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I was doing some theory crafting on a necromancer. Of course a player character with an army of undead isn't very good for gameplay but our DM is interested in using the character as an enemy.

So I looked up some powers that let a character control undead:

Now the question: Are all these HD limit pools separate if you use multiple of these sources? Also what if you use Command Undead feat through both Cleric and Wizard by multiclassing? (Mystic Theurge comes to mind.)

And what about Command Undead which confusingly doesn't seem to impose a limit and Control Undead which only states limit on the number of targets but no limit on multiple uses? Can I just Animate Dead / Create Undead and then use these spell to have infinite army? (Well as large as my spell slots, corpses and material components allow.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Would an answer saying You're looking for a general rule that doesn't exist be useful? Or is an answer really supposed to address the question in light of six different game elements and the followup questions about the Command Undead feat? If the latter, I'd urge narrowing this question's focus to a specific question about the Command Undead feat alone then seeing where answers lead. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2022 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or are you looking for theory crafting "What is the largest HD of undead a wizard, cleric or mystic theurge could Command?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jul 17, 2022 at 14:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are lots of guides about being a necromancer for pathfinder. Have you looked at any of those? I found them very helpful when I made a mystic theurge cleric/wizard necromancer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Jul 18, 2022 at 2:01

2 Answers 2

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Are all these HD limit pools separate if you use multiple of these sources?

  • Animate dead has a built in limiter to how many Hit Dice you can control:

    No matter how many times you use this spell, however, you can control only 4 HD worth of undead creatures per caster level.

    If you have two classes with animate dead (e.g. Mystic Theurge), you still are bound on each casting by how many undead hit dice you are controlling from prior casts of animate dead.

    Note: If you have five levels in the Wizard archetype Cruoromancer will allow you to gain 5 HD per level instead of 4 HD. At level 7 this would be 7*5 = 35 hit dice.

  • The command undead spell has a duration of 1 day per level, but no other restrictions. You may keep as many undead under your control as you have spell slots of 2nd level or higher. One undead per casting.

  • The control undead spell is limited to 2 HD per level and 1 minute duration per level. Think of this like a charm person spell for undead.

  • The Command Undead feat allows your channels to work like the control undead spell with a limit of 1 HD per level instead, but the same duration.

  • The Undead Master feat provides two benefits:

    When you cast animate dead or use the Command Undead feat, you are considered to be four levels higher when determining the number of Hit Dice you cast animate dead. When you cast command undead, your duration is doubled.

    More hit dice per casting for both spells but not control for animate dead. Double duration for the Command Undead feat.

  • Gravewalker Witch's aura works like command undead spell including the duration.

have infinite army?

You can't get to infinite, but you can get to a large number.

Another option you may find interesting is the prestige class Agent of the Grave. It loses a level of casting (unless you have the Prestigious Spellcaster feat) but counts twice for limits with the animate dead spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "If you have two classes with animate dead (e.g. Mystic Theurge), you still are bound on each casting by how many undead hit dice you are controlling from prior casts of animate dead." This is false. Each class separately tracks their own caster level. If you are a level 5 cleric/level 5 wizard/level 5 mystic theurge then you have 10 caster levels in Wizard and 10 caster levels in cleric. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10, 2023 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MaikoChikyu See here. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 10, 2023 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MaikoChikyu Can you show the rule that creates "bucket" and overides the rule in the spell itself (animate dead)? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2023 at 15:56
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It is easier to view this in the form of buckets. Each caster has their own bucket. Animate Dead: This is the simplest and most common bucket. Methods to maximize this are as follows:

  • Juju Mystery: This allows the caster to control up to six dice per caster level.
  • Mystic Theurge: Despite the second answers statement, each class tracks their own spell slots and caster levels separately. As such this effectively doubles your ability to control undead via animate dead.
  • Agent Of The Grave: This is going into cheese territory to a degree but there are no rules stating prestige classes cannot stack on top of each other. As such it is possible to take one level from Mystic Theurge and progress it through Agent Of The Grave.

Suggested Build(Level 13): Level 3 Wizard(Thassilonian specialist)/Level 4 Juju Oracle/Level 1 Mystic Theurge/Level 5 Agent Of The Grave

Agent Of The Grave says

When determining the maximum number of Hit Dice of undead he can control with spells like animate dead, a character counts his Agent of the Grave levels twice.

This can be interpreted as it doubling the effect of any caster level gained by tying it to a class. So tying to a Mystic Theurge would result in

63(Wizard)+64(Oracle)+121(Mystic Theurge)+244(Agent Of The Grave)= 150 Hit dice

Command Undead: This boils down to how many spell slots you possess. As with the build suggested above, the wizard would possess nine levels, combined with Thassilonian Specialist this would grant them eighteen castings of Command Undead. Mystic Theurge allows you to convert oracle spells into Command Undead(At the cost of it being one slot higher) granting you ten casting of Command Undead. In summary you can cast Command Undead twenty eight times a day with a duration of nine days allowing you to control 252 undead. Note: You can just craft a staff of control undead which costs nine thousand gold and gives infinite casting of this spell.

Command Undead(Feat): This bucket is the simplest one, allowing you to control as many hit dice as your caster level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't take MT to advance Agent of the Grave because it doesn't have spell caster levels (you are never a 2nd level spell caster of Agent of the Grave). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2023 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also the Juju was officially updated to remove the animate dead benefit: aonprd.com/MysteryDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Juju -- Remember aonprd.com is the official online lookup for Paizo content (their SRD site). So in the Juju mystery only the aonprd officially exists. Of course, any GM may use any material they wish including the first version of an archetype . \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13, 2023 at 16:24

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