By James Wyatt
Have the usual familiars available to spellcasting characters become a little, well, too familiar? To liven things up in your campaign, we're offering three new familiar spells to finish out the year. Add them to your heroes' repertoires and watch the double-takes these faithful friends elicit! Our final spell of the trilogy, animate dead familiar, enables you to keep that boon companion around a little longer.
Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V, S, XP
Casting Time: 1 round
Target: Corpse touched
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
In order to cast this spell, you must have a familiar, and that creature must be dead. You animate the dead familiar as a zombielike undead, restoring some measure of the bond you had with it while it lived.
You do not regain the experience points you lost when the familiar died. You also lose the special benefits you gained based on the familiar's animal type (such as the +2 bonus to Move Silently checks bestowed by a cat familiar). Being undead, the creature has no Constitution score, which affects its Fortitude saves but not its hit points. It retains its natural armor and its preternatural Intelligence, as well as all of the special abilities it had based on your level except for the ability to speak with animals of its type. It still has effective Hit Dice equal to your level and hit points equal to half your total hit points.
The undead familiar resembles a zombie, but is not slow like a zombie. Its type changes to Undead. As an undead creature, it is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and disease. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage. If you are within range of the familiar's empathic link with you (one mile), it cannot be turned or rebuked. Beyond that range, it is subject to turning and rebuking (as well as commanding and destroying) as an undead of its effective Hit Dice.
In addition, the familiar gains a special attack delivered by a melee attack. The nature of this attack depends on your caster level at the time you cast this spell; it does not improve as your level increases. You may choose a lower-level ability than your level indicates.
|Paralysis: Those hit by the undead familiar's attack must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 14) or be paralyzed for 1d6+2 minutes. Elves are immune to this paralysis.|
|Strength damage: The undead familiar's attack deals 1d6 points of temporary Strength damage in addition to the normal damage.|
|Energy Drain: Living creatures hit by the undead familiar's attack receive one negative level. The Fortitude save to remove the negative level has a DC of 16.|
|Constitution Drain: Living creatures hit by the undead familiar's attack must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 18) or suffer 1d6 points of permanent Constitution drain.|
If the undead familiar is destroyed, you lose experience points as if you had lost a living familiar (again). The corpse is utterly destroyed in this case, and cannot be animated via this spell again, nor can it be restored to life with a raise dead spell (resurrection will work, however).
You cannot cast this spell on another character's familiar.
XP Cost: 100 XP.