I'm a necromancer in a game where we are facing mostly humanoid enemies, so ones that have 1HD. Which is not very useful when it comes to making undead. The one good skeleton I had from a dire tiger got destroyed during combat.

According to the Undead Subtype

Not at risk of death from massive damage, but is immediately destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points.

I can't remember from where, but a destroyed undead can't be used as the base for another undead. The only place I can find this is in a forum online, but doesn't actually quote the rule.

The only way I have figured out to reuse the dire tiger skeleton is to bring it back to life somehow, kill it, and then harvest the body. It was an animal companion of a druid so I'm pretty sure we won't be coming across another, or be able to hunt for one. Due to the nature of bringing back the dead, it's unlikely that it would return, which makes this a pointless endeavor, not that we had those skills in the party in the first place.

Restoration Dust is the only thing I have found which might also work, but the issue with it is that it works on partially decomposed bones, and the skeleton is destroyed.

So without using wish/miracle (don't have those anyways, plus, way too expensive) is there any way I could recover this skeleton?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ (The description of the animate dead spell is where it says, "A destroyed skeleton or zombie can’t be animated again.") \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2018 at 7:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan But thats only in the spell, is there a more general rule somewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Aug 25, 2018 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right that, for example, the description of the school of necomancy or the spell create undead doesn't say that a destroyed undead can't be used again as the target of create undead, but trying anyway means having fist fights over the definition of corpse and, similarly, the definition of destroyed. As always, of course, you can pose this as a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2018 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan What about make whole which can remove the damaged condition from stuff? \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Aug 26, 2018 at 19:05

3 Answers 3


You cannot

Other than using a wish or miracle, or bringing the target back to life and killing her once more, there are no other ways to restore a destroyed skeleton in the official rules.

There is only one official spell that will even work on destroyed undead: geb's hammer, and it will not restore it. Other than that, we enter into the discussion of "are bodies objects"? that I rather not, as its entirelly GM fiat.

Your third best option would be to cast true resssurrection, which is a terrible waste of resources:

This spell can even bring back creatures whose bodies have been destroyed

Your second best option would be to have a friend druid or ranger use the spell call animal, capture another tiger and do you know what to have another tiger skeleton available.

Finally, your best option is...

Create bloody skeletons instead

The bloody skeleton template can be applied instead of the regular template, but it will cost you twice the amount of HD to create and keep them. However, they come with a great advantage over other types of skeletons:

Deathless (Su)

A bloody skeleton is destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points, but it returns to unlife 1 hour later at 1 hit point, allowing its fast healing thereafter to resume healing it. A bloody skeleton can be permanently destroyed if it is destroyed by positive energy, if it is reduced to 0 hit points in the area of a bless or hallow spell, or if its remains are sprinkled with a vial of holy water.

The rules for creating bloody skeletons can be found on the Bestiary (p.251):

Numerous variant skeletons exist, such as those whose bones burn with an unending fire and those who drip with gore and reassemble themselves over time. Both of these variant skeletons can be created using animate dead,but they count as twice their normal number of Hit Dice per casting. Once controlled, they count normally against the controller’s limit.

This will not bring your tiger back, but will allow you to keep your next tiger around for much longer, as very few enemies carry holy water around, and you probably will know when you are fighting on holy ground.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wasnt able to apply the template otherwise I would have \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Aug 25, 2018 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, the skeleton is already destroyed, and bloody skeletons can be destroyed \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Sep 2, 2018 at 5:43

If your GM will accept 3.5 sources (in this case the Spell Compendium) then Revive Undead is a 6th level sorcerer/wizard spell that will:

...restore animation to an undead creature destroyed by hit point loss (even a zombie or skeleton, which can't normally be reanimated once destroyed).

However, I cannot find this spell or an equivalent in any of my Pathfinder sourcebooks. (Which is not to say that it does not exist.) So I recommend being very nice to your GM, and if that does not work then spend some time on safari between adventures stocking up on high hit dice skeletons that you can store until needed.


Usually, "destroyed" means that there is some pile of useless stuff that hardly have some purpose. Yet again, everything depends on GM's rule 0. One can say that when a skeleton dies, it crumbles to dust which becomes heatless cinder. Others might say that a whack from a morningstar to the skull releases necromantic energies from skeleton and you end up with skeleton-shaped object made from many bones and a cracked skull. Mending can fix it (or make whole) but it won't move and be like skeleton. If you really want to have that specific skeleton moving again, there's a paladin-friendly version of animate dead called Animate Objects. it's a timed spell but can be made permanent. Visually, yes, it's a skeleton but mechanically it's a construct.

Oh, right, it's hella expensive too. 15k for permanency. Cheaper version of that might be Necrophidius. Far cheaper in monetary terms but requires 3 feats or a friendly NPC

You can talk to your GM about it, maybe he'll close the eyes to "can be animated only once" rule or come up with custom construct that has same stats as skeleton you want but not as hard to create.


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