Animated Arcana

November 1st, 2012

Alex Riggs

Obscure Arcana Archive

            Today marks the end of Necromancy Week, which, for what I can only hope to be self-evident reasons, is one of my favorite theme weeks. So, to make sure that it gets a good and proper send-off, I’ve crafted together some top-notch necromancy spells to share with all of you. There may not be very many spells here, but I think that shriveling decay and skeletal servitude possess a quality that will more than make up for the lack of quantity. Enjoy.


Destroy Corpse

Destroy Corpse

            With a touch, you cause the target to shrivel and rot in mere moments, leaving only a faint trace of fine dust. The target’s possessions (if any) remain undamaged. This spell only affects corpses, and has no effect on other organic material or on undead creatures.


Shriveling Decay

Shriveling Decay

            Your hand, wreathed in undulating tendrils of purplish-black energy, leaves a black mark on the spot that you touch. For the spell’s duration, each round, on your turn, the target must succeed on a Fortitude save or suffer as the mark of corruption and putrefaction spreads. If the target fails this save, he takes 2d6 points of negative energy damage, and suffers one or more harmful effects, as outlined below. In the event of a successful Fortitude save, the target takes half damage, and does not suffer any harmful effects, but must still continue to make saving throws each round until the spell ends. If the target succeeds on three Fortitude saves in a row, the spell automatically ends.

            The effect inflicted upon the target depends on how many saving throws the target has already failed, as outlined on the following table. Each condition lasts until the end of the spell’s duration, and (with the exception of effects that are enhanced versions of lesser effects, like exhausted and fatigued), the target retains all previous negative effects he has suffered (so a target who fails three saves would be fatigued, sickened, and shaken).

Shrivelling Decay Table


Skeletal Servitude

Skeletal Servitude

            An aura of midnight-black energy begins to radiate from the target, as you suffuse his body with necromantic energy and begin to animate his skeleton—while he’s still alive. If the target succeeds on an initial Fortitude save, the spell has no effect. Otherwise, you control the target as the spell dominate person, except as listed here.

            In addition to the controlling effect, the energy used to animate the target’s skeleton also begins to rot and decay his flesh, which, if left unchecked, begins to slough off in large chunks. Each round, the target takes 6d6 points of negative energy damage. A successful Fortitude save halves this damage. If, at any point during the spell’s duration, the target is slain (whether by the damage caused by skeletal servitude, or from some other source), he immediately gains the skeletal champion template and is restored to full hit points. Skeletal champions created in this way remain under your control for the spell’s duration (and continue to take negative energy damage for that time, healing them if they take damage). At the end of the spell’s duration, the skeletal champion is treated as though it were created by the animate dead spell (meaning that you can only continue to control it if the sum of the skeletal champion’s Hit Dice plus the total Hit Dice of all undead you control that were created by animate dead is less than four times your caster level).

            If you are unable to control the skeletal champion at the end of the spell’s duration, you may either choose to cease animating it (in which case it falls lifeless to the ground), or to release it (in which case it becomes free to act as it pleases). In either case, the target’s memories of its previous life are vague at best, and such creatures rarely remember their enmity to you. At the end of the spell’s duration, regardless of whether the target has become a skeletal champion or not, he stops taking negative energy damage.