The spell animate objects lets a spellcaster animate 1 Small object per level, or a smaller number of larger objects. The spell description says that a Colossal object counts as 32 small objects for the purposes of this spell. Since a 20th level spellcaster only has a caster level of 20 (or maybe in the low 20s with magic items), it seems like it would be impossible to make a Colossal animated object before epic.

Is it possible for a spellcaster to use this spell to create a Colossal animated object before 21st level? How would you do it?

Any level of optimization is appropriate, though options that require less cost to a character (whether that cost is money, feat slots, class levels, or anything else) are better. For example, an answer that involves a prestige class wouldn't be as good as one that just used magic items. This can involve any level of resources that a character of up to 20th level would have access to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What level of optimisation is allowed here? What level and resources are you presupposing? \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2014 at 6:41

3 Answers 3


Based on the link that Jack Lesnie posted is his answer, I've found a series of options to take that are relatively low-cost. The numbers below require the following things from the character:

  • 20th caster level.
  • Ability to cast at least 2 6th level divine spells per day.

Here are the items needed, their costs, and how much caster level they grant:

  • Ankh of Ascension, 9,000 gp, +4
  • Ioun Stone, Orange Prism, 30,000 gp, +1
  • Strand of Prayer Beads, Standard, 45,800 gp, +4
  • Band of Spell Enhancement, 10,080 gp, +2

There is also one spell needed:

  • Adept Spirit, level 2, +1 (insight)

The way is works is thus:

Preparation: Cast Adept Spirit in the morning and let it sit until you need it.

Round 1: Activate Karma prayer bead. Activate Adept Spirit. This can technically be done at the start of the fight, since the prayer bead lasts 10 minutes, and the spell lasts 1 minute. The prayer bead description doesn't mention what kind of action activating it is, so I'm assuming it's a Standard.

Round 2: Use a swift action to activate the Band of Spell Enhancement, a free action to activate the Ankh of Ascension, then cast Animate Objects at a caster level of 32.

All of the items (and spell) are useful for any divine spell that the Cleric would cast, so the items can likely be worked into an existing build. The total cost is 94,880 gp, which is a little under one half of the total GP value of a 20th level character, which is a bit pricey, but given the general utility of each of the items, I think it can be pretty worth it. The ability to boost your caster level on a spell by 12 once a day is a pretty nice perk.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited the code here to lists - generally it's a good idea to avoid code blocks for things that aren't code, e.g. the code blocks can make things hard to read for a mobile user. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2014 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aha. Never even saw the list markdown until just now. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Jun 4, 2014 at 11:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Whoa jeez!! Go take a sift through our markdown editing help pronto! Markdown does all kinds o' stuff. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 4, 2014 at 11:52

Raising Caster Level

From this thread, i'll briefly summarize -

  • Some spells (Channel the Mishtai, Harmonic Chorus, Death Knell, Mystic Surge, Spell Enhancer, Suffer The Flesh, Consumptive Field, Create Magic Tattoo) increase CL, by a rough total of +10ish and then 1.5x (consumptive field)

    • Very few magic items increase CL. Orange Ioun Stone, Ring of Arcane Might, Beads of Karma, lots of 'if' cases.

    • Lots of feats increase CL for specific things by a small amount, under various specific circumstances usually, i'll list relevant; Arcane Thesis +2 Dark Speech +1 Domain Focus +1 Earth Spell Elder Giant Magic +0-+3 Fiendish Power +1 Frozen Magic +0-+2 Inspire Spellpower +1 Lunar Magic +1 Primitive Caster +0-+3 Reserves of Strength +1-+3 Ship's Mage +1 Spell Thematics +1 Storm Magic +1, whichever of the [Reserve] feats from CMage applies, whichever domain applies

  • Lots of classes boost caster level, notably Red Wizard or any source of Circle Magic, spellthief + dipping + Master Spellthief + Knight of the Weave/Sublime Chord - all the stuff that adds all your CLs together, as master spellthief does that too so you end up with big numbers due to double adding.

Better Spells

Shrink Item allows you to turn something into a legal target, animate it, and then it gets bigger when the Shrink ends. How does this work? I have no idea.

Other than that, you're SoL. Animate City, Animate [Element], Animate Snow, Animate Instrument and Control Object all don't animate Colossal things, and they don't use the Animated Object rules, mostly, either.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think shrink would work. That has a maximum size of 2 cubic feet per level (40 cu.ft. max at level 20), and Colossal creatures are likely a few hundred cubic feet at least. The largest dimension of a Colossal object or creature is 64 feet, which is easily larger than the largest size a normal shrink item would allow. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    May 27, 2014 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shrink materials separately, turn materials into larger object via Fabricate, go merry way? \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    May 27, 2014 at 11:14

Animate objects is Bard/Cleric 6, Simulacrum is Sor/Wis 7 and needed to get the Red Wizard's circle magic to work.

No looping shennanagans here. We'll use Red Wizard's circle magic to set our caster level to 40, and sublime chord to cast the spells.


feats: able learner, tattoo focus, scribe scroll (free), 2 metamagic or crafting (1 free)

Bard 1 Transmuter 5 Red Wizard 5 Sublime Chord 5

16 levels

CL 17 normally (sublime chord + red wizard's spell power), 40 in circle magic

the 5 simulacra at level 8 can cast 4th level spells, The chord will drop a level 7 spell (a copy of simulacra, to be precice) in.

this provides a caster level bonus pool of 27, which totalled with the sublime chord / red wizard base of (15 or 17) is just enough to squeak by.

I would have preferred this build be a gnome for shadowcraft mage, but I couldn't see how to swing the skills without able learner.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Shadowcraft Mage requires 4 ranks in each of Bluff and Hide; even if they're cross-class, you could just take them at double cost and get them trivially by the time 4th-level spells become available... \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 3, 2014 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan it's the skills for sublime chord that require able learner if a wizard/red mage is able to do them. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2014 at 22:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .