As per pre-stream Critical Role, Grog the Goliath Barbarian had a lich's phylactery embedded in his chest. The party managed to somehow remove it and I was thinking of using a similar dilema for one of the characters in my campaign (perhaps not a phylactery but something to that effect).

My question is, are there any rules that suggest removal of foreign objects from a character's body?

An answer based in magic would be preferred as in my campaign setting, there's very little in the way of medicine other than divine or arcane healing, but any medieval-based surgery would also suffice.

As an aside, if there are no rules governing this, then any play-tested homebrew answer will be just as good!

  • \$\begingroup\$ to who voted to close - how is this question opinion based? I'm asking for a rules or homebrew answer \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Brace Sep 5 '16 at 12:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is highly unlikely that the 5e rules cover this very specific example, beyond just suggesting that the DM figure out something reasonable. Homebrew answers must be based on personal experience to pass the 'Good-Subjective, Bad-Subjective test'. The person who voted-to-close probably considered that few people would have personal experience of such a specific scenario, meaning that most answers would be pure speculation, or idea generation - better suited to a forum than SE. \$\endgroup\$ – Ladifas Sep 5 '16 at 12:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ladifas just because its unlikely someone would have the personal experience, it doesn't make the question invalid or a bad fit for the site. It just means it might not get an answer] \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Sep 5 '16 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs Of course - I was just trying to explain what the person's rationale might have been. \$\endgroup\$ – Ladifas Sep 5 '16 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ What to do? When I start to answer this question it was not on hold. Should I delete my answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink Sep 6 '16 at 1:21

As far as I know there are no rules for that, but using the correct spells it can be achieve under RAW or as close as it is possible. These are options based on the assumption that the object is heavily embedded into the body or inside the body (if it is superficial it would be a non-issue). Option 1 and 2 require access to spells of level 7. Option 3 can be achieve way earlier but depending on the setting it might not be possible, or present heavy implications.

Option 1

Depending on the skill involves and how invasive the object is, the less complicated way to remove the foreign object is with the kill-and-remove surgical procedure. It simplicity is based on the assumption that "permanent" death can be countered by any spell that can resuscitate the dead and that the patient is willing to return and able to return to the body, caution is advised for any external (DM) complications.

  1. Kill the patient, I know, sounds weird but it is a legitimate medical and modern procedure.
  2. As soon as the patient is dead, cast gentle repose to avoid any undead complications.
  3. If the expert in the procedure thinks that is necessary to remove curses and other magical affliction, follow the advice.
  4. Proceed to remove the foreign object, try to be as gentle and non-invasive as possible.
  5. Cast the corresponding resurrection spell:
    a) If there are no missing organs due to or the operation or the object substituting an organ, cast Raise Dead.
    b) If the damage is extensive and there are missing parts, Resurrection is the way to go. Remember to have the appropriate material for any of the spells.

Special: 4 days of rest is highly suggested

Raise Dead: If the creature’s soul is both willing and at liberty to rejoin the body, the creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell also neutralizes any poisons and cures nonmagical diseases that affected the creature at the time it died. This spell doesn’t, however, remove magical diseases, curses, or similar effects; This spell closes all mortal wounds, but it doesn’t restore missing body parts. If the creature is lacking body parts or organs integral for its survival—its head, for instance—the spell automatically fails.

Resurrection: Similar to Raise Dead, but this spell closes all mortal wounds and restores any missing body parts.

Gentle Repose: For the duration, the target is protected from decay and can’t become undead

Option 2

It is a much more complicate option since it requires to have some knowledge of medicine to identify the organs and body parts (this should be easy), a steady hand (I would suggest a skill check Medicine [Dexterity] but is up to the DM), and at least 2 casters, one with Spare the Dying and the other with the Oh-dice-lord saving spells like Heal, Revivify and so on. This option has the advantage of maintaining alive the patient (hopefully) during the operation, so any undead complication should not be a problem, and that is very, very, painful so there are going to be good some RP moments.

  1. Restrain the patient as much as possible, overkill is good.
  2. If you have a pain killer or some kind of sleeping drug at your disposal apply as needed.
  3. With a proper disinfected (hopefully) axe start chopping the patient, on second thought, probably a more subtle tool might be better. In any case, leave it to the expert.
  4. Apply Spare the Dying if the patient reaches the danger zone. This is easily identified since the patient start to roll Death saving throws. Since this spell is a cantrip you can keep it as a reaction as long as you wish.
    4.1 if the patient seems to kick the bucket, prepare and cast revivify as soon as possible.
  5. Once the object is identified, proceed to remove it see Option 1 (4), and immediately cast Regenerate.
  6. Stabilize the patient for the next 2 minutes, and wait for Regenerate to start to restore missing parts.

Special Points 3 and 5 are not set in stone, they can be switch and point 4 will be after 5. This would reduce the oh-dice-lord moments because of the constant healing from Regenerate

Revivify: You touch a creature that has died within the last minute. That creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell can’t return to life a creature that has died of old age, nor can it restore any missing body parts. (note it does not said that the spell would fail if the missing part is vital, see Raise Dead, but it is easy to assume that it would die seconds latter without proper care)

Regenerate The target regains 4d8+15 hit points. For the duration of the spell, the target regains 1 hit point at the start of each of it's turns (10 hit points each minute). The target's severed body members (fingers, legs, tails, and so on), if any, are restored after 2 minutes. If you have the severed part an hold it to the stump, the spell instantaneously causes the limb to knit to the stump (note DMG page 272 address ways to restore non members body parts and regenerate is listed as one of the main ways)

Option 3

It is the hardest to achieve, since it requires that the object did not replace any organs and that the procedure is realize under one minute or that Gentle Repose is used before the one minute mark (DM dependant). The advantage is that it can be achieve as lower as level 3 with a caster that has the Revivify spell. Also, this is very DM heavy, since it require a minimum understanding on how healing magics works in his world. The procedure is simple and fast.

  1. Restrain the patient as much as possible, overkill is good.
  2. If you have a pain killer or some kind of sleeping drug at your disposal apply as needed.
  3. Start chopping, fast but without severing body parts. A clean and open incision is suggested.
    3.1. If the patient die, do not resuscitate, but Spare the Dying is advisable.
  4. Remove the object carefully, trying not to sever body parts.
  5. Revivify in case of death under 1 minute and Cure wounds as fast as possible.

Special This option is based on the idea that healing spells, like cure wounds, would close wounds, no matter how heavy they are. So, under proper conditions, this would restore the body as long as the organs and other parts are not severed from it. Since the spells used are low level, scars or even other conditions might be presented with the DM discretion.


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