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Allows the caster to ask questions of the dead.

OD&DEdit

Speak with Dead Edit

The spell is introduced in Supplement I: Greyhawk as a cleric spell. Anti-clerics can also use it.

  • Spell Level 3
  • Duration 1 turn
  • Range 3"

Asks three questions of a dead body. A cleric of up to 7th level can speak with a corpse dead up to 4 days. Up to 14th level, the caster can speak with a corpse dead up to 4 months. Above 20th level, there is no limit on the length of time the body has been dead.

AD&DEdit

Speak with Dead Edit

Debuted in the Player's Handbook as a spell for clerics.

Level: 3 School: Necromantic
Components: V, S, M (holy symbol and burning incense)
Range: 1" Casting Time: 1 turn
Duration: Special Saving Throw: None
Target: One creature

The caster targets the remains of a creature, and is allowed to ask questions of it, if they speak the language that the dead creature spoke in life. The cleric can speak with the target for longer as they gain levels, and can ask questions of creatures who have been dead longer as they increase in level as well.

Level Time Dead Time to Question Questions
< 7 1 week 1 round 2
7-8 1 month 3 rounds 3
9-12 1 year 1 turn 4
13-15 10 years 2 turns 5
16-20 100 years 3 turns 6
21 + 1,000 years 6 turns 7

DM's Advice: The spell assumes the creature has an "essence" that still exists somewhere, able to answer questions, and likely able to remember anything about the party it knew previous to death as well (including rivalries or other antipathies). Creatures that were unfriendly to the class or alignment of the caster in life aren't likely to be very useful in death, tending to give evasive and misleading answers. Other creatures answer literally and briefly, which can often be just as frustrating.

AD&D 2eEdit

Speak with Dead
Spell Level: 3 Rarity: Common (Cleric)
Spheres: Divination, Necromantic (School: Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M (holy symbol and burning incense)
Range: 1 yd Casting Time: 1 turn
Duration: Special Saving Throw: Special
Target: One dead body

Using this spell, the caster can interrogate a creature that has deceased. The dead creature's knowledge is limited to what they knew in life, and the dead tend to be evasive, giving breif, limited, often cryptic answers. The caster also must share a language with the dead, or they won't understand the answers.

A dead creature whose alignment is different than the caster, or whose level or Hit Dice are greater than the caster's level, may make a save vs. spell - success indicates they end the spell, refusing to answer any questions.

At the DM's option, this spell can only be used on a given body once per week.

Level Time Dead Time to Question Questions
< 7 1 week 1 round 2
7-8 1 month 3 rounds 3
9-12 1 year 1 turn 4
13-15 10 years 2 turns 5
16-20 100 years 3 turns 6
21 + 1,000 years 6 turns (1 hour) 7

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