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I'm creating a story with a custom vampire spellcaster (MM 297), and I want her to use the gentle repose spell on her victims, to prevent them raising as vampire spawns because she buries them in her family crypt as trophies.

Gentle repose

You touch a corpse or other remains. For the duration, the target is protected from decay and can't become undead.
The spell also effectively extends the time limit on raising the target from the dead, since days spent under the influence of this spell don't count against the time limit of spells such as raise dead.

Of course, the objective for the PC's is to find and kill her, and they will also discover all the corpses she hid in the crypt.
Can the PC's resurrect the victims with the resurrection spell? What happens to the bite effect that raises vampire spawns from a dead person, if that person is no longer dead?

Bite effect

[...] A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the vampire's control.

Resurrection spell

[...] This spell neutralizes any poisons and cures normal diseases afflicting the creature when it died. It doesn't, however, remove magical diseases, curses, and the like; if such effects aren't removed prior to casting the spell, they afflict the target on its return to life. [...]

(Please note that I specified the resurrection spell, and not the true resurrection one, because the true one removes any kind of disease or effect anyway)

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They can, with a catch and a few assumptions.

The only way RAW I could find to resurrect the victims using the Resurrection spell is by first casting Greater Restoration in order to remove the effect of the vampire's bite (since the victims are not vampires yet), and then cast Resurrection. The Resurrection spell on its own would fail, since the bite is still in effect. This would need to be done within 10 days, as otherwise the effects of Gentle Repose would go away and the victims would rise as free-willed vampire spawn.

This however, assumes that the vampire's bite, or at least it's health reduction component is a magical curse, that Greater Restoration can be cast on a corpse that is soon to rise as an undead without intervention (on the same principles that sleeping creatures are nevertheless creatures, even though the victims in the case would be temporary corpses if left unattended), and that Greater Restoration covers vampirism (assumption made from lycanthropy being able to be cured by Greater Restoration).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where does it say the "effect of the vampire's bite" in the RAW? This is what Im missing. While I understand killed by the vampire bite and then buried = vampire spawn the next night, Im not sure where we are getting that death by Vbite doesnt allow RD. Especially if the vampire who bite/killed them is destroyed himself. \$\endgroup\$ – Al Sun Aug 12 '16 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ The assumption that the effect is magical is mine based on the similar effect of the werewolf. It could be argued both ways, with the opposite argument being that the werewolf feature being explicitly stated as magical and this isn't. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilya Donskikh Aug 15 '16 at 10:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you cast Greater Restoration on a corpse? A corpse is not a living creature... \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Aug 16 '16 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ As per the second paragraph of the answer, I assumed that Greater Restoration can be cast on a corpse that is under an effect that will make it undead, and thus again into a creature. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilya Donskikh Aug 18 '16 at 11:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The Resurrection spell on its own would fail, since the bite is still in effect." Why? It says " (...) if such effects [magic curses] aren't removed prior to casting the [Resurrection] spell, they afflict the target on its return to life." so you can be resurrected with (at least some) curses. If so, then what? He is no corpse, so couldn't it happen that the next night, the curse triggers, fails, and vanishes? Or maybe re-triggers every night until the condition (being a corpse) is met? In any case, the person could live a normal life... until dead (like most of us, anyways :P) \$\endgroup\$ – xDaizu Jun 20 '17 at 15:52
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Its your world. Effects like this are much more a story issue than a game balance or mechanics issue. Feel free to do whatever makes the most sense to you. Never the less, here's my thoughts:


Based on the wording of the vampire bite, it is possible that if a victim is prevented from turning into vampire spawn on the first night after their death and burial, then they will never turn into vampire spawns.


Alternatively, if you think Gentle Repose should extend the timer on the vampire bite (conceivable, based on the wording of GR), then all the party has to do is un-bury the corpses for the first night, then they will not change.

I don't see the victim becoming a vampire right away, since GR prevented them from turning. So if they are not buried on their first night after GR has worn off, then they should just pass on in their sleep.


If the PC's use Resurrection, then you might decide that the curse is still lingering in their blood, and that when they die next time, and are buried, they will turn into a vampire spawn then. Or you might rule that since the curse only effects corpses, the fact that they are living permanently removes the curse.


As I said, it's really up to you. There's not a balance issue here, so whatever makes the most thematic sense seems like the way to go.

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First great concept for a story - sound like fun. Like that if your PC's do nothing, there will be many free-willed vampires running about.

From a players point of view there are multiple options that should work:

  1. Burn all the bodies (or destroy them in other ways) - saves lots of time and money and no vampires will being running around.

  2. Spend the money for a Raise dead - this will break the vampire spawn cycle and return them to health with 1 hp. It's clear from your quote of the bite effect that they only return as vampire spawn only if 2 things happen - killed by bite and buried in the ground. Then after baking a day they turn to vampire spawn. once you raise them, they are no longer dead and the cycle is broken (even if you then kill them with an axe and bury them they are just dead). There is nothing about a curse (magic or otherwise) written/that needs to be dealt with. They are not undead yet, they just need to be willing to come back.

  3. Spend for a resurrection spell - same as 2 but more money and they are at full health.

Note: at the end of the day this is your (the DM's) story. you can make it easier or more difficult depending on your story line. It's your call on which answer works for you.

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