Animate Dead Confusion


First Post
My group is having some confusion with the spell Animate Dead.

As some of us understand it, the spell only allows you to create Skeletons and Zombies - our interpretation of this is that only the base skeletons and zombies (those with single hit dice, in the Bestiary) can be created.

Our cleric's position, however, is that he can create undead with hit dice equal to the HD of the slain creature he is animating.

Is this the case? If so, how does one go about creating the stats for an undead with more than 1 HD?

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First Post
According to the Animate Dead spell, your cleric may create undead with HD equal to twice his caster level with one casting. Further, he can control no more than 4 HD of undead per caster level.

Rules for creating skeletons are found on page 250 of the Pathfinder Bestiary. "Skeleton" is an acquired template which can be applied to any corporeal creature that has a skeletal system. The short answer is he needs to animate creatures with racial HD, since class levels and such disappear when Animate Dead is cast.

See also the Pathfinder SRD.
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From Animate Dead spell description: Regardless of the type of undead you create with this spell, you can't create more HD of undead than twice your caster level with a single casting of animate dead. The desecrate spell doubles this limit.

Since both zombies and skeletons are created through applying templates, all you need to do, is to take a base creature of any given race and then apply the template. Observe both HD limits (the one for casting the spell and the one for total number of HD you can control), and you should do fine.

A word of advice - go for Troll and Ogre zombies. They are simply brutal due to their high Strength.


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