Given the following two facts, through a strict RAW reading (a DM of course can and likely should handwave this issue), is a typical corpse a valid target of Revivify?

  1. Creatures are Objects.

  2. Revivify states:

You touch [a creature that has died] ...

Where I've marked in brackets what I understand the target to be of the spell.

If the target is a creature that has died, but a corpse is an Object, does that mean most* corpses are invalid targets for Revivify?

This spell should do something, for the material cost and spell slot it does the effects specified. The real question is how and why does it work?

*(Ignoring the standard Animate Objects way of getting around this.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's my current understanding and I'm hoping to understand what other possible reading there is of it. Of course a DM can homebrew, but the better answer is: is the target incorrect? Are dead creatures simultaneously objects and creatures? Tal's answer is the exact kind of answer and challenge I'm looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45338
    Aug 17, 2022 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I upvoted this question. It’s obviously hair-splitting of the rules to point out a potential mismatch, but I think this is a valuable question to have here, if for nothing else but to point at the answers that refute its premise. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've been sitting on this one for awhile knowing it was unpopular, but I think a common reference for this common question is beneficial. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45338
    Aug 17, 2022 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it’s any consolation, It could be worse \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin I hadn't seen that question of yours, but you just seriously inspired me with it! +1 from me lol \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 17, 2022 at 20:03

3 Answers 3


No, you're splitting hairs.

You write in your first block [a creature that has died], while then bolding a creature that has died. There's a difference there. The phrase "a creature that has died" is different from "a creature", they have different plain English meanings. "A creature that has died" is the target of the spell - which in this case, is an object, and that's fine.

This is also similar to Thomas Markov's Answer to a somewhat similar question. In this case - "If your reading of the spell Revivify is that you cannot Revivify, your reading is incorrect"

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. Taking a sledgehammer to a chair would result in a pile of bits of wood; it's still entirely reasonable to talk about that pile as "a chair that has been smashed apart" even though the pile isn't actually a chair any longer. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Aug 17, 2022 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 This is a fantastic answer to settle the endless pointing to dead creatures as creatures based on resurrection spells calling them that \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @zacm If there are two readings of a phrase, where one makes perfect sense, and the other is nonsensical, there's no argument for the second reading to be considered, IMO. English, as used by the 5e writers is just not that precise, and one must use some simple reasoning to get to an answer. If you find other spells that have targeting criteria that confuses you, I recommend you ask about them separately. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tal
    Aug 17, 2022 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tal I make a similar argument in this answer (and another answer linked therein). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tal This answer of mine is even closer to this question, about whether or not "see invisibility" can see invisible things. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2022 at 19:30

Yes, it still works

There are no rules about what "counts as a creature." That is a plain-English term and not a game term.

There is no rule that says a corpse is not a creature. The accepted answer you linked above tries to give us a definition based on "examining how the word is used throughout the text" but that doesn't make it a rule. The answer itself admits:

It's important to note that "creature" does not get a precise definition in the rules.

Because there isn't a definition of "creature," just use the plain English reading of the spell, after which it should be obvious that it works.

(Note that "object" does appear to be a game term, see here.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant. I'll also add there are some rules about what a creature and Object are, but they are minimal. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45338
    Aug 17, 2022 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @zacm, what do you mean by "relevant"? It feels like perhaps you didn't read the second paragraph of my answer, which is about why the answer given in that link isn't a rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Aug 17, 2022 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ You said that there are no rules about what counts as a creature, that it's a "plain-English" term. What is linked is an attempt to define what a "creature" is and means in 5e which seems relevant and potentially contradictory, I'm not clear on if you're arguing creature means something different than the accepted answer in the link. To clarify the commented link and the link in the main post are distinct. \$\endgroup\$
    – user45338
    Aug 17, 2022 at 20:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @zacm, What is linked is not a rule. It's just some guy posting on a Q&A site. WaxEagle is very wise, but WaxEagle is not an official source of D&D 5e rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Aug 17, 2022 at 20:08

Spells Are Intended To Have Effects

If you rule that corpses aren't valid targets of the spell on the linguistic technicality, how does the spell work at all? What's your more restrictive class of targets that are still affected-- what is intersection of "creatures that have died..." and "not corpses"? I would argue that this myopic view yields the empty set, and the spell doesn't work.

But that is obviously pointless, because spells are intended to have effects.

It's not a productive question in any sense I can understand.

But if you really need an answer to this question, the answer is, "The spell works because that is the way it is written; it is a specific rule, self-contained in the text, trumping whatever more general framework it gets shoehorned into. The class of targets is defined by the spell to be 'creatures that were recently slain' regardless of whether those recently slain creatures are otherwise regarded as objects."


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