The Theurgic Invocation of the Gate Ranks of Pale Bone allows one to raise a number of undead and there seems to be no limit for their persistence:

They remain animate until destroyed or until the invocation that fuels their existence is dispelled

This means that there is nothing stopping one from accumulating a large number of undead in this way by repeatedly using this invocation.

This is odd when compared with the gift A Pale Crown Beckons from the Death word which also allows one to raise undead but also have a limit on how many one is able to accumulate:

The undead are loyal, but dissolve when you use this gift again. Summoned entities or Mobs can be preserved indefinitely for 1 Dominion point each

This comparison seems to directly contradict the notion that Theurgic Invocation are much weaker than gifts, not to mention the issues of having one being able to accumulate an unlimited amount of undead using a lowly Theurgic Invocation.

This leads me to believe that I must have missed regarding this Invocation. Can one really accumulate an infinite number of undead using Ranks of Pale Bone?


As far as I can see, your interpretation is correct, but keep in mind that A Pale Crown Beckons summons one Small Mob ("enough foes to fill a large room") per 3 HD of the Godbound, while Ranks of Pale Bone only animates (it does not summon - "...assuming sufficient raw materials are available.") 1d6 HD of undead per HD or level of the caster, so you're going to need a lot of castings of ROPB to match a single APCB.

Also, ROPB notes that "The great majority of human-sized corpses rise as 1 hit die undead", while APCB can create greater undead (with up to 2xlevel HD) at will. So I'd still call APCB the superior ability.

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You can indeed. Theurgy has capacities beyond standard gifts, see p62.

Theurgy Capabilities Theurgy is much more powerful than low magic. Things it creates and enchantments it lays will persist indefinitely unless otherwise indicated. It can reach beyond the boundaries of a single realm and even plumb the depths of Uncreated Night. It can create new forms of life and alter old ones, bringing forth new races of creatures that breed true. There seems to be no limit to the power that theurgy is theoretically capable of accomplishing.

A scene lasts fifteen minutes, see p25.

Some gifts require that Effort be committed for longer periods, such as for a scene, or even for a full day. A scene simply means for however long the current event is happening. A fght is usually one scene, as is an infltration of a house, a debate at court, the pursuit of a fleeing enemy, or other such action. Most scenes last no more than ffteen minutes, though longer ones exist at the GM’s discretion. At the scene’s end all Effort committed for that scene is returned. Effort committed for a scene or for a day cannot be reclaimed early.

So at level 1 you can summon 1d6, 3.5 average skeletons per effort. You regen every 15 minutes and have 2 effort, so in an hour you can summon 28, in a day 672 in a day. Here's a table saying how many you can summon by level, ignoring any need for sleep or time to summon them (such things are essentially rounding errors)

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That said, there are some limitations over the standard gift.

  1. You can't make 2HD per level minions. Even a vast number of undead has weaknesses compared to one very strong minion.
  2. You need to find appropriate parts. The gift can summon them from afar.
  3. It's not an effective combat gift. You may need the undead now, and this gift cannot do that.
  4. A necromancer who requires 36960 corpses to make a large army is more suspicious than a necromancer who just requires a wave of their hands.
  5. It requires binding sorcery, not death, so you don't have access to the other deathly buffs.

The creator commented on this.


It depends on what you're using it for. If you're trying to make an undead army, the RoPB is nominally better if you actually have access to an army's worth of corpses, which is a non-trivial complication. It's not something you're ever going to be able to use without substantial preparation.

If you're trying to call up a swarm of undead meat shields or extra bony hands to do potentially lethal work, then APCB is better, because it only takes an action, doesn't require lengthy Effort commitment, and requires no preparation to use.

One common house rule I've seen to buff up ranks of pale bone is to make the mobs scale up like the similar War gift from p35 of the lexicon.

General's Escort Action Commit Effort for the day. You call up one or more Small Mobs of divine soldiers who are suicidally loyal to you, creating one Mob for every three levels you have, rounded up. These Mobs have the statistics of veteran soldiers, a hit bonus equal to your character level, magical weapons for the purposes of harming supernatural creatures, and can perform any service human servants could. This gift can be used only once per day, and no more than the maximum allowed number of Mobs can exist at any one time. One Large Mob can be called in place of two Small Mobs, and one Vast Mob in place of two Large Mobs. The soldiers created by this gift may or may not have individual identities depending on the preference of the Godbound, but if slain, these individuals can still be re-summoned with the next use of this gift.

The ability for the mobs to scale makes them much more reliable as you advance in levels.

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