View Full Version : Memory of Life [spell]

2007-07-15, 04:10 PM
Memory of life
Necromancy [Good]
Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One corpse or dying creature
Duration: 1 round/caster level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You charge one dead or dying creature with enough energy to give them one more grasp at life. If used on the corpse of a creature killed one day/caster level ago they are now animated and may perform actions as they did in life but they have only 1 temporary hit point. If they lose this hit point, they fall inert and become a corpse once more. No damage is healed and they retain all cuts gashes and burns that had resulted in their death, although they are now unable to feel the pain of their wounds.

This animated creature cannot be healed either magically or naturally, though they can be resurrected or turned into an undead through any spell that affects corpses. Once the spell duration ends the creature falls inert into a lifeless corpse again.

If used on a dying creature at negative hit points, that creature immediately is stabilized and becomes conscious although no healing takes place. The spells energy is used up.

Material Component: Either a small bit of parchment bearing runes attached to the target, or a length of silken thread. Both slowly fade and wither as time passes, crumbling to dust when the spell ends.


This spell is mainly intended to give wizards and necromancers a sort of crude 'healing spell'. Divine casters may be able to bring the dead to life, but some necromancers may want to attempt the same but meet limited success. This spell is one level higher than that needed to make mindless skeletons and zombies but one lower than that needed to animate objects (though again that's transmutation and only Bards and clerics can animate objects... Sheesh, Elan can command once inanimate servants to do his bidding but Vaarsuvius can't?!)

Anyway, originally I figured it would be have a 1 minute/level time so that 'dead' comrades would have more than 30 seconds to get to grips with their now fragile link to realm of the living and maybe even accomplish something.

Please examine and critique honestly

2007-07-15, 11:30 PM
If you originally thought 1 minute per level, but aren't sure that 1 round per level is good enough then go somewhere in-between... 5 rounds (or 1 minuter per 2 levels if you want to be more "standard" about it, although personally I dislike "jagged" spell improvements)... 3 rounds... 2 rounds... whatever...

2007-07-16, 12:09 AM
1 round / level suggests this should be used whilst in combat, but 1 temp. HP limits its use in combat. If you want a spell to revive fallen teammates to raise to your side to fight, you might consider giving them more temp HP. If you want a spell for out of combat use to revive a corpse for longer than a minute, 1 minute / level is fine with 1 HP. Speak with Dead has a 1 minute/ level duration, so if you want to make Memory of Life minute/level I think it'd remain balanced.

Something you may wish to consider is what effect this spell has on a recently deceased spellcaster. A strange but possible result of this spell could be a cleric dying, the wizard reviving them with this spell and the cleric casting raise dead on themselves. Do you want this to be possible? If not, you may wish to decide what happens to spell slots for a corpse that is briefly brought to life. A slightly more broken case is a wizard who dies, gets revived with Memory of Life, blows much of their XP with Permanency or some other spell with XP cost, then gets Raise dead cast on them. Since "experience point total is immediately set to the midpoint of the previous level" the extra XP can be spent at no cost.

2007-07-16, 12:43 AM
My gut reaction is that neither of those uses is too game-breaking.

2007-07-16, 01:21 AM
I'd suggest the body being considerably weaker than they were in real life to avoid the self-revive problem. How about their temporarily revived self has an effective character level of half of the person that cast Memory of Life.

So a level ten wizard could bring back a level 8 fighter as a level five fighter.

2007-07-16, 01:39 AM
Your original minute-per-level duration sounds fine to me...it gives the "mostly dead" character enough time to do something interesting, while still leaving the arcanists far inferior to a divine caster when it comes to restoring life (as they should be.)

I'm not at all sure I would go for the "Good" descriptor on this spell. This spell reeks of the classic "Mad Researcher Meddling with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know" theme...and it could be fun to explore that aspect; maybe arcanists really shouldn't be doing this.

If you want to make this spell darker and more dangerous, you might try something like this: The caster must roll a caster level check against the recipient's character level (so high-level characters are more dangerous to animate). Perhaps add the caster's wisdom modifier...not necessarily a good thing for a sorcerer or wizard.

Result of level check:
succeeds by 15 or more:
success; duration = 1 hour/level
succeeds by 10-14:
success; duration = 10 min/level
succeeds by 5-9:
success; duration = 1 min/level
succeeds by 0-4:
success; duration = 1 round/level
fails by 1-5:
nothing happens
fails by 6-10:
recipient animates, but can do nothing but scream in agony for 1 round/level.
fails by 11-15:
recipient animates for 1 min/level, but is dangerously insane.
fails by 16+:
recipient animates for 1 hour/level, but is possessed by a demon or other malignant entity.

2007-07-16, 03:12 PM
Okay, second shot (sorry didn't get last two posts)


Memory of life
Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One corpse or dying creature
Duration: 1 minute/caster level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You give a semblance of life to one deceased creature, the body must be whole and cannot be dead for longer than one day/caster level. The soul must be free and willing to return for the spell to take full effect. If the subjects soul does not wish to return, the corpse is animated but behaves as if under constant confusion except that 'acting normally' consists of remaining perfectly still during that round.

Creatures animated by Memory of Life do not lose any XP, spellcasters do not lose spell slots (though they cannot regain new spell slots), and retain all their base stats. However, they only have 1d10 + 1 per caster level (maximum + 10) temporary hit points and cannot increase their hit points by either normal or magical means. These hit points last until they are either removed through damage or the spell ends or is dispelled.

The creatures body is not healed of any damage and retains the wounds that lead to their death along with the pale and cold feel of a corpse. This does not inconvenience them in any way and they may perform actions as could in life. Their body is affected as normal by any spells that target corpses, a spellcaster could even cast resurrection spells or even another Memory of Life on them self. If Memory of Life is cast on an already animated creature, their temporary hit points and remaining time is reset as though freshly animated.

Animated corpses are injured by negative energy and unaffected by positive energy that would normally heal them. They register as fragile (alive with 3 or fewer hit points) by spells or spell effects such as Deathwatch regardless of how many temporary hit points they have. They are affected normally by death attacks, or attacks that drain energy or levels. At any time, the creature can choose to end the effect early and the spell ends.

Upon the end of the spells duration or when they lose all temporary hit points, the creature collapses into an inert corpse. The animated corpse deteriorates as normal and this spell does not affect the time limit for Raise Dead or similar spells.

If used on a dying creature at negative hit points, that creature is immediately stabilized and becomes conscious. In addition, any living creature targeted by the spell gains 1d10 + 1 per caster level (maximum +10) temporary hit points for 1 hour/caster level or until discharged as per the spell False Life.

Arcane Material Component: A length of silken thread which slowly blackens and whithers as the spell progresses, dissolving to dust when the spell ends.


(changed spell duration and hit point number)

This spell has the duration of Speak with Dead, gives the temporary hit-points of False life, and has some of the requirements of Raise Dead.

It is meant to allow fallen characters to temporarily rejoin their party and use skills before having to be resurrected.

Actually, my inspiration was from reading about Hopping Corpses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopping_corpse)
and how monks would help people by having their dead loved ones travel to their burial grounds far away. Thought of making a spell that temporarily animates corpses and commands them to travel to a specific location so they can be raised later... then figured anyone with a bag of holding wouldn't need to do that. So this spell is sort of an off-shoot result of that.

Please examine and critique honestly

2007-07-16, 11:38 PM
Looks good, and well-balanced. One quick note -- you've listed the target as "one corpse or dying creature", but the notes near the end of the writeup (under "Special") seem to indicate that any living creature could benefit from the spell's temporary hitpoints.

Ah -- and a few typos, although they might not matter since you're still editing the spell. Just in case, though...

In paragraph three, the word "creatures" needs an apostrophe, and the sentence "they may perform actions as could in life" is missing a word before "could".

Paragraph five: "spells" needs an apostrophe.

Material Components section: the word "whithers" should be "withers".