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Turns dead bodies into skeletons or zombies.

Original D&D[]

Debuted in Men & Magic, for the magic-user.

  • Spell Level 5

Animates 1d6 corpses as skeletons or zombies, plus 1d6 skeletons or zombies per level of the caster above 8. The animated dead last until the caster dispels them, or until they are destroyed.


Animate Dead[]

Debuted in the Player's Handbook as a cleric spell. The Dungeon Master's Guide gives additional detail.

Level: 3 School: Necromantic
Components: V, S, M (a drop of blood, a piece of flesh, and a pinch of bone dust or a bone shard)
Range: 1" Casting Time: 1 round
Duration: Permanent Saving Throw: None
Effect: 1 skeleton or zombie per level

Turns the bodies of humanoids into skeletons or zombies. The creatures are animated until they are destroyed, or dispelled. This act is not compatible with a good alignment, so a Good character must take care when employing this magic.

DM's Advice: Larger, more powerful creatures can be returned as skeletons or zombies as well, with each Hit Die of the original creature counting as 1 skeleton or zombie. So a giant zombie might have 11 Hit Dice, and be animated by an 11th level caster. Character levels are not treated in the same way -- an 11th level fighter is animated only as a simple 1 HD skeleton or zombie.