Imagine that a wizard died in a fire, and their spellbook burned, too. They were in the afterlife for about a month and after that resurrected. They no longer have a spellbook.

Do they remember their prepared spells?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Surely that counts as a long rest. :-p \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2019 at 0:43

3 Answers 3


There are no hidden rules

The rules for dying don’t say you lose your prepared spells. The rules for Resurrection don’t say it either. So you don’t lose them; those spells stay prepared.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The rules don't say you keep your prepared spells, either. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Nov 15, 2019 at 1:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells nor do they say you keep them from turn to turn. Your point? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Nov 15, 2019 at 2:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ A link to rpg.stackexchange.com/q/135599/18165 would be a more constructive response to @Mark's comment. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2019 at 11:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mark Generally, aspects of the game state remain the same until something changes them. E.g., your hit points don't change until you take damage. The "no hidden rules" principal formalizes that idea by explicitly denying that an action/effect changes anything beyond what is written in the rules. (Obviously, the DM always has leeway to weave the rules and the narrative together in a reasonable fashion.) \$\endgroup\$
    – DoubleD
    Nov 15, 2019 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeraphsWrath In 5e, you don't have to prepare spells from your spellbook each day like in previous editions. The only time you need to consult your book is when you change your spells. You recharge your slots every long rest, book or no. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Nov 16, 2019 at 2:21

You remember your prepared spells indefinitely unless an effect indicates otherwise.

Generally when preparing spells, you keep almost a full casting of the spell memorized, which is then later triggered by verbal or somatic components.

There are no rules that explicitly state under and circumstances that you would lose access to prepared spells in the event of a player death, and since things stay in a state unless changed by something else, you won't lose those prepared spells.

For example, if you were to not prepare spells for a few days, you don't lose access to the spells you prepared a few days earlier. You can change those spells available via a Long Rest, but the spells don't go away unless there is an effect that explicitly states that it causes a spellcaster to lose access to those prepared spells.

The basis of spell preparation lies in the rules of Vancian magic. Also known as "Fire and Forget" magic. In prior editions of Dungeons and dragons you would trigger your spell, and then lose access to that specific spell slot. However, in 5E, you prepare a list of spells and as you cast you expend energy corresponding to the spell that was cast.

An instance where you would lose access to a prepared spell would be something along the lines of Arcane Trickster's Level 17 ability: Spell Thief

At 17th level, you gain the ability to magically steal the knowledge of how to cast a spell from another spellcaster.

Immediately after a creature casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with its spellcasting ability modifier. The DC equals your spell save DC. On a failed save, you negate the spell's effect against you, and you steal the knowledge of the spell if it is at least 1st level and of a level you can cast (it doesn't need to be a wizard spell). For the next 8 hours, you know the spell and can cast it using your spell slots. The creature can't cast that spell until the 8 hours have passed.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

So in this instance, for 8 hours the caster in question wouldn't have access to that spell. But in the event of a death? Descriptions of death don't indicate that prepared spells are lost, plus, in the event of a character death, a character generally transcends to the astral plane and becomes a petitioner of whatever deity they worshiped when they alive, or whose alignment they shared during life.

So they'd still have access to those spells, albeit in another plane.


There are some important differences between your specific scenario and this one, but Curse of Strahd does contain a bit of plot with some rule guidance on this.

The NPC Patrina Velikovna can be restored to life via an effect that is described as identical to the resurrection spell except that it works regardless of how long the creature has been dead. If the PCs accomplish this, Patrina returns to life with no spells prepared.


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