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Lets say I have a Wizard. I cast mage armor on myself. Nasty kobolds kill me with their traps. Luckily, I have a cleric who (for sake of this question) can cast breath of life, at will. He "raises" me from the dead. Do I still have mage armor?

Conversely, what if I was polymorphed into a lion? What if I was cursed by a witch? Hexed by the same witch to suffer -4 to saves until I can get her to stop laughing!

What happens if I get raise dead after I have been dead for 6 months when I have a permenancied arcane sight?

Sorry for the multiple questions, I just don't think I'd REALLY understand what happens to you when you got the great beyond and then come back unless I see the results from multiple angles. Thanks again in advanced!

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There is a similar discussion here:… – Tim B Apr 29 '14 at 13:21
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Death Doesn't Always End Effects

In fact, it rarely does. Usually, an effect creator's death doesn't end an effect nor does the victim of an effect's death end an effect unless the effect specifies specifies that death is a condition for the effect's cessation. Otherwise, an effects lasts until its duration expires. Spells whose duration includes concentration will, obviously, have that concentration ended upon the creature's death--even that, however, might not immediately end the spell (e.g. the spell major image).


  • The dead wizard brought back to from the dead via the spell breath of life will still be under the effect of his spell mage armor if the duration didn't expire during the wizard's (brief) death.
  • Depending on the nature of the curse, it's possible for the curse to continue while the creature's dead and then, again, when it is brought back from the dead.
  • The spell polymorph lasts until its duration expires; the description of transmutation spells with the polymorph descriptor don't mention that death causes the creature to assume its original form.
  • As long as the dead creature hasn't been the target of the spell dispel magic, any spells on the dead creature affected by the spell permanency remain in place while the creature's dead and continue upon the creature being brought back from the dead.

If it's helpful, consider most effects working like fire. Once the fire's lit, neither killing the arsonist nor stabbing the log extinguishes the flame.

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Thank you all for the quick answers! We were arguing what happened to our buffs when we died in combat, as for some reason we've been running that when you died you buffs went away. Now we know! – twicetested Apr 29 '14 at 22:27
@twicetested Just because I found it, the same and more succinct answer from the Ask Wizards column from the Web site of Pathfinder's antecedent Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 is here. – Hey I Can Chan Jan 17 '15 at 1:45

Under the Duration heading in the D20PFSRD:

A spell's duration entry tells you how long the magical energy of the spell lasts.

To cover your more specific situations,

Mage armour has a duration of 1 hour/level. There is no concentration component, meaning that you must actively dismiss it. Therefore, Mage Armour will still be cast on you when you're raised, assuming you're raised within the duration of the spell.

Polymorph is the same as Mage Armour, but with a duration of 1 min/level.

Under the Cures heading in the D20PFSRD entry on Afflictions:

Afflictions without a cure entry can only be cured through powerful spells, such as neutralize poison and remove curse. No matter how many saving throws are made, these afflictions continue to affect the target.

From this, death doesn't remove any curses (unless death IS the cure listed in the curse's details).

I can't find the Hex you're describing, but the Hexes I've seen appear to have cure conditions listed. Again, if death is listed as the cure for a Hex, then the Hex would removed on death.

Permanency means the spell is permanent; unless you are targeted by dispel magic to remove the spell (such as a permanent Arcane Sight) the spell will stay on the dead character.

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Looking at the rules for spell duration on PF SRD, the only time it appears that the duration of a spell is affected by a lack of caster consciousness is any spell that has a duration linked to Concentration or if the spell is triggered by discharging it (although your question already assumes a spell is already discharged and the actual duration in effect).

However, the following text is most relevant:

If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

A spell that depends on concentration is dismissible by its very nature, and dismissing it does not take an action, since all you have to do to end the spell is to stop concentrating on your turn.

Therefore, a spell will always run its course unless it requires concentration because it takes the character actively spending an action to cease it (where possible) rather than to sustain it.

  • With Polymorph, the spell continues for [caster level] minutes or until a standard action is spent by the caster to Dismiss it.
  • A Curse has a Permanent duration until broken by the prescribed means listed in the spell, requiring the witch (or anyone, really) to use one of those methods to break it. What your example's sort of "curse" sounds most like for instant removal would be a Geas/Quest.
  • Raise Dead wouldn't work six months later unless you have a friendly 180th level caster on hand, but if it were cast within the allotted time it shouldn't end the effect if going strictly from the duration which is now "permanent". Since the spell is already cast, it's not a 'prepared' spell which has a chance of being lost.
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Hmm I think there could be another angle to this..

According to this post

When you die your soul gets disconnected from your body (according to the specific religion of the character). So there are effectively two "creatures". So which of those 2 creatures would "keep" the spell effects?

You could also argue, that the spell doesn't have a target anymore, since neither is the same creature the spell targeted in the first place.

I do realize that this is mixing up rules and lore to some degree, but since I can't find any specific rules arguing for or against this and gods and the afterlife do exist in the context of the game I think this is at least a grey area.

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Thus with reincarnate is made a ship of Theseus. Also see this question. – Hey I Can Chan Apr 29 '14 at 14:27

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