Raise dead was a conjuration or necromancy spell that restored life to one dead creature. Earlier versions of this spell were reversible, resulting in the spell slay living which was very similar to the newer finger of death spell.
The application of this spell was limited to creatures that had been dead for no longer than one day per level of the caster. The creature could not be undead, a construct, an elemental, or an outsider. The necromantic versions of this spell were further restricted to only raise humans, half-elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings. The soul to be returned to its body had to be free to do so and willing to return, otherwise the spell fizzled. This spell also did not work on creatures that died of old age or that had been killed by a death effect.
The corpse of the deceased had to have enough constitution and be intact enough to sustain life; even though raise dead closed lethal wounds and healed mortal damage, missing pieces were not regenerated. Any natural poison or disease agents in the body were cured by the conjuration version of this spell, but not by the necromancy versions. Magical afflictions and curses were not removed by raise dead. Another significant difference was that the conjuration spell required the caster to touch the corpse, whereas the necromancy spells had a range of 90 ft (27.4 m).
Upon completion of this spell, the creature being raised had to pay a price. For the conjuration spell, it was the loss of an experience level. If the subject had no more experience to lose, then he or she had a significantly weaker constitution in their new life. For the necromancy versions, the person's constitution determined the chances to survive the process, and if successful, their resulting constitution was weaker, thus preventing anyone achieving immortality by way of raise dead. Afterward, the person or creature was still near death and in need of healing. Any spells the newly returned creature had memorized at the time of death were just as likely as not to be forgotten. The necromantic versions left the subject weak and in need of bedrest for as many days as they had been dead, and wiped any memorized spells clean.
In addition to a verbal component, the conjuration spell required the caster to touch the corpse and provide at least 5,000 gp worth of diamonds. The necromancy spell somatic component was to point at the target while uttering the words of the spell.
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