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The 'Conjuration - Reanimate' spells you can get improve as you level up your Conjuration Skill:

(Conjuration - Reanimate Spell, Conjuration skill level requirement, and the spell description)

Raise Zombie - 0 - Reanimate a weak dead body to fight for you for 60 seconds
Reanimate Corpse - 25 - Reanimate a more powerful dead body to fight for you for 60 seconds
Revenant - 50 - Reanimate a powerful dead body to fight for you for 60 seconds
Dread Zombie - 75 - Reanimate a very powerful dead body to fight for you for 60 seconds
Dead Thrall - 100 - Reanimate a dead body permanently to fight for you

Based on these descriptions, it is hard to know what exactly the spell will work on. What is a weak dead body? A more powerful dead body? A powerful dead body? etc.?

Skyrim classifies creatures and NPCs into generic classes as enumerated on the pages below:

List of Creatures (from UESP)
List of Generic NPCs (from UESP)

Within each of these classes, there is also a breakdown of more powerful types of those classes that are added as the player levels. So within the Bandit class, there is the initial Bandit, then the Bandit Outlaw, then the Bandit Thug, etc. From this information, it seems apparent that the weak, more powerful, and powerful descriptions may be related to the type within each creature or NPC class as the types themselves do not scale to the player's level with the exception of boss-types. The Reanimate spells' qualifications of power may relate to class as well.

From http://uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Leveling#Effects_of_Leveling :

...all leveled enemies are generated more like leveled creatures in Fallout. For example, Bandit NPCs are always a fixed level for their name (Bandits are level 1, Bandit Thugs are level 9, Bandit Highwaymen are level 14, etc). The player's level affects the range of possible bandit types generated within a bandit dungeon, and probably the frequency, but does not seem to affect the resulting stats except in a few rare cases. Lower variant bandits remain reasonably common even when more dangerous bandits are available.

To optimize magicka consumption, it would be useful to know the minimum level of reanimation spell necessary for a given class and type of enemy. So, what is the minimum level of reanimation spell needed for each type of each creature and NPC class? It would be nice if there were a set of general rules such as "regardless of class of creature or NPC, if they appear after the player is between levels X and Y, then you need at least the level Z conjuration spell" or "these classes of NPCs and creatures all need at least the level Z conjuration spell."

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There is no answer to that question, because creature and NPC levels are scaled with your level. –  kotekzot Apr 12 '12 at 7:09
    
@kotekzot Creatures and generic NPCs have different types depending on their level. For example: Bandit: Level 1: Bandit, Level 5: Bandit Outlaw, Level 9: Bandit Thug. If you are level 9, you may see a Bandit, a Bandit Outlaw and a Bandit Thug. Another example: Falmer: Level 1: Falmer, Level 15: Falmer Skulker, Level 22: Falmer Gloomlurker. At level 22, you may see a Falmer Gloomlurker, Skulker, and a level-1 Falmer. –  galacticninja Apr 12 '12 at 7:18
    
I think you're reading the table wrong. That's the player level at which they begin to show up, not their level. –  kotekzot Apr 12 '12 at 7:23
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@kotekzot What I'm saying is that even at player level 9, in the case of the the different types of Bandits, you will still see Bandits and Bandit Outlaws, with Bandit Thugs. That's how the game 'scales' the enemies' levels - by adding new enemy types. Each enemy type, AFAIK, have constant levels, or within a range (and does not vary between 0-81). That's why Bandits, Bandit Outlaws and Bandit Thugs become easier to kill at higher player levels - because each type will be stuck at their level limits, while the player continues to level up. –  galacticninja Apr 12 '12 at 7:38
1  
I think there's confusion about the op's question because it's worded poorly in parts. The question itself should be straightforward. From what I can tell, the op is asking, "There's this reanimate spell that improves as you level it. The lowest level claims to reanimate a weak dead body and the next level claims to reanimate a more powerful dead body. What counts as a weak dead body such that the lowest level of this spell will work?" The ambiguity in the asking is whether the spell classifies "weak" by generic type (all Bandits) or specific type (Bandit Outlaw or lower). –  skovacs1 Apr 12 '12 at 13:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted
+50

Time for more Skyrim Science!

So while I don't have a full answer to your question just yet, I do have some preliminary results.

I've been peeking around in the Skyrim Creation kit, looking at the spell effects for the five spells you list above. For instance:

enter image description here

The highest level reanimate spell has a magnitude of 40.

This is similar to how the master level frenzy spell, Mayhem, is set up, though it's magnitude is 25. This becomes relevant as soon as we read the effect's description:

Creatures and people up to level 25 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds

We've documented the frenzy effect over here already, so I think we can safely assume that if Reanimate works similarly (and there's no real reason it shouldn't), the magnitude of the spell effect correlates precisely with the maximum level corpse that can be raised.

That gives us this list:

  • Raise Zombie - up to level 6 creatures

  • Reanimate Corpse - up to level 13 creatures

  • Revenant - up to level 21 creatures

  • Dread Zombie - up to level 30 creatures

  • Dead Thrall - up to level 40 creatures

Which gives us an obvious series for our curve.

Double-casting conjuration spells increases the duration, not the effect, so that won't help against higher level enemies, but the Necromage perk will.

As to what level are which creatures, the first thing to realize is that certain creatures (i.e., Dragons, Giants, and Dwemer Automatons) simply cannot be reanimated.

That said here's as good a list as I can manage. If you don't see an NPC on here, it's most likely because they can be found at multiple levels. Creatures are listed under the minimum required spell to reanimate them:

Raise Zombie (up to 6):

  • Bandit
  • Bandit Outlaw
  • Dremora Churl
  • Forsworn
  • Forsworn Forager
  • Forsworn Shaman
  • Vampire
  • Vampire Fledgling
  • Novice [Mage]
  • Apprentice [Mage]

Reanimate Corpse (up to 13):

  • Bandit Thug
  • Dremora Caitiff
  • Blooded Vampire
  • [Mage] Adept

Revenant (up to 21):

  • Bandit Highwayman
  • Bandit Plunderer
  • Dremora Kynval
  • Forsworn Looter
  • Vampire Mistwalker
  • [Mage]

Dread Zombie (up to 30):

  • Bandit Marauder
  • Bandit Chief
  • Dremora Kynreeve
  • Forsworn Pillager
  • Vampire Nightstalker
  • [Element] Wizard
  • Ascendant [Mage]

Dead Thrall (up to 40):

  • Dremora Markynaz
  • Forsworn Ravager
  • Ancient Vampire
  • [Element]mancer
  • Master [Mage]

Too Powerful to Raise

  • Dremora Valkynaz
  • Volkihar Vampire
  • Arch [Mage]
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Impressive science, though I'm pretty sure that info is already available on wikis. –  kotekzot May 6 '12 at 4:20
    
Unfortunately, it looks like most of the non-enemy generic NPCs are rather random as to whether they are a static level or scale with the player. I'm going to limit myself to "enemy" NPCs only for ease. –  Raven Dreamer May 6 '12 at 4:20
    
@kotekzot it is, but it's not obvious. (And not on the "Reanimate" page at all) –  Raven Dreamer May 6 '12 at 4:21
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Thanks for this. This list will be handy to those of us with Necromancer characters. A request: could you also add info for animals (bears, wolves, mudcrabs, etc), atronachs (flame, frost and storm atronachs), some undead (like draugrs, ghosts, skeletons, etc) and monsters (chaurus, frostbite spiders, trolls, spriggans, etc)? –  galacticninja May 7 '12 at 6:57
    
@kotekzot This info is not shown in this format (as a listing of creature and generic NPC types and the minimum-level 'Reanimate' spell required for each) in the UESP wiki, AFAIK. –  galacticninja May 7 '12 at 7:01

Volkihar Vampire can be raised if you have the Necromage perk in the restoration tree raising the max level by 25% which only works on undead making you be able to raise vampires up to lvl 50 so you can raise a lvl 48 Volkihar Vampire but not a lvl 60 Nightlord Vampire.

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