I like to DM D&D 4e and recently acquired Open Grave, a rules supplement on undead. But there are no rituals for creating combat-capable undead (they are all listed as "non-combatants"). Is there a different book with a ritual that creates combat-capable undead, or can my players not create combat-capable undead?

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    \$\begingroup\$ 4e has stricter expectations of creatures who will engage in combat, so there may be a reasonably-accepted definition of “combat-capable,” but typically we expect questions here to define what it means to be capable engaging in combat. Our 4e experts may even decide to put this question on Hold until you provide a definition (I leave this to them since I do not know 4e well enough). A question on Hold cannot receive answers until it is edited and reopened. For an introduction to the site, and advice on how to write good questions, I recommend the Tour. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 18:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan In this case is does simply mean "capable". The few rituals that create undead in Open Grave explicitly say they're non-combatants and list no combat stats. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2015 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Aha, that would do it! (we really must get a flag for obsolete that allows you to acknowledge the comment) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related question about making a necromancer PC: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/12796/… \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


No, there are no player-available rituals to do this in any supplement that I know of, even the Book of Vile Darkness.

However, as for your second question (Or can my players not create combat-capable undead), the Shadow Done Right 4th Edition supplements (http://shadow4e.wikidot.com/) contain a Necromancer class and at least one ritual concerning raising the undead.


Open grave was designed more as a GM expansion than a player expansion. Summoning extra creatures for PC to use has (and will likely always be) a source of contention. Rather than feed the fires of the "overpowered" clan the designers simply sidestepped the issue. If you look at RAW than nope- no can do, they are essentially undead pack mules. That doesn't mean you can't come up with a ritual and cost and add it, but I would almost certainly turn the request for an undead sword sponge into another opportunity for Murphy to rear his undead grinning skull...


GM: Well, that was a tough battle, but it looks like with Zombie Steve's help, you have defeated the bandits.

Zanzibar the Necromancer: Fear the wrath of Zanzibar!

GM: Can I have Steve's character sheet: he's gained a level.

Player: Sure! Hey, can I pick his skills, I'd like him to have Unstoppable.

GM: Fantastic! Roll 2d6, then everyone roll a d20.

Player: Uh, sure. What's the d20 for?

GM: It seems that with power comes responsibility: Steve has decided that since he's taking most of the risk, he really doesn't need the middle man anymore. You also notice that Steve is carrying a longsword.

Player: Zombies don't use weapons!

GM: Use them in battle enough and it looks like they are not completely untrainable, if you and the group survive think of the missives you'll write.


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