How many Hit Dice of undead does an acquired scroll of Animate Dead raise?

Animate dead is one of the few spells which has a variable cost to its casting, as it’s based entirely on the amount of HD you are going to raise with the casting, which is partly dependent on the CL.

When you scribe a scroll, all its costs are paid up front, both for the scribing and if there are expensive material components.

So a cleric/wizard base animate dead scroll costs 375 plus x25.

How would one who finds or buys such a scroll determine how many HD it’s able to produce? If one was to create it themselves at the lowest cost (400), does the scroll restrict the amount of undead HD it can raise?

What are the options for Animate Undead for a Necromancer?

I have just moved to 5e from 3.5e

I’ve read up about the Necromancer class in 5e, and from what I have seen so far there are only three possible undeads that they can possibly animate: medium zombies, medium skeletons, and ghouls. Are there other options for animation?

Undead created by a Necromancer add a proficiency bonus to damage, but in my opinion, without extra help they will miss often at medium-high level. Are there options to improve their stats?

Thank you. 🙂

What ways are there to reduce the cost of the Animate Dead spell?

I am going to be a necromancer and not feeling like having to pay for my undead. The following are methods I know about.

  • Blood money spell – banned in current game
  • Cauldron of the dead magic item – its 30k (1200 HD of undead) and heavy, plus could be easily stolen or destroyed, also cant make until later in career
  • Mythic animate dead spell – requires mythic power but more important, have to gain the mythic spell
  • Archmage – Component Freedom (3rd tier)- only works for arcane animate dead
  • Hierophant – Symbol of the Holy (1st tier) – only works for divine animate dead
  • False Focus feat – only works for arcane animate dead

So of the six ways I know of, the preferred is banned in my game, one costs more than I would save, three are specific for arcane/divine (I’m a cleric/wizard so less attractive), and the last one requires a fair amount of investment.

Are there better/cheaper ways to cast animate dead than these? As I am both cleric/wizard, the best method would work for both classes.

How do the spells Animate Objects and Shillelagh interact?

I was looking at shillelagh whose description states (emphasis mine):

The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature’s power. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon’s damage die becomes a d8. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.

And then looking at animate objects whose description states:

Each target animates and becomes a creature…

And later lists different object stat blocks, including their attacks.

A number of questions came to mind:
Can you use your spellcasting ability for the animated object’s attacks?
Does shillelagh changing the damage die affect the animated object’s statblock?
And also whether or not this is even possible as shillelagh ends when you let go of the weapon (which is now a creature) and the rule on “Moving Around Other Creatures” states:

Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can’t willingly end your move in its space.

What happens when you cast animate objects on a weapon affected by shillelagh?

animate a cube with images on their faces How?

From this code, how could I animate (speed given by the user) this cube at random so that each face shows me a different image

 $  Graphics3D[  GraphicsComplex[  Tuples[{0, 1}, 3],  MapThread[  {Texture[  Graphics[ImportString[ExportString[#1, "PDF"], "PDF"][[1, 1]],       Background -> #3]],  Polygon[#2, VertexTextureCoordinates -> {{0, 0}, {1, 0}, {1, 1}, {0, 1}}]} &, {Characters["ABCDEF"],  {{1, 2, 4, 3}, {1, 5, 6, 2}, {1, 3, 7, 5}, {8, 6, 5, 7}, {8, 7,     3, 4}, {8, 4, 2, 6}},  Table[Hue[i/6], {i, 6}]} ]    ],  Lighting -> "Neutral"]$   

here some example image to put on the faces

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Adjusting power of Animate Dead in custom DarkSun campaign with slower recovery mechanics (24hr/1wk for short/long rests)

tl;dr Because of slower recovery mechanics, my Wizard cannot raise or sustain as many undead as a RAW 5E Wizard. What would be a fair alteration to the spell to bring it back inline with the intended effectiveness.

Background: I’m a player in a custom DarkSun campaign converted to 5E where we have a bit more focus on some of the grittier mechanics and realism (resource mgmt and player vs. environment). One of the changes is that the recovery mechanics were changed to 24 hours for a short rest and 1 week for a long rest. We’re not doing back-to-back dungeons so it fits our play-style fine.

My character is a Lvl 5 Wizard, wannabe necromancer. It’s become apparent that RAW, my character may not be able to fully leverage the Animate Dead spell. At lvl 5 the character has two lvl 3 spell slots but can only recover one lvl 3 spell per day/short rest (gets weird since Arcane Recovery is once per day/once per short rest but they’re the same now.. anyhow).

The Problem: My contention is that a normal 5E Wizard could potentially summon and maintain up to 4 undead. It’d take a few short/long rests to get to the max but once there it’d be easy to sustain and even make the occasional replacement. However, with our modified rest mechanics, it’s not possible for me to get above 2, and even then that assumes the DM is generous on the timing (casting time is 10 min each plus 10 for the recast, but do I need precisely 24 hour or is 23.5hr good enough?). I’m not concerned about splitting hairs on that last point, but it helps illustrate the squishy situation.

My DM tends to agree that it seems like my character is slightly powered down by this mechanic but he’s unclear on what kind of modification would be appropriate. Do you have any suggestions?

My thoughts:

  • Animate Duration – Since our long rest is 21 times longer than RAW and a RAW animated dead would last 3x the length of a long rest, why not let my animations last longer? Downside is that keeping a zombie around for a month isn’t useful in a darksun campaign, or any campaign where you spend healthy amounts of time in civilization (not that DarkSun is all that civilized but pet undead still aren’t welcome)
  • Casting time – The 1 minute casting time makes it impractical to use the spell reactively. However, we also don’t tend to have back to back fights in a dungeon crawl either. Perhaps leave everything else the same but allow the spell to be used as an instant cast.
  • Ritual – Because of the slower recovery mechanics, I love my rituals. What if this spell was reframed as a ritual cast?

Last thought, in my head I’ve been trying to balance the impact/power of this spell compared to others that impacted less by our rest mechanics. For instance, for the price of two lvl 3 slots I could instead have 16d6 worth of fireball damage across multiple enemies (if it was 3 each that, that’d be 48d6!). But in our last fight my zombie got focused pretty hard (saving us from a healthy chunk of damage) but only successfully delivered three or four blows (so ~4d6 of single target damage). Given the obvious crowd control benefit, a couple zombies/skeletons obviously shouldn’t match the damage potential of a fireball but surely they deserve to do more than this?

Anyhow, thanks!

Is there a way to animate undead creatures beyond existing spells’ restrictions, such as size?

In Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition they introduced skeletons with all kinds of sizes such as Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, Gargantuan, and Colossal.

As a necromancer, it would be really entertaining to have undead of all kinds and sizes. However, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition limits the abilities of a necromancer, as the spell animate dead only allows the caster to reanimate Small and Medium humanoid creatures. Though it’s understandable that WOTC made it this way as a way of balancing to prevent the creation of overpowered undead armies, it would be interesting for some sort of way of animating a creature larger than medium.

Personally, I like the idea of having a Gargantuan humanoid skeleton; however, I would not be sure how to apply statistics to an undead or create a proper way of balancing.

There is a section in DMG p. 282 for skeleton and zombie templates, however, the largest creature that exists with a humanoid body is a hill giant categorized as huge. Even then the challenge rating is 5 making thinking of a way of balancing difficult.

Even beyond my desires, I’m sure there are many other necromancer-loving individuals who would desire to animate and control a minotaur skeleton, or any other undead such as beasts or monstrosities.

Is there a way (even house or homebrew rules) of animating undead beyond these restrictions?

How can a sword-swinging PC immediately animate a killed foe?

I’d like a PC in my campaign to slay his foes by using a melee or ranged weapon like a sword or spear then have those foes rise immediately to join him in the fight as zombies or some other kind of undead creatures.

My initial thought was to use the metamagic feat Fell Animate that, in part, says, “You can alter a spell that deals damage to foes. Any living creature that could normally be raised as a zombie and that does not possess more than double your Hit Dice, when slain outright by a fell animated spell, rises as a zombie under your control at the beginning of your next action” (Libris Mortis 26–7).

I’d apply the benefit of the feat Fell Animate to, for example, the 2nd-level Drd spell flame blade (Player’s Handbook 231) or the 3rd-level Moon domain spell moon blade [evoc] (Spell Compendium 143) or maybe even—with my permission (I’m the DM)—the 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell Darternae’s sword [evoc] (Celebrity Game Table column “The Praemal Campaign”) and make the magically-created weapon last all day via the feat Persistent Spell (Complete Arcane 81) and the prestige class spelldancer (Magic of FaerĂ»n 37–8).

Will this plan work? Is there a better one? That is, is there a plan that’s available at lower levels, that’s more convenient, or that’s less resource-intensive that allows killing a foe with a sword (or, if need be, an arrow) that thereupon animates that foe as an undead creature immediately?

Extreme cheese—Pun-pun, complicated persistent time stop shenanigans, etc.—will be frowned upon but not dismissed outright if entertaining. Further, even third-party material is acceptable to accomplish this task, but the more official the material used to do so, the better. Also, although not strictly necessary, try to keep in mind that the PCs are level 15, that the campaign’s binds limit PCs to taking every other level in the same tier 1 or 2 full-casting class (e.g. a level 15 PC could be a Clr7/Wiz8 but not a Wiz15), and that the new PC will be entering play with NPC wealth of only 59,000 gp.