The description of a Dread Necromancer's Undead Mastery ability says the following:

In addition, when a dread necromancer uses the animate dead spell to create undead, she can control 4 + her Charisma bonus HD worth of undead creatures per class level (rather than the 4 HD per level normally granted by the spell).

Similarly, when a dread necromancer casts the control undead spell, the spell targets up to (2 + her Cha bonus) HD/level of undead creatures, rather than the 2 HD/level normally granted by the spell.

A (Dread) Necromancer has many ways to bring Undead under their control. From Command Undead, to Create Undead, to Rebuke, and many more. Each of these ways has a limit as to how many Undead they can command. Are all these ways of commanding undead counted seperately? I.E. can a Necromancer control an X amount of Undead through the spell Control Undead, + an X amount of Undead through rebuking them, plus an X amount of-... Etc. etc.? Or should all these methods of expanding their undead army be added together to count towards one overarching limit?


1 Answer 1


Each different method of undead management is usually computed separately. That is, a dread necromancer's pool of Hit Dice from the spell animate dead is different and separate from her pool of Hit Dice for rebuking undead, and those pools don't usually interact at all with other management techniques like, for example, the spells command undead and control undead.

It's not a matter of just putting everything in one big pile, no matter how convenient that might be. Managing a mess of minions (as Gru can tell you) requires intestinal fortitude, patience, and probably a spreadsheet.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth mentioning effects like desecrate that can also change things, as well as the tactic of leveraging undead with spawn to potentially ignore those limits entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 11, 2018 at 13:37
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Honestly, I think there are just too many control variables to even begin to address them without the answer cascading into a What's the maximum number of undead a lone dread necromancer can control?, so I figured a simple answer was best in this case. However, I'll gladly upvote another answer that's more detailed. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 11, 2018 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no "probably". You need a spreadsheet. First hand experience with a Dread Necromancer has proven that time and again. \$\endgroup\$
    – martixy
    Sep 12, 2018 at 16:33

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