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My party (lvl 7; Rogue, Cleric, Fighter, Paladin and Warlock) is investigating a demon portal, and we try to obtain as much info as possible before entering it. We learned that it is kept open by the magical force of something or someone, and it will probably close when we destroy that person or object. We've come to believe that the object might be the heart of an NPC. To make a long story short, she was cursed to do stuff for an evil God, and probably summoned some demons right before we broke the curse. Those demons opened the gate, but the NPC doesn't remember specifics of the time she was cursed, probably to repress all the horrible things she did with undead and stuff.

We felt her pulse, and she has none. But still, my party is in doubt - it might be because she has no heart, or it might be that she has a heart but it is just not beating.

Here an interesting discussion started regarding the use of Locate Object, with the conclusion that officially it is probably not allowed, but the rule of cool might apply.

This left me to wonder, what other methods would be available to a 7th level party to determine whether a (human) create has his/her heart on the right place (literally) which would not kill/do permanent damage to the creature?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Knowing the exact party composition would help. Is outside help available (eg. casters for hire)? If yes, what type/power? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 24 at 12:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Temporary death is excluded as well? \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Jan 24 at 13:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are couple o meanings of "creature has a heart": 1) This particular creature has heart inside 2) there exist a heart of this particular creature, somewhere, in some form 3) this race / monster is supposed to have a heart. Probably more. So which one is the one meaning your question is about? I'm not sure, sorry. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 24 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Temporary death is an option (wouldn't be the first time for this particular NPC), but we have no way of bringing her back. The only high casting class in the neighbourhood has been killed by demons she summoned. \$\endgroup\$ – Hans Wouters Jan 24 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot We're trying to determine whether this human woman has her own heart inside of her body. Being human, we know she is supposed to have a heart. \$\endgroup\$ – Hans Wouters Jan 24 at 13:42
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There are options that might work, besides the Divination spell as mentioned in another answer:

  • A Wisdom (Medicine) check - it allows diagnosing illness. If you can diagnose heart illness with it, diagnosing heart presence should be possible as well. Of course, this is DM-dependent, and magical reasons may render it impossible.

  • Detect Magic - if it's human and there is no magic, then she has a working heart, so at the very least it can prove existence, even if it can't prove nonexistence of heart. Of course, you will also have to be sure she is human.

  • Commune spell - similar to Divination. Would require magic item (scroll looks easiest) to use as you probably don't have access yet.

  • Legend Lore - in a very, very specific case it all happened before and there was a legend about it.

  • Cutting someone open under Regeneration spell - again DM-dependant because there simply are no rules about such surgeries. Looks reasonable, given that severed limbs reattach immediately under this spell, and all you need is to take one little peak.

In previous editions there also used to be spells specifically targeting heart of a target creature, but it looks like they are gone now.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Commune is a 5-level spell, inaccessible for a 7-level Cleric. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 24 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor looks like it might be, from a scroll rpg.stackexchange.com/a/76897/10642 Added note in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 24 at 14:25
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Divination spell

Level 7 Cleric has access to the Divination spell, which allows them to "ask a single question concerning a specific goal":

Your magic and an offering put you in contact with a god or a god's servants. You ask a single question concerning a specific goal, event, or activity to occur within 7 days. The GM offers a truthful reply. The reply might be a short phrase, a cryptic rhyme, or an omen.

Unless you ask out of pure curiosity, I guess you have a specific goal considering her heart. Ask about this goal ("what happens if we do X"). The GM must answer truthfuly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My God used to be in the habit of answering "How am I supposed to know that?" \$\endgroup\$ – WendyG Jan 24 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WendyG Hmmm, that seems to me to be going against the spirit of the Divination spell. You used a medium-level spell slot in order to get a specific piece of information, and your DM left you with nothing to show for it but still took your spell slot. I don't think your DM necessarily did anything wrong - it seems like you enjoyed it! - but it's not something I would try without at least talking to my players about it first. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Jan 24 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ She actually then sent me on a quest to find out, i think it was my dm telling me mot yo take the piss. \$\endgroup\$ – WendyG Jan 24 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ The use of that spell is actually how we got the hint that the heart might be a key factor. Using it again today, would result in a 25% chance of a faulty answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Hans Wouters Jan 31 at 13:09

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