ANIMATED 5E: What Every Player Must Know

Animate Dead 5e

Animate Dead 5e is an alternative necromancy spell that enables the spell-caster to raise any intact skeletons or corpses as undead skeletons or zombies under his or her control.

Alternative Necromancy

Parach’etam Ool, Lich King of the Healing Depths, laughs as the adventurers approach his latest masterpiece, an Ancient Silver Dragon raised as a Zombie to serve his whims.

 Balghul Vixud, Dragonborn, party necromancer, and corpse peddler, looks in dismay at his troop of ordinary undead corpses shambling behind him.

 A twinge of jealousy fills his chest as he curses the gods that stopped his spellcraft from raising such powerful allies in favor of large masses. Check out also Wand of Secrets: The 5e Wand of Secrets Magical Power

Until now…

Animate Dead 5e

  • 3rd Level Necromancy
  • Casting Time: 1 minute
  • Range: 10 feet
  • Components: V S M (A drop of blood, a piece of flesh, and a pinch of bone dust)
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Classes: Cleric, Warlock, Wizard

The DMG errata document has this to say regarding the Animate Dead 5e “This spell creates an undead servant or servants worth a combined total of 50xp. An undead creature worth less than 50xp cannot attack. Choose a pile of bones or a corpse 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). You can also select to raise a different creature with an XP value of 50 or less, which becomes a Zombie or skeleton subject to the template below.

A corpse becomes an undead under your control. An unremarkable humanoid corpse automatically becomes a standard form of the selected undead, costing its usual cost (for instance a zombie has an XP value of 50.

But more remarkable humanoids and other types of creatures can retain some abilities in their undead form, and thus cost their XP value if it is greater than the typical form of undead.

On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any undead creature you animated 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 200xp worth of creatures you have animated with this spell, rather than animating new ones.

Casting this spell on the same corpse once a day for 4 days allows you to instead raise a corpse with an XP value of up to 150xp greater than the 50xp. This allows you to raise and control more individually powerful creatures, such as a Zombie Brown Bear (XP value of 200xp)’’

What Happens At Higher Levels

When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you animate or reassert control over an additional 100xp worth of creature for each slot above 3rd.

 Effects of the Spell in Various Editions

Animate Dead 5e

Now let us see the effects of animated dead in various editions of the spell, I believe this will give us a better insight into the spell. Read the Wall of fire 5e: The 5e Wall of Fire in Dungeon and Dragon

Effects of 5e Animate Dead in First Edition

This version of the animated dead spell is a staple of the necromantic arts, that sees various incarnations as magic evolved.

Though the first version of animated dead treated zombies and skeletons as well, however, in that earlier version a spell-caster can animate one of either kind of undead per experience level, but only from human remains

Effects of dnd 5e Animate Dead in Second Edition

In the second edition, the animated dead extended the forms of remains that could be used to treat the corpse as marginally weaker than the undead.

The size of creatures in existence dictated (by a relatively complex formula) how many undead creatures could be produced. Learn more about Shortbow 5e: The Shortbow range 5e in Dungeon and Dragon

Effects of Animated Dead in Third Edition

The third edition of this spell expanded the number of undead that could be created by a single casting but reduced the number of such monsters that could be managed by the caster. (Any undead ordered or rebuked by those of such authority did not count against the limit.

Effects of Raise Undead 5e in the Fourth Edition

To be animated by later iterations of this spell, the body had to have bones (which excluded creatures such as purple worms) arranged in some sort of anatomy (which excluded gelatin cubes, for example) and largely intact.

Zombies often wanted much of the flesh to be added to the bones. If the caster wanted to make a skeleton out of a fleshy corpse, the flesh dropped off the skeleton as it grew.

Effects of d&d 5e Animated Dead in the Fifth Edition

The fifth variant of this spell required its components and the selected bones or bodies of medium to small animals.

 The zombies obeyed the mental instruction of their maker if they were nearby, but only for 24 hours, and then this order had to be repeated until the time had come to an end, or else they had become aimless.

The Components of Animated Dead

Both versions of animate dead required verbal and somatic components, but the material components were varied. Check out the Bless 5e in Dungeon and Dragon Spells

  • The early version wanted a bit of human flesh, a drop of blood, a bone shard, or a touch of powdered bone.
  • The second edition changed it to a little flesh of the sort of creature being animated.
  • The third incarnation removed the skin, blood, and bone, and allowed a black onyx gem of at least 25 GP to be put in the mouth or eye socket of each corpse.
  • Casting this variant of animate dead consumed much of the gem, leaving behind a hollow, burnt, hollow shell.
  • The fifth edition brought back a drop of blood, a slice of skin, and a touch of bone dust as a material component.

Brief History of Animated Dead dnd 5e

Animated dead is a spell that was attributed to Netherese arcanist Fjord in −514 DR which was originally known as Fjord’s animation. The animated spell was one of the spells listed in the Tome of the Unicorn.


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