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D&D 5E Max Army of Darkness, Necromancer Math

FightKing

First Post
I have been working out the math for maximum undead from a RAW necromancer straight out of the PHB. The spell castings of Animate Dead below are considering the undead are already animated and the necromancer is just reasserting control.

At 20th Level:
3rd x 3 animate undead (4 each) = 12 skeletons/zombies
signature spell 1x animate undead = 4 skeletons/zombies
4th x 3 animate undead (6 each) = 18 skeletons/zombies
5th x 3 animate undead (8 each) = 24 skeletons/zombies
6th x 2 (3 each) = 6 ghouls
7th x 2, 1x finger of death = 1 zombie per day, 1x create undead = 4 ghouls
8th x 1 create undead = 2 wights (can control 12 zombies each) = 24 zombies
9th x 1 create undead = 3 wights (can control 12 zombies each) = 36 zombies

Command Undead Ability, Mummy Lord (only has 11 INT) his spells:
3rd x 3 animate undead (4 each) = 12 skeletons/zombies
4th x 3 animate undead (6 each) = 18 skeletons/zombies
5th x 2 animate undead (8 each) = 16 skeletons/zombies
6th x 1 animate undead (10 each) = 10 skeletons/zombie

Arcane Recovery:
5th x 2 animate undead (8 each) = 16 skeletons/zombies

For a grand total of:
1 mummy lord
5 wights
10 ghouls
60 zombies (controlled by wights)
146 skeletons or zombies (56 of which are controlled by the mummy lord)
plus 1 zombie per day as you cast finger of death over and over and over
plus if you have a cool DM you may have a Crawling Claw as your familiar and a Flaming Skull back at the library protecting your secrets.

How is my math?

-FightKing
 

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Good catch on the Mummy Lord, I hadn't realized their int was that low. Zombie Beholders and vampire spawn are good acquisitions too, although even a Wight that you make yourself with Create Undead isn't bad (can have 12 zombies).

I think you're underestimating Signature Spell. Since it's 1/short rest you could easily get an extra 24 skeletons/zombies out of it per day.

I would generally prefer to spend my high-level slots on my own skeletons than on wights who create zombies, because my skeletons can use missile weapons and get +6 to damage. 14 skeletons doing 1d8 (longbow) + 8 damage at range is more appealing than 24 zombies doing 1d6 + 1. But as far as absolute "max zombies" goes, your way does produce more zombies, so there's that.

In practice I find that necromancers at my table rarely generate anywhere near their full undead capacity. Usually I see between 4 and 26 skeletons depending on perceived threat level, which still leaves plenty of spell slots to be a wizard.
 

seebs

Adventurer
Hmm. You have to reassert control before the current control ends. I suppose you can just move a half-hour earlier every day or something. I also note that there's a sort of nested problem here. The mummy lord can in theory make a save against command undead, and if it doesn't make a point of reasserting control over its minions, they stop obeying it, and then even if you get it back you still don't have control of those.

On the other hand, it's possible that a ridiculously large pool of zombies who are not specifically controlled by you, but don't particularly want to attack you, is also useful.
 

Hmm. You have to reassert control before the current control ends. I suppose you can just move a half-hour earlier every day or something. I also note that there's a sort of nested problem here. The mummy lord can in theory make a save against command undead, and if it doesn't make a point of reasserting control over its minions, they stop obeying it, and then even if you get it back you still don't have control of those.

On the other hand, it's possible that a ridiculously large pool of zombies who are not specifically controlled by you, but don't particularly want to attack you, is also useful.

The mummy lord only gets one save, when you first acquire it, so losing control won't be an issue.

RE: "large pool of zombies", one hilarious thing to do with Demiplane is to load up a demiplane with hundreds of animated skeletons. Then when you need to destroy a target, you teleport in, cast Demiplane to release the zombies, and teleport back out. Zombiepocalypse ensues. There may be diplomatic repercussions...
 

Wolf118

Explorer
RE: "large pool of zombies", one hilarious thing to do with Demiplane is to load up a demiplane with hundreds of animated skeletons. Then when you need to destroy a target, you teleport in, cast Demiplane to release the zombies, and teleport back out. Zombiepocalypse ensues. There may be diplomatic repercussions...

TOTALLY stealing this idea for my current campaign!
 




You can't keep a good necromancy thread down!

How's this for a thread-killer:

A Sorcerer 9/Necromancer 6/Warlock 5 can accumulate 1443 5th level spell slots over the course of 70 days' straight short-resting with no long rests. He can then (1440 * 6) 8460 skeletons in one day. He can't animate any more in that day because it takes him 24 hours to cast 1440 Animate Dead V spells. (Or rather, he can't animate appreciably more. He could animate a few more by casting some Animate Dead IX, VIII, etc. in a few of the minutes, but that only adds 30 skeletons or so to the total.)

Theoretically you could get a bit more than 11,000 skeletons all under your control at once, but really, who would bother? 8000 super-skeletons is plenty.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
How's this for a thread-killer:

A Sorcerer 9/Necromancer 6/Warlock 5 can accumulate 1443 5th level spell slots over the course of 70 days' straight short-resting with no long rests. He can then (1440 * 6) 8460 skeletons in one day. He can't animate any more in that day because it takes him 24 hours to cast 1440 Animate Dead V spells. (Or rather, he can't animate appreciably more. He could animate a few more by casting some Animate Dead IX, VIII, etc. in a few of the minutes, but that only adds 30 skeletons or so to the total.)

Theoretically you could get a bit more than 11,000 skeletons all under your control at once, but really, who would bother? 8000 super-skeletons is plenty.
How are those spell slots banked? I assume you're burning warlock slots for spell points, but spell points are capped by the table, so....
 

How are those spell slots banked? I assume you're burning warlock slots for spell points, but spell points are capped by the table, so....

You have two 3rd level warlock slots. You cash them both in for 6 sorcery points with two bonus actions. Every time you accumulate 7 sorcery points, you turn them into a sorcerer spell slot with another bonus action. You can never have more than 9 sorcery points, but you can have as many 5th level sorcerer slots as you pay for.

But if you ever take a long rest, all those spell slots go away.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
You have two 3rd level warlock slots. You cash them both in for 6 sorcery points with two bonus actions. Every time you accumulate 7 sorcery points, you turn them into a sorcerer spell slot with another bonus action. You can never have more than 9 sorcery points, but you can have as many 5th level sorcerer slots as you pay for.

But if you ever take a long rest, all those spell slots go away.

An interesting interpretation. The way around the clear spell point limitation is to convert and store them in a way less well circumscribed. I cannot find a rule to show you wrong, sir, but think that interpretation very dodgy and unlikely to garner a lot of agreement from DMs. I, for one, would congratulate you on the inventiveness right before I laughed it out of my game.
 

An interesting interpretation. The way around the clear spell point limitation is to convert and store them in a way less well circumscribed. I cannot find a rule to show you wrong, sir, but think that interpretation very dodgy and unlikely to garner a lot of agreement from DMs. I, for one, would congratulate you on the inventiveness right before I laughed it out of my game.

That's why it's in green text. Green = "theoretically legal by RAW but not something that would ever happen in a real game."

(Because let's be honest--"maximum theoretical skeleton army size" is not something which happens in real games either. I have never seen more than twenty-four skeletons in play at once even though the Necromancer was capable of much more; in fact I rarely see over a dozen.)
 



Actually, I think I just changed my mind. Maybe it would happen in a real game, as part of a BBEG plot. A BBEG might actually be crazy enough to go without real sleep (only catnaps) for months on end, and to horde thousands of bodies, just so that he can unleash his Army of Darkness on his nemesis (the Free City of Pythium!) and have his moment of murderous triumph. Then he doesn't care if he can still keep control of the skeletons afterward--they're already in the city.

The PCs may get hints of his ambitions early on, and may have a chance to stop him (epic fight against a guy with nigh-unlimited Armor of Agathys/Dimension Door/etc., and probably a dozen or so skeleton bodyguards at all times even while he's storing up spell slots--presumably he just casts Animate Dead III out of warlock slots) but there is also plenty of room there to explain why the guy is passive enough to give the PCs a chance to stop him: he doesn't want to go out on missions to find out who is destroying his armor and weapons caches and corpse stockpiles, because he's busy resting.

Honestly, that idea sounds kind of awesome to me. It's a little bit like Brandon Sanderson's Reckoners series with the villain Obliteration: he lies around in the sun for weeks on end, storing up energy, and then he destroys a city with the stored-up energy. Same vibe from this necromancer chap.
 



zaratan

First Post
They do stop obeying, but he doesn't care since he just wants to destroy the city. Killing is what skeletons do by default, and 8000 uber-skeletons will do a great job at killing everything in an unprepared city.

all, now I get it, I saw the "under your control" part and wasn't understanding, lol.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
That's why it's in green text. Green = "theoretically legal by RAW but not something that would ever happen in a real game."

(Because let's be honest--"maximum theoretical skeleton army size" is not something which happens in real games either. I have never seen more than twenty-four skeletons in play at once even though the Necromancer was capable of much more; in fact I rarely see over a dozen.)

An odd convention, and one that doesn't show up when reading on tapatalk. More explicit tags might be advisable.
 

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