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I DM for a party that would greatly benefit from having access to the spell Revivify, but the only caster in the party is a sorcerer. I’d like them to have access to raise dead effects, but not at the high power level of rod of resurrection or spell scrolls of revivify.

How can I word the rules for a magic item that would, when attuned, allow a caster to treat revivify as an additional spell known? I still want them to have to use the normal casting requirements such as time, consumed components, and spell slots. I’d also want it to work regardless if you’re a Sorcerer, Wizard, Warlock, Druid, etc. (An explanation of why you’ve worded it that way would be appreciated.)

Here’s two of my attempts, but I’m not sure either works according to the rules:

Ring of Revivification

Ring, rare (requires attunement by a spellcaster of 5th-level or higher)

While wearing this ring, revivify counts as a learned or prepared spell of any class for which you have third-level spell slots, but it doesn’t count against the number of spells you know or have prepared.


Ring of Revivification

Ring, rare (requires attunement by a spellcaster of 5th-level or higher)

While wearing this ring, you can take an action to cast a revivify spell. Casting a spell in this way requires that you expend an appropriate spell slot and requires the usual components, including those consumed by the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, I wouldn't want to bind an attunement slot on a PC to a utility function like this, for fun-maximization reasons. I'd have at least some other ribbon on the item. (one option is it gives a free cast / day or / week, or it could do something else, like X uses/day of bonus action sacred flame). \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Nov 27, 2023 at 19:39

5 Answers 5

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Instead of using the language of spells known or prepared, just directly say what you want it to allow: casting Revivify, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't hook into your class's spellcasting feature in any way other than a way to expend a spell slot.

Ring of Revivification

Ring, rare (requires attunement by a spellcaster)
While you are attuned to this ring, you can cast Revivify using your own spell slot of 3rd level or higher. The material component must still be provided.
Your spellcasting ability for this spell is the same as for your spellcasting class.

I debated whether to include "as an action, you can cast..." I chose to leave it out to avoid any implication the action might be Use Magic Item rather than Cast a Spell, which would have implications for casting in the same turn as a bonus action spell.

Narratively, you might think of it as the caster channeling their magical power into the item to produce the effect (rather than the item granting knowledge / ability). But mechanically we want it to still work like casting a 1-action spell. I think this wording implies that.

This avoids letting wizards copy it into their spellbook, because we avoid using the language of "prepared spell". The language is similar to feats like Fey Touched (but without the first cast being free), or Eldritch Invocations like Sculptor of Flesh (You can cast polymorph once using a warlock spell slot. You can't do so again until you finish a long rest.)

I considered writing "you can cast Revivify using a spell slot" or "you can cast Revivify by expending a spell slot of 3rd level or higher". The latter has more room to be misread as being a different action than Cast a Spell. (I say misread because I think "you can cast" still implies that you have to cast the spell yourself.)

The clause about spellcasting ability is I think only relevant if using Matt Mercer's "Fading Spirits" optional resurrection rules as used on Critical Role, published in the Tal'Dorei Reborn book. Revivify involves a roll which is like an ability check, but strangely phrased to not quite be one (perhaps so guidance and inspiration don't work, nor does Jack of All Trades or a Stone of Good Luck)

The caster makes a quick resurrection check by rolling a d20 and adding their spellcasting ability modifier, against a DC equal to 10 + 1 for every time the character has returned to life before.


Molot's answer makes a good point about other features you might want the ring to have. That's compatible with this answer. Another option would be to make it non-attunement, although that opens up the possibility of micro-managing it when someone's low on lvl3 slots, or taking it off the dead guy's finger and using it to revivify them.

A non-attunement ring still has the tax of someone keeping a lvl3 slot unused, which is significant for a low-level party. A high-level party with lots of other good magic items would probably prefer non-attunement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I didn’t think of looking at feats like Fey Touched for how to word it without unintended consequences like Wizards putting it into their Spellbook! \$\endgroup\$
    – Kerrick
    Nov 27, 2023 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kerrick: Credit to NobodytheHobgoblin's answer for pointing out the potential for such problems. I wouldn't have written this if I didn't know there was a problem to solve. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 18:37
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Frame Challenge: you don't need to. Maybe shouldn't.

For your specific circumstances, if your party sorcerer wants to have this spell, you as the DM are allowed to add it to his spell list. Modifying spell lists was mentioned by the Dungeon Master's Guide, and is not a balance issue, as seen in this answer:

Modifying a class’s spell list usually has little effect on a character’s power but can change the flavor of a class significantly. In your world, paladins might not swear their oaths to ideals, but instead swear fealty to powerful sorcerers. To capture this story concept, you could build a new paladin spell list with spells meant to protect their masters, drawn from the sorcerer or wizard lists. Suddenly, the paladin feels like a different class.

Be cautious when changing the warlock spell list. Since warlocks regain their spell slots after a short rest, they have the potential to use certain spells more times in a day than other classes do.


On the other hand, if he is not particularly interested in it, by adding item you described you are putting him in a situation where he probably will be peer pressured to burn a very limited resource, attunement slot, for something he himself will never benefit from. Thus, I urge you not to do this unless you are asked to, or unless your player confirms he is OK with this in conversation that does not include other players. Or think of a way to sweeten the deal for him. I speak from the experience of being peer pressured to prepare Revify knowing my character will not be brought back because no one else can do it. Not fun.

In other words, being singled out as the only player at the table who can't have his character brought back from the dead when the DM gives this option to everyone else would be unpleasant. Especially in a deadly adventure, and from your question it sure looks like it is one. And that's what you seem to be doing to Sorcerer's player, even if you didn't realize that. Don't do that. Please.


The ring I would offer would be similar to the one from Nobody's answer with one additional paragraph:

Ring of Revivification

Ring, rare (requires attunement by spellcaster)

While you are attuned to this ring, revivify is added to the any spell list of known spells for you, and if you can prepare spells you always have revivify prepared and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.

If you die while attuned to this ring, Revify is cast on you at the end of your next turn. This casting uses spell slot as if you were alive and casting it on yourself. Material components you have on you are used up by the spell normally, but other components are eschewed. If you don't have a spell slot or material components, spell fails.

This way the ring will not be just a tax for ring bearer, it will be something he may actually want and benefits all players at the table equally.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Modifying the Sorcerer spell list in my world has the unintended consequence of allowing NPC sorcerers to have Revivify. Furthermore, it means I’d be trapping the Sorcerer player into being the one casting the spell—rather than allowing any spellcaster who may join the party to choose to use the ring. Further, adding self-revivification is an extra ability that doesn’t exist in my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kerrick
    Nov 27, 2023 at 1:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kerrick About NPC sorcerers - NPCs do not use character classes in 5e so that's not the case. About the rest - that's why I clearly stated that it is a frame challenge answer. These are generally allowed on this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Nov 27, 2023 at 9:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know they’re allowed, I’m not voting to delete it or anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kerrick
    Nov 27, 2023 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ This a good answer, because the player didn't choose to be a healer. In fact, no player chose to be a healer. If the DM wants to override the players' choices, the self-casting version is definitely the best. Second best would just be being generous with found Revivify scrolls that any player can use. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kryomaani The author of a post is generally free to reject suggested edits on their posts for any reason at all. That said, I suspect your initial suggested revision was rejected for unnecessarily changing (and possibly confusing) the pronouns used in the post. See these meta discussions for our guidance on changing pronouns in others’ posts: one and two. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 17:24
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Look at character class wording

The problem is that prepared casters and casters of known spells work differently, so making this work for any spellcaster in this way is going to either be wordy and inelegant, and may have undesired side effects — for example, wizards now could write it in their spellbook.

Here is the language template used for the warlock's patron-specific spells, as the warlock also is a caster with known spells, like the sorcerer:

The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Here is the language for cleric's domain spells (assuming you are fine it is always prepared):

Once you gain a domain spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.

This would result in:

Ring of Revivification
Ring, rare (requires attunement by spellcaster)
While you are attuned to this ring, revivify is added to the any spell list of known spells for you, and if you can prepare spells you always have revivify prepared and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.

There is no need to explicitly call out the mechanical implications of having the spell on your list or prepared, in fact it may be better to not reformulate those to avoid problems with different ways of wording causing contradictions.

There is no need to call out levels, as you anyways need the slots to cast the spell.

This still the issue that wizards could transcribe it. There is probably a reason the game uses spells that the items cast, instead.


Your question is about generalizing this, but in practice, since you want this for the group and sorcerer, the simplest solution is to make the item specific to sorcerers:

Ring of Revivification
Ring, rare (requires attunement by a sorcerer)
While you are attuned to this ring, revivify is added to the sorcerer spell list for you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great point about wizards being able to copy it into their spellbook; solving that is what inspired my answer. But your solution is a significant nerf for sorcs: merely adding it to the sorc spell list means they have to choose it as one of their few spells-known on a level-up. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes I'm not sure I'd call adding a spell to the spell list a nerf, but I agree that attunement is a pretty steep cost for just that. I do think that your solution is better, and is rightfully both accepted and upvoted. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant a nerf vs. the original design of the item, where it didn't count as one of your sorcerer spells-known. I was mostly commenting to credit your answer for identifying the potential problems of it working as a class spell, but explaining why I didn't want to upvote the whole answer. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2023 at 19:09
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Honestly, your first attempt is solid enough to do the single thing you want it to do. I would maybe add that, in a pinch, the ring itself can be used as the material component for the spell, but will unbind itself and become inert until seven days pass and a skilled artisan replaces the diamond dust encrusting the ring.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. \$\endgroup\$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 28, 2023 at 13:31
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I'd try something similar to a tome of bodily health, etc. Studying the time for some period of time makes revivify a spell known to you but doesn't count against your number of known spells, is always prepared but doesn't count against your number of prepared spells, and is castable by you if you have a spell slot of the appropriate level and the material components. The book disappears after this ability is granted.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. \$\endgroup\$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 29, 2023 at 0:03

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