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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

S&W WhiteBox - Animate Dead (revised)

I don't see a good reason to prevent low level mages from casting Animate Dead. They will just not be very good at it. So I've made a new version of the spell, which improves as the caster levels.

Animate Dead
Spell Level: Cleric, Magic-user, 1st Level
Range: Referee’s Discretion
Duration: Permanent

This spell animates undead from dead bodies. The caster must have corpses available to use this spell. He can use animal corpses if necessary, though small animals are limited to being skeletons or zombies. Mummies must be made from a humanoid creature.

The undead remain until destroyed, and will follow the caster’s commands. Wights and mummies can make a saving throw to escape the caster’s control when they are first created. If they succeed, they can either attack the caster or flee to terrorize the countryside. Only truly mercenary or evil spellcasters will use this spell.

One HD of undead are animated per level of the caster.

Casters are limited in what types of undead they can raise:
1st level: skeletons
2nd level: zombies
3rd level: ghouls
5th level: wights
8th level: mummies


David said...

So could a 1st level wizard cast this spell every day for a week and have 7 skeletons?

If not, then I think the numbers of undead created needs to go up at a higher rate. Otherwise you've got 9th level wizards with... 9 skeletons? 4 zombies and a skeleton?

Maybe if the numbers doubled each time you hit one of the level markers? So at 2nd level you can create 2 HD/level worth of skeletons, at 3rd level 4 DH/level of skeletons and 2HD/level worth of zombies and 1HD/level worth of ghouls?

David said...

Or would there be higher levels of the spell?

John L said...

One thing to bear in mind is what if PCs get hold of this spell?
Skeletons and zombies might be feeble one at a time against a party of adventurers, but if a 1st level M-U has animated 7 skeletons, and brings them along with the rest of his adventuring buddies, that's quite a shift in power.
But I like the idea of low level villains having animated dead at their command.

Dan said...

Why wouldn't they be able to cast this spell every day to slowly build up an army? Problem is building the army without all the neighbors finding out.

Dan said...

That's why I said the spell should be limited to truly mercenary or evil spellcasters. There's also nothing stating the DM can't just tell the players they are not allowed to have the spell.

David said...

Well, in Rules Cyclopedia there are limits on the number of lesser undead that greater undead can control. I don't think there is anything like that in S&W, but I also had in mind the Sorcerers Apprentice who couldn't control his creations either.

Pere Ubu said...

Makes me think of the Necromancer and his "pets" from Diablo II.

Along those lines, one might limit the number of undead the M-U can raise/control at any one time; maybe double his level or something like that.