Animate Dead, Improved

School necromancy [evil]; Level cleric/oracle 4, sorcerer/wizard 5


Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (one onyx gem per body part worth at least 25 gp per hit dice of the undead)


Range touch
Target one or more body parts
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no


This spell turns the separated body parts of dead creatures into animated undead. The spell is similar in all respects to animate dead, except that it does not require complete bodies. The resulting undead operate as Small zombies with the following modifications:

  • Any class-based HD become racial HD (d8).
  • They retain class-based Reflex saves but use the Fortitude and Will saves of a zombie of equal HD.
  • They retain the defensive abilities of their base creature, including Dexterity bonus and natural bonuses to armor.
  • They gain DR 5/slashing, any size bonuses and penalties to AC, and the natural armor bonus of a zombie by size.
  • They fly at 30 ft. (poor). Fast movement affects their speed.
  • They retain all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature(s). They gain a slam attack as a zombie one size larger.
  • If this spell is cast on a spellcaster’s arm, the arm retains the last spell cast by the original creature in life at its original caster level, which it may cast once per day without need for material or verbal components.
  • They retain any of the base creature’s special attacks feasibly usable by the body part animated.
  • They retain the original Dexterity and add +2 to Strength.
  • They have no Constitution or Intelligence score, and their Wisdom and Charisma become 10.
  • Their base attack bonus is as per their original class.
  • They have no skill ranks.
  • They gain Toughness as a bonus feat and retain all feats from their former life that are still useable in their current form, including Improved Initiative.
  • They retain the special qualities of their base creature(s) that remain useable in their current form, unaffected by the zombie staggered special quality.


Add your tier to the caster level when determining how many Hit Dice of zombies you can animate with a single casting of this spell. This does not increase the total number of Hit Dice worth of undead you can control. By expending a second use of mythic power, you can ignore the spell’s material component.

Augmented (6th): If you expend two uses of mythic power, the zombies you animate gain either the agile or savage mythic template for a number of days equal to your tier. At 8th tier, you can expend 10 uses of mythic power and apply either the agile or savage mythic template permanently to the zombies you create with this spell.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Deep Magic. © 2014 Open Design LLC. Authors: Wolfgang Baur, Tom Benton, Creighton Broadhurst, Jason Bulmahn, Ross Byers, Charles Lee Carrier, Tim Connors, Adam Daigle, Jonathan Drain, Mike Franke, Ed Greenwood, Frank Gori, Jim Groves, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Sam Harris, Brandon Hodge, Phillip Larwood, Jeff Lee, John Ling, Jr., Chris Lozaga, Ben McFarland, Nicholas Milasich, Carlos Ovalle, Richard Pett, Marc Radle, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Wade Rockett, Stephen Rowe, Adam Roy, Amber E. Scott, Neil Spicer, Owen K.C. Stephens, Joshua Stevens, Christina Stiles, Matt Stinson, Stefen Styrsky, Dan Voyce, and Mike Welham.

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