The slightly-bad news is that you can only affect a finite number of corpses. The great news is that the technique is incredibly easy - so easy that I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner.
You quite simply put a specific defunct quest-related item into a corpse's inventory. That's all there is to it - instant perma-corpse. Now you can keep Chief Yamarz, Sebastian Lort, Krev the Skinner, and all those other great thralls who aren't naturally blessed with permanency.
And as usual, I've done most of the hard work for you - here's a list of which items I've found (so far) that achieve this exploit:
- Nettlebane - Kavhozein's Fang
- Ring of Pure Mixtures - Fjola's Wedding Band - Saarthal Amulet - Enchanted Ring (these are the three rings you scrounge off the floor during the Saarthal quest. However, only one of them seems to work. I don't know which one, so I just dumped all three into a single corpse's inventory to be safe, and that worked just fine.)
BOOKS AND NOTES
- Cultist's Orders (Dragonborn) - Invitation to Elewen's Reception - Repair Supplies (from A Night to Remember) - Dragon Investigation: Current Status - Elytrs' Note - Letter From Quintus Navale
- Mist watch Key (one word; put 'em together and gfaqs gets pissy) - Pelagius Wing Key - Key to Alftand Lift - Goldenglow Safe Key
- Diamond Dragon Claw - Emerald Dragon Claw - Iron Dragon Claw - Essence Extractor (you can get this from Septimus Signus' ashes just before completing Discerning the Transmundane, but not after, as it will not be lootable after a certain point).
So far that's 20 workable items and 20 possible new additions to your Undead Army.
to be continued... --- Simple questions deserve long-winded answers that no one will bother to read.
Now assuming that I don't need to explain the basics of necromancy to you, such as where to find the Dead Thrall spell and why you should care about this topic, here's a few questions I think you might have:
Have you tested every possible item yet?
No. I've done some pretty extensive testing (the success rate for the items I've tested so far is about 1 in 4), but there's plenty of possible items I don't have access to yet on my current character. The big missing piece is DLC items - I'm playing patchless currently and only patched briefly to test these items (hence why the Cultist's Orders are on the list). So there's still plenty more potential out there.
Can't you just dupe a few of these for infinite copies?
Not in my testing, no. I tried duping the Ring of Pure Mixtures (patchless) via the mannequin glitch. I got the Ring to copy, but none of the copies stacked with the original in my inventory; not a good sign. Still, I persevered with testing, and sadly, only the original Ring kept it's host body permanent.
I also tried duping patched with the follower pick-up method (Nettlebane was the item), and it wouldn't work. I then duped some generic items to make sure I was doing it right, and they worked fine. I haven't done all I can on these fronts, but I don't think there's much hope.
HOWEVER, there is the potential for infinite items, though you might have to be playing patchless for starters. I've kept both Christer and Fjola's bodies around for the better part of a playthrough, and something causes the Mist watch Key and Fjola's Wedding Bands to respawn in their inventories respectively. In my testing I have two copies of the Mist watch Key, and both work - on the other hand, post-patch you cannot take the second Fjola ring without it getting stuck in your inventory as a quest item.
My current theory is that revisiting Mist watch (even just outside) causes the items to restock in the respective corpses inventories, provided you still have said corpses around somewhere (Christer is permanent as of the patch, even without the key in his inventory - not sure if Fjola is permanent without her ring, but I've had her disappear in past playthroughs). I'll post more info when and if I have it.
Is there any rhyme or reason as to which items work for this?
Not universally, but by-and-large these are items that, under their normal quest purposes, add permanency to their host NPCs in case said NPC should be killed and need to be found. Say hypothetically you killed the Draugr Overlord holding the Diamond Claw, headed to the outside of Skuldafn and waited ten days - the Claw gives the Overlord permanency so you don't break your game.
I only bring this last part up because, if there's any enterprising glitch-hunters who want to help me test other items, this might give you a better idea as for what to look for. --- Simple questions deserve long-winded answers that no one will bother to read.
nice work. I got sick of my thralls despawning and I didn't have the willpower to visit my house every day to keep them from doing so. this might be useful, then. thanks. --- Mikulekee - <3 Korra is my waifu. http://i.imgur.com/ncUxV.gif
hey materpug, since you seem to be the authority, is there anyway to make the Aetherium crown ritual stone last longer for the undead army? --- This Signature can only be viewed by a Gamefaqs Gold member, upgrade to Gold to view this Signature.