The other night two of the characters in my campaign died. As a first time DM (a few sessions now) these first deaths were surprisingly upsetting, and disturbingly satisfying...

Anyways, the players are convinced they're going to try a rescue mission to retrieve the dead body and bring it to Neverwinter, hoping to find a high level Cleric with a resurrection spell. For those of you familiar with the scope of the Starter Set you will know that Neverwinter is way outside of the information made available to me, and I'm going to have a tough time figuring out how to run this. I don't want to expressly tell them that they can't do it, but I don't even know how they can or can't do it.

Beyond the Starter Set I have read (at least most of) the Basic Rules PDFs, but it only really mentions the Revivify spell. I have access to a copy of the PHB and have also come across Resurrection, Raise Dead, and similar spells... I can find the spells relevant in these texts, but no info about Neverwinter specifically and if these services would be available there.

Is it within reason for a high level cleric to be residing in Neverwinter who would have the ability and the inclination to resurrect one or even two characters?

I'm really just trying to find out if this is a service that is generally available within larger cities within the Forgotten Realms, and if such services have a generally agreed upon price. I understand some of the spells have a set price, but do clerics/priests within towns offer said services at higher or lower prices? Are they in most cities or only in major ones? Would there be one in Neverwinter, and how much would he charge for a resurrection?

As an aside, these characters are both non-evil, but also non-religious.


6 Answers 6


What I've done in my Hoard of the Dragon Queen Campaign is to have "the local clerics/priests" resurrect dead characters in exchange for the assistance the party is providing the town. So, if your characters are helping the city (I haven't read the starter set, avoiding spoilers), then local authorities could provide healing in exchange. This means, however, that the character has to sit out the next mission (so, they'll have to roll a temp or something--temp could be a generic NPC, like a soldier from the local militia, sent to help the party; or they could roll another character, though it has to be a different race and class than the one that died).

If they actually have the resources to pay for the spell (as per the Starter Set Guidelines), then the character doesn't have to sit out. I think it's a fair 'penalty' without trivializing death.

More specifically, Neverwinter has traditionally been one of the largest (if not the largest) cities in the Sword Coast--undoubtedly such a service is available. The cost would be at least 500 gp, given the material components required to cast Raise Dead.

Then again, the city was presumably destroyed in the 4E lore; without having read the starter set info (I don't want to spoil it), I'm not sure about the current state of the city. This wouldn't be a random NPC; however, it need not be a "high-level cleric--" a L9 Cleric can cast Raise Dead.

About hiring spellcasters, from the PHB, p. 159:

Hiring someone to cast a relatively common spell of 1st or 2nd level, such as cure wounds or identify, is easy enough in a city or town, and might cost 10 to 50 gold pieces (plus the cost of any expensive material components). Finding someone able and willing to cast a higher-level spell might involve traveling to a large city, perhaps one with a university or prominent temple. Once found, the spellcaster might ask for a service instead of payment— the kind of service that only adventurers can provide, such as retrieving a rare item from a dangerous locale or traversing a monster- infested wilderness to deliver something important to a distant settlement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Sword Coast's Guide says that Neverwinter is most definitely not destroyed in the current 5e lore. It is once again a large capital city, just certain parts haven't been rebuilt yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jul 25, 2018 at 14:24

While not specifically targeted at Lost Mine of Phandelver, there are some notes in the Adventurer's League Player Guide PDF (page 11: Death) that might give you some ideas:

A character who dies during the course of the adventure has a few options at the end of the session (or whenever arriving back in civilization) if no one in the adventuring party has immediate access to a raise dead or revivify spell, or similar magic. A character subject to a raise dead spell is affected negatively until all long rests have been completed during an adventure. Alternatively, each downtime day spent after raise dead reduces the penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks by 1, in addition to any other benefits the downtime activity might provide.

Create a New 1st-Level Character. If the dead character is unwilling or unable to exercise any of the other options, the player creates a new character. The new character does not have any items or rewards possessed by the dead character.

Dead Character Pays for Raise Dead. If the character’s body is recoverable (it’s not missing any vital organs and is mostly whole) and the player would like the character to be returned to life, the party can take the body back to civilization and use the dead character’s funds to pay for a raise dead spell. A raise dead spell cast in this manner costs the character 1,250 gp.

Character’s Party Pays for Raise Dead. As above, except that some or all of the 1,250 gp for the raise dead spell is paid for by the party at the end of the session. Other characters are under no obligation to spend their funds to bring back a dead party member.

Faction Charity. If the character is of level 1 to 4 and a member of a faction, the dead character’s body can be returned to civilization and a patron from the faction ensures that he or she receives a raise dead spell. However, any character invoking this charity forfeits all XP and rewards from that session (even those earned prior to death during that session), and cannot replay that episode or adventure with that character again. Once a character reaches 5th level, this option is no longer available.

That is a lot of money for starting characters, but since this is not a league game and meant as a starter and learning experience, you can always hand-wave something to keep the game moving if you like.


This question isn't about Neverwinter

It's about you being hesitant to change the established lore and to freestyle. Don't be! I was once in your shoes, running LMoP as my first ever experience of any kind of TTRPG and honestly, as user Dale M puts,

you can't do it wrong

During the campaign, I was so strict with my players that I rail-roaded them heavily, afraid they might stray from the module. But the fact of it is you're the DM, this is your version of the Forgotten Realms. In your version of the city, Neverwinter could still be home to a few spellcasters able to provide this service even as other DM's versions of the city don't.

Even if you have established that Neverwinter is a barren city and there are no healers, simply get creative! Perhaps a travelling Cleric on his way to Waterdeep may be at the tavern or a powerful Druid might be in town purchasing items needed in his next adventure.

This falls heavily on the shoulders of you, as DM, to allow the players a chance to revive the dead characters. So freestyle! Make things up on the fly! Don't be afraid to suck at it the first time.

However, as pointed out in other answers, the costs may be too much for a party of 1st to 2nd-level to hope to pay. In gold. But what about in kind? Have the Cleric (or Druid) revive the players and in return, he/she wants the players to embark on a holy (or nature-related) sidequest- a short sidequest, again, Improvise! and you better get used to improvising as well because once you step out and do your own adventures, you're going to do a lot of it.


This is not a spoiler because it's in the most general lore, but in the 5E lore Neverwinter has suffered disastrous setbacks very recently (as of LMoP) but is just making a foothold again. I do not know the 4E lore, but it sounds like the Neverwinter storyline holds true. A healer or Druid of significant skill might set up shop there, the same way attorneys and doctors set up offices in small towns, or they might be traveling through since Neverwinter is still on the main road that connects the cities along the Sword Coast.


I had a character get killed fighting the Orcs at the Tor. The party took the body to the necromancer at Old Owl's Well, gave him all their gp and he cast Raise Dead (I had to boost the necromancer's casting level).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Heya, thanks for sharing your experience with an answer and welcome to the site! If you have the time, take the tour, to see how this site is a little different from most forums and Q&A sites. About your answer, you have answered the title of the question but we encourage answers to "Teach to fish", rather than give out a single idea. It also wants for references, how much gold did the PCs give the necromancer? How did you know that that was enough gold for the necromancer to accept the task, can you provide some sources? \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Jan 14, 2017 at 5:34

As the DM, you ARE the rules.

HOWEVER, as you sought advise... Resurrection is a necromancy spell, something generally frowned on by the priesthood (well, any GOOD priesthood). A party I just joined had cause to resurrect 2 fallen players after trying to hold a wooden door closed against a young dragon had rather predictably poor results.

He inserted an old witch hut into the story that they utilized for this. They had to acquire the spell components (the expended one conveniently stolen from said dragon's hoard) as well as some other ...parts... and they were required to cut wood and gather food for her while the 2 recovered.

They also had to deceive one of the 2 as he was a cleric and would not be pleased to learn he had died and was revived by necromancy.

For the record, that story was taking place in neverwinter as well, and that witch was in Neverwinter Wood, southeast of Thundertree. Not that yours needs to be the same, but why not. I like to assume things I've seen from other DMs are factual information whenever it is convenient to do so. In that way they sort of, become, true.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Uh, since when do all good D&D clerics frown on resurrection? \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Point to consider: Curative spells in D&D 5e are necromancy spells. As the answer in that linked question explains, that's because necromancy was originally just about life, and D&D 5e revisited that. The idea that "any good priesthood" frowns upon Necromancy spells is a D&D 3e-ism, not relevant to D&D 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2015 at 12:23

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