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If you true polymorph an object into a creature, and concentrate until the effect is indefinite, does the pseudo-creature become a valid target for true resurrection?

As I understand, it would be a complicated living, breathing, thinking, construct, until the spell maintaining it expires, but true resurrection is able to create/renew the body of a creature, that a willing soul can return to.


Basically:

  1. True Polymorph an object into a (sentient/sapient?) creature.
  2. Creature is named
  3. Creature is destroyed prior to becoming permanent by disintegration, leaving no remains to know it reverted back to an object.
  4. Someone attempts true resurrection, not knowing about the true polymorph, or maybe being super-optimistic. What would the end result be? Nothing? A comatose/soulless body? Pinnochio becomes a real boy?

As true resurrection makes specific mention of the creature's soul, what happens?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Don't signal your edits in text. Instead, you should edit your question to read as if it were always the best version of itself; anyone interested in older versions can view the revision history. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 15 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related answer to a question about True Polymorph that involves creature to object \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 16 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure why you're saying the object becomes a construct. The way I read it, the object becomes a creature. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Sep 16 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ A Construct is a creature made, not born. It may have agency, personality, and emotion, but it lacks a soul. ...right? \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Sep 17 at 16:18
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Given that you specifically said it's killed before becoming permanent, it depends on if you're using the original Rules as Intended or if you're going with the optional rule from Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

According to this QA if you cast a spell without a valid target (which the True Polymorphed object would be in this case) then the spell slot is not consumed and nothing happens. To summarize Jeremy Crawford's statements in the Sage Advice segment one of the Dragon Talk podcasts here (specifically at about 13:12 for ~7.5 minutes), "illegal targeting" is a gap in the written rules (as of the date of the podcast) and it's mostly open to DMs to choose how to handle it.

  • That said, there is an intent for how it should be handled, which is that the casting should still take up the casting time but the spell will not occur and not consume a spell slot. The flavor reason for this is he views spells as essentially trying to make a magical connection between the caster and target. When that connection is established, the energy of the spell is consumed in producing the spell's effect, but if the target isn't one the spell can make a connection to, nothing happens and that energy isn't expended.

The optional rules in Xanathar's state that you DO in fact use the spell slot.

Invalid Spell Targets

A spell specifies what a caster can target with it: any type of creature, a creature of a certain type (humanoid or beast, for instance), an object, an area, the caster, or something else. But what happens if a spell targets something that isn’t a valid target? For example, someone might cast charm person on a creature believed to be a humanoid, not knowing that the target is in fact a vampire. If this issue comes up, handle it using the following rule.

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. If the spell normally has no effect on a target that succeeds on a saving throw, the invalid target appears to have succeeded on its saving throw, even though it didn’t attempt one (giving no hint that the creature is in fact an invalid target). Otherwise, you perceive that the spell did nothing to the target.

We know that the creature would revert to an object when it reaches 0 HP as True Polymorph specifically states

The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies.

To illustrate with an order of events:

  1. I cast TP on my couch and make it a goblin. I name it Greg.
  2. Greg immediately runs away
  3. Some 30 minutes later I'm still concentrating on the spell because I want to make it permanent.
  4. Around that time the Greg gets in a fight and gets Disintegrated
  5. My cleric friend comes along and watches him get disintegrated
  6. She kills whatever killed him and then, being overly optimistic, casts TR and given lack of a body says his name

    Here's where it gets tricky. One of two things happens but more or less share the same end result of the couch-goblin not being resurrected.

    Either A you go by the original RAI and spend an hour casting the spell and she says Greg and then nothing happens.

    Or B you go with Xanathar's rule which results in you spending an hour casting the spell, you say Greg at the end and you expend the slot (and I assume the 25k gold worth of diamonds and holy water).

Whichever of the above happens, Greg died and turned back into an object the second his HP hit 0 making him not a valid target.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm unclear, are you saying that until it becomes permanent, an object under TP is still just an object and not targetable as a creature? Can you support that? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 13 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, it would revert to an object when it drops to 0 HP as the spell ends. I'll add an edit to support that. Good catch though! \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Sep 13 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's the question, though. If it was disintegrated, no one knows it was an object (except the original caster.) But if someone else tries to true resurrect it, then what happens? Or are you saying that's when xanathar's optional rule comes into play? But then does it matter the TR is on a creature with a name, it's just that such a creature is now/was never originally a creature? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 13 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ That is when the rule would come into play. You think you're casting it on a valid target but in fact you're not. The QA I linked has in the question "What happens when the caster chooses a creature, that is actually an object? For instance, a scarecrow, a mannequin, an illusion, or a corpse." (obviously corpse doesn't apply here but you get the picture) \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Sep 13 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Sep 13 at 18:41
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Deduction says that True Resurrection wouldn't work here.

The concept of souls is referenced in multiple spells, creatures and creature attacks. However Soul itself is not mechanically defined.

True Polymorph makes no mention of souls in the creature being created. True Resurrection requires:

If the creature's soul is free and willing, the creature is restored to life with all its hit points.

A creature having a soul is implied if a requirement is that it's soul is free and willing. From a logical standpoint then no soul = no resurrection.

Souls are not a defined mechanic, but get referenced in spells and creature attacks.

I would generally equate soul having with living creature/humanoid (Including living constructs like warforged).

Other similar spells specify soul related mechanics, for example Clone:

This spell grows an inert duplicate of a living, Medium creature as a safeguard against death...

...At any time after the clone matures, if the original creature dies, its soul transfers to the clone, provided that the soul is free and willing to return. The clone is physically identical to the original and has the same personality, memories, and abilities, but none of the original's equipment. The original creature's physical remains, if they still exist, become inert and can't thereafter be restored to life, since the creature's soul is elsewhere.

In this case the soul is specifically needed to be transferable to the new body which when created is souless and if the soul inhabits the new body you can't resurrect the original.

Magic jar is murky because it is allowed to target "any humanoid" but also specifies a soul swap so I would infer that while it doesn't specify living.

You can attempt to possess any humanoid within 100 feet of you that you can see (creatures warded by a protection from evil and good or magic circle spell can't be possessed). The target must make a Charisma saving throw. On a failure, your soul moves into the target's body, and the target's soul becomes trapped in the container. On a success, the target resists your efforts to possess it, and you can't attempt to possess it again for 24 hours.

Monsters such as the Devourer are an example of creatures targeting soul

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  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, imprisonment spell addresses the soul directly, as does astral projection spell. If you want to borrow any of the material from this answer, feel free. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 16 at 13:41

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