Animate Dead 5E Spell

Hello magic casters of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the first ever episode of our third level spell series. Today we have a very good and fun spell in store for us and one of my favorite spells to be honest i would strongly suggest you to play with this spell at least once in your time as a wizard and/or cleric and anyone else that gets access to this spell. It is truly an amazing spell for both mechanics and role play, all i ask is that you don’t be a jerk with it and i’ll get into why that is in a little bit.

In any case we’re talking about animate dead spell dnd 5e it is usable by the cleric and the wizard and it is found in the good old players handbook and one could make a strong argument that it is just a staple of dungeons and dragons. A true staple of necromancy in general. Oh it’s so good! Now let’s take a quick look at its stats here so we can kind of figure out what’s going on.


  • Level: 3rd
  • Casting Time: 1 Minute
  • Range/Area: 10 ft
  • Components: V, S, M *
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • School: Necromancy
  • Attack/Save: None
  • Damage/Effect: Creation

The effect at a glance is as followed: Create an undead servant and control it as a bonus action. Pretty simple!

The cast time is one minute which means it’s not really perfectly suited for combat use for wahtever. The range is a measly 10 feet but how close they really need to be. The duration is weird it’s instantaneous technically but we’ll get into that in a little bit more later on.

At higher levels you can animate or reassert control over 2 extra undead for each slot level above third. Which is kind of cool. Your components are the holy trinity so verbal, material and somatic if you’re curious about that material component it is a drop of blood, a piece of flesh and a pinch of bone dust. Basically if you have a body present it’s not too much of a stretch to believe you should have those things present as well, if not i’m sure you can find a way to get access to them.

And the school is super predictable it is necromancy ladies and gents and it is yeah they’re pretty much defines the whole school of magic to be honest with you. Now let’s take a look at the full description. Do you also want to read this 5e change spell damage type.


This spell creates an undead servant. Choose a pile of bones or a corpse of a Medium or Small humanoid within range. Your spell imbues the target with a foul mimicry of life, raising it as an undead creature. The target becomes a skeleton if you chose bones or a zombie if you chose a corpse (the GM has the creature’s game statistics).

I believe that’s hogwash you should be aware of them at the very least be able to provide them to your GM, I know that it’s a little bit of metagaming e but realistically if you summon the creature you should kind of know what it’s just is, i don’t know. Just my humble opinion let’s keep reading.

On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any creature you made with this spell if the creature is within 60 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one).

You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

The creature is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stops obeying any command you’ve given it. To maintain control of the creature for another 24 hours, you must cast this spell on the creature again before the current 24-hour period ends. This use of the spell reasserts your control over up to four creatures you have animated with this spell, rather than animating a new one.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you animate or reassert control over two additional undead creatures for each slot level above 3rd. Each of the creatures must come from a different corpse or pile of bones. * – (a drop of blood, a piece of flesh, and a pinch of bone dust)

Oh man that is a long one, so a couple things i want to touch on real quick, we are going to be doing seperate articles on both the dnd 5e animate dead options such as skeleton and the zombie right after this one so keep checking for those.

Also a couple things worth noting there’s a way to play around be a dick with this spell in my humble opinion, do not if it can be helped give super specific commands to every zombie you summon or skeleton or whatever. You can also check out this raise dead 5e spell.

It gets to a point on your higher levels or you can make an absolute ton of these creatures and if you assign each of them individual jobs during combat, it grinds combat to a complete halt and i would make the argument that as a dungeon master and turn only lasting six seconds at most you could probably command maybe two or three of them.

So it’s better to just do have them all do the same thing roughly or very similar things so it just helps move the game along that’s why a lot of DMs have banes with these spells that let you summon multiple things with their own action, their own initiative all that weird stuff.

It’s not for inexperienced players but there’s ways to make it easier in the whole party and that’s especially true if you have a larger party naturally. Something else i did want to touch on as well, after you lose control there’s a strong argument to be made that they’re going to be hostile towards you in the party, so bear that in mind ultimately RP however you want. You can also check out this mass animate dead 5e.

I believe if memory serves skeletons have the nasty habit of kind of repeating their day-to day life to some semblance or another where zombies are typically more malicious that’s how i remember it, if i’m wrong about that please put it down beneath in the comment section but outside of that it’s pretty self-explanatory spell. Now let’s get to the good stuff, let’s get to some alternative uses here. Don’t miss 5e spell effects.

Alternative Uses

So one of the most common i see are using them as guards. The reason why they make good guards especially skeletons is skeletons don’t ever get exhausted. Outside of that you know they do what they’re told life’s good, their perception isn’t the highest that’s true for zombies as well.

The flipside of that being that they both get darkvision which is super great and you know to be honest they are just kind of ideal guards. I really do think that’s there’s mindless like do a simple things and it’s a pretty easy command to issue them.

Another great use that i have for these zombies in particular is if you can get a corpse while it’s fresh enough, you can make it seem like they’re still alive, at least to some extent or another. If you combine this with like a simpler ritual spell like magic mouth or even a couple cantrips they’d be perfect for it. You could kind of make it seem like they’re still alive, like if you accidentally kill the king and you want the body to go elsewhere or you kill the queen or what-have-you just be like honey i’m going out to get some milk and then never have them come back. I think that’d be kind of funny.

Another great way to use this spell for balancing purposes this is where i see most people use it. Ultimately action economy is still very much a thing and at the very least these are potential targets that the enemies are gonna pick over you and your group and maybe even give you a chance to escape if you swindle it right.

What happens when animate dead ends? Ultimately just bear in mind don’t be a dick, don’t take up an absorbent amount of time for your turn just moving your skeletons around and these still to figure out a spell to cast i’ve seen happened and i’ve been on both ends of that, it’s not fun so yeah just keep it simple for them for the most part to get more comfortable at least.

So can warlocks get animate dead? the answer for this is animate dead is not a warlock spell but You can get it like an eldritch invocation at your level 5, and cast it once per long rest without using a spell. Also read this create undead 5e.


That being said, if you have any alternative uses, ideas, thoughts, questions, comments, concerns regarding of this staff of animate dead 5e please put it down beneath in the comment section, i really do appreciate it. That being said, thank you so much everyone i really do appreciate it, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy casting. Keep reading what is the difference between create dead and animate dead?.

Leave a Comment