Casting Bear's Endurance on a Dead Body?


Rules Questions


If Bear's Endurance were cast on a dead body, would it have it's normal effects upon that body (+4 enhancement bonus to Constitution) even though the target is dead?


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A dead body is an object not a creature so it cannot be cast on it.


Hrothgar Rannúlfr wrote:
If Bear's Endurance were cast on a dead body, would it have it's normal effects upon that body (+4 enhancement bonus to Constitution) even though the target is dead?

I'm guessing your looking at a possible loophole, say a character went negative past their Con last round and died so you cast Bear's Endurance to give them an extra few rounds? Cheat/Delay Death?

I'd have to go with the spell fails as well...

Silver Crusade

Note Breath of Life has

Target creature touched

Even thought it can bring the dead back to life.

Raise Dead, Resurrection, True Resurection all have

Target dead creature touched

So the rules distinguish between a creature, dead creature or object


Objects don't have constitution scores, and dead bodies are objects rather than creatures.


Breath of Life should also be call out deaf creatures. That can be fixed with an FAQ and errata though.


A dead body is still a creature, it's just a creature with the dead condition.

Various spells seem to indicate that a dead creature is both a creature and an object (assuming a corpse is an object)

  • Reincarnate : Target dead creature touched
  • Raise Dead : Target dead creature touched
  • Breath of Life : Target creature touched

  • Sculpt Corpse : Target one dead creature touched
  • Decompose corpse : Target one corpse or corporeal undead
  • Gentle Repose : Target corpse touched
  • Animate Dead : Targets one or more corpses touched


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    Firewarrior44 wrote:

    A dead body is still a creature, it's just a creature with the dead condition.

    Various spells seem to indicate that a dead creature is both a creature and an object (assuming a corpse is an object)

  • Reincarnate : Target dead creature touched
  • Raise Dead : Target dead creature touched
  • Breath of Life : Target creature touched

  • Sculpt Corpse : Target one dead creature touched
  • Decompose corpse : Target one corpse or corporeal undead
  • Gentle Repose : Target corpse touched
  • Animate Dead : Targets one or more corpses touched
  • Dead people are not intended to have stats just like they arent intended to take actions despite no rule barring them from taking actions.

    Is this really going to require an FAQ in order for people to say a dead body can be intelligent, have dexterity, or any other ability score?


    Breath of Life wrote:

    Breath of Life

    School conjuration (healing); Level cleric 5

    Casting Time 1 standard action

    Components V, S

    Range touch

    Target creature touched

    Duration instantaneous

    Saving Throw Will negates (harmless) or Will half, see text; Spell Resistance yes (harmless) or yes, see text

    This spell cures 5d8 points of damage + 1 point per caster level (maximum +25).

    Unlike other spells that heal damage, breath of life can bring recently slain creatures back to life. If cast upon a creature that has died within 1 round, apply the healing from this spell to the creature. If the healed creature's hit point total is at a negative amount less than its Constitution score, it comes back to life and stabilizes at its new hit point total. If the creature's hit point total is at a negative amount equal to or greater than its Constitution score, the creature remains dead. Creatures brought back to life through breath of life gain a temporary negative level that lasts for 1 day.

    Creatures slain by death effects cannot be saved by breath of life.

    Like cure spells, breath of life deals damage to undead creatures rather than curing them, and cannot bring them back to life.

    The way I see it, that statement means that this is an exception use of the spell that bypass the normal rule.

    So no, a dead body isn't a valid target for Bear's Endurance.

    On a side note off the topic, I'd like to point out that I wouldn't allow Undead creatures to gain temporal hit points while under the effect of Eagle's Splendor spell either.

    Edit// Btw...

    wraithstrike wrote:
    Breath of Life should also be call out deaf creatures. That can be fixed with an FAQ and errata though.

    Nice pun! Intended?


    @William

    That line is in reference to the dead condition

    Dead wrote:
    Dead characters cannot benefit from normal or magical healing, but they can be restored to life via magic.

    As without it the spell would not function.

    You can target spells on dead things all you want but if it restores HP and doesn't have an exception it's going to do nothing despite the spell being on the body.


    William Werminster wrote:
    Breath of Life wrote:

    Breath of Life

    School conjuration (healing); Level cleric 5

    Casting Time 1 standard action

    Components V, S

    Range touch

    Target creature touched

    Duration instantaneous

    Saving Throw Will negates (harmless) or Will half, see text; Spell Resistance yes (harmless) or yes, see text

    This spell cures 5d8 points of damage + 1 point per caster level (maximum +25).

    Unlike other spells that heal damage, breath of life can bring recently slain creatures back to life. If cast upon a creature that has died within 1 round, apply the healing from this spell to the creature. If the healed creature's hit point total is at a negative amount less than its Constitution score, it comes back to life and stabilizes at its new hit point total. If the creature's hit point total is at a negative amount equal to or greater than its Constitution score, the creature remains dead. Creatures brought back to life through breath of life gain a temporary negative level that lasts for 1 day.

    Creatures slain by death effects cannot be saved by breath of life.

    Like cure spells, breath of life deals damage to undead creatures rather than curing them, and cannot bring them back to life.

    The way I see it, that statement means that this is an exception use of the spell that bypass the normal rule.

    So no, a dead body isn't a valid target for Bear's Endurance.

    On a side note off the topic, I'd like to point out that I wouldn't allow Undead creatures to gain temporal hit points while under the effect of Eagle's Splendor spell either.

    Edit// Btw...

    wraithstrike wrote:
    Breath of Life should also be call out deaf creatures. That can be fixed with an FAQ and errata though.

    Nice pun! Intended?

    Sadly it was a typo. LOL


    Firewarrior44 wrote:

    @William

    That line is in reference to the dead condition

    Dead wrote:
    Dead characters cannot benefit from normal or magical healing, but they can be restored to life via magic.

    As without it the spell would not function.

    You can target spells on dead things all you want but if it restores HP and doesn't have an exception it's going to do nothing despite the spell being on the body.

    I'm waiting for a reply to my last post about dead bodies and ability scores. :)


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    I don't see anything particularly wrong with casting bear's endurance on a dead body and having it boost the deceased's Constitution (if known). Exactly why it would be worth it to do so is questionable. I guess it could boost the Fortitude save of the corpse?


    wraithstrike wrote:
    I'm waiting for a reply to my last post about dead bodies and ability scores. :)

    I for one agree with you. In particular, dead bodies lack Wisdom and Charisma scores, which places them firmly in the objects-not-creatures category along with turnips.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

    A body is a dead creature, but a body is not a creature. It's an object.

    A dead creature is no longer a creature just as an extinguished flame is no longer a flame, but might still be affected by hypothetical spells that specifically target an extinguished flame.

    Because a dead body is not a creature, it cannot be targeted by bear's endurance, which specifically targets creatures.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Bill Dunn wrote:

    I don't see anything particularly wrong with casting bear's endurance on a dead body and having it boost the deceased's Constitution (if known). Exactly why it would be worth it to do so is questionable. I guess it could boost the Fortitude save of the corpse?

    I think the intention is to un-kill the target. Let's imagine a third-level PC with a Con score of 10. If they take enough damage to reduce them to -11 hit points, they die. Sad trombone.

    The OP is asking (I think), "can a cleric ally cast bear's endurance on the PC?" If allowed, that would increase the dead PC's Con score to 14, and -11 is not lower than that, so the PC would not be dead.

    On the one hand, I'm totally with wraithstrike on this that it's not intended. Dead is probably intended to be dead, and you're not really intended to be casting spells on dead folks, unless they specifically call it out.

    On the other hand, it strikes me as a kind of super-situational way to mitigate some low-level deaths. It's kind of flavorful for a cleric to cast a spell that merely buys a tiny bit of time... a round or two at most, for those rare moments a slightly higher Con score would matter. This - assuming you don't also increase the PC's actual hit point total by 2x Hit Dice and let them start acting if you manage to bring them above 0 - might be a reasonable house rule. The spell could be sort of the equivalent of a defibrillator. "CLEAR!" Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.

    On the gripping hand, I suspect such a ruling would just have an emergency potion of bear's endurance strapped to every PC's chest. "In case of emergency, feed me."

    Bottom line, I'm confident there's no game-designer intent to have this spell work on a dead character, but it might actually open up some interesting roleplay opportunities as long as it doesn't end up being overdone.


    It would be fine, if he's trying to save a life, to cast it and have it affect the dying character BEFORE he's actually dead. Once he's dead, though, whether he can target the corpse or not, it won't make a difference. He's already dead. His soul has left the body. He's expired and gone to meet his maker. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's shuffled off his mortal coil and boosting his CON to 50 won't bring him back. Good effort, though.


    Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
    wraithstrike wrote:
    I'm waiting for a reply to my last post about dead bodies and ability scores. :)
    I for one agree with you. In particular, dead bodies lack Wisdom and Charisma scores, which places them firmly in the objects-not-creatures category along with turnips.

    I agree, but Paizo didn't port that text over from 3.5 so some people(or a certain person) are trying to say they count as creatures.

    That is why I am asking him if he thinks that dead bodies have ability scores.

    edit: Also the Paizo rules state:

    Quote:
    A character with a Constitution score of 0 is dead.

    So does he think bear's endurance bring him back to life?

    Note that it doesnt say that being dead gives you a con score of zero. If something is dead the con score becomes - which means the ability score doesnt exist just like it doesnt for undead creatures or constructs.

    Now if we want to argue that dead bodies have a con score then there is no reason to say they dont have dex and strength scores, and nothing is stopping them from being able to move at that point. :)


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    Miracle Max can do this, but only if the creature in question is only mostly dead.


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    Thanks, everyone.

    We were looking at it as a means to aid in reversing death, if only temporarily, as Anguish suggested.

    Also, we were considering a house rule wherein a fortitude save would be required to survive being raised from the dead (similar to the resurrection survival rolls of AD&D). But, the house rule idea is out of scope, here. If Bear's Endurance could have been cast on a corpse, it would have been something that could have boosted chances under such a house rule. But, we wanted to confirm RAW and RAI before investigating that house rule further.


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    Ooooooh..... A survival roll to come back. Well, since you're limiting the chance of surviving a resurrection, I would allow the casting on the body so he has a better chance of surviving to balance it out a little better. Ultimately, since you're house-ruling things, you might as well house-rule that too. Don't worry about RaW. Do what works for your group.

    Grand Lodge

    It's a different story when casting on a dying character, however. If they're in the negatives but not yet actually dead the bears endurance would certainly work and could even bring that person conscious again.

    Edit* if it doesn't bring a character up to positive hp, they still are bleeding out since you didn't heal them.


    Dead bodies must have a con score. First, no rule removes the ability score,
    and second if killed by a death effect they go to negative con. If you don't have con score you can't go to negative anything.
    The notion that con changes to '-' is unsupported and possibly conflating rules for undead.

    Casting bears endurance on a corpse will have no meaningful effect though, even if it brings your negative hit points below you cons score, as it won't remove the dead condition.


    Putting a bulletproof jacket on a corpse doesn't stop it from being the victim of a lung shot.

    Adding con to a corpse that's already dead results in the same thing. It's too late, buff before combat next time.

    Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

    If I were GMing that game, I’d say casting bear’s endurance on the body simultaneously with the completion of the raise dead would aid the creatures survival check.
    Ditto with breath of life, and the hp threshold you have to hit to bring them back.


    What's your opinion of quickened Bear's Endurance cast with Breath of Life? I could see clerics with a metamagic rod trying this.


    RealAlchemy wrote:
    What's your opinion of quickened Bear's Endurance cast with Breath of Life? I could see clerics with a metamagic rod trying this.

    From a rules perspective it doesn't work if they are still dead. Quickened spells dont have any special advantage in this case.

    If you are looking for a way to increase survivability then you can allow it.


    dragonhunterq wrote:

    Dead bodies must have a con score. First, no rule removes the ability score,

    and second if killed by a death effect they go to negative con. If you don't have con score you can't go to negative anything.
    The notion that con changes to '-' is unsupported and possibly conflating rules for undead.

    Casting bears endurance on a corpse will have no meaningful effect though, even if it brings your negative hit points below you cons score, as it won't remove the dead condition.

    So you are saying that you think the intent of the PDT is to allow dead creatures to have con scores?


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    I am in the camp of dead creatures no longer have a con score (as they are objects), though for some purposes where it might be relevant in the case of resurrecting a creature it has an effective con score tied to it.

    Meaning that the body is not a valid target for Bear's Endurance.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    woof! Our group would have to retire to Waffle House to debate this one.


    Hrothgar Rannúlfr wrote:
    we were considering a house rule wherein a fortitude save would be required to survive being raised from the dead (similar to the resurrection survival rolls of AD&D)... If Bear's Endurance could have been cast on a corpse, it would have been something that could have boosted chances under such a house rule.

    That's exactly what we do, and how it works. No bringing back to life, but boosts resurrection survival chance.

    Spoiler:
    Kirthfinder wrote:

    RESURRECTION SURVIVAL

    “I hope you didn’t go to all this trouble just to take cheap shots at me,” Ragowski said, surveying the paraphernalia that littered the floor around him. “Regardless, I’m impressed. Necromantic workings demand an obsessive’s eye for detail.”
    The N’guise Working, which was the one the magicians had used to raise Ragowski, called for the eggs of pure white doves that had been injected with the blood of a girl’s first menstruation, to be cracked into eleven alabaster bowls surrounding the corpse, each of which contained other obscure ingredients. Purity was of the essence in this working.

    ―Clive Barker, "The Scarlet Gospels" (2015).

    In the core Pathfinder rules, races with long life spans may have an advantage in that they can potentially outwait most threats, letting them die of old age rather than acting directly, and there is little to discourage this outside of railroading of the plot. Re-instituting the 1st edition AD&D “resurrection survival” concept is an optional means of balancing long life spans without the need for the referee to constantly impose artificial time constraints.

    In this option, a character who wishes to be brought back from the dead must succeed at a Fortitude save at DC 5 + 1 per 10 years of the race’s “venerable” age up to 200, and +1 per 25 years thereafter. This translates to the following:

    Race - Venerable Age - Resurrection DC
    Half-orc - 60 - 11
    Human - 70 - 12
    Halfling - 100 - 15
    Half-elf - 125 - 17
    Gnome - 200 - 25
    Dwarf - 250 - 27
    Elf - 350 - 31
    Dragon - 600 - 41

    Failure on this saving throw means that the newly-resurrected creature instantly dies again, and cannot be resurrected thereafter barring the use of a true resurrection, wish or miracle.


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    Dead creatures have to have CON scores, otherwise breath of life completly fails to function...

    I think everyone should just get comfortable with the dichotomy. A corpse is a creature, probably with negative hitpoints in addition to the 'dead' condition and it's full array of ability scores. It is also an object, with positive hitpoints, which may possess hardness or gain the broken condition, or be destroyed.

    Would you take into account an enhancement bonus to con from a belt to determine if breath of life works? Would you take into account an enhancement bonus to con from Bear's Endurance to determine if Breath of Life works? Your answers, which ever you choose, should match.

    Bear's Endurance probably will not DO anything, it cannot make them undead, but for any effect that cares about a dead creatures CON score? Sure, why not?

    Edit: If you want to get real technical: assuming dead creatures are objects, then they don't exist. Dead creatures have -con hp or lower at the moment of their death. Objects with 0 or fewer hp are destroyed. Destroyed objects cease to be that object. Thus, everyone turns to a pile of dust at the moment of death.

    Grand Lodge

    toastedamphibian wrote:

    Dead creatures have to have CON scores, otherwise breath of life completly fails to function...

    I think everyone should just get comfortable with the dichotomy. A corpse is a creature, probably with negative hitpoints in addition to the 'dead' condition and it's full array of ability scores. It is also an object, with positive hitpoints, which may possess hardness or gain the broken condition, or be destroyed.

    Would you take into account an enhancement bonus to con from a belt to determine if breath of life works? Would you take into account an enhancement bonus to con from Bear's Endurance to determine if Breath of Life works? Your answers, which ever you choose, should match.

    Bear's Endurance probably will not DO anything, it cannot make them undead, but for any effect that cares about a dead creatures CON score? Sure, why not?

    Only things that are alive have Con scores. If what you were saying was the case then undead would have CON scores. Are you seriously arguing that a corpse is alive?


    For the purpose of effects that care about the CON of the creature it was prior to death? Sure. I don't think there are any, but if it comes up, roll with it.

    In any given situation, treat it as a creature with the dead condition or an object, based upon whichever interpretation causes the efdect in question to function as intended.


    Also, it should probably be stated that a "living creature" and a "creature that is still alive" are probably intended to be diffrent things. Undead are typically created from "living creatures" that are NOT "still alive".

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