D&D 5E Can I use animate dead to reanimate a zombie that has been killed?

ECMO3

Hero
Animate dead requires a corpse of a medium or small humanoid or a pile of bones. So if I use animate dead on say a dead human to make a zombie and that zombie is subsequently killed, can I raise the same corpse again.

I can see this going either way - The corpse was at one point humanoid, but now is it an "undead corpse" instead of a "humanoid corpse"
 

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FitzTheRuke

Legend
I'd probably allow it, but it might depend on how much overkill damage it took when it was killed as a zombie as to how functional the new zombie is. I imagine that animate dead puppets the corpse (read: functionally heals the undead) well enough, but it could be pretty darn mangled from being defeated earlier. I'd at least fluff that, if not actually give it any mechanical deficiencies.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Animate dead requires a corpse of a medium or small humanoid or a pile of bones. So if I use animate dead on say a dead human to make a zombie and that zombie is subsequently killed, can I raise the same corpse again.

I can see this going either way - The corpse was at one point humanoid, but now is it an "undead corpse" instead of a "humanoid corpse"
I might allow it, but it would require justification. A zombie had to have the stuffing kicked out of it to be put down again. How are you keeping the stuffing from just falling out again? This is a more specific and open-ended version of your last sentence here. A corpse that was raised and then defeated had its undead fortitude beaten out of it. How do you intend to force new fortitude back in? How do you intend to compensate for any damage the zombie sustained? E.g. if its muscles have been burnt to a crisp by a fireball, how are you compensating for that loss of mobility (since you're specifically making a zombie, not a skeleton)?

In general I favor going with whatever sounds cool and isn't outright unreasonable. So there's a good chance you could sell me on it. Be aware, though, that this may mean others figure out this technique as well! You might want to check for exploitable weaknesses.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I would rule that a zombie is killed when the corpses takes enough damage so it is no longet intact (ie the corpse is destroywd)

ergo there wouldnt be enough intact corpse left for it to be animated (beyond a comically flailing arm or a chattering skull)
 



There's nothing that says it stops being a humanoid corpse. So it depends if your DM thinks an object can count as more than one thing at a time.

I personally rule on a case by case basis, but generally find letting a necromancer repeatedly raise the same corpse to be good for roleplay. The player gets attached, names them, and feels sad when things happen to their favorite skeletons.

For example, I had one player that animated the body of his dead brother. It was a fairly straightforward revenge story, but he went out of his way to care for the skeleton, and would make special effort to sneak it into places or put himself in danger to recover the remains whenever it fell in combat.
 
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Yes it would work fine. Animate dead does not say the corpse needs to be intact. In fact it says a pile of bones is sufficient. It doesn't even say it needs all the bones of a single corpse.

Hence why necromancers must be put down. Their potential armies are not only near infinite, but their minions can be reanimated as long as their is magic.
 



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