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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Basics of Conjuring and Reanimation



Princess
2015-07-24, 08:47 PM
5e's spells are very streamlined, and in many ways easier to use than any prior edition. However, they are missing something I grew to very much love in D&D 3.5 - 1st level summons. So here are a couple of spells I'd like some thoughts on - made all the iffier by having very little to go off of besides the spells of 3rd level and up in the PHB.

Spells to add to the Warlock and Wizard list:

Conjure Minion
1st Level Conjuration
Casting Time - 1 action
Range - 60 feet
Components - V, S
Duration - Concentration, up to 1 hour

This summons a small creature of vaguely doughy appearance and roughly humanoid shape which otherwise possesses no distinctive features to obey the conjurer as directed. The CR 1/8 Minion is a neutral construct, has a speed of 30 ft., all of its ability scores count as 10, and it has 13 AC, 10 hp, and a slam attack +3 (1d6 bludgeoning damage). It receives no bonuses or penalties to any saves or skills. When the spell ends, the Minion disappears completely.

Meat Puppet
1st Level Necromancy
Casting Time - 1 minute
Range - 10 feet
Components - V, S, M (A drop of blood)
Duration - Instantaneous

Every necromancer has to start somewhere, and there is no simpler means of creating Zombies than this. When cast on the corpse of a creature with a CR of 1/8 or lower, the creature is animated as a zombified version of its former self, gaining the Undead Fortitude trait (as a Zombie) and receiving a 10 foot penalty to all speeds. Additionally, its mental stats, if higher, are now lowered to Intelligence 2, Wisdom 4, and Charisma 4, while otherwise maintaining its prior statistics.

The new zombie will follow all instructions of the Necromancer to the best of its shambling ability (and can be commanded with a bonus action on the master's turn to take one indicated action). It falls to the ground motionless after one day unless this spell is cast upon it again, which gives it one more day to do its masters bidding. The foul magics involved tend to accelerate the natural process of decay, however, and any given body is unlikely to last more than a few weeks, no matter how many times this spell is cast.

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So with these, the idea is to let a 1st level Wizard or Warlock have a crummy warrior or undead dog or squirrel do their bidding. I'd love feedback on whether these look balanced or not, or even better, try them out in a game and see if they are fair to the rest of the party to use. I created stats consistent with a CR 1/8 generic monster for the Minion to make it less cumbersome, as well as less flexible, by both removing the need to look something up and limiting the spells versatility.

Meat puppet is more versatile by potentially offering a bird or the like that could fly, but as zombies can't communicate, this is only marginally better utility than the Minion and probably worse combat stats to balance out being able to keep it around longer.

Belac93
2015-07-24, 09:10 PM
I love conjure minion, but maybe you should be a bit more clear on it. Whats its alignment, creature type, damage type, and name?
Not so sure about the other one, could have potential to be overpowered.

Princess
2015-07-24, 09:50 PM
I love conjure minion, but maybe you should be a bit more clear on it. Whats its alignment, creature type, damage type, and name?
Not so sure about the other one, could have potential to be overpowered.

I'll add those details to the Minion now.

And yeah, I thought about making it CR 0 only since it lasts for a day, or reducing the duration, but none of the other undead spells have shorter durations and I was attempting to maintain the general trends of undead spells vs. conjure spells.

Flashy
2015-07-24, 10:41 PM
I too love Conjure Minion, it seems charmingly balanced while still allowing a player to summon creatures before 6th level.

Meat Puppet seems basically fine, but there are a few corner cases where crazy things happen. What happens if the movement speed reduction drops the animal to 0 in a speed? Is an eagle (Walking speed 10') zombie only able to fly? What about creatures with a low CR but wacky powers. Does a zombie owl retain its flyby attack? What are the type restrictions of creatures that Meat Puppet works on? Can you reanimate a Twig Blight (CR 1/8 plant), for example?

I also worry that it might be a little difficult to be sure you always have access to an appropriate CR 1/8 creature. I'd love to see an addendum saying that if cast on a creature of higher CR the spell detaches one of the creature's limbs and animates it as a Crawling Claw. Perhaps that should be its own spell though?

Really, these are both excellent spells.


EDIT: Also, just realized, you don't specify what kind of action is required to command the meat puppet. Presumably bonus?

Belac93
2015-07-25, 02:54 PM
On page 282 of the DMG there are stats for npc features, including zombies and skeletons, which could be neat. Also, there should be skeleton minions

Kryx
2015-07-25, 08:12 PM
Why not just scale down already existing spells like animate dead?

Princess
2015-07-27, 08:04 PM
I thought about that, too, but this seemed easier. Though I do welcome suggestions for how to make Meat Puppet and Conjure Minion scale upwards. I was thinking of looking to the Astral Construct power from 3.5 to help with the latter.

Michael7123
2015-08-11, 01:09 PM
I like the principle of this. However, for the meat puppet, I would have the zombie you create have severely lowered mental stats, maybe even lower than the default zombie.

Princess
2015-08-11, 01:44 PM
I like the principle of this. However, for the meat puppet, I would have the zombie you create have severely lowered mental stats, maybe even lower than the default zombie.

What about adding "The zombie's intelligence is set to 2." in there?

Michael7123
2015-08-11, 02:01 PM
What about adding "The zombie's intelligence is set to 2." in there?

I'd also think that it's wisdom and charsma shouldn't be higher than 4 either.

Princess
2015-08-11, 02:05 PM
Added stupification to Meat Puppet.

Now I just need to figure out how to make Conjure Minion scale properly, possibly with a 'stronger or more numerous' option.