• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

Conjure Elemental vs Create Dead plus a spell for your review.

Shag

Villager
Hello old friends!
I'm back after a 5 year absence. I left to play 40k and have returned with less money and a lot of models to store.
But now I'm back with 5th edition D&D.

I'm half-way through the Dungeon of the Mad Mage with an evil super sneaky party that has been loads of fun. A lot of the enemies we were supposed to fight, we allied with. (mostly the Drow of house Auvryndar)

Anyway the Drow Necromancer in the party is starting to get higher level spells and as a good necromancer, he wants as many undead servants as possible.
He has noted how Conjure Elemental and Create Dead seem very balanced vs each other BUT for some reason Create Dead is 6th level.
Conjured Elementals last up to an hour and are CR 5, the Ghouls created by Create Undead are CR 1(x3) but are permanent but you do have to keep them under control with a recast. Really the permanence of the undead can be just as much of a draw-back as a benefit.
I'm just about to house-rule Create Undead as a 5th level spell and modify the higher level benefits accordingly.

Any thoughts on that? Am I missing something here?


Like I said here is a new spell for review for my thirsty Necromancer.

Animate Giant Dead
5th-level necromancy

Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a drop of giant blood, a piece of giant flesh, and a pinch of giant bone dust)
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell creates a giant undead servant. Choose either the bones or corpse of a giant-type creature. Your spell imbues the target with a foul mimicry of life, raising it as an undead creature. The target creature remains gain the skeleton template if you chose bones or the zombie template if you chose a corpse.
The target remains must be of a giant-type creature of CR 2 or less (Ogre)
On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 100 feet of you as Animate Dead.
The creature is under your control for 24 hours, after which its stops obeying your commands. Recasting this spell on the creature reasserts your control for 24 more hours.
At Higher levels. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level you may target a giant-type creature of CR 5 (Hill Giant, Ettin, Troll). Using a 7th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 7 (Oni, Stone Giant, Cyclops). Using an 8th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 8 (Fomorian, Frost Giant). Using an 9th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 9 (Cloud Giant, Fire Giant)

Remember to take into consideration that you first have to find (and probably slay) a giant to get their remains. That's quite the demanding material component.

What do you y'all think and it's good to be back!
 

Xeviat

Explorer
The elemental goes berserk and attacks you if you lose concentration. It is a huge drawback, which is why it is such a higher CR for it's level than other summons.

It seems fine to me at a glance. The CR jump from your level 5 to level 6 version seems like a big jump.
 

Dausuul

Legend
He has noted how Conjure Elemental and Create Dead seem very balanced vs each other BUT for some reason Create Dead is 6th level.
6th level? Last I checked, create dead was 3rd-level, although around here we call it fireball. :)

Jokes about typos aside - I've had similar thoughts about create undead. The main reason I can see to put it at 6th is that you can create ghouls with it, and ghouls have an at-will paralyzing attack that works on almost all monsters. Paralysis for even 1 round is practically a death sentence, so I can see why they want to keep it limited. (Also, create undead does not require concentration, which is a big difference with conjure elemental. That concentration slot is one of the biggest limiting factors on a primary spellcaster.)

On the other hand, it's a DC 10 Con save, which most powerful foes can make in their sleep. And ghouls only get +4 to hit, so it's not easy to even land the attack to begin with. And they're pretty fragile with only 33 hit points at 11th level. Even if you go to great lengths to help out your ghouls - trick them out in armor (and convince the DM to allow them proficiency), arrange to get them advantage on attack rolls, get the cleric to cast bane for -1d4 on the enemy's save - it's a lot of work to stick that paralysis when you could just cast hold monster instead. Playing a necromancer, I would probably stick to skeletons and zombies and keep my high-level spell slots for regular spells.

If I were in your shoes, I would try lowering the spell level on an experimental basis, with the understanding that you will make a final ruling after 2 sessions or so and you may bump it back up if it seems too strong.

Animate Giant Dead
5th-level necromancy

Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a drop of giant blood, a piece of giant flesh, and a pinch of giant bone dust)
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell creates a giant undead servant. Choose either the bones or corpse of a giant-type creature. Your spell imbues the target with a foul mimicry of life, raising it as an undead creature. The target creature remains gain the skeleton template if you chose bones or the zombie template if you chose a corpse.
The target remains must be of a giant-type creature of CR 2 or less (Ogre)
On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 100 feet of you as Animate Dead.
The creature is under your control for 24 hours, after which its stops obeying your commands. Recasting this spell on the creature reasserts your control for 24 more hours.
At Higher levels. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 6th level you may target a giant-type creature of CR 5 (Hill Giant, Ettin, Troll). Using a 7th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 7 (Oni, Stone Giant, Cyclops). Using an 8th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 8 (Fomorian, Frost Giant). Using an 9th level spell slot you may target a giant-type creature of CR 9 (Cloud Giant, Fire Giant)
Assuming the creature's stats are basically similar to when it was alive, I think the 5th-level version is very strong bordering on OP, but probably not actually over the border. The level scaling is what I'd be concerned about. A hill giant minion for your 6th-level spell slot is really, really good. I'd go with maybe +1 CR per slot level, so the hill giant comes at 8th rather than 6th.
 

Shag

Villager
Thanks very much for your reviews and suggestions. The only defense I would give for the spell as written is that the DM utterly controls the availability of the giants to be animated. That's a pretty big restriction.

And I agree with you completely about the create un!dead ghouls. At first glance they look great but in a actual high level encounter I think thier attacks would be easily brushed aside. They are basically slightly stronger zombies.
 

gyor

Adventurer
The elemental goes berserk and attacks you if you lose concentration. It is a huge drawback, which is why it is such a higher CR for it's level than other summons.

It seems fine to me at a glance. The CR jump from your level 5 to level 6 version seems like a big jump.
That and Celestial tend to have more utility magic that doesn't effect CR, but does effect their usefulness as a Summons.
 

Advertisement

Top