I've come to this question when dealing with an animal companion death. This is not only a question about animals, I can't find any RAW material that specifies which creature types have souls.

I've thought a little about it, and, although I've come to the conclusion that all living creatures must have souls, but I would like to read some material about it, or at least some opinion confirming my conclusion. I'm fairly sure that not living creatures such as constructs don't have souls, but this don't automatically grant a soul to all living creatures, so, really, this question could be refactored as:

Which creatures have souls?

Some possibilities:

  • Only intelligent (INT>2) living creatures have souls. (Seems logical from a real world religion point of view)
  • All living creatures have souls. (I would be ok whit that, being a mortal body the vessel of an outer essence in the material plane)
  • Only certain types of living creatures have souls. (I wonder which these types would be)

This has important side-effects like:

Could a non-humanoid living creature (such an animal) be resurrected?

I'm fairly sure that intelligent creatures such as dragons can be resurrected, my doubt here is again with animals, for example. Or magical beasts. This is interesting for PC's caring with their animal companions and familiars.

The best clue I have are indeed the descriptions of spells like Raise Dead, targeting any deceased creature, so, if any deceased creature could be resurrected, it means that any living creature have a soul.

Note: We usually play on Forgotten Realms, though I am also interested in a generic Great Wheel answer. I don't care if the answer is from RAW or simply a good explanation based in D&D universe knowledge.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThalesSarczuk This question might be worth your time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 13:24

2 Answers 2


"Souls" - This is a distinction that the rules do not make. There is no definition of "soul." In AD&D 1e there was a distinction between who had "souls" and who had "spirits" (like elves) but in later editions that's left to your own pet view of Catholic theology and is not part of the game.

The resurrection spell (and raise the dead, and reincarnate) works on any deceased (formerly living) creature except constructs, elementals, outsiders, and undead. It therefore very clearly works on animals and magical beasts, theology aside. See Are humans living creatures? By the rules, that is? for the definition of "living."

I will note that the trap the soul spell in 3.5 describes itself as "forces a creature’s life force (and its material body) into a gem." Anything with a life force could therefore be said to have a soul, assuming the spell name has truth in advertising. The only other place souls are mentioned are in the context of going to rest on the outer planes - if you liked the movie "All Dogs Go To Heaven" then you can say animal souls go there, but it has no effect on what can be raised, etc.

Therefore "soul," inasmuch as the game defines it, is the animating lifeforce of any living creature, which excludes constructs and undead. That works for all practical purposes under the 3.5e rule system; cosmological/theological purposes may vary by milieu. Warforged are a special exception for constructs, they have the Living Construct trait. "As a living construct, a warforged can be raised or resurrected."

  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that the target for a raise or resurrection spell has to be a willing target. It might seem unlikely that an animal has enough sense of purpose that it's willing to go through the ordeal of being raised from the dead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 18:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik I'd argue that survival instinct is enough here, but that is really DM's call. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 22:21

In my campaigns I treat animals like they do have souls. The logic is that Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs etc. all technically qualify as intelligent animals, and they have souls. I'd say any naturally created living creature (was born/hatched and not made in a lab or animated from clay or some such) has a soul. The souls may be weaker or less sophisticated, but they're still souls, and I'd personally allow resurrection under certain circumstances, although it may be harder to connect to less sophisticated souls.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea of a "primitive soul", or a spirit, something like telthor animals from Rashemen. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 12:40

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