I'm DMing for a level 12 party of 4 (bard, cleric, druid, and revised ranger). They each have about 70,000 GP, and they live near a capital city with plenty of temples.

The villain is the equivalent to a level 16 Wizard(necromancer) with pockets deep enough to hire help. He hasn't killed the NPC in question yet, so answers that depend on how the NPC is killed are OK.


All of the resurrection spells require touching the dead creature's body. (Even true resurrection can only create a new body "if the original no longer exists".) If your necromancer keeps the dead NPC's body and hides it somewhere, resurrection won't work.

Your necromancer could, for example, make the dead NPC into an undead and keep it as a servant, in which case the player characters would have to find the undead and re-kill it.

If you've decided that your world doesn't contain any NPCs capable of casting true resurrection, then your necromancer can simply destroy the body, and not bother with hiding it.

There's also the possibility of doing something involving the line "the soul must be free and willing to return". Perhaps the NPC doesn't want to return, or perhaps the necromancer applied some threat or trauma that makes the NPC unwilling to return, or perhaps the necromancer has some way of trapping the NPC's soul. (I wasn't able to find a 5e equivalent of the 3.5e spell soul bind, but there might still exist something like that, or you could just make something up. Icyfire notes that the demilich has a soul-trapping ability.) Personally I like the "hide the body" approach better, though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Demilich has a "Trap Soul" ability in its sidebar (MM 49), FYI \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Mar 19 '17 at 0:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Trap the soul was melded with Magic Jar in 5e i believe. \$\endgroup\$ – Mayshar Mar 20 '17 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire thanks, added. Mayshar the two spells don't seem very similar to me -- I don't see any way that Magic Jar could capture someone's soul and prevent them from being resurrected. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Mar 20 '17 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Trap the Soul I believe was actually folded into the "Minimus Containment" option of the imprisonment spell \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Mar 20 '17 at 15:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I prefer the good old Flesh to Stone -> Stone Shape to dust - > Mix with water to make mud -> Build a orphanage out of the bricks. Body still exists, in a different form. \$\endgroup\$ – Marshall Tigerus Mar 20 '17 at 16:19

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