When a creature dies, their attunement to any magic items (including cursed items) ends.

Will the feign death spell (PHB, p. 240) trick the curse into ending early?

You touch a willing creature and put it into a cataleptic state that is indistinguishable from death. [...]

It is the same spell level as remove curse (PHB, p. 271), so it's not an abuse of power.

The description of cursed magic items says (DMG, p. 193; emphasis added by me):

Attunement to a cursed item can't be ended voluntarily unless the curse is broken first, such as with the remove curse spell.

The phrasing seems to imply that there are other methods. Does feign death qualify as a way to end attunement to a cursed magic item?

This came up because a character with a cursed item was put under the effects of a feign death spell, and we're wondering if the cursed item is still attuned.


1 Answer 1


The spell description goes on to define precisely what "indistinguishable from death" means:

the target appears dead to all outward inspection and to spells used to determine the target’s status.

Since the cursed item is not "outwardly inspecting", nor is it "a spell used to determine the target's status", feign death has no effect on the curse.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A cunning person - assuming they knew someone wore a cursed item that could only be removed on death (or a spell) - could actually use this as a way of determining that a person isn't really dead! \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Jul 8, 2020 at 13:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamLacrumb that's why PJRZ said "assuming they knew". This isn't too far fetched; for example, the person (probably a/the villain) who arranged that the character found (and subsequently equipped) the item could be the same person the character or party is trying to fool with Feign Death. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2020 at 14:46

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