Raise Dead question


Rules Questions


So it seems my party has gotten themselves into a bit of a quandary. The halfling rogue was caught away from the party by a brain collector (neh-thalggu) & subsequently was held & unfortunately lost his brain, lol.
My question is this. If said party happened to stumble upon the fresh corpse of the halfling & then was able to kill the brain collector shortly after, would a raise dead spell work, if "a brain" was placed into the halfling from the now deceased brain collector? Or would it have to be the halflings brain for the spell to work? What about a "frankenstein-esque" halfling body but a new brain?
The brain collector has 12 brains presently so this could get a bit interesting. Also the raise dead spell is not very specific in its wording "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." The body must be whole but it doesn't exactly state the original body, just saying...
Did I also state I love necromancers when I occasionally play? I also feel this may be appropriate since we are getting close to Halloween & the player is all about this, he loves the idea of a "alternate" new PC but same old body.


Raise dead does not perform surgery so just stuffing a brain in would not work. As an example, if someone is decapitated, and the head is touching the neck raise dead is not going to fix that. As for actually attaching a brain to another body through surgery that would require GM Fiat to allow it. However, if that were allowed then I would say raise dead shouldwork.


Has there ever been a claim that stitching the body back together would make it sufficiently whole? Wouldn't a displaced brain is just another mortal wound If it's but a severed spinal cord but otherwise still inside the head. Nothing is missing.

People can have their fingers reattached. When you have a spell that raises the dead, why not Frankenstein a character back together?

Anyways, haven't had the time to research. Was there a particular scenario, faq or quote to suggest stitching together wouldn't count as being 'whole'?


No, there has been no FAQ request, but I am sure an unattached body part still counts as missing. If I cut someone's finger off and make it so it touches their hand I don't think they would count it as "not missing". Having a brain inside your head but not attached is still a bigger injury than a nonattached finger.

Raise dead is also not like the higher level resurrection spells which actually take care of things such as missing body parts. All it does is bring you back to life. If you want more than you need higher level spells.

Just to be clear I am going by the rules, not the rule of cool.

edit:The rule of cool is when you ignore the rules because they get in the way of something cool happening that the GM wants to allow.

edit2: I misread part of your quote. Stitching someone back together is not covered anywhere in the rules, but putting a needle and thread through someone's brain, assuming you meant actual stitching is another GM call since it would likely do more damage.


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Boy, can I think of ways to abuse this.

"We captured the enemy agent. Now kill him and me, put my brain in his head, raise the result, and I'll be the perfect spy!"

Also a great way to get yourself a pumped monster body with any monster with a human-sized, human-shaped head.


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wraithstrike wrote:
I am sure an unattached body part still counts as missing. If I cut someone's finger off and make it so it touches their hand I don't think they would count it as "not missing".

Some would disagree.

Sean K. Reynolds wrote:
Raise dead will fix dismemberment and decapitation as long as you have all the significant pieces on hand when you cast the spell.

(Source)

If you were a player arguing for brain-swapping via raise dead and the GM didn't agree with you, I'd say you wouldn't have a valid rules based argument in your favor. However, since it sounds like you're the GM, it's your game. If it doesn't bother the players, have fun, run with it, be prepared for shenanigans.


Interesting, I guess that makes Raise Dead better than I thought. They should change the wording of the spell if that is the intent.
I've always taken SKR's word before, and I won't FAQ it because they might actually change it to not work that way.

Thanks for the link.


I think Raise Dead should work for put together pieces, otherwise it leave a huge gap for Resurrection to fill and really minimizes Raise Dead. I always think Resurrection is trying to fill the "I only have a finger bone or pinch of dust" niche, not the entire spectrum of serious corpse damage.


The relevant rule in place is: "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."

So, it's really a GM's call if the halfling's brain that was removed and then put back in place still counts as missing.


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I was always going with "if the players have all the parts, raise dead will work". Removing the head or heart was also standard procedure for assassins, pushing magical revival into the realm of the 7th level spells.

The other - and cheaper - option for reviving people with missing parts is to use Raise Dead followed by Regenerate. Won't work with the head missing, but missing limbs are no problem.


I've always interpreted Raise Dead as SKR explained. A severed head is most certainly a mortal wound, so it stands Raise Dead should repair that.
If the limb in question was still attached by even the most insubstantial scrap of flesh, Raise Dead would work without question, so I don't see a significant difference.

Liberty's Edge

It is very reasonable to let raise dead attach parts that are present even if they were not mortal wounds. If you do not allow raise dead to attach the parts, the caster would just use mending or make whole to repair the corpse before raising.


I also agree, if you have a complete corpse, raise dead works. Doesn't matter what kind of cuts/holes/disconnections were applied, as long as its all there.


Which means you better hope your DM doesn't adapt the mind flayer to PF, as a digested brain is not retrieveable...


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As for the brain swapping part, I'm inclined to think it wouldn't work. A brain that's not the halfling's brain isn't "part" of their body. It belongs to somebody else's body.

If the halfling was raised without a brain, I would imagine he would die instantly, thus wasting the spell and components.

(Though one might argue that at least some halflings don't need brains to function.)


Saethori wrote:

As for the brain swapping part, I'm inclined to think it wouldn't work. A brain that's not the halfling's brain isn't "part" of their body. It belongs to somebody else's body.

good point


You're reviving that one creature. You can't swap pieces around because they were not part of the same creature.

A little off-topic, but the player really cares so little about his character that he'd rather play a different person in the same body?


Bloodrealm wrote:
A little off-topic, but the player really cares so little about his character that he'd rather play a different person in the same body?

I desperately want my rogue to hit 10th level in the Master Spy prestige class, to learn the Assumption ability, and replace a king...

...Orrrr, I could just find an evil cleric, and hope that king's followers don't notice his stitched-together cranium!


Bane Wraith wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
A little off-topic, but the player really cares so little about his character that he'd rather play a different person in the same body?

I desperately want my rogue to hit 10th level in the Master Spy prestige class, to learn the Assumption ability, and replace a king...

...Orrrr, I could just find an evil cleric, and hope that king's followers don't notice his stitched-together cranium!

That would be playing the same person in a different body. Your character would still be your character you'd been playing, but in the king's body.


Raise Dead 5th fixes some things. It's a 5th level spell and costs 5000gp. Somethings it can't fix 8^|

The body is an object at the start so it's subject to Make Whole 2nd.
Mending 0th requires all the parts and general human bodyweight requires (pounds) level caster.
You can play tricks like painting the body, dyeing different parts different colors, or dressing it up funny.

Brain Collection(Ex):
A neh-thalggu can store up to seven humanoid brains and use them to enhance its knowledge and power. Each stored brain grants a neh-thalggu a cumulative +1 insight bonus to AC, concentration checks, and Knowledge checks. A neh-thalggu can extract a brain from a helpless opponent with a coup de grace attack, or as a standard action from a body that has been dead for no more than 1 minute. A neh-thalggu that has fewer than seven brains gains one negative level for each missing brain. These negative levels can never become permanent, but they can only be removed by replacing one of its collected brains. The stats presented here assume a monster with a full collection.

it sure sounds like it soul traps the person & brain.
In a rule based decision, since it doesn't say it does and other monsters clearly do(cacodaemon, devourer, soul reaper,...) I'd have to say the Brain Collector does not soul trap its victims.


Azothath wrote:

Raise Dead 5th fixes some things. It's a 5th level spell and costs 5000gp. Somethings it can't fix 8^|

The body is an object at the start so it's subject to Make Whole 2nd.
Mending 0th requires all the parts and general human bodyweight requires (pounds) level caster.
You can play tricks like painting the body, dyeing different parts different colors, or dressing it up funny.

Yeah but... Raise Dead still calls for it to be Your body in its entirety, or at least so far that a gm would call it whole, right? Well, it does say whatever is missing, is simply missing..

Honestly, jokes aside, I'd love to use it to give a mid-level character the literal heart of a dragon with a high heal check, or perform some Dnd style gender swap. You can sculpt a corpse, using a spell. As long as the pieces all fit, and you have enough of "your" body to justify being able to be raised again... this is an awesome, albeit expensive, way to make some permanent changes.

Also, who are you to judge? Maybe I want to play a dethroned king shoved into a rogue's body. That'd be an awesome background.


Bane Wraith wrote:
Azothath wrote:

Raise Dead 5th fixes some things. It's a 5th level spell and costs 5000gp. Somethings it can't fix 8^|

The body is an object at the start so it's subject to Make Whole 2nd.
Mending 0th requires all the parts and general human bodyweight requires (pounds) level caster.
You can play tricks like painting the body, dyeing different parts different colors, or dressing it up funny.

Yeah but... Raise Dead still calls for it to be Your body in its entirety, or at least so far that a gm would call it whole, right? Well, it does say whatever is missing, is simply missing..

Honestly, jokes aside, I'd love to use it to give a mid-level character the literal heart of a dragon with a high heal check, or perform some Dnd style gender swap. You can sculpt a corpse, using a spell. As long as the pieces all fit, and you have enough of "your" body to justify being able to be raised again... this is an awesome, albeit expensive, way to make some permanent changes.

Also, who are you to judge? Maybe I want to play a dethroned king shoved into a rogue's body. That'd be an awesome background.

thus my reference to Make Whole, the spell fixes the problem repairing a lot of (structural) hit point damage. It's likely that the body IS WHOLE after casting Make Whole.

You could use Sculpt Corpse 1st, but the text of the spell, "This spell merely changes the appearance of the corpse. Any spell or effect that targets the corpse (such as speak with dead or raise dead) treats it as if it still had its original appearance." would have the body revert.

What people want and what the rules say are sometimes different things. As this is a Rules board, answers will be BTB to avoid confusion. In a home game work with your GM to have him house rule whatever yall want.


Bane Wraith wrote:
Also, who are you to judge? Maybe I want to play a dethroned king shoved into a rogue's body. That'd be an awesome background.

By the same token new character in the old body would give a ready made reason for following the group.

... Now I kind of want to roll a character where the mental and physical stats don't match and have it be due to them having the wrong body...


@ Bane Wraith
Reanimation (frankenstein's monster) is different than raise dead. It's more akin to Reincarnate 4th but into a prepared body.

The other spell that similar is Posession 3-5th(lol) or Magic Jar 5th but in a permanent sense.
An alternative is Polymorph Any Object to change race and other variables.

hmmm... there's also some tech gear in the Technology Guide that might be handy (Clonepod & Neurocam) which addresses stuffing the wrong soul into a clone...

You might read the Alchemist archtype Reanimator. Sadly they rise as Undead. This more similar to the film Reanimator where things go awry after reanimation. Vivisectionist is the other archtype in this vein.

Previous editions had wizards creating Clones and leaving them in suspended animation until the wizard's soul occupied the body and spell trigger conditions allow the body to "awaken". It was still the wizards body.

It's going to take some work on the part of the GM to do body swapping.


Bane Wraith wrote:
Also, who are you to judge? Maybe I want to play a dethroned king shoved into a rogue's body. That'd be an awesome background.

That does sound like an interesting background, but my point was that your example was opposite to the OP's and would still be the same character rather than abandoning their own character and playing someone else in that body.


Well, we had our follow up game & all is well in the land of Raise Dead Frankenstein style! So Myself & the player teamed up & he decided he wanted the dice gods to determine his fate. So I came up with 12 (3.5 version brain collector) brains of suitable creatures, mostly with some kind of spell-casting ability. I also came up with a race list of appropriate possibilities. Now I did decide on a few particular archetypes & 1 prestige class & a few of the classes had a specific race in mind, but otherwise it was a complete crap-shoot much like reincarnate.
So drum roll for the results. He got a Half-elf Luckbringer. The best part is they picked 2 brains & placed the 1st into the halfling body & used speak with dead & quickly found out it was a Tiefling, of which the dwarven priest despises so they ended up bringing back the next brain, lol. For an old time gamer like myself, this really surprised & entertained myself & the other players. This will be a story to tell for the ages.
Now we just have to figure out how to work with the ability score advancement for the 4th, 8th & 12th level. Since I decided to go with the Halflings body so Str, Dex & Con but the new races Int, Wis, & Cha. The Rogue raised Dex every chance he could & the Luckbringer, well I'm not sure if he has a main stat. Everything else we can pick through.
Thanks for all the replies.


So if you were going to do it anyway, why ask? And I guess the player really didn't care about his character. Strange.


The beauty in your answer is simple. Play the game however you wish but it is also a great idea to expand upon the possibilities in ones own brain. I feel you lack the openness to allow others to give an opinion upon a particular situation. Thats what makes this game great, not all the rules lawyering or bickering about FAQ.
And yes, there was not a good enough argument against said question, besides Sean K Reynolds seems to agree so thats good enough for me. Also, remember, its a game, the players don't retell stories about rules, they talk of epic instances such as this.
Also, as far as the player not caring about his character, you again would be incorrect. He loved it actually but he also understood the situation & embraced it rather than fought against. That my friend receives an applause from me, bravo brave rogue, you will be missed but not forgotten. Wish the players in your group were as open & wise to such future ideas!


Gee, sorry. You asked a Rules Question in the Rules Questions board.
I also just find it weird that a player who supposedly cares about his character would say what amounts to "My character got killed like a chump? SWEET! Don't revive him, instead shove someone else's brain into his body!" and that the other characters wouldn't want to revive their friend (I assume they were friends and not despised enemies).
Oh, and I just love how you make general assumptions about not only me, but also my friends who you know nothing about. Have fun with your stupid racist murderhobo group that doesn't bother with any rules (see? I can do it, too).


...Dude. Fun was had. They found they wanted to follow The Most Important Rule. Suffice to say, it seems like it worked out. Let that be the end of it, and move on.

RULES wise, do you have anything to add? We can nitpick that, if you prefer something constructive to discuss.

Seems like it worked out as it would according to roughly what the Raise Dead spell does. Pathfinder doesn't tend to get all nitpicky about the brain housing the character's whole being and personality, regardless of real world research; There are souls for that. And it sounds like their group chose to go with basically an entirely new character Anyways, so no violation that I see (given they were willing to return). I assume there were some hefty heal checks or some other spell to get that brain reattached to its fresh new body, and getting everything back in form... otherwise, GM ruled it, and Bam!

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