Animate Dead (guide)

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By the process of infusing his or her sorcerous essence through alchemical components, a sorcerer is able to fill the void left by a spirit leaving a corpse. The essence allows the sorcerer to manipulate and animate the body, giving him or her the ability to issue commands on a basic level. Simutronics has a basic Official Animate Dead Guide.

A Guide To Animate Dead

The purpose of this guide is to explain both the basics of the spell Animate Dead and to help players make the best use of the spell as it is designed. I would like to start by thanking all of the people who helped me with researching the spell, particularly those who helped me decipher the role of necromancy training in a character's MAL (Maximum Animatable Level). There is still much more research to be done, but this guide represents everything we know at the point of its writing.

This guide is separated into two parts: The Basics and Choosing An Appropriate Animate. The Basics will cover everything you need to know about making animation crystals, including how to find the right materials and scripts to make the process easier. Choosing An Appropriate Animate will go over the Maximum Animatable Level formula and will discuss duration. It will then help you select a creature type and give you scripts and tips on hunting effectively with your animate. This guide does not cover animating players. If you need to know anything about that (and there’s really very little to know), there is a guide on the Simutronics Gemstone site that covers the specifics. Otherwise, it’s just as animating creatures but much less difficult.

Any questions, comments, or corrections can be IM’d to JesseREvans or E-mailed to KDLMaj@gmail.com. You may also choose to use the discussion page for this link. I hope you find this guide useful. It will be updated as we learn more and as the spell is improved.

Querthose Mallick Faendryl

The Basics

In order to use the spell Animate Dead, a sorcerer must first invest time in acquiring the materials necessary for animation and the creation of animation crystals, which are required for each animate. Your first stop, then, should be to the local alchemist. Each town alchemist sells the renewable components necessary to create crystals. At minimum, you will need one mortar, one pestle, one vial, and two flasks. (Note: you must use the flasks made available at the alchemist, no other flasks will suffice) The cost can be fairly steep, running as much as 80,000 silvers, but it is a one time fee. These materials can be used over and over again. The mortar is your mixing bowl, your pestle is the mixing tool, the vials measure out the appropriate amount of liquid for one batch of crystals, and your flasks are used to store sea water and troll blood. Each flask will store up to 20 doses of either (but not both). To tell what a flask contains, merely LOOK inside the flask, and it will tell you. (There is a separate show for empty flasks, flasks with blood, and flasks with sea water in them) After acquiring your alchemical tools, you must next seek out the ingredients for the animation crystals. They are as follows:

1. One vial of troll blood

2. One vial of sea water

3. One moonflower

4. One gem

These ingredients are not reusable. So it is in a sorcerer's best interest to stock up on them. As a sorcerer who uses Animate Dead constantly, I make it a point to carry around six flasks: three full of blood and three full of water. This allows for the creation of sixty animation crystals before having to restock. Judge your own use of the spell and determine how many flasks you would like to carry around. Remember, if all of this starts to get heavy, you can always have a rogue add a lock to a sack, fill it with these materials, and then keep it phased to reduce encumbrance.


Moonflowers

Of the three ingredients for animation crystals, moonflowers are the ones that are most likely to give you some trouble.

  • First, they can only be found in areas of Icemule, Pinefar, Ta'Illistim, and the Gossamer Valley.
  • Secondly, they must be foraged.
  • Finally, as the name suggests, they can only be foraged during the evening (That's nine pm eastern standard time through 4:30 am, for those of you in the United States).

The vast majority of sorcerers won't have enough survival skill, perception, or patience to dig up the moonflowers they need. If you are one of these people, and I certainly am, then your first move should be to find a ranger in the area who would be willing to do some foraging for you. I have found that most rangers are willing to do fifteen minutes of foraging in exchange for four hours of spells. You may, alternately, choose to purchase moonflowers from the ranger (this is often necessary for very large amounts).

While there are a couple of places in Icemule where moonflower grow, the largest area is past the snowbank by the South Gate. Follow the snowbank to the Arch. The abandoned farm you find yourself in is a prime location for foraging. A few of the rooms are safe, but the entirety of the garden, the orchard, and the field (full of Tree Spirits, be careful) contains moonflowers. Each room may produce up to 5 moonflowers before you have to give them time to grow back. There are 8 total rooms in this area with moonflowers, allowing you to forage for forty moonflowers in just a few minutes. Be sure to keep watch over the ranger while they are doing their work. If they die, they're less likely to help out next time you need them.

As a side note, moonflowers are BUNDLEABLE. This means you can take all of your moonflowers and put them into a 2 lb bundle, which is great for encumbrance issues. To do so, merely hold two moonflowers in one hand and type BUNDLE. You may keep pulling moonflowers out of pouches and such and typing BUNDLE until they are all in one bundle. To take a moonflower out, hold the bundle (make sure you have an empty hand), and type BUNDLE REMOVE.

Sea Water

Sea water can be found in one of several places: Solhaven, Teras, River's Rest, Mist Harbor, and the Landing. At the Landing, you will find it in the North Dock (which, conveniently, is also a drop spot for Spirit Guide (130)). In Solhaven, you can try Glok's pier. In Mist Harbor, sea water can be collected two northwest from the Cobblestone Path along the Lighthouse Path where the view is spectacular, allowing one to see out across the bay all the way to the ocean. River's Rest has an area on River Road that is suitable, right next to the drawbridge. Finally, the east and west docks on Teras have sea water for you to find. In order to collect sea water, you need your vial and your flask. Stand (you cannot be sitting or kneeling) in the room where you are doing the collection, hold your flask or vial, and HARVEST WATER WITH VIAL/FLASK. This will fill your vial with one dose of sea water, or fill your flask with 20 doses of sea water. In the past, sorcerers had to pour the vial into the flask repeatedly until the flask was full. Flasks were allowed to collect sea water with the introduction of Alchemy.

For those of you who don't feel like typing HARVEST WATER WITH VIAL and HARVEST WATER WITH FLASK over and over again, the following script will do it for you (Call it .seawater)

put get crystal vial from my (container type)

pause

put get crystal flask from my (container type)

pause

put harvest water with vial

pause

put harvest water with flask vial

put close flask

pause

put put flask in my (container type)

Make sure the script is command prompt (.cmd) and not wizard (.wiz). To use it, merely stand in a room with sea water and type .seawater. Make sure you replace (container type) with the container you're using.

Troll Blood

Of all the materials, this one requires the most forethought and has the greatest potential for danger, due to the fact that you must actually hunt the trolls to collect the blood.. Any troll will do for the purpose of this spell, but that does not mean that all blood is created equally. The level of the troll blood you are using factors into your MAL, your Maximum Animatable Level (I'll get to this soon, don't worry). Blood also indirectly factors into the quality of your crystals, which affects the spell's duration. Typically, you want to use blood that is about the same level as the number of Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks you have and that is closest to the level of the creature you are animating.

For sorcerers of high level but low Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy training, this requires some amount of judgment call. Of course, you want your Maximum Animatable Level to be high, so you can animate creatures closer to your train, but on the flip side, you want your animate to last long enough to be worth the cost of the materials it took to cast the spell. Using the blood of a troll that is of a level much higher than your Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks will result in poor quality salts. These salts may nab you a higher Maximum Animatable Level, but they sure won't last long. Likewise, using a low level troll's blood will result in high quality crystals that yield a greater duration, but you can expect a drop in your Maximum Animatable Level. Once you have reached 63 or so Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks, I suggest using Troll King blood at all times (currently the most powerful naturally occurring troll type). Lower than that, you will have to decide what works best for you, but ice troll blood seems to function well for those between twenty and forty five Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks, and stone troll blood seems to work well for those with between forty six and sixty two Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks.

In terms of Maximum Animatable Level, there seems to be a bonus for using troll blood on creatures that are significantly lower level than the troll type. A 40th train sorcerer, for example, who has no Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks will find a +4 Maximum Animatable Level bonus when using Troll King blood against a younger creature (allowing them to animate at about six trains below their own). That is, they will be able to animate 4 trains higher than they would with low level troll blood, assuming they are trying to animate a creature in its early 30's. As the level of the creatures you animate gets higher, however, that bonus will gradually fade until it is gone completely (generally around the 50's). There is no penalty for animating creatures older than 64 with troll king blood, but using a blood type that is significantly younger than a creature in any other instance WILL result in a penalty to your Maximum Animatable Level. The bonus applies to other troll blood types as well. Using Ice Troll blood (level 29) on a Pra'eda (level 29), for instance, will result in a bonus of +1 to MAL. It's not nearly as impressive as the +4 mentioned above, but if the sorcerer doesn't have many Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks, the salts will be of higher quality than they would be with the troll king blood. This information is vague at best, and until further research is done, sorcerers will have to learn from experience. Just be aware that using the highest level blood is not necessarily always the best option. Check the Trolls (animate dead) page for a complete listing of Elanthian trolls, their levels, and their locations to help you determine the appropriate troll type for you.

Once you have selected an appropriate troll type, the next order of business is to collect blood from one. In order to collect blood, the troll must be dead and it must have a bleeding wound. My advice is to get at least one cast of Blood Burst (701), off before killing the troll to be certain that it is indeed bleeding (but make sure you kill it before the wound regenerates). Once the troll is dead, you may collect as much blood as you need before it decays. Generally speaking, you have about thirty seconds before corpses decay. The smart sorcerer, however, will always keep a spare set of animation crystals on them for just such an occasion. In addition to acting as a necessary material to begin animation, these crystals also function as a form of life keep that lasts for ten minutes. Spreading the crystals on a troll corpse will allow you to collect blood from it for up to ten minutes, easily filling up four to five flasks. Keeping unlocked minor sanctuary scrolls becomes necessary at this point, as the collection process will require you to put away your runestaff/weapon/shield to hold your vial and flask. Once you have preserved the corpse and are holding both a vial and a flask, type{{boldmono| HARVEST BLOOD FROM <troll type> WITH VIAL. The collection will take four seconds, incidentally. Then simply pour the vial into your flask and repeat until the flask is full. For those lazy types out there (and yes, I'm among you), the following is an easy script that will repeat the process until your flask is full. (Call it .troll)

counter set %1 pause put get vial from my (container type) pause

labelerror:

put get my flask from my (container type)

pause

loopstart:

pause

put harvest blood from <troll or king; depending on the troll type> with vial

pause 4

put pour vial in my flask


match loopstart You carefully pour the troll's blood from your glass vial into crystal flask.

match loopend Your crystal flask seems to be filled to capacity.

matchwait

loopend:

put close my flask

pause

put put my flask in my (container type)

pause

counter subtract 1

goto round%c

round0:

put say I am finished

Merely paste those five lines (From the 1 to the goto 1) into the script text. Make sure the script is command prompt (.cmd) and not wizard (.wiz). To use it, type .troll <troll type>. The troll type must be one word (generally troll, but use king for Troll Kings). So if I were collecting blood from a hunter troll, I would simply type .troll troll. The script will repeat itself over and over again. Once the flask is full, stop the script. If you wish to fill up another flask, pull it out and begin the script again.

Note, you may not mix different types of blood into the same flask.

Great, now you have your troll blood, your moonflowers, and your sea water. Now it's time to turn them into animation crystals.

Making Crystals

Once you have collected your ingredients and have your alchemical tools, it's time to create actual animation crystals. To do so, you must put one moonflower, one vial of blood, and one vial of sea water into your mortar. You cannot pour a flask directly into your mortar. First, you must measure exactly one vial's worth by POURING your flask into your vial. Then you must pour your vial into your mortar. I suggest getting two vials, though you really only need one. The reason being that the script I will paste below for the creation of crystals is based on the sorcerer having two vials; though you can easily write one for only one vial (turn all instances of “Other vial” into simply “vial”).

Once you have all of your ingredients in your mortar, take out your pestle and GRIND MOON WITH PESTLE. This will create some RT and produce messaging about mixing the contents. You will then notice that you have a watery crimson mash in your mortar. The next step is to GRIND MASH WITH PESTLE three times. When you are finished, if you look inside of your mortar you will see a light crimson solution. This indicates that the ingredients are completely mixed. (If, for some reason, you still have a watery mash in the mortar, simply PUSH MASH WITH PESTLE again until you have the solution). If you get some kind of messaging prohibiting you from mixing the materials into a mash, it likely means you have forgotten an ingredient. Simply scroll up and determine which one it is, then try mixing. Once you have your solution, cast Dark Catalyst (719) at the SOLUTION (not the mortar) and wait. Shadowy black flames will rise out of your mortar for a few minutes, and when they have died down, you will find that your solution has turned into crimson salt crystals. Congratulations, you are almost ready to start animating.

While this process seems relatively lengthy, it's easily done in between hunts. My advice is to carry 2-3 batches of made crystals on you at all times (you never know when you'll need to animate a corpse or will fail an animation attempt). When you use one up, simply make another batch in between the next two hunts.

If you're too lazy to be bothered with all of this typing (and yet have somehow managed to do all of the reading up until this point), below is a script that will go through the process for you. NOTE, the script does not specify a container object. You will have to go through the entire script and change any instance of (container type here) to match the base noun of the container you keep your animation components in (be sure to remove the parentheses). And you will have to be sure that the container is open and can be directly reached into (i.e. it cannot be inside of another container) in order for this to work. Also, the script assumes you have two open hands. So make sure you do. Create your script, ensuring it is a command-prompt script, and title it "crystals". Then paste the following into the body of the script:

counter set %1

labelerror:

counter subtract 1

put get flask from my (container type)

pause

put get vial

pause

put open my flask

pause

put pour my flask in my vial

pause

put close my flask

pause

put put my flask in my (container type)

pause

put put my vial in my (container type)

pause

put get other vial from my (container type)

pause

put get other flask from my (container type)

pause

put open my flask

pause

put pour my flask in my vial

pause

put close my flask

pause

put put my flask in my (container type)

pause

put put my vial in my (container type)

pause

put get moonflower

pause

put bundle remove

pause

put put other moon in my (container type)

pause

put get mortar

pause

put put moon in mortar

pause

put get vial

pause

put pour vial in mort

pause

put put vial in my (container type)

pause

put get other vial

pause

put pour vial in my mort

pause

put put vial in my (container type)

pause

put get pestle

pause

put grind moon in mort with my pest

pause

put grind mash in mort with my pest

pause

put grind mash in mort with my pest

pause

put grind mash in mort with my pest

loopstart:

pause

put grind sol in mort with my pest

match loopstart You push at your slightly mixed solution with a (porcelain) pestle, moving your hand in circular motions and causing the moonflower to begin to disappear within the liquid.

match loopend You steadily mix the contents of a well mixed watery crimson mash with a (porcelain) pestle as the contents blend together into homogenous uniformity.

pause

loopend:

pause

put put pestle in my (container type)

pause

put prep 719

pause

put cast solution

pause

waitfor Suddenly, the dark flames around your porcelain mortar die down.

put get crystals from my mort

pause

put put crystals in my (container type)

pause

put put mort in my (container type)

pause

goto end%c

end0:

exit

To use the script, merely type .crystals # where # is the number of batches of crystals you want to make. The script will keep running until you have made as many batches as you have instructed it to make. Be aware:

  • The script assumes your moonflowers are bundled
  • The script assumes that you are using flasks and vials purchased from the alchemist

Editor's note: The script has been updated to grind instead of push, but I believe the match messaging is out of date. See this alternate crystal script to make one set of crystals.

Gems

The gem, while not necessary for the creation of the crystals, is necessary for the actual animation. Every animate requires you to sacrifice exactly one gem. Shells, animal products, and jewelry are not suitable for this. I have one pouch that I use to hold my animation gems. This ensures I always have some on hand and do not accidentally sell my animation crystals to the gem store. When I use one of these gems up, I replace it with the next nice gem I find. I try to store about ten emeralds, high quality sapphires, diamonds, and various expensive rift stones; I suggest you do the same. The reason why I use high quality gems is that gem value plays a direct role in the spell's duration. Any gem worth less than 600 silvers will reduce your duration, and any gem worth more than 600 silvers will increase your duration, though at diminishing returns. The use of an expensive 5,000 silver gem versus a 600 silver gem can mean the difference between an animate that is good for one hunt and one that is good for two. Particularly if you have few Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks and Elemental Mana Control and Spiritual Mana Control ranks (keep reading for a discussion on which skills and stats affect duration), you'll want to use nicer gems. As you train more in these things, you may find that lower quality gems provide you will ample duration. When you go through the actual animation, simply hold the gem in question in one of your hands when you cast Animate Dead (which you should cast at the creature and not the gem). Regardless of the outcome of animation (failure or success), the gem will be altered. Either is will explode outright, damaging you (failure), or it will become hollow (success).

Hollow gems are not entirely worthless. They can still be used to get deeds (at their original value, no less). They are also still steal-able. This means that you can curse your hollow gems and place them in containers for unlucky thieves. It also has the added advantage of making it clear that the thief was in your pockets, as opposed to someone else's. I carry around cursed and hollow riftgems. Anyone who ends up with those in their hands has clearly been in my character's pockets, and they will be paying the price. I suggest using hollow gems instead of regular gems if you utilize curse for pocket protection. If you do not use your gem for cursing or deeds, you will find it otherwise worthless and cannot be sold. (Be sure to drop it after the animation, incidentally, as leaving it in your hand will reduce your DS)

Maximum Animatable Level (MAL)

Before you begin choosing the exact creature you’d like to animate, you’ll need to determine your MAL, or Maximum Animatable Level. MAL is set on a scale of -10 to 26, which means that at her worst a sorcerer can animate at ten trains below her own, and at their best, that sorcerer could animate up to 26 trains above their own. Most sorcerers are going to be in the negative side of things, but don’t fret, that doesn’t mean your animates will be useless.

To find out what your exact MAL is (using Troll King blood), simply plug your Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks (N) into the following equation:

MAL= {(N-20)/5}-10

(always round down). If your Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks are less than 20, assume a -10 MAL. Of course, if you are a younger sorcerer, this number will be modified by whatever bonus you’re getting from the troll blood you’re using, and it likely be higher than what this equation assumes. Refer back to the section on troll blood or the Trolls page for more information on this.

So let’s take Sorcerer A who is level 58 and has 58 ranks of Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy. 58 ranks minus 20 is 38 ranks. Now, 38 ranks divided by 5 is a little over 7. Since we round down, we’ll retain 7 and leave behind the remainder. Now, subtract 10 from 7, and we have -3. That means that this sorcerer, using Troll King blood, will be able to animate at 3 levels below their train, or up to level 55. If that same sorcerer were to increase their Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks by 2 (taking them to 60 necromancy ranks), their MAL would rise to -2, or up to level 56. If you happen to be using crystals made by another sorcerer, simply average your sorcerer's Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks with the ranks of the sorcerer who created the crystals, and plug that number into the formula.

For example, sorcerer A is using sorcerer B’s animation crystals. Sorcerer A has twenty Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks, and sorcerer B had one hundred and twenty Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy ranks when she created the crystals that sorcerer A is using. So, first, we average them. 20+120=140; divide that by two, and we have 70 ranks. So we go back to the original formula, and we plug 70 in for N. We get 50 divided by 5, which is ten. We then subtract 10 from that number, and we get 0. That means that sorcerer A, who would normally be animating at -10 with only 20 ranks of Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy, will be able to animate at their training using the crystals of sorcerer B.

This is how you calculate your sorcerer’s exact MAL, but you also need to be able to calculate a creature’s exact level. Fortunately, Corrupt Essence (703) has a TD pushdown that is partially based on creature level relative to the sorcerer’s level. (Remember that any BCS creatures will generate on a range of levels centered around the base creature’s age. So while Shan may be 42nd base level, individual Shan will range from the high 30's to mid 40's. If you’re animating right at your MAL, it’s important to keep track of the individual creature you’re trying to animate so you don’t end up accidentally blowing off a hand. The equation for the level of a creature, based on Corrupt Essence (703), is as follows:

TD Pushdown = (Wisdom bonus -1) + Level Difference

To find the TD pushdown, cast a normal sorcery spell on the creature (706 or 711 are good options, since they won’t damage the body of the soon-to-be animate), then cast Corrupt Essence (703). The TD pushdown is the original TD against the first spell minus the TD against Corrupt Essence. Wisdom bonus is shown after your wisdom score, which you can find by typing INFO. Level difference is your level minus the creature’s level. So let’s take an example.

Say sorcerer B casts Pain Infliction (711) against a creature. The resulting TD is 189. Sorcerer B then immediately casts 703 against that same creature, and the resulting TD is 146. Sorcerer B’s WISDOM bonus is 30. So the creature’s level is: (189-146) = (30-1) + Level Difference

43 = 29 + Level Difference

43-29 = Level Difference

14 = Level Difference

What this means is that the sorcerer is 14 levels above the creature. If said sorcerer is 44, then the creature is 30 trains. Now the sorcerer can determine, based on their MAL, whether or not they can animate that particular creature.

Duration

After you have determined your MAL, you want to consider your duration needs. Duration of Animate Dead is based on the following:

1. Quality of the gem used

2. Quality of the animation crystals used (the ratio of necromancy ranks versus troll level)

3. The modifier roll

I have already discussed how gem value and quality of the salts factor into the duration, so I will move on to the modifier roll.

The modifier roll comes into play when you attempt to animate a creature within your MAL. If you try to animate a creature, and you see no roll, just a failure, it is a sign that you are trying to animate a creature that is above your MAL. Just because you are animating within your MAL, however, does not mean that you will always succeed with animation. Animation requires a 101 endroll on an equation that adds a random d100 roll to a modifier (failure to get a 101 endroll will cause the gem to shatter and leave you without an animate). The higher that end roll, the longer your duration. Discipline bonus, Elemental Mana Control skill bonus, Spiritual Mana Control skill bonus, Sorcerous Lore, Necromancy skill bonus, and creature level all affect the modifier. As a rule, every level of the creature subtracts 4 from your modifier. So if you find yourself animating right at the peak of your MAL but with a low modifier, attempting a creature that is a lower level is the fastest way to increase your modifier. If your modifier seems low, don’t worry overly. As you train more in your skills, the modifier will naturally increase. Low level sorcerers animating at their MAL will often have modifiers in the 30's and 40's. Higher level sorcerers trained in necromancy will find modifiers in the 70's, 80's, and even 90's. It’s best to animate below your MAL when you’re younger, if only for a longer duration.

Types of Creatures

For the purposes of animation, there are three main creature types: Swingers, Natural Attackers, and Casters. I’ll go through each creature type individually.

Casters: Unfortunately the way GS creatures are set up, creature CS is generally nowhere near high enough to ward other creatures. What this means is that if your animate is relying primarily on CS/TD spells, you’re in for some trouble. While Curse (715) and Elemental Saturation (413) can both help your animate’s casting; they are generally a waste of time and mana. These creatures, on the whole, won’t do you much good in battle. Casters that use maneuver based spells like Earthen Fury (917), Spike Thorn (616), and Implosion (720) are notable exceptions to this. Also, a few hunting grounds have casting creatures that are a bit more powerful than the other creatures in the area (Hunchbacked Dogmatists are a good example), and at times it can be entertaining to take these creatures out hunting in their own area. While casters are generally not great fighters, they DO still have their uses. Magic casting animates (Who are on the BCS, basic creature script, system) can cast their defensive spells on you. The same rules apply to them as to you, however, and self-cast spells cannot be cast on the sorcerer. The spells that sorcerers tend to covet the most are Thurfel's Ward (503), Spirit Shield (202), Mobility (618), Strength (509), and Resist Elements (602). Thus wizard-type and ranger-type animates can be very useful. (These include, among others, Moulis; Shan Ranger; Shan Wizard; Csestairi; Emaciated Hierophants; and more) One batch of crystals can easily net you four hours of these spells. It is generally well worth your time to animate them specifically for their magic. Additionally, creatures will cast Wizard Shield (919), Wall of Force (140), and Fasthr's Reward (115) on you, which can come in handy on the field.

Natural Attackers: Generally speaking, these creatures are the least useful animates. They consist of animal-type animates. Things like boars, vipers, panthers, and the like fall under this category. The damage factor of their natural weapons (bite, claw, etc) is generally low, and so is their crit potential. Now, having said that, many of these creatures have multiple attacks at once (Lesser Griffins, for example), and this can come in handy. You’ll have to judge for yourself on a case-by-case basis.

Swingers: These are the prized animates for battle. The way they are set up in Gemstone, these creatures can swing any weapon type with their normal AS. The prepared Necromancer will carry one to three different weapons on them to provide for their animates. Claidhmores are the natural best bet. With these, even low AS/DS rolls can be devastating. Unfortunately, they do not work well for magical creatures and the undead. Naginatas, natural 4x weapons sold in the backroom of the Landing weapon store, work well for magical creatures. In addition to being naturally 4x, they can have Elemental Blade (411) cast on them to bring them to 8x with flares. This is also useful for creatures with relatively low AS compared to the DS of the creatures you’re hunting. Finally, if you hunt the undead, you’ll want to carry around an unenchanted polearm that you can get blessed. It won’t have the force of the claidhmore or the AS booster of the naginata, but it will be able to hit the creatures you’re hunting. For this, I suggest unlocking and infusing some Holy Blade (304) scrolls so you don’t have to find a cleric every time. Remember that when your animate dies, its loot stays behind (including any treasure it had on it). So be sure to collect your weapon after every use. If you find carrying these weapons around burdensome, then keep them phased.

Deciding On The Right Animate For the Right Time

Many sorcerers dismiss the utility of Animate Dead based entirely on their MAL. The concern is the ability of an animate that is ten levels junior to the hunting grounds to be an effective killing machine. The wise Necromancer, however, knows that level means very little when it comes to an animate’s effectiveness. What is infinitely more important than the creature’s level is its creature type. The reason is that most of the hunting you’re doing will be with an animate that is swinging a weapon, based on the AS system. Square professions are notorious for their ability to uphunt using the AS/DS system, and Sorcery comes complete with numerous spells that are ideal for lowering DS that they don’t have access to. A small shift in tactics on your part will easily lower the DS of the creatures in question, allowing an animate that is 10-20 trains below that creature to hit and do an impressive amount of damage (particularly if you’re using a claidhmore). When choosing the right animate for your hunting ground, it is generally best to find the highest level swinging creature within your MAL range, as opposed to choosing the highest level creature period. Sometimes you may have a few different swinging creatures to choose from that are near your MAL. In this instance, taking one of the lower level ones (within reason) can be helpful as it will increase the duration of the animation. (Remember the lower the level of the animated creature in comparison to your MAL, the longer the duration). It may be, however, that all you really need are spells to help you battle your enemies. In this instance, choosing the casting creature type with the most utility spells you can draw from is the wisest decision. Give some thought to what your needs are on the field, and then choose an animate based upon that assessment.

Hunting With Your Animates

Hunting with your animate takes some practice to do effectively. Fortunately animates now have an attack mode and follow mode, eliminating the need for repetitious typing or constant script use. To put your animate in untargeted attack mode, simply type TELL ANIMATE ATTACK. This will indicate to the animate that it should continue to attack until every creature in the room is gone. When its current target is gone or dead, it will choose a new target automatically. You will find that the animate always targets the first creature in the room that is not itself. Sometimes you will want your animate to select a different target, but the act of typing out TELL ANIMATE ATTACK <TARGET> can be cumbersome. To alleviate this problem, I suggest creating an attack script. Simply call it "a". It has one line:


put tell animate attack %1

That’s all. To use the script, type .a <target>. So if you’re hoping to target a muscular supplicant, for instance, simply type .a supp to order your animate to attack the first supplicant in the room. This lets you switch off between targets quickly in instances where you don't want your animate to target just anything (for example if your animate does not have a blessed weapon, and you are hunting a mix between undead and living creatures)

Animate now also have a follow mode. By simply typing TELL ANIMATE FOLLOW, you can have it follow you constantly. Typing it again will command it to cease following you.


Finally, while in ATTACK mode, your animate will actively seek to dispel invisibility and uncover hidden characters. This can have its uses, but it can also create problems in crowded resting spots. To take it out of attack mode so that it ceases this behavior, simply TELL ANIMATE STOP. It will still follow you after stopping.


With these scripts, you should be just about set for hunting. Don’t forget to do the following things, however:

1. Spell up your animate. (You have 101, 103, 107, 401, 406, and 414 to cast on it, use them) Strength (509), Thurfel's Ward (503), and Resist Elements (602) scrolls can also come in handy for your animates. Stock up on them if you so choose.

2. Give your animate its weapon (if you’re going to give it a new weapon, simply type TELL ANIMATE DROP <whatever weapon it is holding>, drop the weapon you want it to have on the ground, and then type TELL ANIMATE GET <whatever weapon you want it to have>. Do this before you enter your hunting ground.

Tactics

Hunting effectively with an animate requires you to alter your tactics considerably. For all intents and purposes, hunting with a swinging animate is just like group hunting with a square (that’s right, your very own square...same weapons, same tactics, same brain power). So you need to learn to think like a square. This means waiting for targets to attack and lower their stances (and hence their DS) before disabling. It also means making use of spells that you may not be used to using. The following spells work well with animates:

Experiment with these spells. All of them will lower the DS of creatures moderately to significantly, allowing your weapon swinging animate a clean blow. Be sure to damage the target creature before your animate kills them, however, or you will receive no experience for your kill. Tossing out a quick 708 and 702 is enough to learn from a creature, and it will save you mana (not to mention the relief of finally mixing up your hunting a bit).

Spells And Your Animate

Unfortunately, not every spell is animate friendly. This is a short list of spells that are known to be animate friendly and those that are known not to be. Animate friendly spells will consider your animate and yourself to be in the same group. Unfriendly spells don’t yet differentiate, which means that someone casting the spell can end up targeting an animate, and that an animate casting these spells can end up targeting you

Animate Friendly:

Not Animate Friendly: