Animate Dead

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Animate dead.png Animate Dead
Level 4
School1 Necromancy
Source(s) Book of Death
Book of Unlife
Casting noise 3
Spell noise 0
Power Cap 100
Hated By Elyvilon
The Shining One
Flags Helpful, Selfench, Utility
For some time after casting this, living creatures killed by the caster will rise as zombies. The chance of reanimating a monster and the duration of the effect increase with spell power. Re-casting this spell will return zombies to dust, as will leaving the floor.

“Remember, I am not recording the vision of a madman. The sun does not more
certainly shine in the heavens, than that which I now affirm is true. Some
miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct
and probable. After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I
succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became
myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.”
-Mary Shelley, _Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus_,
Vol. I, Chapter 3. 1818 (1st Ed.)

Animate Dead is a level 4 Necromancy spell that attempts to raise living enemies as zombies.

Necromancers begin with this spell in their libraries. Kikubaaqudgha may grant this spell at 1* piety.

Useful Info

Grants the Reap status for a spellpower-based duration: 20 + 1d(pow) turns, for a maximum of 100 turns.[1] For every natural monster you or your allies kill, you have a (150 + 0.5 * power) / 2 percent,[2] chance to create a friendly zombie. Monsters from Kikubaaqudgha's Unearth Wretches that naturally die will also be reaped.

Zombies created by this spell have an unlimited duration, but will disintegrate if you recast the spell or leave the level. Their HD depends on the spellpower: minion_hd = mons_hd * (100 + pow) / 300.

Animate Dead and Death Channel may work on the same target simultaneously, but not any of the other undead-creating Necromancy spells. It only takes priority over the lower level spell Necrotise.

This spell does not work with Gozag (who turns corpses into gold), Yredelemnul (who reaps for you), or Okawaru (who forbids all allies).


Animate Dead is good against crowds of enemies. When fighting a group, you'll create zombies mid-fight, who in turn will fight their former allies and act as distractions. Since zombies last until you leave the floor, any remaining undead can help with your future endeavors.

It is a very powerful spell for Kikubaaqudgha followers, due to the Unearth Wretches ability. Using it at the start of a dangerous battle or even floor will generate a large gang of unlimited duration allies, at an affordable piety cost. Thankfully, Kiku can gift this spell, though it isn't guaranteed.

Tips and Tricks

  • Works well with Anguish and Death Channel, which are both spells that Kiku can gift.
    • Anguish is a hex which causes enemies to take damage whenever they attack something, including zombies. Zombies are durable for the undead, making it a nice combination.
    • Death Channel is compatible with Animate Dead. Using both spells together wil you create up to 2 minions for every monster kill.
  • Fast species may want to use the Ctrl-T command to limit the auto-travelling speed to the speed of their slowest ally. This does not slow down manual movement.
  • In the Tomb, death scarabs make for excellent zombies, as they lose their chaotic movement while retaining their lightning-fast speed, and are available in extremely plentiful numbers. Their combined strength lets them take out even royal mummies with ease.

See Also


  • Prior to 0.29, Animate Dead would revive all corpses on the ground (and in sight) as undead. This required monsters to drop a corpse (effective 50% reanimate chance), zombies would wield weapons and armour on their tile, and they'd eventually expire. It had a spellpower cap of 200 and could not work on a few specific enemies' corpses.
  • Prior to 0.26, the lifespan of raised undead didn't depend on spellpower, and was longer. Necromancers had to be slightly aware of food, as raised zombies did not drop chunks (but Animate Skeleton did).
  • Prior to 0.17, raised creatures were permanent until death. Also, some monsters could cast this spell.
  • Prior to 0.15, plague shamblers would also only produce skeletons.
  • Prior to 0.13, vampire mosquitoes, ugly things, very ugly things, guardian serpents, sky beasts and Arachne could not be animated.
  • Prior to 0.10 Animate Dead would ignore any corpses on a spot after the first corpse.
  • Prior to 0.5, zombies and skeletons could use stairs, making this an excellent spell for creating armies.