Garion Beckett wrote:I understand that part but my question is, does the dead creature dictate what I can animate or my caster level? So say I can animate 12HD with 1 casting. But there is a body on the ground that had 5HD worth. Do I just animate the 5HD or my max
In your example, you would raise the creature with 5HD with a single casting, and it would be a 5HD undead.
However, you can augment that creature with different templates if you want as well. Such as the Bloody or Burning templates. You could theoretically turn that 5HD creature into a 10HD undead by adding the bloody or burning template to it.
To clarify here. Because that reads...weird (to me anyway).
1. Raising a 5HD creature
You get a 5 HD Zombie, Skeleton, what have you.
2. Raising blood skeletons, and other higher HD raises
The caster level required must high enough be able to raise something with double the HD of the creature you're raising but:
The HD of the raised creature(s) are still the same.
It counts against your bucket of controlled minions for the same amount. That is, its actual HD.