Is it possible to cast Plane Shift on a dead body?

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, in essence, Are corpses objects or are corpses creatures that possess the condition dead? Get some tea, sit back, and enjoy the unsettled controversy. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2018 at 1:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ A simple yes or no would suffice. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2018 at 1:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe Hey I Can Chan is suggesting that the answer to this question is hard to frame as a simple yes or no. Also: would you be satisfied with a single word question like that? I'd guess you're more after an answer that includes at least some reasoning... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2018 at 5:05

2 Answers 2


There is no official ruling for that

And be glad about it. Let me explain.

The developers of Pathfinder simply cannot answer that question without breaking the entire game. Since Pathfinder was built on 3.5's OGL, it inherited many problems with it, one of those problems is the proper definition of a corpse.

While there are many spells that target directly a corpse (Gentle Repose) and is crystal clear on what it should do with the targeted corpse, we also have spells that target only creatures (Reduce Person), or spells that target only objects (Shrink Item), or spell that targets both (Fireball). And sometimes we don't know how those effects should affect a corpse, sometimes it makes (logical) sense, but sometimes it doesn't.

Defining corpses to be objects would break half of those spells. Defining corpses to be creatures would break another half. And defining them to be neither would break half of both halves. For example, if you say that they are neither objects nor creatures, a fireball simply cannot damage a corpse.

What happens to a wizard when he is killed under the effects of the Fly spell? The spell only target's creatures, if he is no longer a creature he shouldn't be a valid target for the spell and his corpse should splatter against the ground? I know one instance where I simply let the corpse fall down slowly as if the duration had expired, so the party could recover the body.

Then we have the Flesh to Stone and Stone to Flesh spells, which just...Nevermind it. Just let them work for their intended purpose and ignore any possible hiccups with the rules as written.

And that's only about spells, we also have magic items, feats and special abilities that refer to creatures or objects, and without a proper definition, the rules can lead to weird situations, like a t-rex swallowing an adventurer and have a terrible indigestion because the adventurer's corpse cannot take further damage inside their belly.

I know many people who treat corpses as objects, but have to make exceptions on the fly when another weird situation shows up, like when you have to check if the corpse is hampering your movement:

You can't move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares.

Essentially, you cannot make an official ruling on what to consider a corpse to be, so that is left entirely at GM fiat. Make a ruling on a case by case basis, check the situation, consider what you think would work best for the game and stick with that.

Personally, I would rule that you can transport corpses using Plane Shift, as the intent of the spell isn't to harm or buff those creatures, but to allow interplanar travel, and even if it doesn't make sense from what is written on the spell, you are causing extra (and probably unnecessary) complications by not allowing the caster to transport his dead friends elsewhere. They would have to find a portable hole, or a bag of holding (which they probably already have), or even remove some carried weight and treat the corpse as gear so they are transported with her. And that probably isn't fun nor moves the story forward.


The target of the spell Plane Shift is defined as a "creature" (rather than an object.)

As the guide "Hey Can I Chan" linked said, whether a dead body is defined as a creature or an object is not explicitly stated by the rules of Pathfinder and therefore might be left to DM Fiat.

However, there was a ruling in D&D 3.5 FAQ (p.6) that says the answer is no. Seeing as Pathfinder was designed to be backwards compatible with D&D 3.5e (on which it was based, under the OGL) it seems logical to assume the answer would be no, unless the DM wants it otherwise.

However, a corpse could be carried by someone you Plane Shift if it is light enough.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome to rpg.stackexchange! You can link all sorts of things (like Hey I Can Chan did) like this [This is the text](http://www.this_is_the_link.com). This is really good for referencing other answers or sites (like for the D&D 3.5e ruling you referenced). For more great tips on writing fantastic answers, check out How do I write a good answer? in our help centre. You can also take our tour to earn a badge! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2018 at 4:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ (Just so you're aware, some 3.5 fans look upon the FAQ with a jaundiced eye.) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2018 at 19:34

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