Animate Dead DnD 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 3rd level spell series. Today we have a very fun spell in store for us today 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 animate dead 5e spell.

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 mechanics 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 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 whatever. 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 a little bit more later on.

At higher levels you can animate or reassert control over 2 extra undead for each slot level above 3rd. 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. Then the school is super predictable it is necromancy ladies and gents. Now let’s take a look at the full description.


This animate dead dnd 5e spell shall create an Undead servant. You have to select a pile of bones or else a corpse of a Medium or the small humanoid within a range. Your spell shall imbue a target with a foul mimicry of a life, by rising it as an Undead creature. Even though the target shall become the skeleton if you select the bones or else a zomble that if you select a corpse (the GM has the creature’s game statistics).

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

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

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

At Higher Levels: Whenever you cast this animate dead dnd 5e spell by using the spell slot of 4th level or higher, then you have to animate or even reassert control over two additional undead creatures for each slot level above 3rd. Each of the creatures should come from the different corpse or else pile of various bones.

Also there’s a couple things to 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.

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 bane’s 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 are pia however you want.

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 didn’t you remember it if i’m wrong about that please put it down beneath in the comment section. But outside of that its a pretty self-explanatory spell. Now let’s get into the good stuff, let’s get to some alternative uses here.

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 dark vision which is super 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 thing and it’s a pretty easy command to issue to 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 🙂 it’s i think that kind of funny.

Another great way to use this spell is 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.

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 a 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.


That being said, if you have any alternative uses, ideas, thoughts, questions, comments, concerns 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 everyone.

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