My pathfinder party have found themselves with a significant (100k Platinum) bounty on their head placed by one of the villains of the campaign. The bounty is a form of blackmail in an attempt to force the party to do the villain's bidding. Therefore my players have been brainstorming ideas to avoid the bounty without just doing what the bad guy wants.

One of the terrible ideas they have come up with is to kill themselves and have the party's Druid cast Reincarnate on them. Then handing over their former bodies to claim the bounty and then using the money to retire into obscurity. However they believe the villain will continue to hunt them therefore the success of this plan relies on how Reincarnate interacts with divination magic such as Scrying.

Does a creature who has been reincarnated count as the same target for the purpose of divination spells such as Scrying?

For example, what happens in the following scenario:

  • Anne the Antagonist has been scrying on Bob the Bugbear Barbarian
  • Bob's friend Clara the Cavalier kills him and keeps his Bugbear body.
  • Dave the Druid casts Reincarnate on Bob. Bob returns as a Human.
  • Anne attempts to scry on Bob the Bugbear Barbarian.

What happens next?

  1. Anne successfully scrys on Bob the Human as he is the same creature for targeting reasons.
  2. Anne's spell fails as the creature she is targetting no longer exists.
  3. Anne's spell succeeds but she is shown the deceased Bugbear body.

Consider Bob's Bugbear body to be a creature with the dead condition (rather than an object) until at least the casting of reincarnate. If reincarnate changes this, include it in your answer.

Please note, I am asking about the interaction not other solutions to my parties scenario. The background is only given to provide a context for why this matters.


1 Answer 1


Same Creature, Different DC

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this answer, we're going to assume that reincarnation converts the old body into an object instead of a creature (or both, which is what my opinion on them is), and that any connections with the old body by the creature are lost. This is because, if the old body still has a connection to the creature, it raises a number of nebulous questions such as, if they die, can both bodies be used to bring them back to life? Would their stats and abilities change based on which body was raised? And so on. While a campaign where the BBEG has a myriad number of bodies stored in various places of all different types from reincarnating over the years could be interesting, for simplicity's sake, we're going to ignore the possibility of this for this answer.

A creature affected by the reincarnation spell is still the same creature, that's why the spell only affects racial abilities (and even then, not all racial abilities either), and not abilities learned from training through classes. Followers from leadership, animal companions, familiars, etc. continue to be connected to them even though they just switched bodies. Basically, there are many things that are tied to the creature's soul rather than their specific body.

Similarly, the villain isn't scrying Bob's old body, they're scrying Bob. Therefore Bob would get a will save as per normal for the spell, but if the spell succeeded, it would show his current body, not his old one. As for his adjusted appearance, it would not be apparent to the villain that they've reincarnated, when there also exist a myriad number of polymorph spells.

Now, since the will save for Scrying depends on a couple of other factors, the DC should be adjusted accordingly:

  • Did the villain meet Bob in person before and was using the firsthand will save modifier? They don't really have a proper firsthand impression of him still, as a GM I would use the secondhand DC modifier instead (+5).
  • What sort of a physical connection did they have to Bob? If they were using bits of Bob's old body or a picture/likeness for the connection previously, I wouldn't count that anymore. If they were using a possession or garment, it's still something that belongs to Bob, so that connection still exists.

To sum it all up, Scrying still targets Bob, but the DC needs to be adjusted appropriately to the new situation.

On the Subject of Souls and Divination

For some more details on scrying and souls, and what not, a good tidbit is hidden away in the Possession Rules from Occult Adventures (emphasis mine):

Possession does nothing to obfuscate or block most divination spells. For example, if an evil mesmerist is possessing a paladin, detect evil will sense the presence of an evil creature when the paladin’s body enters the area of effect. The Hidden Presence feat can assist a possessing creature in foiling divinations. If a creature’s body and soul are in two different locations, as in the case of a caster of magic jar, divination spells that depend on location, such as locate creature or scrying, fail to produce results. The exception is discern location; this powerful spell provides both locations unless the body and soul are protected by mind blank or a deity.

This tidbit indicates that what scrying targets (in contrast to my answer above), is both the creature's body and soul, and that both need to be in the same location for it to work.

Now before anyone starts pointing out how the old body relates to this situation, and that it being separated should stop scrying:

  1. Possession is a radically different situation where the soul is out of the character's body for a short-term period of time. They still have a body they need to return to later.
  2. Read the disclaimer. Connections, gone.
  3. There are a number of ramifications to that ruling. Not the least of which is that doing such grants permanent immunity to scrying by those who reincarnate, even if the scrying creature has only ever met and interacted with the current body, and is attempting to scry on the current body.

Therefore, it's safest (and simplest) to say that the old body doesn't count as something that would be scryed upon, and that only the locations of the current body and the soul matter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Raise Dead needs soul to be free and willing, so duplicate Bob won't happen. Strangely, Resurrection doesn't have this limit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 6:56
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Resurrection says that it "functions like raise dead" then details how resurrection is different. One way resurrection is unchanged from raise dead is that "the subject’s soul must be free and willing to return" because resurrection doesn't mention changing that about raise dead. Forcing folks to return from the dead isn't a thing so far as I'm aware. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Oh, right. Then the point about dead body being creature after reincarnation making creating duplicates possible, raised in this answer, isn't partially false. It is totally false. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Pretty much, I guess? Honestly, with nothing able to force folks to return from the dead and the typical creature not possessing two or more souls (or being unable to divide its soul or whatever), it shouldn't matter for this question whether or not an unsouled body is a creature or an object. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot That's fair, the multiple copies is incorrect, but given I was writing this answer at 1 in the morning, I'm not surprised that slipped by me. The other part of the disclaimer is still wholly valid though. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 17:31

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