Resurrection Spells 5E: How to Save a Life

We’ve all been in a rough situation in D&D where a player in the party has just met their end. It can be an annoying and stressful experience as the player whips out another character sheet ready to make a new character. That, or maybe you’ve stumbled upon the body of a legendary hero in the middle of a dungeon and wouldn’t mind the extra hand. Fortunately, death doesn’t necessarily have to be the end in Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, you have quite a few ways of dodging true death. We cover all of them in our Resurrection Spells 5E Guide

Resurrection spells come in a few different forms in D&D and each one will be used by different classes and require varying amounts of gold or a certain spell slot. But one thing’s for sure, using a resurrection spell does not come cheap. You are after all cheating death, and it’s really meant to be a last resort to aid a player that’s in a very bad situation. There are plenty of ways to use a resurrection, with some high level spells giving you some cool bonuses. There’s even a class feature that could be used to resurrect someone depending on a few factors.

The basics of Resurrection Spells in D&D

Resurrection Spells 5e

So, resurrection spells can be used by quite a few of the magic-based classes in D&D 5e. But they don’t necessarily all follow the same sort of rules. Some aren’t intended to be used for fallen party members, and are instead meant for other creatures that you only need temporarily. But even so, most resurrection spells need a few things.

For starters, the majority of resurrection spells will cost you more than a literal arm and a leg. Some ask for as much as 1,000 gp, which can go even higher up to 25,000 gp. Unsurprisingly you also do need to have a body in front of you to resurrect, but even this can sometimes be a bit of a flaky rule. Long story short, resurrection isn’t cheap, so you’ll need to make sure that it’s the right call before you start resurrecting everything you see. This is especially true since resurrection often comes with a few negative effects for both the caster and the creature that was brought back to life. But we’ll cover all the basics below.

Every Resurrection Spell in 5E

We’ll start things off with the two proper resurrection spells that can be used to bring back fallen party members and other creatures.


The first is simply called Resurrection and can be used by Bards and Clerics. This is a 7th level spell and can only be used by level 13 characters or above. It also costs 1,000 gp, has a 1-hour casting time, and requires only a part of the original body. And once cast, missing body parts and mortal wounds will regenerate. The other stipulation is that the creature has to have been killed within the last century. It also has a few short-term downsides.

The resurrected creature has a -4 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks, but does come back with all of its hit points restored. But a Long Rest will cut this penalty by 1. After a few more rests, the penalty should completely go away. The caster also feels some negative effects if the creature that was revived was dead for more than a year. If so, the caster can’t cast spells again until finishing a long rest, plus they have disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.

True Resurrection

The other resurrection spell is called True Resurrection, and it can only be used by Clerics and Druids. True Resurrection is far more costly to cast since it’s a 9th level spell and can only be cast by a minimum level 17 character. It also costs 25,000 gp which is a lot of money. The amount of time allowed after death is doubled with True Resurrection to 200 years.

The best part about the spell is that you don’t even need a body to cast it on. As long as you know the creature’s name, you can simply use that to bring it back. So, if the creature has literally been obliterated, you can still cast this spell. True Resurrection is far and away the best spell for resurrection in D&D. So much so, that it doesn’t have any negative effects for either the caster or the creature it was used on. It even restores all of the creatures hit points on revival, which is a massive positive.


The third option for a resurrection spell is a bit of a workaround. Wish is a 9th level spell that allows you to cast any 8th level spell or lower. This means that you can use it to cast Resurrection. Obviously since True Resurrection is a 9th level spell you can’t use that, but Wish is still a good solution. Wish can only be used by Sorcerers and Wizards, but it gives them a way of using Resurrection that they normally wouldn’t have access to.

Other Spells That Cheat Death

There are then three other spells that technically work as resurrections, but have far more limited uses.


The first is Revivify which is a 3rd level spell for Clerics and Paladins. This lets you revive a creature that has been killed for up to 1 minute and requires 300 gp, as well as the creature’s body. Revivify can’t regenerate lost body parts, so if the creature lost an arm in death, it won’t come back. The creature also comes back with 1 hit point, so they’ll have to be very careful after waking up.

Raise Dead

Raise Dead is a slightly more powerful version of Revivify with some of the same limitations. This is a 5th level necromancy spell for Bards, Clerics, and Paladins. The caster simply has to touch a creature that has been dead for less than 10 days, and it will bring the creature back to life. The spell deals with poisons and nonmagical diseases, but curses and magical diseases will still inflict the creature after revival. In this case it would be best to deal with these issues before attempting to revive the target. The creature also needs to have all of its integral body parts, so its heart or its head. Otherwise, the spell will automatically fail, and the creature will not come back. Upon revival the creature will come back with 1 hit point and the -4 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks.


The final option for resurrection is a bit of a strange one. Druids have access to a 5th level transmutation spell called Reincarnate, which allows them to place the soul of a dead Humanoid into a new body. The creature has to have been dead for no longer than 10 days just like Raise Dead. But the interesting part lies in the fact that the new body is created via magic, and the race of that body is determined by a d100 roll. So, let’s say that the creature was a Half-Elf in life, with reincarnation, there’s a chance that they could turn into a Dragonborn or a Dwarf. If this happens to a player it could have a ton of potential for fun role play. Nothing really changes about the character either, besides racial traits and appearance.

Divine Intervention

An honorable mention here to round this section off is the Divine Intervention Class Feature. This is something that Cleric’s can use to communicate with their chosen deity. And they could technically request that their deity resurrect a creature. The nature of the resurrection will come down to the deity the Cleric worships. But this could be another option that a character could use if they lack normal avenues for resurrection. If the DM is feeling very charitable, they could make it so that the intervention comes in the form of a True Resurrection, which would be the best possible outcome for the creature. But this would be a very powerful ability and would likely need to be balanced well.

Alongside all this, it’s also worth mentioning that the creature the caster is trying to resurrect has to want this resurrection in the first place. If the creature is quite happy with the way it is, then it won’t want to become resurrected. In which case the resurrection would fail. You’ll likely find that to be a pretty rare occurrence in most situations, but it can happen.

Resurrection Spells FAQ

Resurrection is something that has quite a few variations in D&D 5e. And it may not be as cut and dry as you first expected it to be. So if there are still any lingering questions or parts that are confusing, this FAQ section is here to give you some answers.

What classes can resurrect in 5e?

A few of the magic classes in D&D 5e have access to a resurrection ability of some kind. the cleric class, unsurprisingly, have access to the most resurrection spells since they can use Revivify, Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection. Bards then can use Raise Dead and Resurrection. Paladins can use Revivify and Raise Dead. And finally, Druids can use Reincarnate, and True Resurrection.

Warlocks, Sorcerers, and Wizards don’t have usual access to resurrection spells. This does make sense if you think about it. These classes aren’t really all that concerned with spells that either don’t do a lot of damage, or have practical applications. So resurrection is something that isn’t a part of their regular spell lists.

Can Wizards learn resurrection spells?

While Wizard spells don’t have access to typical resurrection magic, that does not mean they can’t find a way to cast one. The Wish spell is all you could ever need in this kind of situation. It can cast any spell that’s 8th level or lower. Which then means you could easily use it to cast Resurrect. Of course Wish can be used for a bunch of other things that are too many to name here. But just remember that Wish is an absurdly powerful spell that can do a lot of good.

Can you resurrect from disintegrate in 5e?

Resurrecting a character that has been disintegrated is technically possible, but you’d need to make sure that the spell you’re using meets certain conditions. For example, Revivify needs a mostly intact body to work. So, if the creature has been disintegrated, there’s not much it can really do in that situation. Even the Resurrection spell requires a small body part for the actual spell to work.

In a situation where a creature has been disintegrated, only one spell will truly work. Since True Resurrection doesn’t require a body or part of a body, you can use that to bring the disintegrated creature back to life. The caster simply needs to know the creature’s name. Alternatively there’s a chance that you could use Wish to somehow find a workaround for the standard Resurrect spell to work. But that’s one of those decisions that the DM might need to think about for a second. There’s also Divine Intervention to consider and if the Cleric manages to convince their deity to intervene, the assistance could come in the form of a True Resurrection spell.

Concluding Our Resurrection Spells 5E Guide

That’s been our short guide for the various methods of resurrection in D&D 5e. There are so many ways and methods to go about resurrecting creatures. From using the standard Resurrection spell, to performing a quick fix with Revivify, or using the glove that fits all method with Wish. Each one has its own benefits. Be sure to carefully decide which you think is best for the current situation. Resurrection is still a pretty complex beast at times. If there’s anything that we didn’t cover here be sure to let us know in the comments below!

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