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One of the PCs in a game I DM is killed in the middle of adventure. The player has this certificate and wants to use the free resurrection.

The module I ran is DDEX1-10 Tyranny of Phlan where the city is supposed to be devastated. I include this in case the spellcasting service is not available because the temple is supposed to be destroyed, for example.

The certificate only says

You are entitled to one free resurrection spell for one character. Check this benefit off this cert after using it.

How should this spell from the cert work?

  • Does it need someone to cast it, as in spellcasting services?
  • Can this be used anywhere and anytime? For example, can it be used in Barovia.
  • Does it have side effect, like faction charity, where the character forfeits all experience and rewards?

The certificate is available to all DnD AL players here. It is available through a charity event Extra Life in 2017, and valid through December 31st, 2018.

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Resurrection has a few relevant properties here.

  • Casting the spell has a material cost of a diamond worth at least 1,000 gp, which is consumed.
  • Casting the spell requires expenditure of a 7th level spell slot and 1 hour of casting time.
  • The creature that is restored by a Resurrection spell has a -4 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks. The penalty is reduced by 1 each time they finish a long rest.

"Free" as stated on the certificate isn't clearly defined literally anywhere in the rules, however you can consider other effects in-system that are similar. For example, take this excerpt from the Wish spell, emphasis mine:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don't need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect.

"Wish", PHB p 289.

You can reasonably assume that Wish grants you a "free" 8th level spell or lower. It does not give you the power to cast the spell, and you are not casting that spell after successfully casting Wish. You just get the results of the spell you chose. No casting means no casting time, and no components.

The wording of the certificate reward mentions nothing about casting the spell. You're simply entitled to one free Resurrection (capital R). The intent here is to give you an opportunity to restore a dead PC, but still bound by the rules of the Resurrection spell's effects, I.E. the penalty to rolls. This means you can't just recklessly dive into the BBEG's fireballs and tank them with an extra life, but it does mean you get a mulligan if your PC meets an untimely demise.

You are in a good position being the DM asking this question and not the player. Ultimately, it is up to you how to implement any undefined details such as this. From the DDAL FAQ:

As a D&D Adventurers League Dungeon Master, you are empowered to adjudicate the rules as presented by the official materials (PHB, DMG, MM, etc.). Run the game according to those rules, but you are the final arbiter of any ambiguities that might arise in doing so. - "What Rules Do I Use", DDAL FAQ v6.0 pg 3.

and

As always, the DM remains the final arbiter of how a rule is to be implemented in their game. - "What about Sage Advice?", DDAL FAQ v6.0 pg 3.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't seem to me that this answer is written with the DDAL rules in mind, given that no DDAL rules are cited and "it is up to you how to implement any undefined details such as this" requires justification in an organized play context. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Oct 17 '18 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Updated to reference the FAQ from the DDAL website, please see changes and let me know if this better meets the answer criteria. \$\endgroup\$ – Zigmata Oct 17 '18 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how a conclusive answer to this question can skip citing any DDAL rules for certificates, spellcasting services, and resurrection. However solid your reasoning may be, it appears to lack substantive authority for use in DDAL organized play. I've answered DDAL questions based only on my own DM expertise and a quick search through the DDAL FAQ before, and I got burned, because I have no DDAL expertise and I was wrong to think non-DDAL DM expertise was sufficient. I don't wish to question your DDAL expertise, but... that's what this answer reads like. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Oct 18 '18 at 1:04

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