Any creature failing two DC 13 Con-saves vs. gorgon breath (or other such magic such as Flesh to Stone spell) is stone-petrified. Also, a dead yet animated creature (ANY corporeal undead) suffers similar stony fate once properly exposed to these magics.

Does Gorgon breath &/or petrification-spell work on 'dead' bodies not yet animated / undead? For that matter, is such a 'dead' body even targetable via the spell version of this magic?

Concern: it would be odd that a zombie ('dead') can turn to stone but a flesh body (also 'dead') be immune to petrification or possibly not even targetable.

Reason for asking: non-rotting / stone / preserved-dead bodies are useful: can be dismantled for Flesh Golem parts, vital parts for magic item manufacture, original creature Raised / Resurrected / Reincarnated at any later date - i.e. myriad-plethora-abundant uses.

In advance: this may be much ado about nothing or otherwise an unnecessarily complicated way of seeing 5e rulings. If so, corrections on such RAW, RAI &/or RAF nuances herein would be invaluable.


2 Answers 2


The Gorgon's Breath and flesh to stone spell both only target creatures and corpses (probably) are not creatures

The Gorgon's Petrifying Breath action states:

The gorgon exhales petrifying gas in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw [...]

The flesh to stone spell states:

You attempt to turn one creature that you can see within range into stone. If the target's body is made of flesh, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw [...]

Both effects only work against creatures, and corpses are (probably) not creatures as established by the following questions as well as the following unofficial rulings from lead game designer Jeremy Crawford (a tweet, another tweet, and another tweet) which collectively would mean that these do not have any effects on corpses:

Q. Is a dead or unconscious creature?

A. A corpse is an object. An unconscious creature is a creature.

Q. Corpse: creature or object?

A. A non-undead corpse isn't considered a creature. It's effectively an object.

Q. Are corpses objects?

A. A corpse is an object that was once a creature.

However, you could hold that a corpse is a creature, in which case these features do work. This interpretation is somewhat supported in the following questions:

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is as i feared, thanks for the clarification. Thus, turning bodies to stone would ONLY work with True Polymorph, a 9th level spell. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 1:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why would true polymorph help here? Or at least, it can turn creatures into objects, and objects into creatures, but not objects into other objects. You could ask a question on whether there is a way to turn a corpse into stone short of a wish spell \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 1:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I realize that's already what you've asked here. I'll look through more things to see if I can find other ways to turn things to stone \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 2:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ From the spell True Polymorph, first line: 'Choose one creature or nonmagical object that you can see within range.' Thus this spell works on anything not radiating magic. Theoretically the only thing that could possibly thwart this almighty spell would be even more crushingly powerful 'Nystul's Magic Aura'. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 4:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Madix2: On re-reading the spell, the 5e version can indeed turn a creature to stone. For 'creature to object' you can theoretically turn a person into a solid block of gold. That said, i am wrong as well! The 5e version cannot turn an 'object to object'. Even the 9th lvl True Polymorph spell cannot petrify flesh unless the body is enchanted-raised as undead... and then 'kills' them whilst they are in stone-form. Then they stay stoned! Forgive me, i am flabbergasted by the pure silliness of this rule set. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 18:55


A dead body is an object so this invalidates most of these transformations as they only work on "creatures".


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