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My four players have decided on the following plan: once a week, they all cut off three pieces of their hair and give it the others. This way, if another character is ever killed, they can pull out the hair to resurrect them. They will use the Raise Dead ritual since they only need an unspecified part of the player to be able to resurrect them.

I really really dislike this gamey way of playing, but I could find no reason why this would be against the rules.

Am I missing something?

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marked as duplicate by Ravn, Phil, wax eagle, MadMAxJr, LitheOhm Oct 23 '13 at 16:58

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Hair isn't really "part" of a corpse, if that's all you have. I don't have dust bunnies composed of human corpses under my couch, right? Make it require flesh and then see how long this strategy lasts... –  SevenSidedDie Oct 22 '13 at 19:19
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What problem are you trying to solve by preventing this? –  wax eagle Oct 22 '13 at 19:26
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Here's a thought: introduce another side to this. A hazard of just having tufts of your hair in easy-to-pickpocket places, to go along with the benefit they've discovered. An evil necromancer could be on the lookout for new minions to control, and the ritual involves the same kind of "part" of someone's body as the raise dead ritual. There's all sorts of superstitions about leaving parts of yourself around, be it hair, nails, or teeth, so this isn't a far-fetched scenario for fantasy a RPG. –  detly Oct 22 '13 at 21:26
    
It looks like both mine and @SevenSidedDie's thoughts have been pre-empted in this answer and others to Clarification on 4e Raise Dead's 'part of the corpse'. –  detly Oct 22 '13 at 21:29
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@SevenSidedDie The compendium doesn't say anything like that, and I presume the errata are factored in to that. But there's also the issue of whether "part of the corpse" means: "must come from the actual, dead, corpse and not the living character." –  detly Oct 22 '13 at 21:47
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"Part of a corpse" is the crucial language here. A corpse, by definition, is a dead body. When they cut their hair off every week they are not taking a part of a corpse. They are taking a part of a living body. So that part cannot be used later for Raise Dead. They have to be a corpse before the part of the corpse can be taken for use in the ritual.

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As GM, clearly it is up to you to dictate what constitutes "part of a corpse". Maybe a tuft of hair is alright. One could reasonably argue that at least some amount of flesh is required, or at least some percentage of original body weight, and so on.

However I believe the real issue is not with the mechanics at all, but with the way the players are approaching the situation. You feel that they are somehow 'cheating the system'. Personally I think they're just getting into the spirit of the game. That they felt the need to plan ahead might be indicative of your GMing style. Why do they feel that way? Is the campaign excessively dangerous? That they did plan ahead should be rewarded. Trying to account for a more difficult campaign only to have their plans foiled will make for frustrated players.

Finally, there is certainly not a balance concern with this. Are you routinely dissolving your PCs in acid, or disintegrating them into dust? If they actually get annihilated to the point of no return, of course they are looking for smart ways to prevent it. I assume (and sincerely hope) that this is not the case, so really in the end it makes no meaningful difference.

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+1 for rewarding the players for planning ahead, not punishing them. Though I would personally require more than just a lock of hair. A finger, maybe… big evil grin –  Greenstone Walker Oct 22 '13 at 21:31
    
@GreenstoneWalker I agree, a lock of hair is pushing it. That being said, there is still no game mechanical difference between the two. There is certainly an RP difference though. –  Eric B Oct 22 '13 at 21:41
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Of course, if hair isn't enough, their characters don't really have the GM telling them, so they may be in for a rough surprise further down the line, unless they get some in-game professional advice. –  AlbeyAmakiir Oct 22 '13 at 23:40
    
It's 4.0, so no, it hasn't been deadly. The players are epic tier and they've had exactly 1 death during the entire 3-year campaign (which was more or less coordinated between myself and the player in question). However, they're attempting to defuse two linked bombs and expect one of them to go off and annihilate whoever is attempting to disarm it. –  Ravn Oct 23 '13 at 6:55
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