The clone spell states:

This spell grows an inert duplicate o f a living creature as a safeguard against death. This clone forms inside a sealed vessel and grows to full size and maturity after 120 days; you can also choose to have the clone be a younger version of the same creature. It remains inert and endures indefinitely, as long as its vessel remains undisturbed.

At any time after the clone matures, if the original creature dies, its soul transfers to the clone, provided that the soul is free and willing to return. The clone is physically identical to the original and has the same personality, memories, and abilities, but none of the original’s equipment.

My question is, does it have the memories of the creature on the day s/he died, or on the day the spell was cast? And... if the caster chooses to make the clone a younger version of the creature as allowed by the spell, does the clone awaken with the memories the creature had at that younger age? (Presumably not if the answer to the first question is the memories from the day s/he died.) I guess this depends whether the memories are stored in the soul, or in the cloned body.

This is somewhat of a follow-up to Does Clone spell makes someone effectively immortal? -- one disadvantage of being cloned to attain immortality might be losing memories/abilities gained since either the spell was cast, or the subject was the younger age.

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    \$\begingroup\$ From the title, I totally assumed this was a paranoia question. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2015 at 17:04

3 Answers 3


Recall that the clone is inert before it's activated — it has no personality, memories, or abilities of any kind at that point. The paragraph about the clone's creation doesn't mention memories yet; that comes later in the spell's process. So it's empty and inert, and isn't the same as the original yet.

The part of the spell description that does grant the clone personality, memories, and abilities is written immediately after it describes the soul of the original animating it — it's in this paragraph about death and animation that the spell first mentions that the original and the clone have the same memories. The construction of the paragraph indicates a causal link: that they match because (and therefore when) the soul has animated the backup body.

So no, you don't lose memories when reincarnating in your clone.


The clone has the memories, abilities, and soul of the original, at the time the original died. From a cosmological standpoint, the clone is you. This is consistent with other effects that raise a soul in a new body, like reincarnation: the only difference is that clone creates the new body earlier than most such effects.

If I recall correctly, some earlier editions may have worked differently. I seem to recall B/X stating that clones only had memories up to the point when the clone was created, and while my memories of 2e are less clear, I think it also stated this (though I could be mistaken). But at least as of the 3.5e SRD, clones have had the original's memories as of the time of death.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You recall correctly for 2e. The more salient difference is that clone in 2e creates an active clone as soon as it's grown instead of an inert one, and there's no soul-transference. It's a way to clone yourself immediately, not a way to make a "backup body" as in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2015 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ 2e also had 9th level Stasis Clone, an improved version that Manshoon used to get something similar to the 5e 8th level Clone spell. Ruins of Zhentil Keep detailed the spell, though it noted that Manshoon would not share it. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2021 at 16:57

I believe that the soul transferring is the time when the memories would transfer, as they are considered to be part of the soul. For instance if the soul was not willing to transfer to clone it could become a ghost. Ghosts have the memories of their life — so too would the clone at the point the soul transferred over.


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