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John died in a fire inside a house. John's hair was totally destroyed by the fire.

His body was extracted and resurrected with the Resurrection spell. Its description says:

This spell closes all mortal wounds and restores any missing body parts.

Does it include John’s hair? Will he be raised bald or with hair?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please avoid using comments to answer. The answer form is just a few pixels down and won’t get your post deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 1 '19 at 0:37
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Yes, hair is a body part for the purpose of spells.

I've searched the Player's Handbook for all references to 'hair'. Most references to hair relate to how hair contributes to your appearance or body (there is even a slot in your character sheet for hair). However, we want to see whether spells treat hair as a 'body part'. There are three spells which reference hair and body parts together.

Dream

If you have a body part, lock of hair, clipping from a nail, or similar portion of the target's body, the target makes its saving throw with disadvantage.

Scrying

Body part, lock of hair, bit of nail, or the like

Simulacrum

some hair, fingernail clippings, or other piece of that creature's body

The phrasing of scrying might suggest that 'body part' and 'lock of hair' are separate things, but this quote from the scrying spell comes from inside a small table where there was not room for any more words. It may just be that 'hair' and 'nail' are included in this brief list to highlight that these are valid and common options for body parts.

The phrasing of dream might also be read as suggesting that 'body part' and 'lock of hair' are separate things, but dream also categorised both things as a 'portion of the target's body'. By any plain English reading, a 'portion of the target's body' is synonymous with a 'body part'. This implies that hair is indeed a body part, and is probably mentioned separately because it is a very common choice of body part for the spell.

The phrasing for simulacrum further supports that hair is a body part, by equating 'hair' to a 'piece of that creature's body'. Simulacrum is notable in these three examples for not including the phrase 'body part' while clearly talking about body parts.

In conclusion, hair is counted as part of the body. Therefore, resurrection should regrow John's burnt hair, just as it would regrow his burnt skin and other body parts.

Thematically, this conclusion makes sense. Resurrection is a high-level spell which restores a dead creature to a fully functioning body (magical afflictions notwithstanding). It would be strange if resurrection would fix all wounds but not also fix hair in the process of restoring the body.

As a caveat, I will admit that there is some ambiguity in these readings. It depends on how broadly you define 'body part'. If you have a more restrictive definition of 'body part' than 'part/piece/portion of the body', then the logic above would fail. However, if you get to these kinds of semantics, then it will ultimately boil down to how the GM rules on these small ambiguously defined details.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My ruling on this for my table is if it contains DNA... so hair and nails are out at my table... however a vial of blood would work. But it isn't like your buddy is going to care if you cut of part of their corpse, he won't feel a thing. Specifically for resurrection anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Dec 1 '19 at 2:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth How does your DNA rationale interact with the above mentioned spells? Dream, scrying and simulacrum all indicate that hair and nails are adequate to uniquely identify a creature. \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Dec 1 '19 at 7:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually read this in reverse based on how you worded your answer. I meant in order for a person to be brought back. However, most of the other spells listed have lore in multiple stories and legend that support the use of hair in scrying and voodoo. When brought back hair would grow back I just don't allow just hair as a viable part for the casting of resurrection or simulacrum for that matter. The rest are fine at my table. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Dec 1 '19 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth actually hair and nails could contain dna because they will most likely have part of the skin attached in the case of hair and nails and blood in the case of nails should they be forcibly removed. Also if anything with dna works just about anything produced by the body should contain it in some amount even if it’s not a body part. I wouldn’t say blood is a body part. Then again this is most likely a moot point anyways since the op is clearly asking for raw. \$\endgroup\$ – Mage in the Barrel Dec 3 '19 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MageintheBarrel The most common source for bits of nail is from clippings of the nail, which don't involve ripping out the nail. What you are describing is DNA from contaminants attached to nail and hair, not DNA in the hair or nail itself. However, this conversation has turned away from the original topic. Further discussion should go into chat. \$\endgroup\$ – BBeast Dec 4 '19 at 0:44

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