Raise Dead from Decaptiation?


Rules Questions


In the last session of my game, one of the characters got decaptiated from a critical hit (after also losing their hand from another critical hit). There was some debate after this whether that character can have Raise Dead work on them if the head is put on the body (there was some talk about sewing it on). Will that work, or do they need to have Ressurection cast upon them instead?


The description says:

"While the spell closes mortal wounds and repairs lethal damage of
most kinds, the body of the creature to be raised must be whole.
Otherwise, missing parts are still missing when the creature is
brought back to life."

I think "must be whole" is a clumsy way of saying that the spell does not re-attach parts that have been cut off. "Missing parts are still missing," it says. I don't think they mean "missing" as in "you can't find them," I think they mean it as "not attached parts remain unattached."

You need resurrection.


Per the Raise Dead spell it says the body needs to be whole. So that would be a no :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If you can place the pieces together, the body is whole. Raise Dead will repair the cuts, even if they run through the entire body.

Alternatively, you could try to use Mending or Make Whole on the body, as it is an object and not a creature.

Missing parts will not be restored however, so a missing head will prevent the body from returning to life. A missing hand will not, but the character will have an amputation when he returns to life.


I think it body needs to be in one piece spells like mending or make whole will work, sewing it on will not.

The Exchange

Neither mending or make whole will work on the body, as written, unless allowed by the GM. Cure spells would also require a GM fiat, but to me makes more sense.


I think Restore Corpse can fix it, its from Ultimate Magic.


As long as you still have the parts raise dead should work.

Cutting off someone's head is flavor text. That shouldn't prevent the party from raising someone.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Removing someone's jaw so Speak with Dead if perfectly valid however. :)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

After a death by hit point loss the body isn't "whole" under the common definition of the therm (unless the guy has died for blood loss).

You are disembowelled, your heat is pierced, your throat is slashed open and so on.

I am with Tri here, you need all the important pieces and if something is missing when you are raised that part is missing (so if a crow has plucked one of your eyes you are missing an eye), but the pieces don't need to be in perfect conditions, the spell will reattach them when cast if they are present and in contact with the body.


+1


Agree with TOZ and BNW...

Flavor text is great fun for game immersion... but it shouldn't get in the way of mechanics. RAW don't have a detailed critical hit chart that cuts off heads... Therefore, flavor texting in some sweet visuals, shouldn't get in the way of Raise Dead.

in a 2E game I play, a MASSIVELY high level priestess routinely takes locks of her party members hair and leaves them in a safe place as a 'plan B' Ressurection... Thankfully it's never been needed.

For me THAT'S what the difference between raise dead and resurrection is. Raise dead needs the whole body. But you could ressurect from a hand, finger, or lock of hair.

Having all the parts in a pile would be fine...


Could have been a vorpal crit.


I would say you can raise a creature if you got all the parts and can place them together reasonably, A creature that has been crushed to a pile of blood and flesh would need resurrection, but a head could be put against the neck and raise dead would work fine. A cantrip or minor magic reattaching the head I would deem unnecessary the raise dead spell should be powerful enough if lesser spells can achieve the same effect.

Sovereign Court

Just put them together...all that is needed.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Hama wrote:
Just put them together...all that is needed.

But just make sure you put the Head on the Neck and the Hand on the Wrist or else you could be in for a fun new Character with a Bite Attack as his Primary Weapon... ;)


Memories of the "Head" of Vecna are flooding back.


If my character were decapitated I'd be embarassed to ask if I could be brought back. Just my opinion, but it would just feel wrong. I mean, I didn't just get killed. They killed the *&^% out of me!


J. Christopher Harris wrote:
If my character were decapitated I'd be embarassed to ask if I could be brought back. Just my opinion, but it would just feel wrong. I mean, I didn't just get killed. They killed the *&^% out of me!

Unless your teammates cast speak with dead on you first, you can't ask to be brought back in the first place :P


Allia Thren wrote:
J. Christopher Harris wrote:
If my character were decapitated I'd be embarassed to ask if I could be brought back. Just my opinion, but it would just feel wrong. I mean, I didn't just get killed. They killed the *&^% out of me!
Unless your teammates cast speak with dead on you first, you can't ask to be brought back in the first place :P

I can't hear you! They cut my freakin' head off!!;P

Liberty's Edge

J. Christopher Harris wrote:
If my character were decapitated I'd be embarassed to ask if I could be brought back. Just my opinion, but it would just feel wrong. I mean, I didn't just get killed. They killed the *&^% out of me!

Nah, that's not decapitated. That's disemboweled.

(Sorry - couldn't resist.)


I don't think this should be an issue. There are enough things to cause raising to be a problem, like the cost and negative levels plus coming back with crappy hit points. Your character should be allowed to be raised if the pieces are present and a reasonable attempt to put them together is made. This is how I would handle it as GM.


Rule wise I think the intent is for them to be connected without being held together, but whether or not a GM allows hold the head to the body to work depends on how hardcore the group is.


wraithstrike wrote:
Rule wise I think the intent is for them to be connected without being held together, but whether or not a GM allows hold the head to the body to work depends on how hardcore the group is.

This is how I have always read and looked at it myself. If a part is gone, its gone the spell does not make it come back, any more then CLW will heal a limb that has been sewn on there. It is simply out of the scope of the spell.


Looking up the word "Whole" pretty much clears it up for me and makes it clearly written.


To me it'd depend on how the character was decapitated. If it was flavor text for a crit (e.g.- "The orc got a 47 point crit on you, how many hit points do you have max? 14? Yeesh, alright let's say he just charges in close and chops your head clean off.") then I'd let Raise Dead work. If it was something like a vorpal sword that removed your head or some kind of monster special ability then I'd say you'd need to prepare the body somehow at the least, either having a mundane surgeon sex the neck back together or using magic some type to seal the wound, before I'd allow the Raise Dead spell. Because while some descriptions are just "fluff" sometimes the descriptions are really important. If they weren't we might as well be playing cards or Monopoly.

The Exchange

Nostri wrote:
either having a mundane surgeon sex the neck back together ...

Paging Dr Luv.


Nostri wrote:
An amusing typo

Excellent Fruedian slip. Dr. Luv puts the romance back in necromancer.


To me it is simple, the head must be a part of the body, if it is sewn on what stops the spell from working if Any head is placed and sewn on the body. The spell does not care who or what it belonged to.

If raise dead could and can do that makes creating patchwork people easy.


I think people are intentionally misrepresenting what we're saying. It's really not that hard to understand. Everything must be part of the original. If I have a disassembled guitar, I have the whole thing just in pieces. If I have the neck of a banjo instead, I don't have the whole thing for a guitar and it can't be assembled as a guitar. Raise dead does not create new things. It only brings something back to life.


The body or head? The spell does not care where a part on the body came from, if it works by placing the head back on then it does by placing any head.

The spell simply has no way to know if part a belongs to the body it is sewn onto. So either it works if any head is place upon it or not at all.

Sovereign Court

seekerofshadowlight wrote:

The body or head? The spell does not care where a part on the body came from, if it works by placing the head back on then it does by placing any head.

The spell simply has no way to know if part a belongs to the body it is sewn onto. So either it works if any head is place upon it or not at all.

It simply HAS TO BE a single body, not a heap of body parts from different people. That would be a flesh golem.

PRD wrote:

You restore life to a deceased creature.

PRD wrote:

While the spell closes mortal wounds and repairs lethal damage of most kinds, the body of the creature to be raised must be whole. Otherwise, missing parts are still missing when the creature is brought back to life.

See it has to be the same creature.


I've always ruled that the body had to be in one piece.

Me: You raise Ragnor from the dead. Unfortunately he's still missing the hunk of flesh the orc took out of him with that battle axe. Ragnor, you attempt to stand, but lack the necessary tendons. Good luck being a cripple.

Or;

Me: You see Caldan, while the bones of your shattered leg are still inside your leg, they're not actually attached to anything anymore, so they're no longer considered part of your body. Sorry, Bud.

Although, I really hate my players.


Hama wrote:


It simply HAS TO BE a single body, not a heap of body parts from different people. That would be a flesh golem.

That is the point, placing a head {any head} back on a dismembered body does not make it a single body. It does not matter that the head used to be a part of the body it no longer is on the body.


If it clears up anything, the decapitation was from a critical hit card. I think that the character would have gone into negative hit points as well though.


I think some people are reading too much into this. No one is advocating the spell doing anything other than bringing a dead creature back to life. No one is saying that you should be able to create some weird hybrid. If you don't think it would be unbalancing, then allow them to reattach the head first. If you think it's unbalancing, then don't. Personally, I would allow it. If you really want to make them take an extra step, then a DC 25 or 30 heal check to attach it first.


I am with SS on this one. The head must be attached naturally as if it had never been cut off, not just touching the other body part because someone is holding it in place or another player built a device to hold the head in place.

Now since a corpse is an object make whole might work before raise dead is used, assuming both body parts are available.

Liberty's Edge

Oh, great. So much for my hopefully unique avatar.

<grumbldygrumblegrumble>


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Okay on second thought I'm not sure I'd want to play in a game where the players sex the head back on a body. It's what I get for posting without proofreading though.

As for what's stopping people from making funky hybrids with the raise dead? The person's spirit/soul/what-have-you that you're stuffing back into the body. The spell specifically says that the subject's soul must be willing to return and most likely your buddy's not going to be coming back to his head stitched onto a kobold body or the other way around. Also I'd say that the mega-powerful, near omniscient being granting you the power to bring the recently dead back to life is what's preventing the magic from raising a random pile of body parts.

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