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quick_comment
2009-04-11, 06:08 PM
One of my players wants to buy bodies to cart around for animate dead and similar spells.

How much should they cost? 25, 50, 100 gp per HD? per CR? per ECL?

newbDM
2009-04-11, 06:23 PM
Hmm.

I'd say double what the local cemetery's keeper gets paid, plus all the work he won't have to do.

And I believe it depends highly on the race/culture. In a human, elf, or dwarf one it would usually be black-market style business, hence pretty expensive (5-10gp maybe?). On the other hand, for a race/culture where a body is considered nothing special or outright garbage I'd say dirt cheap.


For example, in my home world I have a nation of necromancers who use undead for their vast armies. As a plot hook, a goblin tribe the PCs took over has a contract where the necromancer nation's "merchant" comes by twice a year and buys up any bodies the goblins have stocked piled. Rather they are dead goblins, or dead humans/elves/whatever they happened to raid/kill and drag back. Being a wealthy nation, they make sure to pay the goblins quite well. Still, even then they don't waste more than a gold per the average humanoid, while an orc would get around 2-3, and an ogre+ is when the real money starts comes in.

wadledo
2009-04-11, 06:25 PM
Replace 25 GP with 25 SP and that sounds about right, with a cap of about 5 HD.
Anybody higher is to well know to risk it.

Also, they do know that stealing from graves is one of the oldest ways of earning money, right?

newbDM
2009-04-11, 06:33 PM
Replace 25 GP with 25 SP and that sounds about right, with a cap of about 5 HD.
Anybody higher is to well know to risk it.

Well, for a humanoid within it's city maybe. However, I imagine an animal, or magical beast of 5HD+ can legally and semi-legally be obtained from a city's local hunting guild. That, or I am certain you can hire skilled hunters/trappers from said guild to attempt tracking down something you want.

Depending on said PC's alignment, perhaps you can even get more shady hunters/trappers to hunt down monstrous humanoids with 5HD+?


As my Tibbet Dread Necromancer would have said, "Humans are so frail and weak anyways. Why not get a good sabertooth cat instead?".

wadledo
2009-04-11, 06:36 PM
Well, for a humanoid within it's city maybe. However, I imagine an animal, or magical beast of 5HD+ can legally and semi-legally be obtained from a city's local hunting guild. That, or I am certain you can hire skilled hunters/trappers from said guild to attempt tracking down something you want.

Depending on said PC's alignment, perhaps you can even get more shady hunters/trappers to hunt down monstrous humanoids with 5HD+?


As my Tibbet Dread Necromancer would have said, "Humans are so frail and weak anyways. Why not get a good sabertooth cat instead?".

Why bother buying them then?
You're losing out on Xp, and you can just go out like the englishmen of old and shoot elephants with a native guide, Thursday.

newbDM
2009-04-11, 06:52 PM
Why bother buying them then?
You're losing out on Xp, and you can just go out like the englishmen of old and shoot elephants with a native guide, Thursday.

True. But then it depends on the DM's running style, and the willingness of the other players to take time to help the necromancer PC.

I run a sandbox style game, so this would be beyond perfect for me if the PCs/players decided to go on a local hunting safari in whatever area they are currently in. I imagine I could possibly run that quite well to boot, surprisingly, thanks to my habbit of watching the Discovery/National Geographic/Animal Channels, and my like of old Johnny Quest reruns. However, the more ridged DMs who follow their schedules/timelines to the second would probably not like such a "distraction" from their pre-written adventure.

Some players may also feel they are "wasting valuable time".

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-11, 07:02 PM
Why buy corpses when you can make them?

Thajocoth
2009-04-11, 07:15 PM
In my campaign, I set it at 50gp. However, this is for selling... There's a group that would take just about anything it could for food, and with all their grave digging, and the fear of reprisal if they actually hunt, a fresh corpse is hard for them to come by. It's also 4e though, which I suspect yours is not, as your post contains 3 acronyms that I don't know.

Won't this also cost them scorn though? What guard is gonna stand idly by while some guy carts bodies around. They should need to be a bit careful about who sees the bodies.

FoE
2009-04-11, 07:18 PM
The question you should be really asking yourself is: who's going to sell them? I mean, your guy can't exactly go up to people on the street and say "Madam, I'm hoping to buy some fresh bodies to raise as my undead servant. Would you know where I make such a purchase?" And there's a lot more lucrative (and less disgusting) fields for your average criminal to enter than graverobbing.

Although it might be amusing to have someone at a black market shouting "Get your corpses here! Straight from the grave! No one is selling dead bodies at lower prices! You sir, you look like a person who would like to spend an evening with this lovely cadaver I have here. Can I make you an offer?"

Mmm ... I would stiff your adventurer a bit. Charge him 100 g.p. When he complains, say "Hey, this is kind of a niche market here, pal!" If you don't charge him enough, he may go a little nuts on the re-animating and soon you'll be keeping track of a whole army of zombies.

Dogmantra
2009-04-11, 07:27 PM
Won't this also cost them scorn though? What guard is gonna stand idly by while some guy carts bodies around. They should need to be a bit careful about who sees the bodies.

Three words: bag of holding

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-11, 07:41 PM
At 100 gp it is cheaper to buy a (living) cow or a horse, kill it and raise it. Not to mention that cows and horses have way more HD than a commoner and thus make better zombies.

streakster
2009-04-11, 07:48 PM
I had a warlock who kept a bag of holding full of corpses around for "The Dead Walk" Emergency cannon fodder, GO!

As I recall, the prices in that game were roughly 1g per HD (though you couldn't get anything above 6 or so, or anything rare, without substantial finder's fees. Though you could get a bulk rate, or pay more for "specialty orders" - useful mainly for our Dread Necro.

FoE
2009-04-11, 08:10 PM
At 100 gp it is cheaper to buy a (living) cow or a horse, kill it and raise it. Not to mention that cows and horses have way more HD than a commoner and thus make better zombies.

Yeah, except they're horses and cows. A zombie horse would be a hell of a lot less effective than a living horse, and what self-respecting necromancer is going to sic zombie cows on his enemies?

"MOOOOOOBRAINSMOOOO!"

newbDM
2009-04-11, 08:42 PM
Yeah, except they're horses and cows. A zombie horse would be a hell of a lot less effective than a living horse, and what self-respecting necromancer is going to sic zombie cow on his enemies?

"MOOOOOOBRAINSMOOOO!"


*Raises Hand*

:smallbiggrin:

FoE
2009-04-11, 09:00 PM
*Raises Hand*

:smallbiggrin:

I see your Zombie Cow and raise you one Vampire Cow.

http://www.marvel.com/universe3zx/images/thumb/c/cd/Hellcow.jpg/440px-Hellcow.jpg

(Although technically it's supposed to be a Hellcow.)

Jack_Simth
2009-04-11, 09:02 PM
Yeah, except they're horses and cows. A zombie horse would be a hell of a lot less effective than a living horse, and what self-respecting necromancer is going to sic zombie cow on his enemies?

"MOOOOOOBRAINSMOOOO!"
Not as much as you might think.

Take a standard, 75 gp Light Horse, and turn it into a zombie. What do you get?

Zombie Horse, Light
Large Undead Hit Dice: 6d12+3 (42 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (1 size, +0 Dex, +6 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+10
Attack: Hoof +0 melee (1d4+1) or Slam +5 Melee (1d8+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Undead Traits, DR 5/Slashing, Single Actions Only
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 11, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills: -
Feats: Toughness
Challenge Rating: 2
Advancement:
Level Adjustment:

That's actually not really any worse than most zombies, as an opponent.

As workhorses, though, you're actually going to want skeletons, rather than a zombies - so they can run, and so you can control more of them.

newbDM
2009-04-11, 09:27 PM
I see your Zombie Cow and raise you one Vampire Cow.

http://www.marvel.com/universe3zx/images/thumb/c/cd/Hellcow.jpg/440px-Hellcow.jpg

(Although technically it's supposed to be a Hellcow.)


I...I think I love you...:smalleek:

Starbuck_II
2009-04-11, 09:58 PM
The question you should be really asking yourself is: who's going to sell them? I mean, your guy can't exactly go up to people on the street and say "Madam, I'm hoping to buy some fresh bodies to raise as my undead servant. Would you know where I make such a purchase?" And there's a lot more lucrative (and less disgusting) fields for your average criminal to enter than graverobbing.


Didn't you watch Monty Python? Dead carriers are actual things in history (the way presented not as much).

"Bring out your dead!"
"Can I buy one?"
"What?
"Yeah, one of them"
"Uh, sure for a couple gold"
"Right-o, good chap"

newbDM
2009-04-11, 10:16 PM
Didn't you watch Monty Python? Dead carriers are actual things in history (the way presented not as much).

"Bring out your dead!"
"Can I buy one?"
"What?
"Yeah, one of them"
"Uh, sure for a couple gold"
"Right-o, good chap"


That would be a great way to get the plague.


Hmm. Would it be too mean for a DM requiring a PC necromancer to roll against filth fever, or other fun related diseases from the BoVD, when handling corpses?

Vizen
2009-04-11, 10:26 PM
No. So long as they're fun ones. xD

SurlySeraph
2009-04-11, 10:42 PM
"Get your corpses here! Straight from the grave! No one is selling dead bodies at lower prices! You sir, you look like a person who would like to spend an evening with this lovely cadaver I have here. Can I make you an offer?"


Yeah, except they're horses and cows. A zombie horse would be a hell of a lot less effective than a living horse, and what self-respecting necromancer is going to sic zombie cows on his enemies?

"MOOOOOOBRAINSMOOOO!"

You just made my day, you depraved servant of evil you. :smallbiggrin:
*goes to sleep, dreaming of heroically triumphing over the zombie cow hordes*

Randel
2009-04-11, 11:02 PM
Fell Animate Metamagic (turns a creature you slay with the spell into a zombie for no component cost)
Corpsecrafter feat
Destruction Retribution (any undead you make will explode with negative energy when destroyed)


Villager: Oh no! Not the medicine factory!

Orc raiders smash into the medicine factory

Villager: Oh no! Not the exploding zombie rat factory!

Orc raiders smash into the building, there is a series of explosions and they all run out screaming with swarms of undead rat-bombs biting them.

Villager 2: That place was trouble from the moment they built it.



Or alternatively: Fell Animate + Explosive Runes + postal service = get new zombie slaves for the cost of mailing a letter.

Dode
2009-04-11, 11:04 PM
That's why you go with a skeleton horse/cow. This situation actually came up with a necromancer in our group. While the rest of the party was buying up horses for an upcoming expedition, he asks the stablehand "How much for a horse corpse?". The stablehand pointed out that there isn't really much of a market for horse carcass and that he should check out the midden heap outside of town. So after a long day of wading through human feces and garbage, our necromancer found a warhorse skeleton.

lsfreak
2009-04-11, 11:10 PM
Keep in mind at least 90% of the corpses available will be 1st or 2nd level commoners or the like. For those? A few silver a piece, maybe up to a gold piece. Low-level raiders, wild animals, or farm animals might be even cheaper, especially animals (might as well make some coin off a cow that got killed, a thought people probably wouldn't have when their relatives no matter how annoying they were).

Anything higher than that will be drastically more expensive and much rarer. Might be able to pick up a 2nd level warrior for 5sp in any small village from a pragmatic cemetery keeper, but it might cost you a few hundred gold to get a 5th-level fighter. People would probably up the price for anyone they considered more powerful; might charge more for a wizard's corpse than a fighter's because the average person won't know enough to realize the wizard's spells mean nothing when you're dealing in skeletons.
EDIT: I realized after writing this that class levels get dropped when making skeletons and zombies anywho (at least in 3.x, barring house rules). This probably wouldn't change the price, since your average person won't know enough about undead to know that skeletons are drastically weaker than their living counterparts.

That said, the PC's are probably the ones going to be offering prices. Even when asked, I doubt the average person would respond nicely to someone asking how much they'd take for even a dead farm animal, whereas offering up a few silver pieces is a drastically different situation.

Jack_Simth
2009-04-12, 12:56 AM
Fell Animate Metamagic (turns a creature you slay with the spell into a zombie for no component cost)
Corpsecrafter feat
Destruction Retribution (any undead you make will explode with negative energy when destroyed)
Fell Animate(Wall of Fire) + Permanency. Add all the appropriate corpsecrafter feats along with it, an Illusory wall so people don't know what they're walking into, and you're good to go.

Worira
2009-04-12, 01:36 AM
There's nothing odd at all about buying animal corpses in a medieval setting, and it's quite cheap. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/wealthAndMoney.htm#wealthOtherThanCoins) Of course, you might want them alive so you can either chuck them into your Wall of Animation or stab them into negatives and finish them off with an Animating cantrip. Oxen/bison actually make decent undead, with their gore attacks and 22 (24 as a zombie) strength.

Narmoth
2009-04-12, 01:55 AM
I think you should charge how much you think you can get away with.
Most of it would be bribes to:
- cemetery / catacomb officials
- the bureaucrats that's in charge of getting corpses of the street and into the cemetery
- the captain of the city guard who'll otherwise would arrest you for corpse theft
- clerks at the court so they won't proses the complaints of your activity from relatives and concerned citizens

I'm sure even the mayors office would try to get a bribe. Maybe some temples as well.

If I were the dm, I could rid the group of at least a 1000 gp this way
How much you take from the group is really based on 2 things: their lvl, and what they can achieve with the corpses they buy

streakster
2009-04-12, 02:08 AM
If I were the dm, I could rid the group of at least a 1000 gp this way
How much you take from the group is really based on 2 things: their lvl, and what they can achieve with the corpses they buy

...If some little merchant tried to bilk me for 1000g for a corpse, I'd just decide that his would do quite nicely.

Narmoth
2009-04-12, 02:41 AM
...If some little merchant tried to bilk me for 1000g for a corpse, I'd just decide that his would do quite nicely.

That's why is said it would have to be paid in bribes.
Of course, if the setting has corpse-merchants, then it's something completely different

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-12, 02:41 AM
Jeez, haven't you people heard of grave robbing.

If you have to pay off anyone, go to the grave digger and ask him where the paupers' graves are. Say that you'll be back tonight to do some "research" and you'd really appreciate it if he could leave the gate unlocked for you *drops a week's worth of pay in his hand* "for your troubles."

Nobody's going to care about paupers' graves being disturbed (provided you tidy up after you're done) and a Laborer earns 7 SP per week. You now have all the corpses you can dig in a night (faster if you animate some to help with the digging!) and all it cost you is (maybe) 1 GP and some sweat.

If you want something more exotic, kill it yourself, or find a taxidermist who specializes in exotic creatures.

Narmoth
2009-04-12, 03:42 AM
My idea is if they are going to do it more than once. For one time only in the city, your idea is what I'd do as well, Oracle Hunter

BlueWizard
2009-04-12, 04:52 AM
:smallfrown::smalleek::smalleek:

Yuki Akuma
2009-04-12, 07:13 AM
Why would a 2nd level Warrior cost more than a 1st level Commoner? A human zombie is a human zombie. They don't care what level they used to be - a 20th level Druid makes the same zombie as a 1st level Commoner.

Jack_Simth
2009-04-12, 08:56 AM
Why would a 2nd level Warrior cost more than a 1st level Commoner? A human zombie is a human zombie. They don't care what level they used to be - a 20th level Druid makes the same zombie as a 1st level Commoner.
That's not entirely true.

They keep strength and Dex (Con, Int, Wis, and Charisma are all fixed after the template is applied, but strength and dex are based on the original creature) - the 1st level commoner with stats of 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11 makes for a less effective zombie than the Warrior with the nonelite array of 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 - especially if a 12 or 13 is in Strength or Dex. The 20th level Druid is assumed to be built on the elite array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 - which means there's an even better chance of above-average stats in Dex and Strength.

Additionally, due to the Undead type, a newly created skeleton or zombie retains weapon and armor proficiencies if they are "described as wearing them" - so if you reanimate the warrior with the armor and weapons he died in, he keeps the knoweledge of how to use them.

MickJay
2009-04-12, 10:33 AM
Additionally, due to the Undead type, a newly created skeleton or zombie retains weapon and armor proficiencies if they are "described as wearing them" - so if you reanimate the warrior with the armor and weapons he died in, he keeps the knoweledge of how to use them.

In fact, this is a wonderful pretext for grave robbing: if you find a tomb of a great warrior, you can argue that stripping him of his (magic or not) armor, weapons and so on is actually a precaution in case he ever gets raised by an evil necromancer. In the worst case, the necromancer will still have to provide the corpse with his own equipment and thus will be denied some money he might have otherwise spent on ingredients necessary for his other evil purposes. :smalltongue:

lsfreak
2009-04-12, 10:35 AM
Why would a 2nd level Warrior cost more than a 1st level Commoner? A human zombie is a human zombie. They don't care what level they used to be - a 20th level Druid makes the same zombie as a 1st level Commoner.

Two things:
a) Your average village person has no idea how the hell undead work. It would not be out of line at all for them to assume that if they're more powerful in life, they're more powerful in death. After all, how else do ghouls/mummies/liches get formed? Therefore, they're going to charge more for individuals who were powerful in life. Likewise, they'll take almost nothing (to an adventurer) for things like horses or bulls that would make great undead.
b) Anyone about level 3 (in a small village) or level 8 (a large city) will be so well-known that someone will notice if the grave's been disturbed, and there will quickly be problems, maybe even full-blown inquisitions. You're going to have to pay off the right people to keep that from happening.

streakster
2009-04-12, 11:10 AM
Actually, if you can get your hands on a powerful corpse, and you have the Book of Vile Darkness, I beleive the Bone and Corpse creature templates allow the corpse to keep its class abilities.

EDIT: "Or, of course, one could awaken one's undead", he said sheepishly.

monty
2009-04-12, 11:57 AM
I'm envisioning some kind of Sweeny Todd-like character, except instead of using the bodies for meat, he uses them for zombies.

Worira
2009-04-12, 01:28 PM
I think you should charge how much you think you can get away with.
Most of it would be bribes to:
- cemetery / catacomb officials
- the bureaucrats that's in charge of getting corpses of the street and into the cemetery
- the captain of the city guard who'll otherwise would arrest you for corpse theft
- clerks at the court so they won't proses the complaints of your activity from relatives and concerned citizens

I'm sure even the mayors office would try to get a bribe. Maybe some temples as well.

If I were the dm, I could rid the group of at least a 1000 gp this way
How much you take from the group is really based on 2 things: their lvl, and what they can achieve with the corpses they buy

What? You'd need 100 cows worth of bribes for one corpse? You'd bribe nearly everyone in the city, rather than just not telling them? Once you've bribed the gravekeeper, why on earth would you keep bribing random people who have no real chance of finding out in the first place? Animate dead has a 25 gp/HD component for a reason. The basic assumption is that the corpses themselves are in ready supply, as they are for pretty much any adventuring party.

newbDM
2009-04-12, 01:36 PM
What? You'd need 100 cows worth of bribes for one corpse? You'd bribe nearly everyone in the city, rather than just not telling them? Once you've bribed the gravekeeper, why on earth would you keep bribing random people who have no real chance of finding out in the first place?

That my friend is where the difference between a Chaotic aligned character, and a Lawful aligned character shows itself.



Animate dead has a 25 gp/HD component for a reason. The basic assumption is that the corpses themselves are in ready supply, as they are for pretty much any adventuring party.

No. That is only if your DM/group runs nearly no roleplaying in favor of pure hack-and-slash.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-12, 02:07 PM
No. That is only if your DM/group runs nearly no roleplaying in favor of pure hack-and-slash.

Hardly. Do you realize how many corpses a given town has?

Presuming the town has a stable population, it has (population) x (# of generations town has existed) worth of humanoid corpses sitting in its graveyards. There are assorted horse and cow skeletons sitting in midden heaps near slaughterhouses, tanneries, or around farms. Heck, if your world has a realistic amount of violent death for a Dark Ages campaign, a significant portion of the current generation is already dead from raiders or wars.

Corpses are incredibly common in the medieval period, even in a world with Raise Dead. Getting more exotic corpses does require some effort, but that's hardly surprising.

Alleine
2009-04-12, 02:30 PM
Heck, don't forget the corpses of criminals! Depending on the setting they might not even get a burial, and the chances of someone caring about their corpse is much, MUCH less.

newbDM
2009-04-12, 02:37 PM
Heck, don't forget the corpses of criminals! Depending on the setting they might not even get a burial, and the chances of someone caring about their corpse is much, MUCH less.

Remember that Japenese condemned prisoners' corpses were used to test the worth a katanas. If it would not cleanly slice through three of them, then it was considered a failure and scrapped.

Collin152
2009-04-12, 03:03 PM
Remember that Japenese condemned prisoners' corpses were used to test the worth a katanas. If it would not cleanly slice through three of them, then it was considered a failure and scrapped.

"If it cannot pierce the sins of the dead, it will never pierce the sins of the living!"

Narmoth
2009-04-12, 03:19 PM
Actually, I'd think, with the amount of corpses raising as undead, I think most cultures would cremate their dead in the D&D world

newbDM
2009-04-12, 03:24 PM
Actually, I'd think, with the amount of corpses raising as undead, I think most cultures would cremate their dead in the D&D world

Good point.

According to Races of the Wild, the elves have an interesting solution, which I feel fits their fluff quite well. They have a low-level spell which essentially returns them/their corpse to light/energy, breaking them up into what seems like a flock of fireflies. I liked this so much, I turned it into a prayer instead for my games.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-12, 03:29 PM
Actually, I'd think, with the amount of corpses raising as undead, I think most cultures would cremate their dead in the D&D world

Well now, that depends on a few factors
- religious practices
- prevalence of necromancy
- expense (dumping a body in a hole v. making a huge fire)

Some religions (e.g. nature based ones) may require their adherents to be buried to contribute to the Circle of Life (tm). Others (e.g. fire worshipers) may burn every body. Expense is also key - it can take a lot of time and effort to gather up enough fuel to burn a body to ash; particularly when compared to the effort it takes to dig a hole in the ground and fill it back up.

And, of course, (almost) (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrazyPrepared) nobody takes precautions against something they never expect to see. Big cities may have a nice permanent Wall of Fire where they dump most of their corpses to reduce the risk of necromancy, while a village in the sticks think necromancy is only a myth used to frighten young children.

Godskook
2009-04-12, 03:43 PM
Heck, don't forget the corpses of criminals! Depending on the setting they might not even get a burial, and the chances of someone caring about their corpse is much, MUCH less.

To someone in charge of executions:

"Greetings sir, I'm a philosopher and my research primarily concerns the issues of anatomy. In exchange for allowing me to perform research on any dead convicts, I'll gladly provide burial services for such individuals. If it is necessary, I'm willing to pay a few gold coins for the privilege."

One diplomacy check later, you have a corpse, for a few gp and no repercussions, unless people start asking where the bodies went... It even has a DC <10, using the Giant's diplomacy rules, assuming a generic situation.

MickJay
2009-04-12, 05:07 PM
To someone in charge of executions:

"Greetings sir, I'm a philosopher and my research primarily concerns the issues of anatomy.[...]

Whether that would work or not depends on whether in the particular DM's setting study of anatomy on corpses, even of convicts, is accepted. I guess most would allow it.

As for the corpses of cows, horses etc, it would be even more difficult to get them than those of humans - people get proper burial (or get cremated, but in a more "real mediaeval" society, they'd get buried) because of the respect for the dead. Animals, on the other hand, are a wonderful source of raw materials: skin for leather, meat and organs for food, fat for food/tallow/greasing stuff; bones for glue, buttons, needles, flutes, handles, holders, combs, etc, etc, even sinews for sewing together shoes and lots of other uses. Perhaps if the animal died of some really nasty disease it would get thrown out, but more likely, it would be simply burned. Midden heaps were not that common (or, at least, would not have contained things of value, like corpses), either, dung is an excellent fuel, so it would get burned in various furnaces or by the poorer folk. In fact, if a settlement could afford to have a "real" midden heap, it would have meant it fared quite well. :smallbiggrin:

RS14
2009-04-12, 06:08 PM
This raises interesting questions about the value of a corpse. In a world with a clear, known afterlife, and one in which the corpse has no value, would people even bother caring for corpses at all? Would they just be used for compost?

An untrained laborer earns 1sp daily. At that rate, it will take about 300 years to earn enough for a resurrection, even assuming the family has no expenses. If they've got enough for raise dead on hand (5450gp, unlikely), they might get their family members raised immediately, but most peasants will have no illusions about their ability to resurrect their family members. They'll sell the corpse and move on with life. Well off individuals may save a pinkie, just in case.

But I don't know. I'm an organ donor to be, and I don't feel strongly about people respecting my remains. I think this makes me unusual? :smallconfused:

Worira
2009-04-12, 06:55 PM
That my friend is where the difference between a Chaotic aligned character, and a Lawful aligned character shows itself.
I really don't see how it does. A lawful character wouldn't be offering bribes in the first place, and a chaotic character wouldn't be offering more bribes than needed.





No. That is only if your DM/group runs nearly no roleplaying in favor of pure hack-and-slash.

Pretty much every DnD game I've seen ends up with corpses. Do you really think the townspeople you've saved from the orc warband really care what happens to the corpses?


Whether that would work or not depends on whether in the particular DM's setting study of anatomy on corpses, even of convicts, is accepted. I guess most would allow it.

As for the corpses of cows, horses etc, it would be even more difficult to get them than those of humans - people get proper burial (or get cremated, but in a more "real mediaeval" society, they'd get buried) because of the respect for the dead. Animals, on the other hand, are a wonderful source of raw materials: skin for leather, meat and organs for food, fat for food/tallow/greasing stuff; bones for glue, buttons, needles, flutes, handles, holders, combs, etc, etc, even sinews for sewing together shoes and lots of other uses. Perhaps if the animal died of some really nasty disease it would get thrown out, but more likely, it would be simply burned. Midden heaps were not that common (or, at least, would not have contained things of value, like corpses), either, dung is an excellent fuel, so it would get burned in various furnaces or by the poorer folk. In fact, if a settlement could afford to have a "real" midden heap, it would have meant it fared quite well. :smallbiggrin:


Well, yes, that's why it's not out of the ordinary to buy a whole carcass. They're useful for perfectly legitimate things.

VirOath
2009-04-13, 02:00 AM
Ok, why buy corpses? Heck, an easy way to deal with things is to go to a town and put up a poster for a reward. "Clear the pest infestation, 1gp per rat corpse brought back. No Pieces!"

Cheap, easy, and rats make pretty good zombies due to their size and how many can swarm an opponent.

Baalthazaq
2009-04-13, 02:29 AM
Back to the corpses of different people, how the hell would you know the corpse was a "Level 5 Druid"? Keep in mind here, that in the real world, nobody talks about what level they are.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-13, 02:36 AM
Back to the corpses of different people, how the hell would you know the corpse was a "Level 5 Druid"? Keep in mind here, that in the real world, nobody talks about what level they are.

Well, presuming they're adventurers, people could talk about the feats they've accomplished - to give you a general idea of their power level.

And, of course, certain level-triggered features are observable.

Of course, you wouldn't know the exact HD of a corpse until you tried to raise it - so bring extra pearls.

Narmoth
2009-04-13, 02:41 AM
I really don't see how it does. A lawful character wouldn't be offering bribes in the first place, and a chaotic character wouldn't be offering more bribes than needed.

Yes, a LG character wouldn't offer bribes. A LN could, and a LE certainly would.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-13, 02:44 AM
Yes, a LG character wouldn't offer bribes. A LN could, and a LE certainly would.

What the hell is a LG character doing stealing corpses, anyhow? :smallconfused:

Baalthazaq
2009-04-13, 03:34 AM
Well, presuming they're adventurers, people could talk about the feats they've accomplished - to give you a general idea of their power level.

And, of course, certain level-triggered features are observable.

Of course, you wouldn't know the exact HD of a corpse until you tried to raise it - so bring extra pearls.

Then again though, your city shouldn't be littered with >3HD zombies that you can find a seller for... well it depends on your setting I guess.

SolkaTruesilver
2009-04-13, 03:49 AM
the class level of humans have no effect on the power of the zombie you animate. And most of the undeads that uses the victim's HD to determine their power level has to be killed specifically by that undead (Wight, Vampire, Shadow, Ghoul, etc...) you cannot just buy someone and turn him into a Shadow.

The only undeads you could make with human corpses are classic 1-hd undeads. the fact that the man was a 15th level warrior in his life won't change that he is now a 1-hd zombie :)

you'd have to kill the guy by yourself.

hewhosaysfish
2009-04-13, 05:10 AM
Well now, that depends on a few factors
- religious practices
- prevalence of necromancy
- expense (dumping a body in a hole v. making a huge fire)

Some religions (e.g. nature based ones) may require their adherents to be buried to contribute to the Circle of Life (tm). Others (e.g. fire worshipers) may burn every body. Expense is also key - it can take a lot of time and effort to gather up enough fuel to burn a body to ash; particularly when compared to the effort it takes to dig a hole in the ground and fill it back up.

And, of course, (almost) (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CrazyPrepared) nobody takes precautions against something they never expect to see. Big cities may have a nice permanent Wall of Fire where they dump most of their corpses to reduce the risk of necromancy, while a village in the sticks think necromancy is only a myth used to frighten young children.

Whenever this sort of thing is discussed, I can't help but think of sky burial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_burial) and similar forms of ritual exposure.
It can be done cheaper than a cremation and is far, far safer (necromancy-wise) than burial. You'd have to have some trusted guards to watch over the remains while they're being disposed of, but the window of opportunity for an aspiring necromancer to steal any given corpse is a lot smaller. If the mourners hang around, it's pretty much impossible.

Could be difficult for heavily urbanised areas, though. I like the idea of permanent Walls of Fire, though. Magic, once again, has an answer to our problems.

Of course, if we're turning to magic for the answer, dead buried in hallowed (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/hallow.htm) ground can't be undeadified. Requires a 9th level Cleric with 1000gp vs a 12th level Wizard with 2000xp. It can't be dispelled but has a limited capacity. Kind of a trade-off I guess...

Narmoth
2009-04-13, 05:38 AM
What the hell is a LG character doing stealing corpses, anyhow? :smallconfused:

Good question. With very disturbing answers I'm afraid.
But you said that a lawful character wouldn't bribe people. Therefore I listed up my interpretation of the differences in willingness to bribe amongst the lawful characters


Of course, if we're turning to magic for the answer, dead buried in hallowed (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/hallow.htm) ground can't be undeadified. Requires a 9th level Cleric with 1000gp vs a 12th level Wizard with 2000xp. It can't be dispelled but has a limited capacity. Kind of a trade-off I guess...

I guess most larger churches would have hallowed cemeteries. Just like real world cemeteries are founded in a ritualistic way

RebelRogue
2009-04-13, 06:20 AM
What the hell is a LG character doing stealing corpses, anyhow? :smallconfused:
Cue the usual "there's nothing Evil about animating zombies" arguments :smallsigh:

monty
2009-04-13, 11:28 AM
Ok, why buy corpses? Heck, an easy way to deal with things is to go to a town and put up a poster for a reward. "Clear the pest infestation, 1gp per rat corpse brought back. No Pieces!"

Cheap, easy, and rats make pretty good zombies due to their size and how many can swarm an opponent.

Actually, rats make pretty poor undead, at least for a PC. At 1/4d12 (or 1/2d12+3 for a zombie), they're going to die to a single AoE attack, so you'll probably be replenishing half your stock after every battle. That can get expensive really quickly.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-04-13, 11:31 AM
Cue the usual "there's nothing Evil about animating zombies" arguments :smallsigh:

Arguments aside, if you're using D&D rules (any edition, really) then animating zombies is Evil for the same reason The Winslow is Divine. (http://www.airshipentertainment.com/buckcomic.php?date=20080318)

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-04-13, 11:46 AM
Actually, rats make pretty poor undead, at least for a PC. At 1/4d12 (or 1/2d12+3 for a zombie), they're going to die to a single AoE attack, so you'll probably be replenishing half your stock after every battle. That can get expensive really quickly.That's why you take the feats to give them +2 HP, Animate them in a Desecrated area, and have them explode in a blast of negative energy upon death. Then you store them in a BoH and have the Rogue open it only when they are all ready to swarm, at which point you hit them and their target with a Fell Animate Fireball, instantly reanimating all of them for free and probably overkilling their target.

monty
2009-04-13, 11:53 AM
That's why you take the feats to give them +2 HP, Animate them in a Desecrated area, and have them explode in a blast of negative energy upon death. Then you store them in a BoH and have the Rogue open it only when they are all ready to swarm, at which point you hit them and their target with a Fell Animate Fireball, instantly reanimating all of them for free and probably overkilling their target.

Ok, they're good for Destructive Retribution shenanigans. But for typical undead uses, like just beating the enemy to death, they're horribly inefficient. Also, Fell Animate only works against living creatures (or at least, ones that were living until you just killed them), so you'd only get one use out of them.

ericgrau
2009-04-13, 12:25 PM
Good question. With very disturbing answers I'm afraid.
But you said that a lawful character wouldn't bribe people. Therefore I listed up my interpretation of the differences in willingness to bribe amongst the lawful characters



I guess most larger churches would have hallowed cemeteries. Just like real world cemeteries are founded in a ritualistic way

The SRD does mention that a lot of crypts are locked/etc. to keep the dead in, in case they rise. I bet that'd be especially true for bodies of once powerful dead creatures. I mean, as a spell hallow is borderline legendary. Not everyone has it.

Narmoth
2009-04-13, 12:46 PM
What about the spell consecrate? It's a 2nd lvl spell. But you could make it permanent, or recast it each day. Of course, with it's 20 ft radius, it's not a great spell, but there's ways to boost it

MickJay
2009-04-13, 12:59 PM
Well, yes, that's why it's not out of the ordinary to buy a whole carcass. They're useful for perfectly legitimate things.

The point is, almost every settlement would already be using most of the dead animals for its own needs, and almost any real travelling craftsman, as opposed to a necromancer, wouldn't need the whole corpse, only the specific bits. Getting the whole corpse would be tricky, unless you got there first and offered a good price.

Of course, it would be different in a society where necromancy was widely accepted, but that's a completely different story.

Worira
2009-04-13, 01:39 PM
The point is, almost every settlement would already be using most of the dead animals for its own needs, and almost any real travelling craftsman, as opposed to a necromancer, wouldn't need the whole corpse, only the specific bits. Getting the whole corpse would be tricky, unless you got there first and offered a good price.

Of course, it would be different in a society where necromancy was widely accepted, but that's a completely different story.

First, you don't have to buy a corpse specifically. Just buy an ox and kill it. I'm pretty sure there are legitimate uses for oxen. If, however, you really want a pre-killed animal for some reason:

Necromancer: "My friends and I are holding a private banquet banquet to celebrate our victory over Bob the Dragon. Give us an ox carcass, please."

Alleine
2009-04-13, 02:07 PM
Heck, I bet you could get some corpses through your local church of whichever god is into that sort of thing. Assuming standard DnD cosmology and all that jazz.

MickJay
2009-04-13, 03:00 PM
First, you don't have to buy a corpse specifically. Just buy an ox and kill it. I'm pretty sure there are legitimate uses for oxen. If, however, you really want a pre-killed animal for some reason:

Necromancer: "My friends and I are holding a private banquet banquet to celebrate our victory over Bob the Dragon. Give us an ox carcass, please."

Sure, but from the beginning I was referring to the fact that it wouldn't be easy to find free corpses lying around (on refuse heaps or otherwise). If you're willing to pay for the whole animal and have it killed, it should work most of the time.

Anyway, it's still more efficient to simply visit a recent battlefield and browse (or create a conflict and watch the raw materials pile up while you wait). Or poison some water supply. Or cause a plague. Etc, etc...

hewhosaysfish
2009-04-14, 08:11 AM
What about the spell consecrate? It's a 2nd lvl spell. But you could make it permanent, or recast it each day. Of course, with it's 20 ft radius, it's not a great spell, but there's ways to boost it

Well Consecrate only makes it easier for a cleric who's there to turn any undead who are already animated. It doesn't stop anyone from animating the dead and then running off with them (not necessarily in that order).
If you had a cleric standing watch over the consecrated area when a necromancer comes along then he could wait until all the corpses are animated and then turn undead (hoping to destroy them rather than making them run away and hide, which would be counter productive to say the least) but that doesn't seem like a very good way to manage things...