If a monster has Legendary Actions, can it use one at the end of a dead creature's turn? And would it matter if the dead creature is an ally of the monster or a PC?

Relevant section from the Monster Manual:

A legendary creature can take a certain number of special actions — called legendary actions — outside its turn. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. A legendary creature regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn. It can forgo using them, and it can’t use them while incapacitated or otherwise unable to take actions. If surprised, it can’t use them until after its first turn in the combat.


No. A dead creature has no turn.

A round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. During a round, each participant in a battle takes a turn.

(PHB 189)

If you are dead, you are not participating in the battle. A PC who has failed all death saving throws is dead and is effectively removed from battle. Any NPC's or enemies killed are likewise taken from the battle. They do not have any position in the turn order and cannot take actions/turns unless brought back to life, in which case, the Legendary Action can definitely be utilized.

Note: Dead is not the same as "Undead" which is a type of creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If a PC or important villain dies and then warps back in from the afterlife without being raised e.g. via plane shift do you have them reroll initiative and handwave/guesstimate the spellcasting or other time required for getting back to the fight/ It seems like you'd need to do something since you are dropping them out of initiative order when they die \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Oct 10 '20 at 5:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't seem to pertain to the OP's question, but it sounds like DM's call. I'd personally return them in the order where they left from. \$\endgroup\$ – He Who Rules As Intended Oct 10 '20 at 6:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does DnD 5e even have the concept of a "dead creature"? Corpse is an object, not a creature. A creature making death saving throws isn't dead yet. \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Oct 10 '20 at 9:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil In 5e, we've got stats for souls in the afterlife for certain Lower Planes, and they don't have any spellcasting abilities. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Oct 11 '20 at 5:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dave Larvae are in the DMG p. 63, and lemures and manes are in the MM. \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Oct 13 '20 at 0:54

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