If a PC killed an ancient green dragon, what could they do to reanimate it as undead under their control, assumeing they have whatever combination of class levels necessary to make the idea work?

Not as a dracolitch but as an undead dragon.

Also: is there a way to make it permanent?
What about minimizing saves it could get?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure if you told us your class and your level it could help us to answer this question. \$\endgroup\$ May 2 '20 at 6:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ The goal was to explore all raw "big creature" necromancy abilitys in 5e because I could not find anything close besides animate object (possibly) it's to see if the perspective build would be a viable character concept \$\endgroup\$
    – Ayden s
    May 2 '20 at 7:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding this info in the question explanation will indeed help. \$\endgroup\$ May 2 '20 at 8:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you want specifically create a Dracolich? Add this info into the Q if you do. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    May 2 '20 at 10:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aydens "Not as a dracolitch but as an undead." Any undead or explicitly an undead dragon? \$\endgroup\$
    – findusl
    May 4 '20 at 15:30

The Wand of Orcus wielded by Orcus himself

The only official avenue to create undead at the power-level of an ancient green dragon is for Orcus to use his unique artifact:

Call Undead. While you are holding the wand, you can use an action to conjure skeletons and zombies, calling forth as many of them as you can divide 500 hit points among, each undead having average hit points...

While attuned to the wand, Orcus can summon any kind of undead, not just skeletons and zombies. The undead don’t perish or disappear at dawn the following day, remaining until Orcus dismisses them.

Since the only official way to create controlled undead more powerful than mummies (which can be created via create undead) is to have the Demon Prince of Undeath use one of the most powerful magic items in the multiverse, a PC should have considerable difficulty replicating such a feat.


Technically there are a couple of spell-based routes available, but they might not achieve what you probably want.

The first and simplest (but not easiest) option is Wish, although you will have all the drawbacks of a non-standard use of the spell.

In addition, if you are a 14th-level Wizard in the School of Necromancy, you could cast Revivify, then find a means to cast True Polymorph to transform the dragon into a Dracolich, and hope that it fails its saving throw against your Command Undead feature. In this case, the dragon would be more convenient alive and it doesn't have to be a dragon, just anything with CR 17.

A final option if the dragon is only Large in size is to have someone else cast Enlarge/Reduce to decrease the size of the dragon to Medium. You can then cast Danse Macabre to bring it to life for an hour as a skeleton or zombie (using the corresponding skeleton/zombie statistics in the Monster Manual).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would note that danse macabre has a rather short duration. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    May 2 '20 at 8:34

Animate Dead could work assuming you strip the flesh off of it's bones as per the

This spell creates an Undead servant. Choose a pile of bones or a corpse of a Medium or Small Humanoid within range

Essentially just turn the dragon into a pile of bones which makes it a valid target. I'd like to emphasize the text says Choose a pile of bones or so any type of bones is viable target.

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    \$\begingroup\$ dragons aren't humanoids though \$\endgroup\$ May 2 '20 at 10:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can see that it could be read that way (there are a fair few rules, and questions asked about them, that read this way) but it would seem a bit odd for the developers to limit the spell to the corpse of a medium or small humanoid to create a zombie but throw out any restrictions on a pile of bones to create a skeleton. Also, which in my opinion is why the question needs to be closed until we get more details, it's unclear whether the OP wants to reanimate the dragon as an undead dragon or as any old undead creature so this may not even be applicable. \$\endgroup\$ May 2 '20 at 10:55

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