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Can an Undead Servitor use a ritual scroll?

Undead Servitor The corpse shudders, then clambers to its feet. At your direction, it shoulders your gear and lumbers after you.

Component Cost: 150 gp Market Price: 360 gp Key Skill: Arcana (no check)Level: 6 Category: Creation Time: 1 hour Duration: Permanent

You imbue a humanoid corpse of natural origin and Medium or smaller size with the ability to move under its own power and an understanding of one language of your choice. It has speed 6 and Strength 16, never tires, and obeys you at all times. The undead servitor is a noncombatant. When forced onto an active battlefield, treat the servitor as an allied minion (1 hit point, never damaged on a missed attack) with all defenses of 11. It acts just after you do and never makes attacks. You cannot have more than one undead servitor at a time from different performances of this ritual. If you attempt to create a second servitor, that ritual fails without component expenditure.

Published in Open Grave, page(s) 50.

There is no minimum intelligence requirement - a brain-damaged barbarian PC can use one.

There is no requirement for magical training - any class can use a ritual scroll.

The possibility that they must be alive is a grey area, due to the existence of Vryloka, Revenant and Archlich PC's.

The need for spoken components may be more iffy - but carefully applied Magic Mouth rituals may turn the trick, as it is possible for other PC's to assist the ritual caster.

The need for instructions for the Servitor can also be bypassed with Magic Mouth - although if it understands a language it could presumably read the instructions on the scroll.

EDIT: I should probably come clean with my sinister motive; my Wizard is paranoid about dying, and doesn't trust anyone else in the party to raise him with a scroll, assuming they weren't dead themselves. By keeping a kitted-out Servitor back in his lair, he can set off a complicated contingency that results in the Servitor raising him shortly after he dies. It takes several more rituals, a specific magic item, lots of funding, and only works once before the whole thing has to be reset, but the Servitor was the lynchpin of the whole plan, as it is the only servant-type creation that persists permanently.

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One glitch in your emergency plan - "It acts just after you do." If you're dead, you get no actions. –  F. Randall Farmer Jun 11 '12 at 15:54
    
That line follows the part on 'if forced onto the battlefield' when it is being treated as an allied minion. So it is debatable whether that line applies at all times or only then. Compare the Unseen Servant ritual, which merely 'obeys commands' and has absolutely no specification of when to do so. I simply took it to mean that a minion has to come somewhere in the turn order, and so it specifically comes after your turn. More to the point, if your reasoning is correct, then any PC or monster whose turn comes after yours has problems if you die, as their turn would never come. –  Ananisapta Jun 11 '12 at 16:15
    
Correct. Any pet/servitor/etc. under you direct command would never get another turn at your command. Perhaps you should create two questions. This one "can a servitor cast a ritual" and another "Can a servitor act after its controller is unconscious/dead." I could be wrong and this is exactly the place to find out what other experts think/can find in the rules. –  F. Randall Farmer Jun 11 '12 at 17:19
    
I might do just that: 'obeys you at all times' seems a bit wishy-washy if it stops obeying you if you aren't continuously updating your orders. 'Sweep the floor. Keep sweeping. Keep sweeping.'...ad nauseum. All is not lost even if it were true, however, as there is anohter way of setting off the sequence involving a Mark of Justice and an unattended child. It doesn't have to be a child, but if you're going to be unethical, might as well go the whole way. –  Ananisapta Jun 12 '12 at 1:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes.

Try as I might, I cannot find a reason to say no. (Your arguments are very persuasive!)

Servitors by all appearances are designed to be noncombat assistants, for purposes of carrying things, opening doors, keeping your necromantic tower safe while you are out adventuring and so on. As the majority of rituals are also nonoffensive, I don't see their usage clashing with the general intent of the servitor.

So by RAW and also presumed intent of the Undead Servitor ritual, this is allowed.

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I've made a confession in my original question...when you see the specifics you may be inclined to change your mind. :P –  Ananisapta Jun 11 '12 at 15:06
    
I already knew you were capable of coming up with interesting uses for rituals, so I'm not at all surprised, and this doesn't change my answer! Given how easy it is in many games to find a town cleric to perform Raise Dead for a fee, I don't see this being particularly overpowered or deviating from the intent of the Servitor. I mean, one can become a Lich at level 14 to cheat death, so why not this? –  ioanwigmore Jun 11 '12 at 15:19
    
My wizard is fully intending to go Archlich when he hits level 21, but this was intended as a failsafe in the meantime....as it is theoretically achievable at level 8, and definitely achievable by 14. –  Ananisapta Jun 11 '12 at 15:35

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