One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Although I primarily use the 2nd edition system, I also make use of many 1st edition materials. I posted this same inquiry on the 2nd edition board (if this is not 'permissible' please accept my apologies), but I wanted to inquire from those of you who use 1st edition, as there is much cross-over, esp. regarding spells, magical items, etc. This question focuses on the Animate Dead spell. Thank you for your response in advance!
I was wondering if there is a limit to the number of times that a priest (or necromancer wizard) can animate the bodies (corpses or skeleton remains) of the dead with the "Animate Dead" spell. The mage spell description implies that this can be achieved but once, but there seems to be nothing stated definitively.
In short, is it possible for a mage or priest to 're-animate' the bodies once more after they fall in combat? If so, are these skeletons/zombies reduced in power (1/2 original HD, etc), or does the magic of the spell restore them to full power anew?
If not, can the 5th lvl priest spell "Undead Regeneration" from the Necromancer's Book (I have come to use that tome rather often these days, much to the dismay of my PCs!), be used to mend the corpses/bones for functional use again?
Thank you, Argon, for your contribution. I LOVE the Sage Advice columns and am honored by your comments. This is good, b/c I have more questions like this that I would like to field!
I would assume that only one Undead Regeneration casting would be needed per undead to 'mend' it sufficiently for a subsequent animation to be utilized (the description mentions healing damage, but this is to an already existing creature). After all, a FIFTH level spell is not minor!
Please, keep your answers coming! I look forward to hearing more.
I would assume the same one undead regeneration spell to mend the undead. Although if the undead creature was disintegrated or otherwise reduced to ash, I would rule that the corpse could not be regenerated.
In my own campaign, I would rule that no special Undead Regeneration spell is necessary as the magic of the Animate Dead spell is all that is needed to hold the bones together in the form of a skeleton. This is because the spell itself doesn't say what condition the bones must be in. I believe this is deliberate because most bones available for animating would be old enough to begin decomposing (very little of the flesh is left) and many of them have likely been seriously damaged by monstrous teeth and claws or blades and clubs.
However, I think it would be a fun house rule to say that each time a skeleton is re-animated after being 'killed' in combat, the new skeleton receives a cumulative -1 hit point. Thus, necromancers are encouraged to find 'fresh' bodies to animate and the repeat damage suffered by a skeleton is represented.
Ahhhh...what a great debate we have. I am assuming that is the point of these posts, yes? Hope so, b/c I intend to bring such discourse forth frequently!
My long-time main PC and DM and I have such...."discussions"....often, much to our mutual dismay at times. Not that I don't mind a good, rousing debate, mind ye, but... At any rate, I see why the 5th lvl mage description implies but one use for this spell. So that it is not abused, wherein a priest or mage can animate, then re-animate, and animate again, countless times, the mutilated bodies of their undead minions.
I once thought, as SirXaris mentioned, that the Animate Dead spell's magick binds the ruined remains together enough for the skeleton or zombie to be use-able once more. However, I can see how that can be unbalancing in game terms. At the very least, a reduction in hp seems fair, with a concurrent loss of AC, MV, THACO, and damage over the long term, too, as the bodies are constantly being destroyed.
On this one, I may have to lean towards the former case, just so that necromancers don't have an unlimited number of uses (barring the use of the powerful Undead Regeneration spell), and need to "appropriate" more corpses to bolster their undead ranks (insert deep laughter here).
As a final point, I would agree that there must be enough of the body left to bother to regenerate/re-animate. Incineration, disintegration (a la Boba Fett), or blasting out of existence (D on the Turning table), etc... would make it a pretty moot point.
If a group of corpses is animated what is happening? Is it a dark force of negative energy that "possesses" the corpses and provide the energy for their movements? If so, I suppose that the only way to stop a zombie is to render its strong, cold flesh inert by dismemberment or possibly a disconnection of nerves/muscles/bones, exemplified by the reduction of hit points to 0. It then follows that such bodies cannot be animated again.
Another DM might have a totally different rationalization to describe the way in which the motivational force that animates the dead can be "defeated", a way which possibly leaves an "animateable" corpse behind. _________________ Never say blip-blip to a kuo-tua
Gilban, well-met. My own interpretation is that the magick employed uses some type of spirit-binding energy to power the corpse. Maybe from the Negative Material Plane, especially in the case of the greater (energy-draining) undead (I hate those guys as a player, but they are fun to use as a DM).
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