Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why Does Easter Always Make Me Think about Raise Dead spells and the Like in D&D?

Actually, the why is kinda obvious. According to the New Testament "On the third day he rose again," referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What's interesting in D&D is that the resurrection of Christ would not be a resurrection under the D&D rules - it would more likely be the result of a Raise Dead spell.

Lets see - must be raised within days of death and body must be whole - I guess we can hand wave the need for one day of bed rest for each day dead. Christ WAS the son of God after all.

Which makes me think about the use of Raise Dead and Resurrection (you died a messy death, or one a long long time ago type of spell - from the players' perspective, more likely messy death.)

In game terms, is a Raise Dead spell written as it is because the assumption is that the soul of the deceased hasn't yet reached it's final destination in the afterlife. The soul's attachment to it's mortal body is still strong, thus requiring less power (2 levels lower spell level) than a resurrection spell?

Is Resurrection (on par with a magic-user's Wish spell in power) recalling the soul from it's eternal resting place? If so, what happens if the soul recalled does not want to return?

This is what Easter does to me. Makes me think on multiple levels ;)


  1. It's at least as realistic as the New Testament, though Gygax's writing is much harder to get through.

  2. One problem we always had was which saving throw to use for the Slay Living version. Did the target use the Constitution-based "special" roll the same as for Raise Dead, or the standard "vs. Spell" saving throw, or even the "vs. Death Magic" column? We usually defaulted to the "vs. Spell" method, but there were many lively arguments.

  3. Later editions have made it explicit that the soul gets to choose whether or not to return, which is how I've always ruled it. Of course, in terms of later editions, JC, as the son of a deity, may be an outsider, a type of creature that cannot be returned from the dead.


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