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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 '17 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 '17 at 1:09
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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.

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  • \$\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 '17 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 '17 at 18:13

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