Animate Dead

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Version 0.29: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
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)[1], for a maximum of 100 turns. For every natural monster you 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.


  • Animate Dead is a very powerful spell for Kikubaaqudgha followers, which the god can thankfully gift (and will always gift if you can't use Sublimation of Blood). Using Unearth Wretches at the start of a dangerous battle or even floor gives a large gang of unlimited duration allies, in exchange for a very affordable chunk of piety.
    • Anguish, another one of Kikubaaqudgha's possible gifts, synergizes well with Animate Dead, as zombies tend to be durable, letting them tank hits while rebounding damage on hexed targets.
  • Fast species may want to use the Ctrl-T command to limit the auto-travelling speed to the speed of their slowest ally.
  • 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, which required corpse-dropping monsters (so had an effective 50% reanimate rate), would wield held weapons and armour on their tile, and would 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.