A cleric conducts a group marriage with a Ceremony spell so that a party of four humanoids all become spouses with each other. Everyone gets a +2 AC bonus while within 30 feet of each other.

"You touch adult humanoids willing to be bonded together in marriage. For the next 7 days, each target gains a +2 bonus to AC while they are within 30 feet of each other. A creature can benefit from this rite again only if widowed." - Ceremony, XGE 151

Seven days pass. The cleric kills two party members. Every party member, now having at least one dead spouse, is now widowed. The cleric casts Revivify to bring back the two dead party members.

"You touch a creature that has died within the last minute. That creature returns to life with 1 hit point." - Revivify, PHB 272

The cleric casts Ceremony to group-marry the party again. Everyone gets the +2 AC bonus again. Everyone in the party can benefit from the Ceremony marriage spell again and again, indefinitely, without dying and returning with Revivify. Because nothing stipulates that one ceases to be a widow upon remarrying or a dead spouse being resurrected.

Is this technically within the 5e rules as written? Thank you!

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/122665/… It all depends on how you define "Widowed". It's not a relatable problem, having your dead spouse come back to life. What happens to the inheritance? So many issues. \$\endgroup\$
    – Turbo
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could achieve a similar effect by hiring mercenaries (willing to get married for a small bonus). Each PC marries one merc for the AC bonus, and when they die naturally (or not so naturally if they survive 7 days and you need them gone) you simply hire a replacement (preferably while using a disguise kit). Permanent +2 to each PC makes the players happy, and the plot hook of "adventurers guild notices all the missing mercs and sends high level members to investigate" makes the DM happy... and gives him an excuse to send higher CR enemies after you than you'd normally encounter. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 23:22

2 Answers 2


No, probably not

  1. The live party members are probably not really widowed, and are probably still married. A key component of being widowed is being left alone, unmarried. A marriage is annulled upon death, since the union ceases to exist. A group marriage is not, since members of the group are still alive. (As pointed out by @Kirt, the concept of multi-generational "lineage-marriages" has been proposed in Sci-Fi novels.)

  2. Being revivified probably restores the marriage. In DND, if you are resurrected you are no longer dead. Especially if it happens quickly, legally it would probably be treated as only being "downed" for a bit. You couldn't get out of a bad contract because you "were technically dead for 10 minutes". Therefore, you are probably also no longer unmarried, and your partners are no longer widowed. In the same vein, you would probably want your gear back, even though you legally would have lost ownership of it, being dead and all.

These points are all up for debate, though, so ask your DM.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed on all counts. In particular, the "line marriage" presaged in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is predicated on the characteristic that it continues for the living members after the deaths of other members. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. That is an interesting example, @Kirt. I've incorporated it into the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – lodewykk
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 15:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Brad Paisley would disagree with the second point. But courts probably wouldn't. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 16:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Jesus would also disagree with the second point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jetpack
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 22:34

Ask your DM.

This Q&A deals with the issue behind the term “widowed”: What qualifies a creature as being "widowed" for the purposes of Ceremony?. Korvin Starmast does a good job of outlining the issue:

Marriage customs and habits can be expected to vary from place to place in a given game world, if our own world is any indicator. Marriage customs would be expected to vary between Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, Hobgoblins, Giants, Dragons, etc.

That consideration, that marriage is as much "in-game-world-cultural" as it is mechanical (via the ceremony spell), leaves unspecified the norms that are a baseline to reference the effects of the ceremony spell, and the after effects.

It is up to the DM as the chief world builder to determine what “widowed” means for the purposes of the game universe, the people involved, and ultimately, for the purposes of the spell ceremony. It is up to them to decide if this works or not. At my table, no, you cannot get +2 AC at essentially no cost.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Of note, this combo does cost 625gp per iteration (less 300gp for each of the murdered spouses who are Zealot Barbarians), so it's not exactly "no cost". \$\endgroup\$
    – StephenTG
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 13:17

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