The paladin in my group just died, and we want to bring him to an archdruid to reincarnate him. The group needs 12 days to reach the archdruid, so in this case one casting of Gentle Repose is enough to keep the body well preserved.

However, I was wondering if you can cast Gentle Repose multiple times in order to extend the "revivability" of a body as much as you like. Is this possible? Does this make a character unkillable?

By "unkillable" I mean that, even if a 1st level character dies, his friends just need to cast Gentle Repose once in a while until the cleric reaches level 9 (or the druid level 7) and can resurrect/reincarnate him. I've always been against Resurrection/Reincarnation spells because they make death as lethal as a cold in mid levels, but this spell effectively extends the "unkillability" of a character way down to level 1. Not having a temporal window in which a character can be resurrected, right from level 1, takes away some steam to the game and the only way to make an adventure exciting is only through encounters where TPK can happen.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As another comment below touched on, I think your wording confuses the question. It seems you meant "Can I cast Gentle Repose again after a previous casting of Gentle Repose to extend the duration of the effect?" Rather than "Stack" which implies doing it all at once \$\endgroup\$
    – Luke
    Nov 22, 2017 at 23:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Luke That phrasing may be the fault of my first edit; the original question said "add up." I've edited to hopefully make it clearer. OP, feel free to edit further to clarify! \$\endgroup\$
    – A_S00
    Nov 23, 2017 at 1:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The first level character needs a third level friend. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


Can you cast Gentle Repose multiple times in order to extend the "revivability" of a body as much as you like?

Let's take a look at the text of the gentle repose spell:

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of salt and one copper piece placed on each of the corpse's eyes, which must remain there for the duration)
Duration: 10 days

You touch a corpse or other remains. For the duration, the target is protected from decay and can't become undead.
The spell also effectively extends the time limit on raising the target from the dead, since days spent under the influence of this spell don't count against the time limit of spells such as raise dead.

p. 245 PHB

The answer is yes.

As long as you are able to cast the spell again before the duration ends, you are effectively stopping the clock for the 10-day window of the reincarnate spell. Also, take note there is a stipulation in the spell components that the two copper pieces must remain on the corpse's eyes for the duration.

Does this make a character unkillable?

The gentle repose spell does not have an effect on living characters, so this would, in fact, do nothing to make a character "unkillable."

Keep in mind that casting the reincarnate spell on a protected corpse does not guarantee they will return to life:

Provided that the creature has been dead no longer than 10 days, the spell forms a new adult body for it and then calls the soul to enter that body. If the target's soul isn't free or willing to do so, the spell fails.

p. 271 PHB (emphasis mine)

A creature's soul could be prevented from returning to life for a number of reasons in the time between its death and attempted resurrection.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You should add the Reincarnate doesn't depend on the original body state. It simply "forms a new adult body". However, it needs the creature to be "dead no longer than 10 days", regardless of the original body state. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Nov 23, 2017 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ And it's difficult to cast Gentle Repose on a pile of ashes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Skathix
    Nov 23, 2017 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that Gentle Repose requires that there be as many copper pieces as eyes, meaning that a cyclops would only need one copper piece, while a beholder would need many more.A possible event that could disrupt the gentle repose would be the rough movement of the corpse, causing one or more copper pieces to fall from the corpse's eyes, and ending the spell. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2019 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SaberCrusader Duck tape; problem solved. 😁 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: Don't tape ducks, it's cruel. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Feb 7, 2021 at 17:10

Gentle repose stops the timer for resurrection, so perfect timing of the spell would only have that timer increment by 1 minute every 100 days. A reincarnate spell, which has a timer of 10 days before no longer working, would give 14,400 minutes, or 1,440,000 days with perfect gentle repose timing. This means you get approximately 3,945 years to resurrect someone with a reincarnate spell, if you time your gentle reposes perfectly. A true resurrection spell gives about 41.5 billion years with perfectly timed gentle reposes

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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't believe there's a need to time it perfectly when you can preemptively cast the spell before the previous casting runs up \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure how the math works here, since the spell simply extends the duration for 10 days and spell effects don't stack. If you cast one an hour after the first one, it replaces the previous instance. See Chapter 10, PHB Combining Magical effects. If you can explain how you got the multiplication to keep on turning over, that would really improve this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin I'd assume they assumed a 1 turn delay between castings. So then 10 castings cause a 1 minute (10 turn) delay over the course of 100 days (10 castings) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I'd like that to be explained in the answer; it isn't clear how they got there. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2021 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should showcase how you get to those numbers, welcome to answering on rpg.se btw, please take the tour :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Feb 7, 2021 at 15:30

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