How the animate dead spell works in the video game Baldur's Gate 3 has me wondering:

Can I reanimate the remains of a dispelled zombie?

  • Does it remain a zombie (undead creature) after dispelling, and remain exempt from animate dead
  • Or is it again a humanoid corpse, and thus a valid target for the spell?

Some of the answers to similar questions address a destroyed or "killed" zombie, but not a dispelled zombie.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I added the 5e tag for you as the text of your question is asking about 5e \$\endgroup\$ Sep 16 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by "dispelled zombie" in terms of 5e? And how do you want to reanimate it, using what feature/spell exactly? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Sep 16 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems to me that BG3 questions ought to be fielded at arqade \$\endgroup\$ Sep 16 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'll make a meta of how to treat those, as many of them are essentially questions about how the 5e rules work, triggered by someone playing the game. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 16 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close for now, but would love to hear from @Bex what the focus of their question is really about. Is this a question about what you saw in BG3 and are asking if what you saw is accurate? Or do you have a question about the game itself? Or is it something else? I just want to make sure we're answering the question you have and not the question we think you have. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 18 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


You cannot dispel Zombies in D&D 5e

Animate Dead, the spell that creates zombies is a spell with an instantaneous duration. You cannot dispel effects of spells with an instantaneous duration.

This has been explicitly answered in the Sage Advice Compendium:

Can you use dispel magic on the creations of a spell like animate dead or affect those creations with antimagic field?

Whenever you wonder whether a spell’s effects can be dispelled or suspended, you need to answer one question: is the spell’s duration instantaneous? If the answer is yes, there is nothing to dispel or suspend. Here’s why: the effects of an instantaneous spell are brought into being by magic, but the effects aren’t sustained by magic (see PH, 203). The magic flares for a split second and then vanishes. For example, the instantaneous spell animate dead harnesses magical energy to turn a corpse or a pile of bones into an undead creature. That necromantic magic is present for an instant and is then gone. The resulting undead now exists without the magic’s help. Casting dispel magic on the creature can’t end its mockery of life, and the undead can wander into an antimagic field with no adverse effect. [...]

Of course there are many other ways to off zombies, from just beating them down, to a cleric of level 5 or higher using their Channel Divinity to destroy them. (Thanks to @KorvinStarmast.)

Wether you can reuse the corpses of zombies that were destroyed in some way in 5e is covered by Can a Necromancer reuse the corpses left behind from slain undead? in detail. Short answer (also based on the SAC): yes, if the creature at some point was a humanoid.

Can I cast animate dead on the humanoid-shaped corpse of an undead creature such as a zombie or a ghast?

When animate dead targets a corpse, the body must have belonged to a creature of the humanoid creature type. If the spell targets a pile of bones, there is no creature type restriction; the bones become a skeleton.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But a level 5 or higher cleric can destroy them with channel divinity. {Lvl | CR Undead Destroyed } {5th | 1/2 or lower } {8th |1 or lower } {11th | 2 or lower } {14th | 3 or lower } { 17th | 4 or lower } \$\endgroup\$ Sep 16 at 19:53

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