[RPG] Vorpal and Warshaper, immune or not


I have a question regarding Vorpal and the Warshaper ability, morphic immunities. Let's first look at Vorpal (SRD, emphasis mine):

Vorpal: This potent and feared ability allows the weapon to sever the
heads of those it strikes. Upon a roll of natural 20 (followed by a
successful roll to confirm the critical hit), the weapon severs the
opponent’s head (if it has one) from its body. Some creatures, such as
many aberrations and all oozes, have no heads. Others, such as golems
and undead creatures other than vampires, are not affected by the loss
of their heads
. Most other creatures, however, die when their heads
are cut off. A vorpal weapon must be a slashing weapon. (If you roll
this property randomly for an inappropriate weapon, reroll.)

Strong necromancy and transmutation; CL 18th; Craft Magical Arms and
Armor, circle of death, keen edge; Price +5 bonus.

Next, let's look at the Morphic Immunities ability from the warshaper (emphasis mine):

Morphic Immunities (Ex): A warshaper is adept at distributing her
form's vital organs around her body
to keep them safe from harm.
Warshapers are immune to stunning and critical hits.

I have always read this as that a warshaper (or anything else with crit immunity) is immune to the vorpal effect, because the crit can not be confirmed.

However, my DM is claiming that even if you are crit immune you can still lose your head (based on the bolded part in the vorpal description). He reasons that if a skeleton can lose it's head, while being crit immune, then crit immune doesn't protect against vorpal.

Therefore, my questions:

  1. Is he over reading the (what I assume to be) fluff part of the description, or is he right?
  2. If he is right, would the bolded part of the Warshaper result in a headless (but still very much alive) Warshaper (by moving vital organs (brain)) into it's main body?

Best Answer

Your DM is right. Vorpal explicitly works on vampires, which are also immune to critical hits, so being immune to critical hits (whether that’s with Morphic Immunities or with heavy fortification or whatever else) is not enough to be immune to vorpal. Your DM could accept the portion of Morphic Immunities that you’ve bolded as justification for not needing your head, but that’s pure description and insufficient to justify, as a player, that he should. For instance, moving something vital out of the way of a sword-thrust might be possible, but maybe it doesn’t work fast enough to move everything out of the head before the head is lopped off.

On the other hand, a warshaper may be able to justify simply removing their own head as a precaution: move everything you need into your torso, morph away your head (or leave it remaining as a fleshy diversion, as many animals do?). That would be a discussion to have with your DM.

Related Topic