So, Agnes the Harper Mage/Incantatrix/Archmage needs some thingamajik that is in the Living Vault of a red wizard.

Defeating a CR 33 is not something she wants to do by combat.

She was able to obtain a viable piece of flesh, and can cast clone (since a clone of the master is the only thing that can fool the vault into giving out items).

She also discovered the vault's location.

Now all that is left is some time for the clone to mature, and then to make the clone fool the vault.

The relevant ability:

Recognition (Ex)

Once made, a living vault responds only to its owner; no other being can access the vault’s interior. The vault is not fooled by disguised creatures, and can distinguish between its true master and false duplicates, even penetrating disguises used in conjunction with shapechange, alter self, disguise self, polymorph, seeming, and simulacrum and similar effects. The vault does, however, respond to the product of a clone spell.

Of course killing the Red Wizard and then dominating the clone with the RW's soul is not an option also.

How can she get the clone to "live" (or emulate life) long enough to fool the vault? It needs to do a sending to the vault (to make it pop back) and command it to produce the item.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the clone need to retain the master's creature type in order to fool the vault? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 2:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheVagrantDog your guess is as good as mine. I added the relevant ability from the creature stats block. It seems the clone needs to make a sending also. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ That means it'll need to be intelligent enough to cast... \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 4:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheVagrantDog or be able to use some magical item. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 5:34

1 Answer 1


This answer relies on the assumption that your epic character has access to the Epic Level Handbook and is capable of using seeds to develop spells.

The Seed:Life spell, among other things, can

can cast a spell developed with a special version of the life seed that gives actual life to normally inanimate objects. You can give inanimate plants and animals a soul, personality, and humanlike sentience.

The newly living object, intelligent animal, or sentient plant is friendly toward you. An object or plant has characteristics as if it were an animated object (see the Monster Manual), except that its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores are all 3d6.

From what I can tell of the Living Vault, it can tell if a creature is physically its master, but it does not discern between souls- none of its abilities allow it to determine that the master is a victim of magic jar, for example. If you don't want to fight the Red Wizard, your best bet is to animate the body with a different soul, and for all my searching this is the only thing that will bring a dead body to true life. At that point, your archmage can possess the body, or can choose not to bother, as the newly ensouled body is friendly toward you.

An alternative is to use the body to create an intelligent undead creature- from the magic jar spell:

Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls.

From create undead (it applies to create greater undead as well):

The spell must be cast on a dead body, and the DM may assign specific requirements for various types of undead.

Nowhere does it say the corpse must have ever been alive, or had a soul. I'd recommend a vampire, as (from the vampire description):

A vampire uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

A sufficiently generous DM could allow that this means the vampire would retain the original's spellcasting ability. Even if they don't, vampires are intelligent enough to learn how to cast- hopefully you're in no rush.

The creature will have a different type than the original, however, which could prove problematic... especially if the undead creature alters your new body in some way. Of course, depending on how you define a never-alive corpse, the seed above may also spell trouble; if you treat the corpse as an object, the newly friendly fellow with identical DNA to your Red Wizard would technically be an animated object. Ultimately, it might be better to try and fool the Red Wizard into a situation where you can use magic jar or similar on him.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For added verisimilitude, you can attempt to use some variety of mind seed to give your friendly living corpse the memories of the original. How you'd arrange that is beyond me, though. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Nowhere does it say the corpse must have ever been alive, or [have] had a soul [to become an undead creature]." That is, in the core rules, anyway. Libris Mortis says, in fact, that a corpse that's to become an undead must've been at one point alive (as per this answer). That's not to discount this answer though! This is a tough question—you're not supposed to be able to fool the vault at all ever—, so even getting close is awesome. (I'm wondering if a combination of polymorph any object and programmed amnesia would even do it.) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ We-l-l... it says "almost all undead once had breath in their bodies before gaining their feared title." That "almost" is a sticking point, but honestly, if it's the only one left you're doing great. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ (There are monsters that are explicitly and specifically undead without first having been dead, but I don't think vampires count among those!) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Granted. The Living Vault also doesn't say anything about whether it will recognize its master in a new form or not, so depending on the answer to that, the problem may be moot. We're honestly in uncharted territory here, so I'm gonna say that even unlikely answers will be helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30, 2017 at 20:24

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