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Inspired by the current OOTS story thread, I was trying to think my way around a resolution for the situation and wondered:

Would it be valid for an undead cleric to cast resurrect on himself?

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As soon as I saw your question, I thought of the OOTS storyline! –  gomad Mar 31 '13 at 11:01
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Be careful with any answer to this, since Order of the Stick doesn't actually quite operate by the rules of 3.5. Rich Burlew's said repeatedly that he follows the rules only when it is funny or advances the plot. –  KRyan Mar 31 '13 at 14:19
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Dont accept an answer on this yet. Im pretty sure there is a way but its unconventionall (still withiu RAW). Im just not at home right now so I don't have my books...ill post an answer in a few hours. –  Ben-Jamin Mar 31 '13 at 18:07
    
I'm keeping it in a 3.5 context otherwise it gets silly with "what if" and the question has to be answerable. Also keeping it open for a good couple of days for creative answers! –  Rob Mar 31 '13 at 20:45
    
Rob I thought I had it on one of my old spell lists but I can't find it. There was a spell like <a href=" dndtools.eu/spells/complete-divine--56/renewal-pact--659/…; Renewal Pact</a> but it was more contingency based and allowed you to choose a spell after your specifications were met. Use the spell rto cast resurrection on himself AFTER he dies and it would work..problem is I cant find it or verify it is 3.5 material like I thought I could –  Ben-Jamin Apr 1 '13 at 0:00
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

YES!! It took longer than it should have but I found it.

Yes, an Undead Cleric could resurrect himself, although, not directly as would normally happen. This is assuming that, aside from his Undead state, he would otherwise be eligible for resurrection. (Mainly that he has been dead (including Undead) for less than 10 years.

First the caveats:

  1. The first hurdle, which was brought up in the other answer is that your Cleric must still have it's Cleric abilities. To my knowledge, Pelor is not in the habit of granting spells to Undead. And deities who love Undead would be not be inclined to grant a spell to make him un-Undead. Wee-Jas may have no problem with this, and infact with material in the Complete Divine would probably gladly endorse such things. Also, Clerics who have no Deity but instead worship an "ideal" should retain their abilities (even if their ideals change upon being Undead). (Resurrection is not a good spell so evil Clerics can cast it)

  2. The MAIN hurdle, as was pointed out earlier, is Undead creatures can NOT be resurrected. However, "You can resurrect someone...who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed."

So how do we overcome? Well we have to be prepared to destroy ourselves!

From "Complete Arcane" we have a feat called "CRAFT CONTINGENT SPELL" available to casters of atleast 11th Level. Direct quote from the text: "Triggers for contingent spells are usually events that happen to the bearer of the spell, and can include death."

This is an Item Creation Feat so there are significant additional costs to use this but it gets the Cleric his life back which is apparently what this Cleric wants so I'm sure it's a completely acceptable cost.


NOW we have an interesting delima. How long, in levels, has your Cleric been Undead? Was he level 5 when he was "turned" and now he's level 13...is your Cleric prepared to go to level 4 when ressurected? I'm not sure that he has to, but it appears so. I think I read another question on the matter but I can't find it right now. If I do I'll link it in later, if not it would make for an interesting related question.

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+1 Nice answer. There's one "hurdle" left out though: Would the now-undead and now-evil creature be willing to be destroyed and then resurrected to a good-aligned God? (or it could be an addendum to hurdle #1) –  Roflo Apr 3 '13 at 21:29
    
Great answer! I love these sorts of logical RAW solutions to, ahem, "problems". –  cr0m Jan 15 at 22:50
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No, because the cleric is not dead.

Target: Dead creature touched

You can resurrect someone [...] who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. [...U]ndead creatures can’t be resurrected.

The vampire/zombie/etc must first be destroyed, and then resurrected, as an undead creature is not a dead creature and thus is not a valid target regardless of who casts the spell.

I suppose a properly-worded contingency spell keyed on the cleric's death might work, but I seem to recall that D&D spells often suffer from a lack of ontological inertia. So that would have to be looked into.

But he can't cast anyway (potential spoilers).

A Good cleric, getting his spells from a Good god, would upon becoming an Evil undead creature be violating one of the basic cleric class requirements.

A cleric’s alignment must be within one step of his deity’s.

And is probably considered to have violated his god's code of conduct, too.

A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons.

So this is all academic for the poor guy, though we can of course envision a Whatever Neutral priest of Wee Jas or Olidammara retaining her spellcasting abilities in a similar scenario.

[Please note that casting resurrection is not itself an act with Good or Bad connotations in the D&D alignment mechanics: it has no Good or Evil spell descriptor. It would be a foolish god indeed who banned the resurrection of his champions, so the spell is available to any caster with the appropriate class levels and spell list.]

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Ahhh, lost class features too; so a scroll isn't the way around it either - darn! Nice answer! –  Rob Mar 31 '13 at 10:44
    
Technically he doesn't lose anything until he "grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god". Unless of course part of the code of conduct is "don't become undead". –  Glen Nelson Mar 31 '13 at 17:44
    
you should put a "TVTropes" warning on that Ontological Inertia link ;) - Also, if Durkon switched to an evil god, then he might have Resurrect as a spell, but casting it could be seen as a "good" act and violate the code-of-conduct of the evil god –  SteveED Mar 31 '13 at 17:58
    
Don't remember the book but it is also common for evil deities to grant spells to undead clerics that used to serve another deity. Infact I think WeeJas would delight in granting one of Pelors clerics with the ability just to insult him & his followers. –  Ben-Jamin Mar 31 '13 at 18:52
    
Can we get some spoiler tags? It's not obvious from reading the title of the question or even the body that the answer is going to spoil the comic's plot instead of answering in more general terms. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 1 '13 at 4:51
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Assuming you are of high enough level there's a pretty simple way to do it:

Delay Spell.

It's going to take some epic feats to have a high enough level spell slot but it can be done. Cast it, destroy yourself and you come back living.

Lower level but more expensive would be to craft a metamagic item of greater delay spell.

Personally, I'd allow it anyway on a willing target.

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Interesting workaround, but a stickler for rules would point out that you're not a valid target for the spell to be cast until you're dead, so the spell would fizzle immediately (as you have to choose targets when it's first cast). –  BESW Apr 2 '13 at 2:27
    
@BESW: I wouldn't have the spell fizzle when the delay period started, but rather when the main spell went off. To interpret it at the start results in the opposite problem--a spell goes off on a clearly invalid target that was valid when it was cast. –  Loren Pechtel Apr 2 '13 at 2:38
    
Hmm. On reflection, I think you're right on the first part; but the spell would fizzle if the target was invalid at the end of the delay regardless of whether it would fizzle when the target is first cast or not. –  BESW Apr 2 '13 at 2:51
    
@BESW Presumably, during the delay, the undead cleric sees to it that he will be a valid target when the delay ends and the spell goes off, if you catch my drift. –  Jonathan Hobbs Apr 2 '13 at 3:25
    
@JonathanHobbs: Exactly. I thought that obvious enough I didn't bother to spell it out. –  Loren Pechtel Apr 3 '13 at 3:21
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