The spellcaster fired a beam at a number of undead targets and destroyed them in a manner similar to the power of a disruption weapon. A particularly resilient undead could resist or even be unaffected by the spell. A living being was immune to its effect.
The spell had a secondary effect of channeling negative energy from a damaged or destroyed undead back to the caster. This could either hurt the caster (if they were alive) or heal the caster (if they were undead themselves).
The spell required a disruption weapon of any kind as a focus.
The devastate undead spell was developed by the arch-lich Larloch. He used it to heal himself by sacrificing his undead servant creatures. He could even potentially use it to permanently boost his unlife force.
- This spell was originally entitled disrupt undead and appeared in Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast for 2nd edition. However, this name was later given to a somewhat similar but much less powerful spell, disrupt undead, in 3rd edition. Lords of Darkness later presented a very similar spell with the name devastate undead for 3rd edition, also from Larloch, clearly intended to be the same as the original spell. The later title is used here to limit confusion.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 221. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 186. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.