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gribble_the_munchkin
Acolyte

United Kingdom
18 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2006 :  22:45:56  Show Profile  Visit gribble_the_munchkin's Homepage Send gribble_the_munchkin a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Salubrious greetings my esteemed fellow scribes and sages

I have a bit of a leaning towards vile evil necromancers and from the wargaming days of my youth i have splendid memories of undead armies marching against cities and their puny human defenders.

I like the idea of liche necromancers having vast swathes of undead under their control, except......

You can't really do it under the rules.

A level 20 necromancer can control 80 hit dice of undead. That 80 human skeletons. Thats not an army, its barely a mob.

If you want skeletal cavalry its even less as you have to control the horses too.

So my question, how can one raise a vast army of undead and use them effectively as a force for evil.

The only way i have found is with some forms of undead that can create spawn. You control a wight (for instance) and he controls 10 of his own spawn, each of whom control their own spawn, etc. Only problem with this is that its HIGHLY hierachal and your paladin nemesis only needs to take out one wight to cripple your force.

Even spells such as general of undeath (cleric lvl 8 spell - lets you control 10* your hit dice) doesn't let you take more than 200 skeletons. Still a pathetically low number.

Have any of you come up with ways to get round these limitations. Obviously with an NPC one could just fudge it but with a PC you can't really do that. In particular this interests me since a PC i play is a vile evil necromancer (TM) and would like to work towards evil overlord status.

"We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number, please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again"

Kaladorm
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1176 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2006 :  00:08:37  Show Profile  Visit Kaladorm's Homepage Send Kaladorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can't say I have ever encountered battles with so many characters.
If you wanted to run it from a role playing perspective then you could just forget the rules and role-play it as such, maybe create some kind of artifact.

If you're planning on running such large scale battles I strongly recommend you read Heroes of Battle.

Also there is an epic spell Seed:Animate Dead which can create massive armies, and also the Animus line of spells
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34710 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2006 :  05:05:00  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kaladorm

If you wanted to run it from a role playing perspective then you could just forget the rules and role-play it as such, maybe create some kind of artifact.


I'd go in a slightly different direction: tie the control of groups of undead to magical rods. That allows the necro to build more troops, but it doesn't give him direct control -- whoever holds the rods, and uses the command word, would have the direct control. Since there's a limit to how much can be done in a single round, unless the necro is handing the rods to lieutenants, then he's going to have an army that doesn't have a fast response time.

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Skeptic
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2006 :  05:07:51  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote

The 20th level necro should control underlings/undeads that can control undead too.

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Archwizard
Learned Scribe

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2006 :  05:29:09  Show Profile  Visit Archwizard's Homepage Send Archwizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Leadership - Cohort for a small boost?
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gribble_the_munchkin
Acolyte

United Kingdom
18 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2006 :  22:55:45  Show Profile  Visit gribble_the_munchkin's Homepage Send gribble_the_munchkin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rods of undead control you say Woolie? Hmm, thats a nice take on it. I had an idea along those lines but with magical banners. Each unit of unit beasties would have a magical banner that would effectively replace the direct control of the necromancer and he would then control them via the banner (maybe linked to a rod).

Obviously having goons to control them is good, but thats a lot of clerics/junior necromancers for a decent sized army.

Archwizard, sadly my Velsharoonite (Velsharoonian? Velsharite? what is the term for a follower of Velsharoon) Cleric cohort kicked the bucket only the other session. I have a vacancy if any Velsharoon worshipping clerics are looking for a job. Anyone?

"We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number, please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again"
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dwarvenranger
Senior Scribe

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2006 :  04:25:21  Show Profile  Visit dwarvenranger's Homepage Send dwarvenranger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's the Undead Leadership feat in the Libris Mortis. Also the Undead Mastery and Zone of Animation feats in the Epic Level Handbook.

If I waited till I knew what I was doing, I'd never get anything done.

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LucianBarasu
Fellaren-Krae Co-ordinator

USA
214 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2006 :  08:02:49  Show Profile  Visit LucianBarasu's Homepage Send LucianBarasu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My one word response to this is this:
ARTIFACTS.

Find or create an artifact or high level magic item that doubles or even multiplies the numbers of walking backscratchers that the lich can control. It works for those players who like to rule thump. Plus, who's to say that the payers don' know that the lich is actually part of a shaowy kind of enclave that the other liches or mages in the enclave are lendin thier 200 skeleys, that the next mage isn't lendin HIS 200 skeleys..etc etc.. and if ALL have close proximit to the artifact.. multiply ALL those skelies... there is your army..

Lucian "The Bringer" Barasu
Fellaren Krae Project Co-Ordinator

"Why do you cry?"
"He is Conan, Cimmerian. He won't cry... So I cry for him."
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Kaladorm
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1176 Posts

Posted - 28 Nov 2006 :  22:54:12  Show Profile  Visit Kaladorm's Homepage Send Kaladorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know there are rules on Summoned creatures not using summon abilities.

Is there any similar one for animating?

Like Skeptic said, could have the mage raise a few undead mages/clerics, who in turn raise and control some undead.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34710 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2006 :  00:07:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kaladorm

I know there are rules on Summoned creatures not using summon abilities.

Is there any similar one for animating?

Like Skeptic said, could have the mage raise a few undead mages/clerics, who in turn raise and control some undead.



I don't think most necros would want something like that, unless the summoned summoner was under absolute, iron-clad control.

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Ergdusch
Master of Realmslore

Germany
1720 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2006 :  09:30:00  Show Profile Send Ergdusch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bah! Where is the sence in controling undead! He could just create them and let them work havoc and raise them again and again and agauin. I would bet 200 undead are pretty good to bloody beat up at least a few 100 soldiers to raise again, if equipped right and with some enforcement spells on them like stone bones or iron bones.

"Das Gras weht im Wind, wenn der Wind weht."
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gribble_the_munchkin
Acolyte

United Kingdom
18 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2006 :  11:02:37  Show Profile  Visit gribble_the_munchkin's Homepage Send gribble_the_munchkin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ergdusch, you and i think alike. I was planning to use undead, (uncontrolled) as terror troops, animate a couple of hundred undead, then point them at a village, drop control and run away. They'd cause real havoc, plus for a farmer or tradesman, fighting even very weak undead would be terrifying.

The main thrust of my question however was military style numbers and control. I.E. i want to conquer somewhere, lets say Cormyr. Alusair manages to raise 5000 men, maybe 500 of whom are heavy cavalry, 1000 archers and the rest infantry. I need to defeat this force and want to raise an undead army to do so.

Here uncontrolled undead would very rapidly die to co-ordinated and trained soldiers. You would need undead working in concert, i.e. controlled. Skeletons with spears and shields marching in tight blocks (or even phalanxs) led by a controlling figure, tucked safe and sound in the middle of the unit, would be good for infantry. Plus you don't really have to worry so much about morale with undead.

Heavily armed and armoured wights on skeletal horses woud be a great cavalry, fear adding to the power of the charge.

Small units of wraiths or spectres would be useless in actual battles (which tend to be fought in daylight) but would work a charm as a harrassing group of skirmishers at night.

You could even mix in elite units, say armoured mummies to hold the centre of your battle line.

I think the undead controlling scepters (or other devices) is the best way to go about this. But i'm open to other ideas.

Artifacts while a perfect solution arfen't craftable in game and would hence rely on the kindness of my GM.

"We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number, please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again"
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dwarvenranger
Senior Scribe

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2006 :  16:17:58  Show Profile  Visit dwarvenranger's Homepage Send dwarvenranger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think your main problem with the above scenario will be the number of priests that Cormyr (or any civilized nation) will be able to throw at your formations. Just one well protected priest would play havoc with with your formations, especially if they're a priest of Lathander or Kelemvor.

If I waited till I knew what I was doing, I'd never get anything done.

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gribble_the_munchkin
Acolyte

United Kingdom
18 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2006 :  12:09:48  Show Profile  Visit gribble_the_munchkin's Homepage Send gribble_the_munchkin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, very good point Dwarvenranger, i honestly hadn't considered that.

<Note to self: kill priests BEFORE raising giant undead army>

Actually, that would make a nice bit of background to raising an army, a sneaky underhand effort to seriously weaken the clergy of the major faiths, especially Kelemvor and Lathander.

"We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number, please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again"
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Exploit
Acolyte

Canada
47 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2006 :  20:08:04  Show Profile  Visit Exploit's Homepage Send Exploit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My Velsharoon cleric, Vista, is currently considering the same problem. The best answer so far that I have come up with is:

1) Take the Horned Harbinger prestige class (forcing a conversion to Myrkul) which at high levels allows commanding of 10xlevel in HD of undead.
2) Use these command levels to control spawning undead that control a hierarchy of spawns as indicated earlier.
3) Ally with a Crawling Head or some other undead that can animate skeletons and zombies for free because animating hordes of skeletons is way too expensive via spell.
4) Create a Wondrous Item of Extended Command Undead (2nd level arcane spell) unlimited uses per day caster level 20. Mindless undead do not get a save versus the spell and in the extended version the control will last 40 days after which you can just command them again.

That should give you a core undead army in the thousands. The key is to have a variety of undead who can specialize in various types of attacks. A squad of incorporeal undead springing forth from underground in the middle of town at night should be almost undetectable and quickly spawn enough undead to overwhelm almost any normal town.

The Vista patented special plan is to use Vargouilles to convert humans into Vargouilles (Evil Outsiders). The Vargouilles are then converted into Blood Fiends by a Blood Fiend. The whole process takes a couple of days but when you are done you can have hundreds of teleporting at will undead able to dominate monster at will.

The Blood Fiends use their Dominate Monster ability to capture slaves which are sold back to Vista in exchange for undead boosting spells and magic items. The slaves are run through the Humanoid->Vargouille->Blood Fiend process to make more undead slavers.

Even the Harpers would have a hard time keeping up with this vile swarm. Of course these undead are mainly going to be uncontrolled so having a Mordenkainen's Magnificient Mansion or other extradimensional safe house for yourself just in case they turn on you is a necessary precaution.

Alas this is only a preliminary plan since Vista is only 6th level at the moment. His necromantic talents thus far have only created a bunch of troglodyte zombies, an ogre zombie and his masterpiece a roper zombie. He is very disappointed that he was forced to kill an allip he encountered but he does have a wight secretly secured away to spawn a wight army in the near future. Vista has recently moved to the Shaar though to battle the Red Hand of Doom (or more precisely to convert the disorganized tribes of the Shaar into his personal undead horde, 1 tribe at a time).

Anyone interested in discussing the counter-assault techniques that the forces of Lathander and others opposed to the inevitable necromantic conversion of Faerun are likely to employ? I'd like to devise some counter-techniques of my own before my DM springs the Do-Gooders on me! :)
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10107 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2006 :  16:37:24  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interestingly enough, in second edition the dread warriors Szass Tam animated had the ability to serve as commanders of lesser intelligent undead. Those abilities seem to have been stripped from them in 3e, or perhaps the little known secret was that Tam's dread warriors were all paladins of Tyranny and he was somehow able to keep their undead commanding abilities intact.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Besshalar
Learned Scribe

Finland
166 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2006 :  20:17:48  Show Profile  Visit Besshalar's Homepage Send Besshalar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And what happened to good old zombie lords ? They could control other zombies as well and then there's always a powerful enough vamppire to consider.. Although without huge amounts sunblock vampires aren't much of an army.

The large print giveth , and the small print taketh away.
-Tom Waits
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