The necromancer PC travels all across the country with his favourite skeleton. It was animated via Animate Dead a long time ago and the necromancer kept casting it every day in order to retain control over the skeleton. But now, the necromancer has to take care of some business in Waterdeep. Meetings with nobles, appointments with tradespeople, stuff like that. He doesn’t want to bring his skeleton into the city, because this would raise some eyebrows (and potentially some weapons). On the other hand, he doesn’t want to leave the skeleton outside. Due to time pressure, he wouldn’t be able to visit his skeleton every day. Therefore, it would break free from his control and probably leave.

Can the necromancer dismantle his skeleton servant? Would this de-animate the skeleton? Could he put the bones into his Bag of Holding and later reanimate it after his business trip? (As was discussed in the comments, this particular bag of holding is not big enough to fit an entire skeleton, just its bones). This skeleton is near and dear to the necromancer’s heart and he doesn’t want to lose it.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for adding all those links to my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – hohenheim
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why do you want to take apart the skeleton before putting it into the BoH? Is it too wide to fit into it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I think all bones would fit individually, but not as a whole creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – hohenheim
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not just put The skeleton servant in the bag of holding? Depending on the size of it, it should fit as the bag's entrance has a diameter of 2 feet As it does not breath it can stay in there indefinitely and you just have to find a secluded/private spot each 24 hours to take it out to recast animate dead on it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dinomaster
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not too burly, but I measured my shoulders and they are about 50cm wide, which is under the 2 foot wide "mouth" of a BoH. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


You probably can't dismantle the skeleton whilst it is animated

From the description in the Monster Manual (pg. 272):

Animated Dead. Whatever sinister force awakens a skeleton infuses its bones with a dark vitality, adhering joint to joint and reassembling dismantled limbs. This energy motivates the skeleton to move and think in a rudimentary fashion, though only as a pale imitation if the way it behaved in life.

This implies that the magic used to animate the skeleton is also holding it together, and that it couldn't be dissembled whilst that magic holds.

The best way to achieve what you want to achieve would be to "kill" the skeleton (perhaps avoiding bludgeoning damage as so not to break any of its bones; this skeleton is dear to your necromancer, after all...) and then pick up the bones (that are no longer held together by magic) and put them in the Bag of Holding afterwards.

They can then be reanimated at a later date.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ dispel magic would deanimate the skeleton without damaging the bones, no need to hack at it with a weapon \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 15, 2018 at 22:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you order the skeleton to destroy itself via tearing itself apart into it's component bones? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellheim
    Mar 22, 2020 at 7:43
  1. Would bound his buddy with rope and cloth incase of losing control.
  2. Bag of Holding can hold creatures, so no need to dismantle him.
  3. Have rope attached to buddy and retrieve that whilst retrieving from the bag.
  4. He could possible still cast his spell for control, it would have to RP out the specifics.

Undead i.e. skeletons don’t have the previous restriction of only raised once as per 3/3.5 Ed.


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