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The spell had to be cast on an evil humanoid, monstrous humanoid, or a giant, otherwise it would have no effect. Once cast and after reading out a list of the evil moral acts the being had committed, heavenly judgement descended upon the evildoer. Creatures of high willpower would only suffer severe mental damage, but others would be instantly slain and sent to the appropriate Lower Plane for everlasting punishment.
Only resurrection spells of enormous power could bring the evil being back to life. Master clerics could cast true resurrection, miracle, or resurrection, if the creature's soul could be reclaimed from their respective evil-aligned Outer Plane.