The School of Necromancy wizard has the 14th-level feature Command Undead (PHB, p. 119):

Starting at 14th level, you can use magic to bring undead under your control, even those created by other wizards. As an action, you can choose one undead that you can see within 60 feet of you. That creature must make a Charisma saving throw against your wizard spell save DC. If it succeeds, you can’t use this feature on it again. If it fails, it becomes friendly to you and obeys your commands until you use this feature again.

Intelligent undead are harder to control in this way. If the target has an Intelligence of 8 or higher, it has advantage on the saving throw. If it fails the saving throw and has an Intelligence of 12 or higher, it can repeat the saving throw at the end of every hour until it succeeds and breaks free.

If I manage to feeblemind a useful intelligent undead (say a vampire), can I then use my ability to Command Undead for a longer-duration follower?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes, this works

(As long as the creature fails the feeblemind save)

A creature can only continually save against Command Undead if it has an intelligence of 12 or higher:

If the target has an Intelligence of 8 or higher, it has advantage on the saving throw. If it fails the saving throw and has an Intelligence of 12 or higher, it can repeat the saving throw at the end of every hour until it succeeds and breaks free.

Feeblemind is Instantaneous and the affected creature doesn't get to save again for 30 days:

At the end of every 30 days, the creature can repeat its saving throw against this spell. If it succeeds on its saving throw, the spell ends. The spell can also be ended by greater restoration, heal, or wish.

Also, feeblemind reduces Charisma too, so it is almost certain that the target fails the Command Undead save (since it would then have a -5 Charisma modifier).

Be mindful of Legendary Resistance

While keeping feeblemind active on a target is usually easy (as their Intelligence is reduced, so they almost certainly fail the 30 day save), traits like Legendary Resistance mean that the creature can choose to succeed anyway and break free after the month.

Make sure you command the creature not to use Legendary Resistance on feeblemind (or have it use up it's charges before the end of the day to be safe).

  • Not sure how useful a 1 intelligence vampire would be though. Probably best to stick with mummy lords :) – Rosco.p.coltrane Aug 21 at 14:07

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