Resurrection and Revivify

Yaarel

Adventurer
I like immortality. So, I am less of a fan of permanent death.

Currently, there are four resurrection spells: Revivify, Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection.

I love Revivify. Essentially, it is something like the magical version of resuscitation. And level 3 is appropriate. As long as the body is moreorless intact, the spell succeeds.

However in comparison, the other three resurrections spells are less useful, even punishing.

Really there only needs to be two resurrection spells.
• Revivify (when body is reasonably whole)
• Resurrection (when the body or soul no longer exists, or resurrection would otherwise be impossible).

Revivify can probably absorb Raise Dead. In other words, at level 3, if the body is only dead within minutes, then the ally comes back to life with 1 hit point, and without penalties. But if the body has began decomposing, then it should return with levels of Exhaustion, that take upto several days to recover from. If the body would have been destroyed, such as missing a head, then Revivify automatically fails.

Resurrection should be able to create a NEW BODY, completely healthy, of any age, to bring anyone back to life regardless of how the ally died or how long ago. The Resurrection spell should even be able to reconstitute the ‘echos’ of a destroyed soul. Unlike Revivify, Resurrection should be able to handle the impossible situations, including precasting a self-resurrection. Therefore such a version of Resurrection probably deserves a slot 9, comparable to Wish. Because this Resurrection creates a new body, it should also be able to restore an ally that is trapped in suspended animation (compare Clone where the soul migrates to a new body). The old body vanishes as any residue gets incorporated into the new body. Likewise, such Resurrection can destroy an undead by creating a new living body, while the undead corpse vanishes. Meanwhile, a reverse application of this Resurrection spell can be employed to deny a foe the possibility of a resurrection. In this case, trying to Resurrect a denied ally would be similar to Dispel Magic, and difficult to succeed.

If the only two spells are Revivify and Resurrection, then slot 3 Revivify meets the needs of most recoveries from death in the D&D gaming experience. By contrast, slot 9 Resurrection comes into play for those rare events of an awful demise. Meanwhile the Resurrection spell remains useful so as to self-resurrect whenever the player desires a new body for the character (compare Death Ward that prevents death, Clone that keeps a new body in waiting, and Astral Projection where the death of a projected body simply returns to player character to the body).



In sum:

Slot spell level 3: Revivify (includes Raise Dead)
Slot spell level 9: Resurrection (includes True Resurrection)



Related spells include:

Slot 1 (!): Reincarnation
Slot 4: Death Ward
Slot 7: Regenerate
Slot 8: Clone
Slot 9: Astral Projection
 
Last edited:

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Currently, there are four resurrection spells: Revivify, Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection.
For completeness in such a discussion, Reincarnation and as you go on to mention, Clone and Death Ward. They're not the same as the four you list of course.

Really there only needs to be two resurrection spells.
• Revivify (when body is reasonably whole)
• Resurrection (when the body or soul no longer exists, or resurrection would otherwise be impossible).
It is kind of true that the distinction between Rez and True Rez could be dropped, leaving just the L9 spell. Ditto Revivify and Raise Dead, putting that at L5 right? For me that feels like a reasonable case, although I am also fine with things as they stand, and have gotten play from the very specific differences.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
For completeness in such a discussion, Reincarnation and as you go on to mention, Clone and Death Ward. They're not the same as the four you list of course.
Right. Reincarnation.

However, I find Reincarnation as-is to be a less useful spell.

The way I make it useful is Reincarnation becomes a level 1 spell. That way, if a new player character dies, the fellow party members can give the player (namely the willing soul), the option of having this same character come back as an entirely different race but with the same memories. Not every player is interested in such an invitation. But level 1 is where the spell becomes interesting.

By the time Revivify becomes routine, the character is already in the next tier, levels 4 to 8. So, Reincarnation becomes less useful because it changes the character concept that has already received significant investment.



It is kind of true that the distinction between Rez and True Rez could be dropped, leaving just the L9 spell. Ditto Revivify and Raise Dead, putting that at L5 right? For me that feels like a reasonable case, although I am also fine with things as they stand, and have gotten play from the very specific differences.
I feel level 3 is fine for a combined Revivify and Raise Dead. The incentive to avoid Exhaustion is already enough to make the players rush. If they miss the window of opportunity, then levels of Exhaustion are the consequence.

Perhaps, each day of death equals a level of Exhaustion. So too many days result in Death from Exhaustion. Then Resurrection comes into play as a last resort.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Right. Reincarnation.

However, I find Reincarnation as-is to be a less useful spell.
Huh, we just reincarnated someone in our TBT game last week, it was great fun. He started as a half-orc and now he's a tielfing dealing with the fact that he's no longer a Strong Half-orc but a weak Tiefling.

So I'm unclear on your Resurrection idea here. Are you rolling Resurrection up into True Ressurection's 9th level spell so you have a gap from 5th level PC play up to 17th level PC play where there are no intervening spells to bring someone back?
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
So I'm unclear on your Resurrection idea here. Are you rolling Resurrection up into True Ressurection's 9th level spell so you have a gap from 5th level PC play up to 17th level PC play where there are no intervening spells to bring someone back?
So for clarity:

Slot 1: Reincarnation
Slot 3: Revivify
Slot 9: Resurrection

I will update the original post too.



I am fine with the leveling gap between Revivify and Resurrection. At slot 3, Revivify is already able to cover almost all resurrection needs, especially when it also includes Raise Dead.

At slot 9, Resurrection is only for weird corner cases. I expect players to make a quest to find a spellcaster at the legend tier, who knows the Resurrection spell. Such as a Cleric in a powerful city, or famous remote pilgrimage site. This spellcaster might well require a favor in return, to further certain goals.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Personally, I don’t like the idea of rolling Raise Dead into Revivify. I like that at early levels, your only option is yo drag your fallen ally’s body to the nearest temple and pay the local priest to bring them back. In a major city there might be a priest powerful enough to Raise Dead, but if you’re out on the borderlands the best you can hope for is Revivify, and that’s where Gentle Repose comes in handy. I think that creates a really nice dynamic.

I’d be fine with Reincarnation being at the same level as Revivify, giving you an option for bringing someone back who’s past the Revivify time limit, at the cost of them having to be in a different body. But I think 1st level is too early because that makes it accessible to starting characters and removes that early-game period where you can’t bring your allies back yourself and have to drag them back to town.

I think combining Resurrection and True Resurrection is a great move.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
In sum:

Slot spell level 3: Revivify (includes Raise Dead)
Slot spell level 9: Resurrection (includes True Resurrection)
EDIT: I misunderstood. Rewriting.

It seems like if the body is mangled, then we're looking for a 17th level or higher caster. That makes certain kinds of death a lot closer to permadeath.
 
Last edited:

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I like the concept of Revivify, but as a DM I despise it as written. In a campaign I had that went to high level, they were still using Revivify as the primary resurrection method. Once they had to use a Wish spell, because the PC fell into the Abyssal Storm of the Demonweb Pits, but that's it. It's just TOO good compared to Raise Dead and even Resurrection, as the 1minute limitation is seldom a problem (only once did the party cast it during combat before the 1minute was up).

In my current campaign I copied the penalty from Raise Dead onto Revivify. They're not level 5 yet, but depending on how it goes, I may make this a permanent rule.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
It seems like if the body is mangled, then we're looking for a 17th level or higher caster. That makes certain kinds of death a lot closer to permadeath.
The Revivify spell says, ‘heals mortal wounds’. So, as long as the pieces of the puzzle are present, Revivify seems able to restore a mangled body.

On the other hand, it might be, burning a corpse to ashes by fire would destroy the body. Thus fire might make Revivify fail. It depends on how reconstructable ashes are. Probably not. At that point, the Resurrection spell would be the only option.

Even if coming back via Revivify, dying in a Fireball with ‘vital organs’ still intact might come back with burn scarring?



In a campaign I had that went to high level, they were still using Revivify as the primary resurrection method.

Once they had to use a Wish spell, because the PC fell into the Abyssal Storm of the Demonweb Pits, but that's it. It's just TOO good compared to Raise Dead and even Resurrection, as the 1minute limitation is seldom a problem (only once did the party cast it during combat before the 1minute was up).
It is true that the Revivify is almost always useful, even at the highest levels. I am ok with this, and feel it is working as intended. Characters normally die in combat. Reviving them in the same round or immediately after combat at the latest, is normally how a resurrection happens.

The possibility of fire damage might make Revivify more difficult however if the fire destroys vital organs. The Disintegration spell explicitly destroys the body. So Resurrection would be the only option.
 
Last edited:
Revivify can probably absorb Raise Dead. In other words, at level 3, if the body is only dead within minutes, then the ally comes back to life with 1 hit point, and without penalties. But if the body has began decomposing, then it should return with levels of Exhaustion, that take upto several days to recover from. If the body would have been destroyed, such as missing a head, then Revivify automatically fails.
Or, the whole series of spells could just be Revivify up-cast?
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Or, the whole series of spells could just be Revivify up-cast?
I would personally love less spells known and more spells you can upcast just across the board.

To contracdict myself though, I wonder if that's adding an extra layer of complexity at the table for of having to evaluate each spell in each slot. I am good with complexity off the table, but I don't want to slow down play. Warlock gets away with it because you only need to know if for one level.
 
To contracdict myself though, I wonder if that's adding an extra layer of complexity at the table for of having to evaluate each spell in each slot.
Every same-or-lower-level spell known/prepared, even if it can't be up-cast, is a candidate to consider when using a slot, it's usually all pretty intuitive, you jump right to the best spell for the situation - but I could see the theoretical decision-tree modeling it getting quite complex.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Or, the whole series of spells could just be Revivify up-cast?
My main problem with the four resurrection spells (Revivify, Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection), is they feel too much like redundant spells. They remind me of 3e (Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Critical Wounds). I breathe a sigh of relief when I see 5e consolidate them as ‘Cure Wounds’ − augmentable by using higher slots.

By consolidating the resurrection spells, there are two salient separate concepts.
• Revivify = revive the old body
• Resurrection = create a new body
 
Last edited:

Yaarel

Adventurer
With regard to Revivify. Perhaps the longer the body is dead, the higher the slot spell level required, and the more Exhaustion levels result? All the way upto slot 7. (If requiring slot 8, the sixth level Exhaustion would kill the character making the spell fail.)

At slot 9, Resurrection is better by creating a fresh new body.

So.

Revivify can revive a vitally-intact body that has been dead for less than 1 minute. For each higher level spell slot, the Revivify spell can revive a body that has been dead for upto one additional week. The revived character incurs a level of Exhaustion for each new week of death. For example, a body that is dead for 10 days requires a slot of spell level 5 to revive, and the revived character incurs two levels of Exhaustion.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'd rather get rid of Revivify (or jump it to 5th and combine it with Raise Dead). Having Revivify at 3rd, with no real drawbacks, makes death no more than a speed bump provided the corpse is in halfway-reasonable shape.

Resurrection (at 7th) requiring at least a bit of the previous body is fine. It's True Resurrection at 9th that needs to go; by that point your party is casting Wish, and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to the 5e Wish rules to allow it to revive someone without any body parts present.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Personally, I don’t like the idea of rolling Raise Dead into Revivify. I like that at early levels, your only option is yo drag your fallen ally’s body to the nearest temple and pay the local priest to bring them back. In a major city there might be a priest powerful enough to Raise Dead, but if you’re out on the borderlands the best you can hope for is Revivify, and that’s where Gentle Repose comes in handy. I think that creates a really nice dynamic.
The trouble with this is that an awful lot of parties don't have access to Gentle Repose, and without that spell, which technically you have to not cast as a ritual (though I can't see any non-black-hearted DM really enforcing that), because a ritual takes +10 minutes, so must have prepared, the PC is just dead.

It's a lovely dynamic in a party with a Cleric, I agree. But it essentially makes it a game of "Force a player to be a Cleric and have a non-Evil DM or you diiiiiieeeee!", which is like, not great. I think it's worth losing that in order to improve the game generally, which combining the two would do. An alternate approach would be to put Gentle Repose back to what it should be, a 0th-level ritual accessible by more than just Clerics.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The trouble with this is that an awful lot of parties don't have access to Gentle Repose, and without that spell, which technically you have to not cast as a ritual (though I can't see any non-black-hearted DM really enforcing that), because a ritual takes +10 minutes, so must have prepared, the PC is just dead.

It's a lovely dynamic in a party with a Cleric, I agree. But it essentially makes it a game of "Force a player to be a Cleric and have a non-Evil DM or you diiiiiieeeee!", which is like, not great. I think it's worth losing that in order to improve the game generally, which combining the two would do. An alternate approach would be to put Gentle Repose back to what it should be, a 0th-level ritual accessible by more than just Clerics.
Yeah, I’d say putting it on the Druid, Paladin, and Ranger (and maybe Bard?) spell lists would be a good move. I’m not 100% sold on making it a cantrip though. I actually like that the healer has to weigh the risk of using their last spell slot to help out in a fight, or saving it for Gentle Repose in case someone dies. Once you’ve cast it once with a slot, you can keep the dead party member reposed with ritual castings.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
The trouble with putting it on the list is that it means it sits on one of the very small number of spells those classes have prepared or known, which isn't great.

Maybe it should be a class feature which requires you to expend a 1st-level spell slot, that is present on the "healing" classes.
 

Advertisement

Top