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I animated an corpse (into a zombie) using animate undead. During a fight with a succubus, the succubus tried to charm the zombie. The zombie is not immune to being charmed according to its stats profile. But the spell says that I command the undead how to act. Can the zombie be charmed into fighting me? In general, can creatures you command (familiars, summoned, animated) be charmed into fighting their master?

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The question is a little confusing since charm in general sense suggests "Charm Person" but the details specify a succubus, which has a Charm ability which grants more control over the target. – timster Mar 9 at 19:48
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Can the zombie be charmed into fighting me?


In the specific case of the Succubus (and the spell Charm Person which the Charm action seems to borrow from) the target has to be a humanoid. A Zombie is of the type undead, and thus not a valid target. Though there are other spells and abilities that produce the charmed condition on any type of creature who is not immune to the charm condition, like Fey Presence and Hypnotic Pattern.

Moreover, the charm effect doesn't grant control, it would only prevents it from attacking the charmer, and gain advantage on social checks.

A charmed creature can't attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects.

The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature. (PHB 290)

However, since the undead is compelled to follow the command of the person who controls it, the Zombie's new found love for you shouldn't prevent it from carrying out the task.

In general, can creatures you command(familiars, summoned, animated) be charmed into fighting its master?


Charmed doesn't allow control. Familiars would be susceptible to the charmed condition unless their stat block provides immunity.


Suggestion won't work on Zombies. Suggestion reads:

.. influence a creature you ca see within range that can hear and understand you. Creatures that can't be charmed are immune to this effect.

Zombies don't have drive/will, so even if someone suggested to the Zombie should attack you, it would be overridden by your command, as long as you are in control. Even outside of a caster's control, a Zombie doesn't care about anything except killing the nearest target; so suggesting outside of who or what to attack next might not have the intended affect -- but it up the DM what the Zombie does with the suggestion.

A Find Familiar (both typical and Pact of Chain) summoned familiar would arguably be susceptible to suggestion; and the variant familiar Imp, Quaist or Pseudodragon would definitely be susceptible to suggestion.


Dominate person wouldn't work on Zomie, as a Zombie is not of type humanoid, it is of type undead. Dominate Monster (lvl 8 spell) would work to control a zombie.

Dominate Beast on a Find Familiar summoned familiar probably shouldn't work, because it isn't a beast, it is a spirit -- but Dominate Monster should, as it says specifically "creature" which includes spirits.

The variant familiar Imp, Quaist or Psudodragon would be a real creature, but all count as monsters by their type, so Dominate Monster would apply (not beast).

Summoned Creatures and constructs

Summoned creatures and constructs are all called forth from their own spell with own verbiage. Some can be freed a lot easier than others from the hold of the summoner. Most of them you lose control of by losing concentration. In either case, there are typically ways of using them against the caster.

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Depends on the source of the charmed effect. Fey Presence and Hypnotic Pattern for instance, targets creatures within the area effect. In the specific case of the succubus and Charm Person you are correct. I'll edit my answer to include clarification. – J. A. Streich Mar 10 at 15:16
What would make a zombie immune to Suggestion? A zombie "understands the languages it knew in life" and "can follow simple orders." And Suggestion can target any creature that can "hear and understand." So as long as the suggestion is a simple one, it would work. – timster Mar 10 at 16:14
Ah, timster, you are correct. I thought a Zombie couldn't understand what people are saying to it, because talking to them never gets anywhere; and I hadn't looked at their stats block in a while. I've revised that part of my answer. – J. A. Streich Mar 10 at 16:59


Succubi have the power to charm humanoids. Zombies are undead; they are not classified as humanoids.

MM p. 6 section Type (under Statistics) defines these separate types of creatures:

Humanoids are the main people of the D&D universe, both civilized and savage... They have language and culture, and few if any innate magical abilities…

Undead are once-living creatures brought to a horrifying state of undeath through the practice of necromantic magic or some unholy curse.

These defined terms are used, among other things, to determine spell effects. Also on MM p. 6:

Certain spells…interact in special ways with creatures of a particular type.

Under Succubus in MM:

Charm. One humanoid the fiend can see...

Under Zombie in MM, it is defined as:

Zombie Medium undead, neutral evil

The spell Charm Person (PH p. 221) also only works on humanoids.

You attempt to charm a humanoid...


The spell Dominate Monster could be used to wrest control of a zombie or skeleton from its animator.

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I think this answer would be improved by including the game's definition of 'humanoid', a list of all available subtypes, the rule that says that humanoid is always means a creature type, or something similar. Without that some people (myself included) will fall back to the normal english definition of humanoid: Has 2 legs, 2 arms, a torso, a head, and walks upright. Which would mean zombies are definitely humanoid. Maybe I'm nuts, but it feels like you are missing one of the legs on a very well constructed tripod. – Shane Mar 9 at 22:28
Thanks for the tip, added that. – timster Mar 9 at 22:54
@Shane Zombie dogs aren't humanoid. But you're right about everything else. – GMJoe Mar 9 at 23:29
I think it might be more correct for you to say that it is possible, but not with the situation the OP was in. – Javelin Mar 10 at 15:39
@Javelin, it has to do with how we take the meaning of "charm." I don't see any spells/abilities called charm that would allow this. Dominate Monster does impose the charmed condition. Even so, it's not the charmed condition itself that makes this possible, but rather, the effect of the spell that compels the target to obey - and that spell isn't "charm." – timster Mar 10 at 15:49

Animate Dead is not influenced by Charm.

"Charmed" is a specific status condition in 5E. It means:

A charmed creature can’t attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects.

The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature.

Source: 5E

Surprisingly, being charmed doesn't seem it interact at all with Animate Dead, which says:

On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any creature you made with this spell

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Your answer completely ignores the fact that Charm only works on humanoids, and zombies are not humanoid. – LegendaryDude Mar 10 at 13:45

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