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For the spell Gentle Repose, the components of the spell say:

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)

If a player wanted to use the spell for preservation of materials like a Dragon Heart but not carry an entire dragon with them, could they remove the dragon's eyes, tie the copper pieces around them, and carry both eyes and the heart (tied together) with them? Additionally, because the copper pieces are not actually consumed, does this matter at all if a spellcasting focus is used?

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You don't need the eyes to preserve only the heart.

There are two kinds of targets for this spell. A corpse or other remains. The spell states (emphasis mine):

You touch a corpse or other remains. For the duration, the target is protected from decay and can't become undead.

As a note to the material component aspect the description adds:

(a pinch of salt and one copper piece placed on each of the corpse's eyes, which must remain there for the duration)

The note about placing the copper pieces on the eyes is for a corpse only. It says "On each of the corpse's eyes." The corpse has already been established as one of two potential targets.

In the example provided you are targeting a heart, which would fall under the category of other remains.

If you're not preserving a corpse you don't need to place the copper on the eyes. You don't need the eyes at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would still recemend talking to DM and using the above answer as a recemendation, from what I have been looking though for spells or etc there is no RAW ruling saying that if a spell has multiple options but the flavor for components only makes sense for one option that its not necessary for both. Generally most DMs will go with it but I've had a few with chip on shoulder toward magic as solution to problems. Good answer though lighcat+1 \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 27 '19 at 9:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @deceptecium What you say is sensible, however I'm not basing this answer on "what makes sense," I'm basing it on what the spell description clearly states. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Jan 27 '19 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mhmm and that's good I just wanted to clarify for the person asking in case They are relatively new. And although sometimes it might clearly state to you doesnt mean the person dming will see it as clear. For me personally I hand wave any cost less than 50 gp because tracking materials isn't something I enjoy until it's something like a sapphire rod worth x thousand. This was in no way against your answer it was merely adding on that in the hand no matter how clear a ruling is you still talk to dm just to make sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 27 '19 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for clarifying. I did not take it as "against my answer" and even if it were I'm happy to receive criticism. I agree, talking to GM is always a good idea. Also good idea to have your position supported by the language of the rules and to show that to your GM if there is disagreement. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Jan 27 '19 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ The material component doesn't say "on the corpse's eyes if using the spell on a corpse". \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Jan 27 '19 at 23:24
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The answer will be up to the DM on whether the eyes need to be in socket or etc. There isn't really any good way to give an answer other than "ask your DM".

If using a focus and any material cost is indicated in the description, the caster must have the specific component.
I am not sure if it's a cost; it doesn't sound like it, but if using a focus you might still have to have at least 2 copper on you for each casting of spell.(The copper isn't consumed, so recycle copper to save miners trouble.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related to your second point: Do I need to hold an actual copper piece in order to cast Detect Thoughts? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 27 '19 at 6:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Page 203 phb. Material section says a character must have the Specefic component before they can cast spell. A spellcaster must have a hand free for the component-or to hold spell casting focus. (Since the or is there) I would say no. Worst case scenario just hold a copper piece with your focus , since your allowed to do somatic with same hand as focus or material component just juggle all 3 haha \$\endgroup\$ – Deceptecium Jan 27 '19 at 6:16

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