The purpose of this spell was to protect dwarven crypts and tombs. When cast, the spell warded an area of 100 square feet (9.3 square meters). Multiple castings of the spell were often used to protect a larger area. The ward temporarily animated the bones of the dwarven remains when a trespasser entered the ward's area of effect. The strength and ferocity of the attack from the animated remains was determined by the caster's skill level. The animated remains were restricted to the wards area of effect. The spell did not activate if the wards detected a dwarf.
Remove crypt ward was the reverse of this spell. It was one of three ways to remove a crypt ward, the other two being either a limited wish or a wish spell. It was often used when the remains had to be transported to a new crypt. The caster had to be at least equal in skill level as the caster of the crypt ward spell.