an innate ability. Played straight with the rest of the Undead Scourge.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • March 9, 2010
    I think this is expandable to all genres. After all, the worst has already happened to them by most people's standards, right?

    Examples would include Reg Shoe from Discworld, along with the Igors (who may or may not be technically undead, but they're big and scary and come from Uberwald).

    Subverted/averted hard on Red Dwarf, where the hologrammatic, deceased Arnold Rimmer is the cowardliest member of the entire crew.
  • March 9, 2010
    Actually averted in Warhammer 40 K, where the Necrons are basically Zombie Robots: the game explains that while they do ignore fear (comes with having your soul eaten by your gods and your entire body transferred into a machine), they can still judge when it would be advantageous to flee if in presence of a stronger enemy, and so must still take morale tests.
  • March 10, 2010

    Tabletop RPG
    • Skeletons and zombies in Dungeons And Dragons. Higher level undead usually have more personality, including emotions.
  • March 10, 2010
    In at least some editions of D & D, undead are immune to all mind-affecting powers, including fear (you have to have special anti-undead spells to affect their emotions.)

    Referenced in Magic the Gathering, where several Black creatures cannot be blocked except by Black and Artifact creatures, defined in the flavor text as fear-based.
  • March 10, 2010
    Averted in Exalted where the undead have fear nornmly (although Mindless Necrotech automatons don't). Abyssal exalted have fear and so on too, but the virtues (including Valour) are warped by their assosiation with the Neverborn
  • March 10, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • Averted in the Test of Spite tournament house rules for Dungeons And Dragons. Fear is no longer considered a "mind effecting" effect, and thus undead are not immune.
  • March 10, 2010
    Needs a better name. How about "Fearless Undead"?
  • March 10, 2010
    In some depictions, Turn Undead is a case of Reverse Polarity of this.
  • March 13, 2010
    Fearless Undead sounds better.
  • March 15, 2010
    More ideas?
  • March 15, 2010
    It's broader than that. Undead are immune to all mental aspects, which includes morale.
  • March 15, 2010
    This is the explanation for why Black creatures can block each other while other color's flee in Magic The Gathering.

    "I don't know who to pity more: those who flee from my presence or the damned who can withstand it."
  • March 15, 2010
    In GURPS the templates for most undead include Unfazeable and Indomitable, making them disregard all reaction rolls and fear effects.
  • March 15, 2010
    Literary example- in The Death Gate Cycle, there are two kinds of undead- Cadavers (which are nearly mindless) and lazar (which are sentient). Both are completely fearless- cadavers because they are barely aware or what's going on around them, and lazar because they are aware of the agony of their undead condition and know for a fact that nothing is worse. Fireballs, sword thrusts, decapitation, arrows through the heart- none of it matters to something that's that far beyond our meager understanding of "pain".