The Clone spell immediately moves someones soul to a new body upon death. What happens if you try to use the Speak With Dead spell on the body of the person with a Clone? Presuming the body still has a mouth and the person is not undead. How to prevent the use of Speak With Dead question did not consider what happens with a Clone spell. This question said yes for Speak With Dead on a Reincarnated body but did not consider Clone either. I'm thinking about villans like Mansoon who use Clone to make themselves unkillable. I doubt Mansoon wants anyone interrogating his old body as he plots revenge from a discretely hidden lair.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your last point, I would like to point out that SwD does not force the corpse to speak the truth. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Aug 9, 2021 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


As written, speak with dead functions normally.

Speak with dead states:

This spell doesn't return the creature's soul to its body, only its animating spirit

So there is no interaction between speak with dead and the creature's soul, so we shouldn't expect clone to create a problem for us there. Unfortunately, the phrase "animating spirit" appears once in the entire D&D 5e corpus - in the spell description of speak with dead, so there isn't much to go on concerning what that really means or the lore behind how the spell works. As written, speak with dead works just fine, as it explicitly does not interact with the creature's soul.

Further, speak with dead requires only a corpse, not that the creature that the corpse was formerly be dead. So suppose we have the corpse of a creature that has used clone to inhabit a new, properly functioning body. What does speak with dead say?

You grant the semblance of life and intelligence to a corpse of your choice within range, allowing it to answer the questions you pose.

Do we have a corpse? Yes. Next, speak with dead states:

The corpse must still have a mouth and can't be undead.

Is it undead? No. Does it still have a mouth? We can assume yes, since this isn't really pertinent to the question. Here are all the requirements for using speak with dead, summarized:

  • a corpse within range
  • has a mouth
  • not undead
  • hasn't been targeted by speak with dead in the last ten days

A creature's use of clone does not complicate any of these requirements, so speak with dead works as usual.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure it's as clear-cut as that. The spell also says "The corpse knows only what it knew in life" and "doesn't comprehend anything that has happened since it died" which seems to presuppose the creature is dead. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2021 at 14:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ The cloned person is not dead, which seems to cut against the direct meaning of Speak With Dead. Also Speak With Dead doesn't work on the undead, which implies some limits on how you get your information. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2021 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelShopsin Given that the spell description seems concerned only with the corpse, I believe "dead" in the name of the spell is referring to the state of the corpse. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2021 at 14:37

After using Clone, the corpse becomes "inert".

The clone spell ends its description stating:

The original creature's physical remains, if they still exist, become inert and can't thereafter be restored to life, since the creature's soul is elsewhere.

Strictly speaking, the fact that the soul is not employed by speak with dead would make the now-inert corpse an eligible target for it. But when I read that the corpse becomes inert, I thought of it as "unresponsive to magic that targets the dead", since it makes sense to me to avoid some cheese over unspecified edge-cases and terminology (what does "inert" even mean, mechanically?).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty confident that inert does not have any special game meaning, and in my experience, inert is a pretty apt description of any corpse. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 13:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Then why even go out of their way to explicitly state that the corpse becomes inert if that's the only possible outcome? My interpretation of it is to make it uneligible for corpse-targeting spells, but I'm aware it's just one of the many grey areas that require some DM intervention to avoid "crashing the game" (so to speak). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 14:18

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