Raise dead starts like this:

To perform the Raise Dead ritual, you must have a part of the corpse of a creature that died no more than 30 days ago.

It says a couple of other things, and then says this:

The subject is freed of any temporary conditions suffered at death, but permanent conditions remain

So, my question is: can you use raise dead on ANY part of a person's corpse and bring the whole person (ie their entire body) back to life? If a person had their legs ripped off either before or after they died, would their legs return?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it means permanent conditions, like Blinded or something like that. I don't think 4e has a "Legs ripped off" condition defined anywhere. Though I'd be sure to use that in my next session if you can find it :) \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Aug 25, 2011 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


This is purely, totally, entirely up to the GM.

I say that very emphatically because, as far as I know, there is no such thing as bodily dismemberment in the rules. So you, or your GM, will have to figure out if it is permanent or temporary, and act accordingly.

My best guess: being bodily dismembered is a permanent condition. As such, I'd think Raise Dead wouldn't actually fix it. If I were the GM, I'd probably allow the players to combine Raise Dead with Remove Affliction (which removes permanent conditions) into one casting with the combined ritual component cost, and that the result is that the target's body is whole afterwards regardless of any previous damage that went beyond mere HP.

But if Remove Affliction didn't exist, I'd probably just say that Raise Dead fully restored the body anyway, because it's just not fun for a player to wander around with no legs.

EDIT: To answer your first question, you should be able to use Raise Dead on anything that was part of the corpse, and by RAW rules, get the whole body back, even if you started with some random hairs that you tore off your PC's head after he died. It's up to your group and your GM to figure out whether you want to create and use more detailed rules.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chad: That is a very 3.5e view of the world, but 4e does not work that way. There isn't a Regeneration spell or ritual any more (Remove Affliction seems like a similar equivalent), and the Resurrection spell is recast as a level 8 Essentials Cleric power which works almost exactly like the Raise Dead ritual but only for creatures who died in the last 24 hours. All of the old spells to which you refer require a very simulationist game, which 4e is decidedly not. Even something like the Rogue's Leg-Breaker power doesn't include any affliction beyond HP damage. \$\endgroup\$
    – jprete
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ what happens with the vorpal swords then? \$\endgroup\$
    – user2015
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chad: The Vorpal property now means that, any time you are rolling damage dice in connection with an attack, if it comes up as its maximum value, add in that maximum value and then roll it again (repeating as many times as you keep getting maximum value). It does not automatically kill by severing a creature's head, so it is not applicable here. \$\endgroup\$
    – jprete
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK well i removed my original comment since it no longer applies. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2015
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:53

We've always interpreted this to mean that permanent conditions occurring before death remain, while those occurring after are reverted. Legs lost before death are still lost, while those lost to wolves afterwards, are regenerated.

So, as long as a sufficiently large, identifiable part of the creature is still around (even as much as a lock of hair), the spel will work.

Technically, this is up to your discretion. If you want to make things simple, then just assume things work with the least bit of body part available. Otherwise, make your players jump through hoops. Maybe the missing body parts have to be reconstructed from magical materials before the spell will complete. Or the spell rebuilds the body, but it remains frail until additional magic is performed to heal it. Etc... etc...


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