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For example, Kara the Fighter foolishly ran 90' ahead of her party and has just been stabbed to death by a goblin. Her body has some stab wounds but is otherwise fully intact. The party cleric can't reach Kara on his turn. He has True Resurrection prepared and has the material components. Would he able to use True Resurrection to bring Kara back to life, at that moment?

For reference, the description of true resurrection states:

You touch a creature that has been dead for no longer than 200 years and that died for any reason except old age. If the creature's soul is free and willing, the creature is restored to life with all its hit points.

This spell closes all wounds, neutralizes any poison, cures all diseases, and lifts any curses affecting the creature when it died. The spell replaces damaged or missing organs and limbs. If the creature was undead, it is restored to its non-undead form.

The spell can even provide a new body if the original no longer exists, in which case you must speak the creature's name. The creature then appears in an unoccupied space you choose within 10 feet of you.

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He cannot cast the spell if the conditions for its casting aren't met.

This is distinct from him casting the spell and the spell failing, mind you. In order to cast the spell, he must be within the range specified by the spell, which in this case is touch. Now there is an exception to this in this spell, which applies if the body no longer exists. Given that the body is still in existence, I would say that the spell fails should he decide to try and cast it regardless but that the spell slot is not consumed. The reasoning behind this is that the range of the spell is part of its requirements for its casting, as much as any component, so casting True Resurrection without being in range would have the same result as casting it without a diamond: the process of casting it remains incomplete.

That said, if you are using the optional rule on Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 86), under "Invalid Spell Targets", the spell slot would be expended:

If you cast a spell on someone or something that can't be affected by the spell, nothing happens to that target, but if you used a spell slot to cast the spell, the slot is still expended.

That said, any high-level cleric would be aware of this, and would most likely not cast the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Follow up: At the party watches in horror, a falling stone trap activates and crushes her whole body into a paste 1/4" thick. Will the spell work now? 2nd Follow up: At the party watches, now in disbelief, a dozen goblins run in and eat the Kara paste. Will the spell work now? 3rd Follow up: A year later, the party is at a tavern reminiscing about Kara. The cleric decides it's worth a shot to try and her bring her back. Kara's remains have been fully digested, excreted, and her atoms dispersed across the Material Plane through natural processes. Will the spell work now? \$\endgroup\$ – user2651044 Jul 31 '18 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user2651044 This seems like a DM call, of course, but strictly speaking it'd be when there is no longer a "piece" of the body left, based upon the description for the other spells that allow resurrection. So it'd be justifiable to say that the body is destroyed once it's been crushed into the 1/4" thick paste. \$\endgroup\$ – QuantumDM Jul 31 '18 at 23:25
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The answer is 'Yes' sorta...

The spell can even provide a new body if the original no longer exists....

Clearly you just need a beholder, or the party's spellcaster, to hit Kara's corpse with disintegrate. Then it will no longer exist, and your cleric can "speak her name".

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    \$\begingroup\$ This gives me an excellent idea for a high level campaign. Godly being is dead, and has tons of worshippers wanting to resurrect him, but can't get resurrected due to bad guys hording his corpse. Or alternatively, YOU are the one guarding the corpse on the 199th day. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Jul 31 '18 at 20:50

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