From what I understand the undead created via animated dead are under my PC's control indefinitely. So if I had commanded them to kill enemies of mine (insect things that were fighting our group so I commanded them to attack the bugs) would they follow that command after I die, or become uncontrolled and attack my party members too?

I had assumed that they became uncontrolled, and they attacked the party (which teleported away), but after looking while they were figuring out what to do next, I had re-read animated dead to figure out if that was correct.

The other thing that I was curious is do they stay under my control when brought back to life too?

If they do go uncontrolled after death, that would mean any necromancer PC would be a group wipe if they die.

I've been looking for an answer to this on the internet and the D&D books.


As a general rule, magical effects of any kind, even those of instantaneous duration but lasting effect, continue without change after the caster's death. Well, unless they require concentration, but animate dead doesn't.

Admittedly, there's no specific rule stating this, but there doesn't have to be: If the status quo did change whenever a caster died, the rules would have to explain how. Since the rules don't call out any such change, we can safely assume there isn't one. Besides, there's plenty of examples of magic lasting beyond the caster's death in adventures: Illusory wall and permanent image spells, magic items, and (of course) undead left guarding tombs and still following their long-dead creators' instructions while doing so.

That said, the animate dead spell specifies that the undead it creates "follow your spoken commands." Being dead precludes your doing most things, and one of the things it precludes you from doing is speaking. As such, your undead will continue to do whatever they were last commanded to do: In your case, "attack the bugs." Presumably they'll kill the insect monsters you were fighting, then any other insects they can find in the vicinity, then wander off looking for more, and will continue to do so until destroyed.

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