I had a very mean thought today. When someone is subjected to a flesh to stone spell , they are not dead. Since they are not dead, any attempt to resurrect them will automatically fail, as well any attempt to speak with dead. As I found out in a previous question, it can be difficult or expensive to discover if someone is alive or dead.

So now that the person is neither alive or dead, how do divination spells target them? What happens if you stone shape the statue into small pebbles which are then scattered across the world or even planes? At what point is the statue considered dead then?

With all of these steps, it should be next to impossible to save someone short of using wish to gather up all the stones, then reassemble them into their correct place, before finally casting stone to flesh. Or could you just wish for the person to be dead and then do an easier resurrection?

  • \$\begingroup\$ (Protected to prevent further non-answers that just propose alternative methods to the ones asked about.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2017 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


Altogether, it's likely easier to bring back from the dead a petrified-then-broken creature than originally thought.

  • Can divination spells target a petrified creature?

    Treating the resultant statue as anything other than an object quickly gets weird. Pathfinder creative director James Jacobs in this 2014 Paizo messageboard post originally agreed that petrification created a "mindless, inert" stone creature until it was pointed out that such a "creature" could still be targeted by, for example, the spell baleful polymorph and transformed into… a stone statue of a bunny? A living bunny made of stone? A real, live bunny? So, less than three hours later, he changed his mind: for playability it's better to treat a petrified creature (or at least a creature affected by flesh to stone) as an object, the spell's to the contrary.

    In short, unless the GM rules otherwise, treat petrified creature like any other object with regard to divination and other spells. (So, for example, it's immune to the scrying spell but can be the subject of the shrink item spell for convenient transportation.)

  • At what point is a petrified creature considered dead?

    James Jacobs in this 2015 Paizo messageboard post says that a petrified creature's "[d]eath occurs the instant [a] fatal breakage occurs."

  • What happens if the petrified creature is made into small pebbles then scattered across the land or the planes?

    Right there. See that? Now that is a fatal breakage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "fatal breakage" concept is similar to the one explicitly laid out in polymorph any object, one of the few other spells that can do something similar to stone to flesh. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Aug 14, 2017 at 21:56

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