Resurrection can revive someone that has been dead for less than a century. So let's say my level 5 druid dies and I make a barbarian to continue adventuring with my party, then a year later when we are high enough, our Cleric wants to resurrect my druid from way back when (remembering where we buried the body).

This feels like it definitely can happen, right? If so, then won't most dead characters be able to come back, eventually, especially at higher levels? Almost feels like death isn't as permanent as I thought it should be, unless if I'm missing something?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! Thanks for the question, but I'm a bit unsure where your confusion is coming from. Or perhaps, I'm not understanding your question \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 20:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ A related question (I think): "How do I incorporate magical resurrection without losing dramatic tension?" also this closed question: "A reason someone would not just go to a cleric to resurrect a loved one in D&D? [closed]" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I could see this being a couple different questions. The most apparent is "can you really revive a creature (barring special circumstances) that has been dead up to 100 years" which is a simple yes/no; the book either says that or it doesn't. The other question I kind of see is asking if the dead character comes back at the higher level. I don't think that was the intent but it's where I thought it might be going. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 20:55
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    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Death in vanilla D&D is about as permanent and meaningful as it is in Dragon Ball \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 19:44

2 Answers 2


Yes, if their soul is available and willing

You have to remember, that druid has already spent a year in their respective heaven. It might seem like every character that ever has or ever will die will be able to come back from the dead, as long as you find enough spell components to do so, but these characters might not want to come back anymore. If you've lived a year in paradise, would you really want to come back to the mortal world, instead of serving in the realm of your god?

If the character was deemed faithless, their soul is now stuck in the Wall of the Faithless. Their soul is mortar for the wall and a DM could reasonably argue that their soul is not free. (This one is Forgotten Realms lore, but 99% of the content designed for D&D 5e is Forgotten Realms, so you're most likely playing there without even knowing it if you're using the books.)

The same goes for evil characters who ended with contracts with devils, their soul might actually be forfeit, so it is no longer free to come back.

But if their soul is free and willing, then yes, there are very few things that will make that character's death permanent.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And also the new character needs to know about the old one :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Wall is specific to Forgotten Realms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Wall of the Faithless presents itself as a strange, counter intuitive thing - a person that served no god but did good because they felt it was the right thing to do is punished with eternal torment, while a person that did good only to not be punished in the afterlife isn't. This... design was one of the things that made Forgotten Realms almost unbearable to play in my table, from the sheer amount of discussion and ressentment it created. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 15:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar Its almost worse than that. Evil can be a valid morality in the Forgotten Realms with evil deities that reward their followers in their afterlife (though their rewards may or may not comport with most people's idea of paradise.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar That's more of a lore question you could post on your own, but in short: The wall of the faithless is there to protect the gods. Without faith, gods will stop existing. There was a time where only evil souls without a god were put in the wall, and it resulted in evil gods having plenty of followers, and good gods running dry because good aligned people trusted in Kelemvor to treat them fairly when they died. It's not that counter-intuitive when you realize that the goal of the wall is to make sure people keep serving the gods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 10:12

Yes, though it's a bit expensive

This does seem like a nice thing that your group could do for their lost allies.

I've never seen a group do it, possibly because it's quite expensive. But it makes sense that a cleric might want to revive their lost friends, and it could be a nice roleplaying moment.

The newly revived character would become an NPC

Of course, you can only play one character at a time -- so you'd have to choose which of your characters you were playing, and the other would become an NPC.

Most likely you'd choose to continue playing your current character since that one would be higher level and would have more wealth and magic items.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I thought so, and I like the clarification about the player choosing which character to be. Makes sense, thanks for the help! \$\endgroup\$
    – Meekbones
    Commented Mar 17, 2020 at 1:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ This could also be a moment for the player to retire the new character - e.g. a wise cleric which stops adventuring to worship in a temple. Then the player could play the old character again. \$\endgroup\$
    – Falco
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 11:58

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