Created By: fzzr_miller on October 9, 2009
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Raise Dead

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Needs a Better Title The undead make great minions. But where are you gonna get your hands on a bunch of skeletons or zombies? Why not go look up Raise Dead in your Book Of Shadows (it should be in chapter one, "Exercises for the Aspiring Necromancer"), proceed to your local graveyard, and give it a try? So long as you have enough mana, you can do this all night! Of course, easy come, easy go. Chances are that your new minions are low-durability and may even have a short lifespan. Good thing you can just raise the corpses of your slain foes, right?

If you lack the necessary skills, of course, you can always employ someone else to handle the casting for you. But watch out for your opponents to figure out what you're up to - if the caster goes down, there's a good chance the entire army will crumble into dust on the spot.

In short, when a spellcaster of some sort has a spell to create an undead minion out of a corpse (of whatever degree of freshness), that spell is some variety of Raise Dead. The usual output is a skeleton or zombie, though a mummy is another possible result if the corpse in question was embalmed.

Incidentally, this is how traditional ("Type V") zombies are made - a voodoo bokor revives a dead person, who is then under their control.

See also Necromancer, Night of the Living Mooks.

Examples

  • In Warcraft 3, Scourge Necromancers can raise Skeleton Warriors from corpses, and the Graveyard is a building which produces an infinite number of corpses. Thus the only limiting factor is mana. Inexplicably, one corpse of any unit type produces two humanoid skeletons with swords.
    • Similarly, Warcraft 2 has Raise Dead, which produces a single humanoid skeleton warrior with a sword.
    • Warcraft 3 also features the Avatar of Vengeance, which spams a shorter-duration Raise Dead spell while not being squishy at all.
    • The Death Knight, a Scourge hero unit in Warcraft 3, has as his Ultimate move "Animate Dead" which raises up to six nearby dead units to fight for the Death Knight for forty seconds.
    • Death Knights in World of Warcraft have several spells that allow them to raise undead Ghouls from corpses. The basic raise dead spell creates an NPC Ghoul that will follow the player around and attack his target (there's a talent that will turn it into a permanent pet under the player's control), raise ally raises a dead group/raid member as a Ghoul they have control over. And the army of the dead summons about 20 Ghouls at once (although they're individually weaker than the ones summoned through raise dead).
  • Erfworld, being a RPG-Mechanics Verse, does this with "uncroaking" and the more powerful and permanent "decrypting".
  • In Guild Wars, Necromancers have a variety of spells to create undead minions of various sizes and strengths out of "fleshy" enemy corpses.
  • Subversion in Army of Darkness: The titular army, of undead, is accidentally spawned when Ash screws up the pronunciation of a time travel spell that was meant to get him home.
  • In Warhammer, this type of necromancy is a trademark of the Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings armies. Necromancers/Liche Priests are vital for holding the undead armies together, and can use their magic to replenish the ranks of their forces with freshly raised dead. They can even conjure skeletal or zombie units out of nowhere to surprise their foes. Sieges get tricky when skeletons are sprouting in your courtyard like daisies...
  • Plenty of Necromancy spells from Dungeons & Dragons, of course. With all the various Undead monsters, you never know exactly what the Big Bad is going to turn your fallen henchman into next.
  • The Dresden Files uses this trope in a really awesome way.
  • The website for Diablo 3 gives an interesting justification: instead of animating individual skeletons (which might be damaged, too small, etc.), skeletons are actually amalgamated bone dust and dirt, held together by the magician.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic 3, the Necromancy skill raises a percent of the (non-undead) casualties from each successful battle as skeletons (or, in the case of dragon casualties, Bone Dragons). There is also a structure in the Necropolis (Necromancer/Undead City) that allows you to do this with 100% efficiency using your own troops.
  • This is how the undead other than death knights and possibly ghouls are created in Battle for Wesnoth.
  • Looking for Group
    Richard: In case you weren't sure, the skeletons are on our side.

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • October 6, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I think the description is a little unfocused, but only because I'm not sure what you're trying to trope here. Is it the act of raising armies of the dead for combat, the fact it's in a graveyard, or just raising the dead to create the undead?

    Anyway, Film example: this trope is subverted in Army of Darkness. The titular army, of undead, is accidentally spawned when Ash screws up the pronunciation of a time travel spell that was meant to get him home.
  • October 6, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    This trope is for a when someone casts a spell on a corpse and gets an undead minion.
  • October 6, 2009
    KirkSkywalker
  • October 6, 2009
    Tacitus
    Aw, what's wrong with Raise Dead? Also, we must mention the Necromancer character trope, of course.
    • In Warhammer, this type of necromancy is a trademark of the Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings armies. Necromancers/Liche Priests are vital for holding the undead armies together, and can use their magic to replenish the ranks of their forces with freshly raised dead. They can even conjure skeletal or zombie units out of nowhere to surprise their foes. Sieges get tricky when skeletons are sprouting in your courtyard like daisies...
    • Plenty of Necromancy spells from Dungeons And Dragons, of course. With all the various Undead monsters, you never know exactly what the Big Bad is going to turn your fallen henchman into next.
    • The Dresden Files uses this trope in a really awesome way.
  • October 6, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    Examples added, thank you Unknown Troper and Tacitus. Not sure how to improve the description, any suggestions?
  • October 7, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The Diablo 3 site gives an interesting explanation for skeletal warriors: Instead of animating individual skeletons (which might be damaged, too small, etc.), skeletons are actually amalgamated bone dust and dirt, held together by the magician. I don't know about the description, seems clear enough to me.
  • October 7, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    That fits just fine, really. Example added.
  • October 7, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Death Knights in World Of Warcraft have several spells that allow them to raise undead Ghouls from corpses. The basic raise dead spell creates an npc Ghoul that will follow the player around and attack his target (there's a talent that will turn it into a permanent pet under the player's controll), raise ally raises a dead group/raid member as a Ghoul they have controll over. And the army of the dead summons about 20 Ghouls at once (altho they're individually weaker than the ones summoned through raise dead).
  • October 7, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    Examples added, description expanded. Be careful, opening an edit window for this seems to cut off the end of the text. Is there a character limit on YKTTW?
  • October 7, 2009
    dotchan
    I suggest either Undead Minion Maker or Raise Undead (as "Raise Dead" makes me think of resurrection spells).
  • October 7, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    I like Raise Undead, anyone else for that as eventual launch title?
  • October 7, 2009
    TB Tabby
    The PSP game Undead Knights revolves around this.
  • October 7, 2009
    arromdee
    "Raise dead" is a resurrection spell in D&D. "Animate dead" will produce zombies and skeletons.
  • October 7, 2009
    EricDVH
    Yeah, it shouldn't be called Raise Dead, since that's the name of a resurrection spell in many games. Perhaps Animate Dead would be a better choice.
  • October 7, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    Animate Dead is even better (do I go with the flow or what). Any takers?
  • October 7, 2009
    random surfer
    This is how traditional ("Type V") zombies are made - a voodoo bokor revives a dead person, who is then under their control.
  • October 7, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    I'll add that as a note on launch, if we get that far. As it is, the edit window refuses to auto-include all the markup.
  • October 7, 2009
    kuyanJ
    This is how the undead other than the deathnights and possibly the ghouls are created in Battle For Wesnoth.

    In A Softer World, two characters use magic to raise their dead mother as some sort of vampire.
  • October 8, 2009
    Chabal 2
    "two characters use magic to raise their dead mother", you say... Now where have I head that before...
  • October 8, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    Those examples are more Back From The Dead. This trope is for using any corpse available to make undead mooks.
  • October 8, 2009
    Michael
    Looking For Group
    Richard: In case you weren't sure, the skeletons are on our side.
  • October 9, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    Lets get a title pinned down! Choices include Raise Dead, Animate Dead, Raise Undead, and Undead Mook Maker.

    I like Animate Dead.
  • October 10, 2009
    fzzr_miller
    bump, anyone else got naming comments?
  • October 10, 2009
    batfan
    The Black Cauldron from the second book of the Prydain Chronicles (and the Disney movie) was an Artifact Of Doom that could do this. Dipping corpses into the Cauldron turned them into unstoppable undead soldiers.
  • October 10, 2009
    batfan
    In terms of names, how about So You Want To Raise The Dead (taken from So You Want To Live Forever), or just How To Raise The Dead.
  • October 10, 2009
    HeartBurnKid
    I like Animate Dead, if only because it can be used as both a noun and a verb without having to Pot Hole.
  • October 10, 2009
    NigeriaLisa
    The Inferi in Harry Potter.
  • October 10, 2009
    Andyzero
    Note, this is not Raise Only Mostly Dead
  • October 11, 2009
    Arivne
    Another vote for Animate Dead.

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