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15 Best Undead Creatures DnD 5E [Confront The Horrors Of The Afterlife]

best undead creatures dnd 5e
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 01/11/2024
Est. Reading: 7 minutes

Across the vivid and imaginative realms of the Dungeons & Dragons universe, the most thrilling challenges and exhilarating encounters often come in the form of villains.

One such category, an ever-popular choice for dungeon masters and players alike, is undead creatures dnd 5e.

These beings not only bring a unique spectrum of lore and complex mechanics to each session but also place your courage to the ultimate test from beyond the grave.

Channeling powerful spells, wielding unearthly abilities, or simply presenting an unnerving presence, these fiends serve as formidable opponents, leaving memories of epic adventures imprinted on player’s minds.

We’ll unravel some of the best undead creatures that ‘DnD 5e’ has to offer. From those that ooze malevolent intent to others with their aura of chilling elegance order there’s something to suit every style and taste.

What are Undead Creatures in DnD 5E?

Undead creatures in Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) 5th edition were once beings of life and breath, now transformed chillingly into a state of unlife.

What are Undead Creatures in DnD 5E

This state, often introduced through the use of dark necromantic magic or a weighty curse, breathes an eerie form of existence into the once-living creature.

Inundating layers of lore surround them, linking to various realms and planes within the DnD universe.

Whether they are ghosts filled with regret or vampires thirsting for life force, skeletons stripped to their bones, or lichs mastering forbidden spells, each undead creature holds a unique tie to the realm of death while refusing to pay it full obeisance.

Their existential struggle between life and the afterlife marks the essence of their unnerving existence.

Operating by distinct rules in gameplay, undead adds new dimensions to every adventure’s dynamics by offering unique encounters replete with surprises.

With their varied combat abilities, damage immunities, and peculiar vulnerabilities, they pose thrilling challenges for players that extend beyond mere hack-and-slash strategies.

Common Traits of Undead

Before plunging into battles with the formidable undead, it might be helpful to understand a few common characteristics that these creatures share in DnD 5e.

Common Traits of Undead

These features often serve as their primary defenses and strategic advantages against unprepared adventurers.

It is worth noting these traits are not absolute for every undead creature but are widely seen across the category.

Poison Immunity

A prominent component in the biology of the undead is their immunity to poison.

Undead creatures in DnD 5e show a remarkable resistance if not total immunity to any damage originating from poisons or poisonous substances.

This means an attempt to weaken or harm them utilizing poison will essentially be futile.

This intriguing characteristic emerges from the lack of living biological within these creatures that could be affected by toxins, making traditional poisoning methods ineffective.

Also Read: Giant Wolf 5E Monster [Face The Alpha Predator Of The Wilderness]

Condition Immunities

One of the many challenges players face when dealing with undead foes is their susceptibility to several conditions that would otherwise create problems for mortal beings.

Most of these creatures prove immune in instances where players might try strategies such as charming them or causing them exhaustion.

Stumbling on an undead who hasn’t consumed food, water, or slept may not come as a surprise since they prevent these worldly requirements altogether.

Their existence isn’t maintained through earthly sustenance but through dark magic spells holding their form and consciousness together.

Mundane Damage Resistance/Immunity

On top of naturally resisting specific conditions and toxins, many members of the undead family showcase resistance, sometimes even immunity, against certain types of mundane damage.

By mundane damage, we mean those caused by nonmagical weapons those not imbued with magical properties that would typically pose a threat to other adversaries.

When combating a foe known for this characteristic, it’s important to have magical weapons at your disposal; either simple weapons imbued with enchantment or magical artifacts found throughout your adventures.

The category of undead creatures in Dungeons and Dragons 5e encompasses a variety of challenging and intriguing opponents that test the mettle of any brave adventurer.

These unforgettable foes bring an eerie blend of horror and excitement to every encounter. Let’s dissect some of the best undead adversaries you might find haunting your campaign.


In DnD 5e, Zombies form a staple among low-level undead creatures. Constantly driven by an insatiable hunger for flesh, these decaying beings pose a consistent threat despite their sluggish movements.

While they may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, they make up for their lack of intelligence with their robust constitution and a unique ability known as “Undead Fortitude.”

This allows them to keep coming at you even when landed with killing blows.


Skeletons hold a classic spot in the repertoire of DnD monsters, serving as timeless minions for necromancers or guardians for forbidden tombs.

Crafted from magic-infused bones, Skeletons might lack flesh but they are far from harmless.

Their forte lies in their agility and marksmanship making those arrow-riddled encounters quite memorable. The eerie imagery of clattering bones goes hand-in-hand with their deadly precision.

Also Read: Giant Tortoise 5E Monster [Encounter These Titanic Testudines In DnD]


If the standard Zombie fails to prick up your hair, perhaps Ghouls will do the job; these ghoulish adversaries bring a horrific twist to your journey.

Unlike Zombies, Ghouls possess moderate intelligence along with an unnerving speed that can catch adventurers off-guard.

What stands out about Ghouls is their haunting ability to paralyze opponents – ensuring that encounters remain nail-biting till the end.


Wights introduce players to a classier caliber of undead enemies, carrying themselves with an ominous sense of leadership among less potent undead minions.

Forged directly from human souls twisted by evil forces, Wights represent fearsome warriors trapped in a state of undead servitude.

They’re the complete package – strength, speed, dark vision, immunity to exhaustion, and even life-draining abilities that can raise their fallen enemies as zombies.


Sealing the atmospheric essence of gothic horror within Dungeons & Dragons, Vampires stand as one of the most formidable undead creatures.

Equipped with supernatural strength, speed, regenerative abilities, and a plethora of spell-like capabilities Vampires are not to be taken lightly.

Savor these cinematic showdowns with these undead lords; they are moments you would cherish as an adventurer.


Considered among the deadliest magical monsters in all of DnD 5e, Liches are undead spellcasters who have chosen undeath in a quest for ultimate power.

Posing as some of the smartest beings with their superior wizardry and an arsenal full of devastating spells such as Power Word Kill and Finger of Death, Liches can bring entire parties to their knees.

Their ability to regenerate from their phylacteries ensures they always have the last bone-chilling laugh.


An eerie figure that effortlessly sends chills down the spine of even seasoned adventurers, the Ghost is an undead soul trapped between this plane and the next.

As ethereal entities, ghosts can possess your characters or age them significantly with a mere touch, so be prepared for a truly harrowing experience.

But facing off against these spectral figures also allows you the opportunity to negotiate or empathize with their distressing predicaments, often linked to unresolved matters from their life.

Also Read: Black Pudding 5E Monster [Survive The Corrosive Ooze Creature]


Specters are essentially angry souls who refuse to let go of their former lives. These incorporeal beings lack physical form, making your ordinary weapons futile against them.

On top of their resistance to non-magical attacks, they can drain life forces and exhibit effective character mobility through walls, ceilings, and floors.

Maneuvering against these beings will certainly put your tactical skills to the test.


Mummies are protectors of cursed tombs and ancient crypts, wrapped in rotten bandages and seeping with a mystical aura.

Casting an intimidating presence with high constitution and damage resistance, they can curse your characters or scare them away with frightful glares.

Dispatching these beings would require more than just strength; it commands profound knowledge about ancient curses and specific weaknesses this undead exhibit.


Banshees were once beautiful women obsessed with their grace that now exist as miserable spirits condemning the beauty they lost.

Besides being highly resistant to non-magical attacks, these spectral women release a heart-wrenching wail capable of dropping your characters unconscious in an instant.

It’s advised not only to be on guard for physical threats but also to manage fear effectively when caught in a banshee’s mournful gaze.


Unique in nature among undead creatures, Revenants are spirits bound by vengeance who relentlessly pursue those who had wronged them in life.

With superior combat skills and a destructive resolve, they pose a serious threat.

Bring your best strategies to the table because Revenants fear neither death nor pain, rejuvenating each time they’re defeated until their mission is accomplished.


As the name implies, Shadows are eerie undead entities devoid of physical form. They lurk in umbral corners, ready to drain strength from their victims. The terror of shadows arises from their capacity to create further Shadows from those they kill. Exercising caution and tact is crucial when tackling these dreadful forces of darkness.


Wraiths are spirit creatures fueled by deep-seated hate and misery. As semi-incorporeal beings, they possess damage immunity to non-silvered weapons along with life-draining touch attacks.

These spiteful entities have the power to animate slain mortals into specters under their command, bolstering ranks within their haunting legions.

Also Read: Marut 5E Monster [Face The Inexorable Enforcers Of Cosmic Law]

Death Knight

Centuries-old warriors fallen from grace meet unholy ends becoming Death Knights, arguably amongst the meanest of DnD’s undead roster.

Besides bearing high AC and hit points, these formidable adversaries can command other undead and unleash devastating magical assaults as well A true nightmare materialized in metal and malice.


Necromancers master the dark art of rising dead as servants catering to their every will.

Although not undead themselves per se, they warrant mention for their ability alone to conjure a terrifying ensemble of such creatures.

Enemy necromancers can turn simple encounters into deadly battles by bolstering ranks with reanimated hordes whilst harnessing an array of devious spells.

FAQs About undead creatures dnd 5e

What does undead mean in DnD?

In the universe of Dungeons & Dragons, ‘undead’ refers to creatures that were once alive but aren’t anymore. They’ve been reanimated through necromancy or a curse, with types ranging from zombies and ghosts to more powerful entities like mummies and liches.

Are undead creatures immune to non-magical weapons in DnD 5e?

Many undead have resistance or immunity to specific types of non-magical damage; however, this varies between creatures. For instance, specters and ghosts are immune to most forms of physical damage unless from magical or silvered weapons.

Can all undead creatures cast spells in DnD 5e?

Not all undead can perform magic. However, many have unique supernatural abilities linked to their lore, such as the banshee’s wail or the wraith’s life-drain attack. Only certain potent undead-like liches and death knights exhibit full-fledged spellcasting.

What is a death-saving throw when fighting an undead creature in DnD 5e?

A death saving throw is a mechanic employed when your character is reduced to zero hit points, often following a dangerous battle with an undead creature. Success leads toward stabilization while failures may result in dire consequences for your character.

Are there good undead creatures in DnD 5e?

The majority of undead in DnD are evil; however, exceptions do exist particularly amongst those retaining their memories & emotions from living days – like Ghosts or Revenants may even ally with players under specific circumstances.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!