Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In our current D&D 3.5 campaign we have made enemies with powerful drow vampire clerics. They have an annoying habit of resurrecting as their god is one who brings people back from the dead to have their revenge on whoever killed them.

Our usual method of destroying vampires is to kill them, then when they go gaseous and race off to their coffin, follow them to destroy the coffin/s or expose their coffin to direct daylight or prevent them from reaching their coffin in time. We've done this twice now to the vampire clerics and I'd like to know a more permanent solution in case there is a round 3 (especially as they keep bringing a marilith with them).

Our party has extensive resources so any conceivable 3.5 solution could probably be organised by the party (6 16th level characters).

Is there any way to prevent a person/creature from ever being brought back to life/unlife?

share|improve this question
Is the "god" somehow limited in it's powers? I'm afraid there is nothing you can do to stop a god if it's omnipotent. – nvoigt Oct 27 '15 at 7:55

12 Answers 12

up vote 10 down vote accepted

As a fallback against them coming back once they're dead you can always try a wish spell to stop them coming back once you've killed them.

However, if it is True Resurrection that is bringing them back, there is a gotcha;

Even true resurrection can’t restore to life a creature who has died of old age.

Now given that these are Drow anyway this is a bit of a long time to take into consideration; but you could get them by:

  1. Kill 'em
  2. True Resurrect them (so they are now alive, not undead)
  3. Age them a lot** (Find/Summon a monster that does aging damage and get it to attack them)
  4. Watch them die of old age.
  5. Do a "ding dong the Drow is dead" dance.

** Level draining may work as well here, but I don't think it's as surefire a method.

As an additional thought; you could possibly reincarnate them instead, they will be reasonably likely to come back as a somewhat less long-lived race than a Drow and then make them die of old age. They'll still have died of old age then! However you'd have to true resurrect then, kill them, then reincarnate them as reincarnate doesn't work on undead, this might be getting a little complicated ;)

share|improve this answer
Raise Dead, Resurrection, Reincarnate and True Resurrection don't work if the subject doesn't want to be revived. – Erik Burigo May 2 '12 at 22:01
From p171 of PHB: A soul knows the name, alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it and may refuse to return on that basis. – jsecker May 3 '12 at 13:08

"Doctor, it hurts when I do that."

"Well then, don't do that."

It sounds like whatever's going on goes way beyond normal resurrection rules (RAW you can't rez aa vampire, they're already dead). Consider not killing them! If you get them to retreat to their coffins, seal them in and put them into an infinite prison of your choice (You know, like you see in them Blade movies). Even a portable hole might serve. Or dimensionally gate 'em to a plane of imprisonment. Of course it depends on what spellcasting abilities they have, if they can word of recall or planar travel that's harder to pull off.

share|improve this answer
I think "have someone cast a permanent dimensional anchor, then encase and/or fill the coffin with lead" tends to be a nice way of disposing of any corporeal but non-breathing enemy that has a problem staying down. Depending on the creature, concrete may work too. – Yandros Apr 29 '12 at 18:51
BTW, there is a way to resurrect vampires, see the Revive Undead spell from Libris Mortis. – Yandros Apr 29 '12 at 19:10
I'm not sure but I think they might be using True Resurrection to bring them back to life and then turning them into vampires again. – jsecker Apr 29 '12 at 19:56
If it's Revive Undead then your gotcha is An undead that has been destroyed by a turning effect can’t be revived by this spell. So you'd have to kill them that way to be sure. – Rob Apr 30 '12 at 8:57

Just use flesh to stone and then rock into mud, scoop them into a pot and plant a tree in them.

Doing it that way stops resurrection because

The subject, along with all its carried gear, turns into a mindless, inert statue. The creature is not dead, but it does not seem to be alive either when viewed with spells such as deathwatch.

They could be be restored if you used mud into rock and then stone to flesh but they would be dead or at least severely deformed after the conversion back to flesh.

share|improve this answer
Unfortunately, Rock into Mud just work on natural, non-carved, non-magical stone. – Thales Sarczuk May 7 '14 at 20:00

You could also:

  1. Kill 'em
  2. True resurrect 'em
  3. Trap their souls
  4. Take the gems with the souls to some heaven so that their god won't make 'em flee
share|improve this answer

Put a stake in its heart and shove it into your bag of holding or other portable storage device. Since it is dead it can't do anything itself to resurrect. Since there is a stake in its heart, it shouldn't be able to return to life, since it would just die again from the stake. Since you are taking the staked vampire with you, nobody else should be able to remove the stake.

Alternatively you could try the Binding spell with Minimus containment. Then either send them to a safe place like Vamsi Mizzrym suggested, or wear the gems as a necklace. The necklace makes certain that you can keep an eye on them at all times. The downside is what happens if you get into an anti-magic zone.

share|improve this answer

You might talk to your GM and party about this. If you keep getting attacked by an endless stream of vampires, maybe there's something story-related that you have to do in order to stop the vampires from coming back. Maybe you have to make a deal with the death god, or possibly another god that can stop the vampires from coming back. Maybe you have something the death god wants, and he won't stop until you give it back.

Of course, if you do have to stop them from coming back yourselves, Trap The Soul is probably your best bet. This spell doesn't actually kill them, it just imprisons them forever until you let them go.

share|improve this answer

The other problem with any resurrection spell - 'convince them it's their allies' may not work, as many vampires, especially a vampire cleric, may very well be perfectly fine with their current state of being - in other words, they may not want to be alive, regardless of who's doing the returning to life. They may wish to remain undead.

That said, the tips above regarding caging are good. Force them into a coffin, bespell it, and then surround it by a mile of rock or something. Even if not permanent, heck, it has to be permanent enough for your lifetimes, right :D

share|improve this answer
Yes, they are very happy being vampire clerics and certainly don't want to revert back to life, which is one of the reasons why they hate us, because we keep killing them ( this is the third time if I remember right) and forcing them to be resurrected then re-vampired. – jsecker May 3 '12 at 12:55

There are also polymorph spells that you can use. Turn the vampires into trees or something, then do the drop kick into the portal/prison of your choice.

share|improve this answer

If its a problem with a god, my go to place is the outlands. If you can kill them there and then drag their bodies within 100 miles of the spire at the "center" of the plane then ALL divine powers are annulled. Then just bury them so far underground, build a keep on top of them, whatever you want, just make sure their remains CANNOT be moved. The problem with going anywhere near the spire is that spells and magic cease to function (as do psionics, but at a much further range) and everyone is affected.

share|improve this answer

Personally, I always like sunbeam for dealing with irritating vampires, but something like trap the soul or an iron flask will often work, too. You can also use spells like call marut (Spell Compendium, or use gate or planar ally, greater) if they're going to ignore the rules of death like this. Abusing resurrection is a no-no according to most Death gods, so they're going to get a bounty on their heads. Might as well call in Bobba Fett.

Ultimately, of course, you can't beat a deity by yourselves, and you certainly can't beat a DM. For every sword of vampire annihilation you build or spell of immunity to dark elf vampire clerics you find, the deity or DM can simply create the counter to it. The DM literally has a bag of infinite drow cleric vampires behind his screen as well as a literal deus ex machina in the form of this deity, so you're not going to be able to beat him by outsmarting him if he doesn't want you to. By the RAW even if you were to bodily cast these clerics into a sphere of annihilation or a portal to Carceri (Tartarus) the deity could simply restore the clerics.

Your party needs to stop ignoring the clerics and figure out why this deity has a beef with you. Certainly this deity has enemies you can ally yourselves with (powerful good deities). You're level 16 so chances are more than one character in your party has a powerful good deity on speed dial, and as a worst case alternative you can always make a personal visit. Very few evil vampire drow clerics are going to want to follow you to Celestia or Elysium. Such a creature setting foot on those planes would die almost instantly due to the levels of holy light and good present there.

share|improve this answer

Yeah...trap the soul is about the only way I see it working....for best results enchant the gem as normal and inscribe their name on it, then put one on top of each of them while they're at rest recovering (can put some kind of attract spell to ensure they'll notice it). When they get up and inevitably pick up the gem to see what it is, it instantly traps them with no magic resistance or save, then take the gem and hide them on a greater positive energy dominate plane after enchanting the gems with every anti-divination spell you can think of and using a wish or miracle to ward it so no living or undead being, god nor mortal can perceive them (most likely a miracle since it would require divine intervention to make something undetectable to other deities).

Or you could also try to bribe a devourer somehow some souls, but they tend to be pretty mindless and generally try to kill everything they encounter to feed.

*oh there's also a 9th level spell available to both clerics and wizards called Soul Bind, which works like trap the soul, but it works on recently slain creatures and doesn't allow magic resistance. You just cast it after killing the creature and it traps the newly released soul and no spell can revive or free the trapped soul unless the gem is broken.

share|improve this answer

If you use any kind of resurrection, the result is not a vampire, but a living creature. These spells turn undead creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming undead. Of course, being Drow, they wouldn't have any moral issues with handing the raised person over to vampires for re-vampirization!

You cannot resurrect a destroyed vampire in any way or form. The spirit that takes over the dead body when it awakens as a vampire is not the spirit of the person who died, (though I have seen it argued that the original soul is trapped in the dead body, a theory I personally discredit.) When the vampire spirit is kicked out of the body permanently, (as in destroyed by sun or immersion,) that spirit does what slain elementals do: it dissolves into the basic material, (negative energy in this case,) from which it is formed.

If a person is turned into a vampire, slain, resurrected, and turned into a vampire again, it will not be the same vampire. People who are resurrected do not remember anything from the time while they were dead, so the memories of the slain vampire will not be present in the new one.

In short, the DM may keep sending the same vampire to attack your party, but he is doing so outside of the RAW. (This is not wrong, mind you, it is simply different.) As a player, I would ask him to allow my cleric or other undead specialist in the party to research permanent destruction of vampires in his world.

A Sunbeam or Sunburst spell can generally destroy a vampire that fails its save, or perhaps you may have to research a better version specifically designed to deal with these special vampires. You may have to lower the creature's saves with other spells to get a successful destruction result.

Note that the Destruction spell not only slays a subject, it utterly destroys the body. (With holy/unholy fire!) Since there are no immunities called into question here, (Ref save required, not Fort,) and the spell description does not say otherwise, there is no reason to think it would not work on Vampires. No going back to the coffin for that one.

I would look into summoning water elementals as well as running water is deadly to vampires, and an elemental chasing a fleeing vampire would, were I the DM, count as running water.

share|improve this answer

protected by Oblivious Sage Oct 27 '15 at 13:02

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.