Resurrection Rituals

Thanks to @advocatingavian for the art!

Given the events of episode 68, we’ve received a few asks about what Vox Machina can do. The most obvious choice is to get to Pike, which can happen in many ways at this point, so we’ll just discuss the various spell options they have at their disposal, and what we’ve seen from resurrections in the past. (Spoiler warnings for 68 under the cut.)

The Spells:

  • Revivify: This is the cheapest of the resurrection spells in terms of both money and spell level cost. It is a level 3 spell and costs only 300 gp worth of diamonds, however its scope is very limited, as it must be used upon a creature within a minute of its death. The window for this spell has presumably already passed given the time it took to set up the 5-part HDYWTDT and the small amount of conversation afterwards. Even if Pike manages to use the gatestone or her astral projection form to get to them immediately, the spell will be useless at this point. Since Keyleth is basically out of spells, they’ll need to rest before trying to teleport to Whitestone themselves. If someone uses the gatestone and the Raven’s Slumber to try and get back to Whitestone with Percy alone, it still takes a full minute to activate, again rendering this spell useless.
  • Raise Dead: This is more expensive than Revivify, costing a diamond worth at least 500 gp and a 5th level spell slot, however the time frame for use is much larger. Vox Machina will have 10 days to get Percy to Pike before this spell is useless, leaving plenty of time for Keyleth to rest and get back enough spells to teleport them to Whitestone, or try to find a cleric in Ank’harel willing and able to cast it. There are also certain side effects after the spell is used if the ritual is successful. Percy would have a -4 penalty to attacks, saving throws, and ability checks that will be reduced by 1 after each long rest.
  • Resurrection: If Vox Machina cannot get to Pike within 10 days, they can use this 7th level spell and a diamond worth at least 1,000 gp. The time limit for this spell is a century, so assuming they don’t make any side trips to the Feywild and get time warped far into the future, there will be no reason that this spell cannot be used. Again, if the ritual is successful, Percy would have a -4 penalty to attacks, saving throws, and ability checks that will be reduced by 1 after each long rest. Pike, who was a 13th level cleric the last time we saw her, has access to a single 7th level spell slot.
  • True Resurrection: This is the spell of last resort. It is, by far, the most expensive of the resurrection spells, at 9th level and costing 25,000 gp worth of diamonds. It can be used within 200 years of a creature’s death, and, unlike the other spells, returns the creature to full hit points, lifts curses, replaces damaged or missing organs or limbs, and can provide an entire new body for the dead creature if necessary. Like Revivify, there are no lingering effects like those seen in Raise Dead or Resurrection. Thankfully, in this case, it should not be needed, as it is prohibitively expensive, and Pike is unable to cast it.
  • Reincarnate: If, for whatever reason, Vox Machina cannot get to Pike or another cleric for a resurrection spell, Keyleth has this 5th level spell at her disposal. It requires oils and unguents worth at least 1,000 gp, and has a hell of a catch. While the time limit is the same as that of Raise Dead (10 days), Percy would not likely return as a human. The DM (in this case, Matt) rolls a d100 and determines the race of the new body created by the spell from a table listed in the spell description. Percy would remember everything that happened from his former life, keep his base ability scores, class features, and any ASIs or feats he’s taken, and would change his racial traits to those matching his new body. Whether or not Keyleth and the rest Vox Machina would be willing to use this is unknown, but there is only a 20% chance he would return as human if they do. The odds for the other various races and subraces vary from type to type to make up the other 80%.

Past Resurrections:

We’ve seen four (possibly five) uses of resurrection spells on-stream. Grog’s been brought back twice using Revivify: once during the K’varn fight (Ep11, 4:06:20) and again after Craven Edge tried to eat his soul (Ep50, 0:35:30). Kashaw managed to make it to Vex (and be convinced to risk releasing Vesh) in time to use Revivify to save her (Ep44, 4:27:39) after the trap on Purvan’s tomb killed her. The only use of Raise Dead we’ve seen is when Pike brought back Theodore, who was killed in the course of the events of the Kill Box (Ep52, 3:01:38). Neither Resurrection or True Resurrection have been used on-stream.

Presumably, when Pike died at the claws of the Glabrezu, she was brought back using either Raise Dead or Resurrection, since finishing the battle and carrying her to the temple of Sarenrae would have taken longer than the minute limit of Revivify, and it is unlikely that Vox Machina would have been able to afford the cost of True Resurrection at the time. Also unconfirmed is the spell contained within Pike’s necklace that saved Percy from his first death during Ripley’s ambush. Since it activated after his third failed death save and not when he dropped to zero, it seems likely that it was some form of resurrection spell and not something like Death Ward.

Matt’s Resurrection Ritual:

You might have noticed that a couple times in describing the spells, we said “if the ritual is successful.” That’s because in Exandria, resurrections aren’t a sure thing. To avoid cheapening death, Matt lets the dice have a say. Successfully casting the spell requires a ritual with single d20 roll by the DM determining success or failure at the end. This roll has a DC that starts at 10, but changes as a result of three ability checks made by the people assisting in the ritual. They make an appropriate skill check with both the skill and the DC determined by the DM, depending on what they chose to do to assist. A success decreases the DC of the final check by 3, while a failure increases it by 1. If the final DM roll succeeds, the soul returns. If it fails, the soul is lost and the ritual may not be attempted again. If you’d like to calculate the ritual’s chances of success with various DC’s, you can do so here: http://sarverd.com/skillcheck/ (Thanks to David and Issac Sarver, who created this tool and shared it with us!).

Matt hinted after Vex’s death that “a much longer journey” may be undertaken to retrieve a lost soul. Fortunately, we haven’t had the chance to confirm or figure out what exactly this might entail just yet. With any luck, we won’t have that chance this Thursday.