What happens if you cast speak with dead on a zombie?


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The title really says it all but to elaborate a bit more what happens if you cast speak with dead on any undead? Do the spirits of the original dead speak to you, does it fail, or can you not to begin with because they are inherently no longer just a corpse but an ambling undead thing?


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You get hours of "Brains" related conversation.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ashtathlon wrote:
You get hours of "Brains" related conversation.

But speak with dead doesn't create a link between you and the original soul that inhabited the body rather then the current consciousness. Also in the case of a zombie it is mindless so I doubt you would really get in contact since there's pretty much no one home already.


seems you answered your own question then doc..:)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ashtathlon wrote:

seems you answered your own question then doc..:)

Ehh but I'm also looking to see if there is an official ruling on this or not. Also does that mean that the spirit gains control of the undead while it's "active" or can it just listen and respond to questions?

Liberty's Edge

Not to sound crass, but the answer is in the last paragraph of the spell description.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HangarFlying wrote:
Not to sound crass, but the answer is in the last paragraph of the spell description.

Crap.

I feel like that totally misses an awesome opportunity for interesting narrative. Thanks though man.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Can't you just kill the undead again, then cast ?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
SlimGauge wrote:
Can't you just kill the undead again, then cast ?

I think assuming it still has all the parts it needs to talk but it kind of misses all the interesting narratives that could transpire. Like imagine someone using speak with dead on a zombie and dealing with that soul "waking up" inside its new form and how many different ways that could go. It gets even more interesting if you hold that belief that undead are kind of a new person with the original soul kind of shackled to the corpse or what might happen if you use it on say a vampire who is sentient but may not necessarily be the same person he was when he was human.


Due to the wording of the spell:

Quote:
This spell does not affect a corpse that has been turned into an undead creature.

I could see the argument that it doesn't work even if the undead is destroyed. Much the same way that raise dead and reincarnate don't work and you must use Resurrection to revive someone once their body has been turned into an undead.


I agree with Claxon. Once the creature becomes undead, a lot of spells are off the table.


Mind you, I don't like that being turned into an Undead prevents several spells from working on you even if the undead is destroyed but that does appear to be the RAW functionality of it.


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So to cast Speak with Dead on a Zombie you must first:

Kill Zombie
Raise Dead
Kill Person
Speak with Dead

Not sure they'll be very happy to chat with you at that point though. :P


Elbedor wrote:

So to cast Speak with Dead on a Zombie you must first:

Kill Zombie
Raise Dead
Kill Person
Speak with Dead

Not sure they'll be very happy to chat with you at that point though. :P

I am all for skipping to the "Braiiiiins..." part of the discussion... :)


Or, you can just cast the mythic version of the spell, which allows you to speak with the undead. Then you can hear "Braiiiiiiinns" all you like :)


Elbedor wrote:

So to cast Speak with Dead on a Zombie you must first:

Kill Zombie
Resuurection
Kill Person
Speak with Dead

FTFY. Raise dead specifically doesn't work once someone has been turned into an undead, even if the undead is destroyed.

To be honest, whatever you needed to know you probably could have found out with other divination magic that didn't cost so much.


Lathiira wrote:
Or, you can just cast the mythic version of the spell, which allows you to speak with the undead. Then you can hear "Braiiiiiiinns" all you like :)

Really? A simple spell variant is really so powerful it has to be Mythic? All it does is annoy the undead creature while you get your answers.

Actually, that could make an awesome encounter—fight the increasingly irritated undead monster as you try to get answers from their past self. It should be a bit beyond your ability to kill, so you have to go in with a "stall and flee" strategy. Web scrolls, halt undead, that kinda thing.

Pity.


I'm going to point out that zombies and skeletons are not animated by spirits, but only by negative energy itself. So there's no "soul" inside the dead zombie to speak to either way.

"Undead creatures are powered by negative energy. Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls."


I'm not 100% sure whether or not destroying the undead would allow Speak with Dead or Raise Dead to work on the resulting corpse. Based on the rules for Resurrection it kind of appears that the answer might be no. Since Resurrection specifically mentions that it can bring back creatures which were undead but then destroyed I think there's an implication that Raise Dead can't do that.

In a previous high level campaign the bad guys would kill prominent NPCs, turn them into undead, and kidnap them so that the party would have to go on quests to liberate their bodies. They also Raised a few of their own fallen comrades, which prompted my dwarf to start decapitating major foes, taking the heads with him, and storing them in a barrel on the party's ship. During voyages he'd get the heads out and scold them for their evil deeds. They also ended up being used in several pranks.


The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment could do just this (talking to the person the zombie originally was), but I guess he's all kinds of mythic.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
Or, you can just cast the mythic version of the spell, which allows you to speak with the undead. Then you can hear "Braiiiiiiinns" all you like :)

Really? A simple spell variant is really so powerful it has to be Mythic? All it does is annoy the undead creature while you get your answers.

Actually, that could make an awesome encounter—fight the increasingly irritated undead monster as you try to get answers from their past self. It should be a bit beyond your ability to kill, so you have to go in with a "stall and flee" strategy. Web scrolls, halt undead, that kinda thing.

Pity.

A lot of mythic spells just offer a incremental improvement over their non-mythic versions. Mythic Burning hands, for example, has a range of 20ft (vs. 15) and does 1d6 damage per level (instead of 1d4).

None of the spells are intended to be game-breakers, but are just supposed to be a cumulative increase in power.

One could certainly imagine Grappling, pinning, and tying up a zombie, then casting mythic speak with dead to get answers out of it, if it happens to be a zombie made from the corpse of the one person who knows the location of the macguffin.


Devilkiller wrote:

I'm not 100% sure whether or not destroying the undead would allow Speak with Dead or Raise Dead to work on the resulting corpse. Based on the rules for Resurrection it kind of appears that the answer might be no. Since Resurrection specifically mentions that it can bring back creatures which were undead but then destroyed I think there's an implication that Raise Dead can't do that.

In a previous high level campaign the bad guys would kill prominent NPCs, turn them into undead, and kidnap them so that the party would have to go on quests to liberate their bodies. They also Raised a few of their own fallen comrades, which prompted my dwarf to start decapitating major foes, taking the heads with him, and storing them in a barrel on the party's ship. During voyages he'd get the heads out and scold them for their evil deeds. They also ended up being used in several pranks.

Raise Dead and Speak with Dead specifically, in the wording of the spells themselves, do not work on corpses that have been turned into undead. Corpses that have been turned into undead, after which the undead were destroyed, are still corpses that have been turned into undead, and so do not work.

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