Normally, according to the answer to this question, when a person dies, their spell effects are still in place. When a character with undead controlled by animate dead or command undead dies, I presume this means that their control over the undead continues. What does that mean for the undead?

Animate dead implies that its duration is indefinite. Do these undead remain there and do nothing for the rest of eternity? If their last order is to stand down, do they not even defend themselves?

In the case of command undead, its duration can be rather long. Up to 80 days with feats and metamagic. If an intelligent undead fails its save, could it stand there for a whopping 80 days doing nothing?

Furthermore, if the dominating caster was a Lich, and the Lich's body is destroyed, but their phylactery remains intact, would they still be able to deliver commands remotely if they had communication spells in place with ongoing durations? A simple example in the case of dominate monster where the only stipulation is that they must be on the same plane to exert control.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may be interested in answers to this question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2021 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe that answers it. Would you like to add an answer so that I can mark it correct, or would it be better to close the question? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Sep 23, 2021 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that you're asking a different and more specific question that could—maybe? I really don't know—have an answer in one of Paizo's many tomes, FAQs, designer Q&As, etc. I suggest rephrasing the question to ask Does control of another creature end when the controller dies or is destroyed?, adding your lich example, and referencing the other question so that answers can tell you whether or not controlling a creature is an exception. (To be clear, I don't think it is an exception, but there's a lot of Pathfinder material.) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2021 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will update when I have time later tonight. But I like that suggestion. It will be sometime before I get to incorporate these suggestions, so I will accept edits that reflect these changes if they occur before I have a chance to update myself. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erudaki
    Sep 23, 2021 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's also worth noting that the question Hey I Can Chan linked is only applicable if, in fact, a lich's corporeal form being destroyed counts as the lich "dying", which might not be the case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Sep 23, 2021 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


Death rarely ends ongoing effects

In this case, the undead raised by the lich would remain active, but the lich (being temporarily dead) would be unable to issue further commands to them until his phylactery finished reconstructing him.

Intelligent undead would be able to keep making daily saves to escape the lich's control during this time, as normal.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I removed the reference to the “answer in comments” because there wasn’t really an answer there, just a link to a very related (maybe even duplicate) question, and I removed the salutation at the end as is policy. Welcome to the stack, take the tour when you have a moment. This answer seems to be well on its way to being a great answer, but I think it could be improved by more thoroughly outlining the reasoning given in the linked answer, so that it stands better on its own. \$\endgroup\$ May 5, 2022 at 22:19

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