5E Raise Dead/Reincarnate on dead undeads

adam_antio

Visitor
Ok, I'll explain: the party accidentally killed a powerful wizard who might have been a valuable ally. Then our necromancer rushed in and tried to resurrect him using the vats and machinery inside the npc's own laboratory... that no one known creates ghouls. With a 24 in an arcana check, our necro manages to resurrect the wizard as an almost reasonable ghast, retaining all of his spellcasting, intelligence, and he's also somewhat capable of controlling his hunger for flesh, selecting his victims from those who will not be missed (at least for now). That said, the party now wants to actually resurrect him. If they kill this undead, will they be able to target him with raise dead (or reincarnate)? Or does the clause of "no undead" apply, even if he's totally dead (or "only humanoid" for reincarnate)?

Thank you!
 
I would say a wish or something similar would be needed now to return this wizard to a living person again. Perhaps a plea or request to a deity from a VERY faithful cleric in exchange for completing an extremely difficult quest. A great excuse for a new adventure that may or may not be related to what is currently happening in the campaign.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't think the rules of 5e make a clear statement on the matter. That means it works as you want it to. But, beware that you're setting a precedent, and that precedent can have repercussions.

It may take some time to think about whether there are any ugly results of this that someone trying to "game the system" could generate. Basically - why wouldn't we want this possible? What can go wrong?
 

adam_antio

Visitor
I don't really know. If it's so unclear, then we'll settle on "the cleric decides (being the most affected character by the situation) and sets this precedent".
 

ehren37

Visitor
After he's dead again, he's no longer undead. There may be a few undead creatures whose essence is utterly snuffed out if they are destroyed, but I woudln't expect that to extend to ghasts. The no undead clause is somewhat odd in Resurrection, given that it isnt present in Raise Dead or Revify and is likely an artifact from a previous draft. The fact that they ave to be willing means you couldnt say, dig up a malevolent ghosts corporeal remains, resurrect him, and defeat him easily. Given the one hour casting time, it's not like you could use the spell in combat to turn Strahd into a regular human even if the DM allowed a save or something.

I think going by the 10 day timeline in Raise Dead makes sense. After 10 days, the soul is more ghast than man, and he is probably unwilling to return as a human. Even if they killed him, he'd rather remain in the realm of Dorsain or Yeenoghu, or the Dreamlands (or wherever Lovecraft's Ghouls live) in the ghoul equivalent of an afterlife.
 

adam_antio

Visitor
Actually, the clause is present in raise dead! But revify is an excellent solution for us. I think the clause exist because I can see high priests killing (weak) undeads with true resurrection.
 
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Enkhidu

Explorer
Dude, I have no idea why on earth you would let this problem be fixed with a single spell. Your players vastly improved an existing NPC with the necromancer's shenanigans. The party now has a powerful ally, but how long can he stave off the hunger before devolving into madness?

I strongly suggest you turn resolving this mess into a full fledged adventure rather than a single "magic makes it better" event. Maybe the contraption that turned the wizard into a ghast drew his soul out of him, and it needs to be (safely) reunited with the body, or the ghast is actually a completely different entity riding around in the wizard's skin and biding its time until it can bring its own plans to fruition?

If you throw the complications in (without hampering the cleric overall by making a ruling that will affect other situations), your players will love you for it when they finally reach their goal.
 

phantomK9

Explorer
I'd say do what is most fun for the group even if the spell descriptions might make it undoable...hey, it's magic, there's always a loop hole.

We had a similar situation in an Eberon game a while back. Some important agent for our side had been captured and turned by a vampire. We were able to rescue him but him being a now uncooperative vampire put a serious crimp in getting the intell that he had. We embarked on a quest to cure his vampirism, which by rules couldn't be done. Basic outline is that we needed to get a bunch of rare ingredients and at least one artifact level item....
 

adam_antio

Visitor
Thanks for the suggestion, but it was their idea to contact a powerful cleric to cast the spell for them (by Shelter of the Faithful of our own cleric). The npc cleric will obviously ask something in return, but as a general rule, I create opposition, they decide the solution, and I think they would be most happy if their idea, provided it makes sense, has at least some chances! :) and actually that wizard is totally a ghoul. The laboratory cannot create anything else. Believe me, he tried a lot of times! :D

(I'm expecting replies like "you decide what a npc cleric can do and whatnot." That's true, but I need to know if he's a 17th level cleric that casts true resurrection, or a still powerful but not so much 9th cleric that casts raise dead. What they will ask in return, and a lot of other things, will depend on this one!)
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
I would say a wish or something similar would be needed now to return this wizard to a living person again. Perhaps a plea or request to a deity from a VERY faithful cleric in exchange for completing an extremely difficult quest. A great excuse for a new adventure that may or may not be related to what is currently happening in the campaign.
These were my exact thoughts when reading the OP. The 5e cleric even has a class ability specifically for things like this (divine intervention)
 
I would rule that a dead formerly-undead person can be brought back to life normally. However, I would count the time that they were undead as part of the time they were dead (because otherwise you could reset the time limit on Raise Dead by zombifying your dead allies and then killing them again, which despite being amusing strikes me as nonsensical).
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
Since he has been reanimated as an undead, I would not allow him to be regular resurrected, his body has IMO been damaged beyond repair thanks to the necromantic reanimation effects. You would need true resurrection, creating effectively an entirely new body for him.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I would expect a true resurrection would be needed to get him back in his pre-undead body/spirit/self.

Raise Dead on an undead, I expect to create a large explosion of twinkling particles of grave dust. Revivify (someone mentioned) would, similarly, deal damage on the undead body.

Resurrection...I suppose would just bring him back to "ghast life." You resurrect the body that they are/had when they died...or in this case "died" as a ghast.

Reincarnate would not function on an undead body...or so I would rule.

So true resurrection or a wish ...or direct divine intervention, I suppose would work. Obviously a deity would need a verrrry good reason to bother getting involved.

But I'll also go on record as another vote to just let this be a "find the right spell" fix. This fix, if it is even possible, needs to be a process...and the necromancer really stepped in it. Sounds like mad-ghast-archmage BBEG on the horizon to me.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
I'd say that resurrect should work on a killed undead, providing the soul in question wishes to live again.

The real challenge should be in killing a powerful spellcasting undead who doesn't want to die. There's your 'challenge' right there - tracking down a spellcasting intelligent ghoul who is intent on evading the PCs should not be a trivial task.
 

adam_antio

Visitor
I would rule that a dead formerly-undead person can be brought back to life normally. However, I would count the time that they were undead as part of the time they were dead
The real challenge should be in killing a powerful spellcasting undead who doesn't want to die. There's your 'challenge' right there.
Yes, we're going exactly this way, which was the cleric's first idea and the one everyone else is inclined to follow. Also the ghoul's entry clearly specifies that a ghoul's flesh never rots, and that counts for something. All in all, between having to kill the powerful wizard* turned ghoul, and pulling in a higher officer of the cleric's faith as a new player** that will present both demands and an opening to a previously unexplored element of our setting, we feel we have more than enough on the plate!

*we're off to kill the Wizard...

**well, player in the common meaning, not the rpg meaning! :)
 
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