This is a follow up question to Can I make a skeleton from a zombie?

In D&D 5e, there are very few ways to get a permanent necrotic follower. Usually you have to reassert control over them. Finger of death, I think, is the only way to get a permanent undead follower, but I am pretty sure that only applies to zombies, as cited below.

A humanoid killed by this spell rises at the start of your next turn as a zombie that is permanently under your command

I am interested in the exhaustion immunity of skeletons, and enjoy their appearance much more than the zombies.

Is it possible to get a permanent skeleton companion?


Yes, it is possible

It is actually possible to obtain a permanent skeleton companion. That being said, it is a slightly convoluted process that is not without certain shortcomings. This method involves using two spells in conjunction:

Finger of Death

A humanoid killed by this spell rises at the start of your next turn as a zombie that is permanently under your command, following your verbal orders to the best of its ability.

True Polymorph

Choose one creature or nonmagical object that you can see within range. You transform that creature into a different creature ... If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation becomes permanent. ... If you turn a creature into another kind of creature, the new form can be any kind you choose whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target's. The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form. It retains its alignment and personality. ...

By now, you probably understand where I'm going with this. You would first start by using Finger of Death to create a normal zombie servant under your control. Next, you would use the True Polymorph spell to transform said zombie into a skeleton (which you can do because they are both challenge rating 1/4). Then you simply wait out the spell's duration, which makes the transformation permanent, and, since a transformed creature "retains its alignment and personality" you now have one permanent skeleton companion at your disposal.

In fact, using this method, you could create a permanent companion out of any creature of 1/4 challenge rating you may desire.

In Summary

Finger of Death + True Polymorph = permanent skeleton companion

  • \$\begingroup\$ The ecology of zombies and skeletons in d&d is that removing the flesh from a zombie makes it a skeleton. No true polymorph required. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13 at 13:47

You cannot get a true permanent skeleton companion per RaW. You could get a GM to be ok with you reskining the Zombie from Finger of Death as a Skeleton. You could try to convince them that ripping the flesh off the Zombie wouldn't kill it.

Failing those you can set up a semi-automatic version, so you don't have to do

Step 1

Create a skeleton with animate dead

Step 2

Cast Glyph of Warding onto a pouch. Store animate dead in the spell. Give it a trigger of opening the pouch.

Step 3

Give the skeleton the pouch and a command to open it after 23.5 hours.

Step 4

Cast the spell in the glyph again.

You can reduce having to do use spell slots everyday with an Ioun Stone of Reserve or Ring of Spell Storing which will store one of the spells(or both if you have multiple) so you have to prepare it twice every 2 days and cast it out of the item every other day.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The accepted answer seems to belie your claims regarding RaW. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Mar 12 '18 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ glyph of warding sadly has its 10 ft movement range after which it will dispel making this somewhat inconvenient... \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Nov 20 '18 at 3:02

I'm pretty sure you can make a permanent animated dead, including a skeleton, using the awaken spell as a bard or druid.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se. Please take our tour. Can you please elaborate on how do you intend to raise a skeleton with this spell? From what I see, it can only awake a (living) beast or plant. It is also not under your control, which is something the asker wants, it is only charmed (check the charmed condition). Finally, even the charm is not permanent - so it is not actually a guaranteed way to get a permanent companion. It could easily become hostile to you, or simply stay friendly but not accompany you. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Nov 20 '18 at 2:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ may i ask what makes a skeleton a "beast or plant"? this seems like a major issue in your answer and i am down-voting until you can explain better. \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Nov 20 '18 at 3:01

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