|Reanimates a single skeleton as a follower, even if that skeleton is still encased in flesh. This magic is unstable, so eventually those reanimated will crumble to dust. Skeletons cannot leave the level they were created on.|
Animate Skeleton is a level 1 Necromancy spell that animates a single non-animate, non-demonic skeleton to serve you as a mindless undead slave. The caster must be standing on a skeleton or skeleton-bearing corpse in order for the spell to work. Because the spell is capable of summoning a skeleton directly out of a corpse, producing a pile of chunks in the process, it is essentially a faster, superior method of butchering. Manually butchering a corpse only occasionally produces a skeleton, so casters with Animate Skeleton should only do so if they have no intent of creating a minion. If there are multiple corpses at your feet when you cast the spell, one of them will be chosen at random.
As a means of reanimating corpses, Animate Skeleton is cheaper than but inferior to Animate Dead, since the latter can produce stronger zombies and attempts to animate everything in sight. Necromancers, especially worshipers of Kikubaaqudgha that can receive corpses reliably, may benefit from its synergy with Simulacrum by creating multiple simulacra of large monsters from the chunks.
As a level-1 spell however, Animate Skeleton is a cheap strategic addition to any character not forbidden from Necromancy. It produces long-lasting minions, some of them weapon-carrying, without forgoing chunks from their corpses. This could be especially relevant for characters who are not otherwise benefiting from minions (who can block LOS against ranged attackers, enable distraction stabs, aid in escape, and generally take some attention off the player).
Some physical attack flavours are retained: skeletons of constricting monsters can constrict, hydra skeletons bite multiple times and elephant skeletons trample, however damage brands will not be retained.
Control-F 'corpse' will find all possible targets for this spell that currently exist, both corpses and skeletalized remains.
Prior to 0.8, the spell took longer than the 1 turn it now takes to butcher and animate the skeleton.