Once or twice, I’ve tried to create a “minion master”-style necromancer. Though this will be old news to those of you following me on Patreon — I think I may have found some success with the “Reanimator” I’ve started developing.

The key power in this is “Animate Dead,” which has gone through a few revisions already. Here’s the latest version (a class preview is available through Patreon):

Animate Dead [Shadow, Minion]
Minor action * At-will * Close burst 5
Requirement: You must use this power during a short or extended rest.
Effect: You animate up to 4 minions in unoccupied squares you can see within the burst. The minions are undead creatures and count as allies. The minions persist until destroyed, or you use this power again.
The minions lack actions of their own. Instead, you spend your actions to command them mentally. Each minion has 1 hit point, and uses your defenses when attacked. A missed attack never damages a minion.
Level 11: 5 minions.
Level 21: 6 minions.

There are a couple things to note about the power — it creates undead minions (during a short or extended rest, at that) and infers some control over them, but doesn’t actually give you any actions or options to order them about.

When I started designing the power, I looked at the existing summoning powers, and wrote a similar power — there are lots of problems with summoning in 4e, and I wanted the player to be able to control multiple minions.

Really, summoning has problems in 3e as well, where you need an entire separate book (generally the Monster Manual) simply to provide combat statistics. I like what 4e has done to streamline these things — making summons share actions with their controller, not to mention deriving hit points and attack/defense scores.

I’m drawing ideas from monsters as well — in this case leaders of minions — with the intent to allow a Reanimator to replenish destroyed minions during combat. This will be done by simply re-animating fallen minions — which neatly avoids mentioning a “minion cap” or creating new minions during combat.

Options for controlling minions will be written into the class itself as features, similar to how I’ve “exploded” the healing powers for other leaders. The Reanimator will be a Controller-Leader, designed to attack through minions.