Does Gentle Repose modify the body in any way other than slowing its decay and resistant to being raised as undead? Specifically, would a corpse preserved by Gentle Repose smell like "food" to a predator? If the wolf started eating the corpse, would the corpse be more or less tasty than an unpreserved fresh corpse?

(Background: In a game I'm DMing, the PCs failed to prevent the murder of their informant, but chased down the murderer before he could get far and accidentally killed him (forgot to declare knockout rather than kill). I didn't let them have a do-over as both the players and the characters were out for blood. The informant died cursing the name of the murderer; the murderer is a disciple of Orcus, and there's negative energy in the area so there's a good chance that either or both of them will rise as undead (the PCs figured this out on their own). The cleric decided to peform Gentle Repose both to deal with the undead issue and to slow the decay, but they left the bodies behind, exposed in the woods (they were pressed for time, planning to come back later for Speak With Dead or Raise Dead). Would it be reasonable to have a pack of hungry wolves come by and drag off the bodies or eat them up?)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You're the DM, who cares if it's reasonable? Seriously though, I'd have no problem with this as a player as long as you aren't completely disrupting the story. I might facepalm a little, but that's life in an RPG. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Aug 25, 2011 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ depending on how finicky you want, if you see my question about raise dead they could still bring a person back with just a part of their body. \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Aug 27, 2011 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


Yes, having the bodies eaten by wolves, or other predators, is fair game. The spell doesn't protect them or make them significantly less likely to be eaten. At best, it will be a series of predators/scavengers which each take a few pieces, only to not like the taste, combined with bacteria, worms and other critters.

So, it's legal, or, at worst, easily within your discretion to call either way. It's not necessarily a good idea, though.

In general, if this is the kind of detail that you want your players to pay attention to as part of your sessions, then it's fair game to take advantage of it and have the bodies eaten. Most DMs I've met think a bit of paranoia on the player side is worth the benefit, even if they do occasionally end up spending too much time preparing particular actions.

Personally, I've moved to a more story-telling style of play, and prefer to give the players credit in the interest of keeping the story going. Taking advantage of a detail like this might cause them to get too bogged down in technical details when trying to solve a problem, rather than attempting to do the fun stuff - be heroic, and fall flat on their face or get eaten by wolves themselves.


from what i recall gentle repose doesn't prevent decay, it's a manner of wrapping a body and applying ointments and such to delay the effects of decay and to create a mystic defense against the body being raised as undead. so besides some funny smells from the ointments it'll probably still smell like a dead body (but less decay smell). so i think it'd be reasonable for the bodies to be eaten by hungry wolves.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Check the phb page 305. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snowbody
    Aug 25, 2011 at 17:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Mmm, this corpse is still fresh!" \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Aug 25, 2011 at 18:18

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