From PathfinderWiki

Level (1E)
Clr 7, Ora 7, Sha 8, Wit 8
Source: Core Rulebook (First Edition), pg(s). 334

Rank (2E)
Ritual 5
Source: Core Rulebook (Second Edition), pg(s). 415
See also: Reincarnation

The act of resurrection returns a deceased mortal soul to its physical form, reversing death in the moment if not permanently.12

Returning to the mortal's current physical form distinguishes resurrection from reincarnation, in which the soul returns to inhabit a new body not necessarily of the same ancestry or species,32 and undeath, in which a body is reanimated by negative energy and part or all of the soul is forcibly bound to the form.4


Barring divine intervention or extremely unusual circumstances, resurrection requires powerful magic to accomplish, such as:

Pharmaceutical technology, such as a cardioamp, can also resurrect a being.10 The temporary resurrection spell can revive a being for only a single day.2 Certain occult rituals, such as the ouroboros blood ritual, can resurrect people from the dead at a great cost.2


A creature resembling a phoenix.

Certain creatures, such as tidehawks11 and phoenixes,12 are capable of self-resurrection in which they return to life automatically after a brief period of time if any physical remains of them exist.

Such self-resurrections might be limited if their remains are in a consecrated or desecrated area counter to their nature12 or if their remains have been converted into an item, such as a phoenix cinder.13

Fafnheir, Father of Linnorms, is said to curse any who manage to destroy him by inhabiting their body with his soul until the victim dies in Fafnheir's explosive self-resurrection.14

Divine intervention

A requested miracle can resurrect a person through divine intervention, and while it lacks many of the limitations of resurrection magic it can also be subject to the petitioned deity's whims — which can include obligating either the requester or the resurrected person to the deity's service.2

The psychopomp usher Saloc, a defender of souls during Pharasma's trials of judgment, has resurrected condemned souls on their own in order for them to have a second chance at redemption.15 Pharasma has also sometimes held a soul in the Boneyard for its mortal form to be resurrected when she knows it has not fulfilled its potential.16


While resurrection is inherently powerful magic, its many forms can have several limitations.


Some forms of resurrection are ineffective on creatures that died naturally of old age.1718


Different types of magical resurrection can fail to function if a certain amount of time has passed since the creature's death. Breath of life becomes unavailable after mere seconds, and for other weaker forms such as raise dead the timespan can be as little as three days.19 For more powerful forms such as the ritual resurrect, resurrection can fail after as little as a year's time.20 More powerful forms of magical resurrection can be effective years or decades from death,17 and the most powerful forms have no limit on time.19

Lack of remains

Most forms of magical resurrection, short of true resurrection6 or a heavily empowered resurrect ritual,1 require at least some of the deceased's remains to exist. Several forms require the body to be mostly intact. Utter disintegration or destruction can prevent such lesser forms of magical resurrection from succeeding.1221

Avernus razorbacks are bred in Cheliax in part to dispose of remains so thoroughly that forms of resurrection that require them becomes impossible.22

If the deceased's body is possessed by an outside being, such as through a false resurrection, it also cannot serve as their vessel for resurrection.2


Some undead creatures can be resurrected to mortal life after being destroyed,2317 but extant consummate undead such as vampires who seek resurrection as a potential cure for their affliction without first being destroyed find it ineffective.24

In an extreme example of undeath preventing resurrection, the balor Khorramzadeh carried the decapitated corpse of the silver dragon Terendelev to Iz in 4713 AR in order to turn her into a ravener and prevent her resurrection or judgment.2526

Soul destruction

A map of the River of Souls.

Resurrection takes place in the nebulous period of time between a mortal being's death and their judgment in the Boneyard, a process and path known as the River of Souls, a period during which souls are vulnerable to entrapment or destruction. For example, the Outer God Nhimbaloth preys on souls in the River of Souls,27 and devourers228 do so across the planes; those consumed are destroyed and cannot be resurrected.

Soul entrapment

Souls can also be trapped in items before entering or while in the River of Souls, preventing their resurrection by any power short of wish magic or divine intervention.729 Among the most famous soul-trapping items are the final blades of Galt.30 Soul-trapping items date back to at least the historic empire of Thassilon, in which an effigy of the favored servant could entrap the soul of someone who died near it.31

Cacodaemons who consume souls entrap them in gems, which are often used by other daemons in cruel experiments or traded for their value.32 Night hags hunt souls in the Ethereal Plane and Dreamlands for entrapment and are among the most notorious traders of them in Abaddon.33

Bound souls also power some types of constructs. The mirror men of Irrisen are formed from the trapped souls of criminals,34 while Jistkan automatons are powered by the souls of their Imperium's champions.35

Some forms of resurrection can still resurrect souls trapped in certain types of items, such as soul jars.36

Divine prohibition

Despite seeming like a subversion of the River of Souls, a resurrected mortal will eventually reach their final death, and so Pharasma's agents generally ignore the act.37 However, vanth psychopomps have retaliated against those who overuse or abuse resurrection magic,3839 and shinigami are sometimes tasked with (or bribed into) killing resurrected mortals if their renewed existence is deemed to be excessively disruptive to order.3333

Akhana aeons inscrutably view the resurrection of certain souls as inherently imbalancing to the Universe and pursue such mortals for a subsequent death or attempt to trap their soul inside of the akhana's body.32

Marut inevitables pursue those who combine resurrection magic with other forms in pursuit of immortality, or forms of resurrection magic that require mass sacrifice. Zelekhuts pursue those who abuse resurrection magic to escape the consequences of justice, and kolyaruts pursue those who abuse it to escape the terms of a contract.32

Being resurrected can be anathema for certain deities, such as Angazhan, who requires his followers to allow only reincarnation.40

Damnation and corruption

Infernal temptations that result in damnation or the terms of infernal contracts can result in a soul's immediate true death, making it impervious to all forms of resurrection short of wish magic.741

Evil outsiders and corrupting spells such as malediction and hellfire ray can also corrupt, curse, or redirect souls in ways that make them difficult or impossible to resurrect.7

Loss of self-identity

Leshies who lose too much of their sense of self or attachments to their mortal lives can also fail to be resurrected, even if their souls have not yet been judged.42


Resurrection is believed to be ineffective on creatures that are unwilling to return to life,1943 though there are notable exceptions. The repeated forced resurrection of sentient beings is considered blasphemy or prohibited in most parts of Golarion, save for the largely undead nation of Geb where the practice is employed by necromantic researchers of the Mortuarium in Yled known as twilight sages44 and by Geb to torture fallen foes into becoming graveknights.45


Pharasma judges souls.

Resurrection cannot be done after Pharasma's judgment19 and the mortal soul's transformation into a shade in its final death, at which point it begins its afterlife transformation into its new form as a planar being.464748 This can include souls who have voluntarily pledged themselves to a divine entity or planar power and are transformed into an outsider sooner than expected.7


Fey creatures on their native First World do not experience death as other creatures. Natives of the First World are themselves blocked from the River of Souls, making its inhabitants effectively immortal as long as they remain on the plane.4950 When a native of the First World "dies" on the plane, their energy simply returns to the First World49 and reforms within 10 days;51 in some cases, such as sprites, they return as a new form of fey.52 Should a fey native to the First World die on another plane, they cease to exist in true death.5053


Resurrected beings retain none of their conscious memories of the River of Souls or Boneyard, though some can surface in their dreams.33

Many types of magical resurrection short of true resurrection restore a person in a somewhat physically weakened state.219 In the lowest forms, the resurrected person still bears the injuries they suffered before death.2 Resurrection can also permanently alter aspects of a person, including physical traits or their personality.19

Resurrection can change the flavor of a being's flesh to add an earthy note.32

On Golarion

The funeral of Eutropia Stavian.

For most people on Golarion, resurrection is in the domain of tales rather than an event they experience or witness. Many legal and social events occur upon a person's death to mark their passing, such as the handling of debts or obligations; resurrection can complicate these events.2


Clerics, who have a deeper understanding of the progression of souls and a connection to divine magic, are the most common practitioners of resurrection magic.2

Certain organizations specialize in retrieving remains with the hope of resurrecting them. The Envoy's Alliance of the Pathfinder Society is sometimes tasked with such missions54 and carry body recovery kits that assist in preserving remains for resurrection.55


Conversely, some organizations work to prevent certain deceased beings from returning to life. Part of the renown of Red Mantis assassins is how they so thoroughly execute their targets that resurrection becomes more difficult56 or impossible,57 and they are willing to also assassinate any who claim to have done so.56 The Kiifotaliish of Nex disintegrate corpses to prevent their animation, exploitation, or resurrection.21

Politically motivated followers of Norgorber view resurrection as a subversion of their faith and the plots they devise in worship of the god of murder and secrets, and persistently hunt such risen people.33

Gray Gardeners of Galt were known for pursuing criminals who were executed by means other than the final blades and then resurrected. The Wings of the Night were a secret society of the Knights of Ozem who hunted resurrected allies corrupted by Gallowspire or the Worldwound.32

Cultists of Charon, Rider of Death, known as the Passengers of Charon target resurrected beings for death and soul entrapment in the hopes that doing so will earn them favor with Charon.33

As food

Undead reviviphages of Nemret Noktoria in the Darklands prefer to eat freshly resurrected flesh for the sensations of mortal life that it provides to them.32 Nightmare dragons feast on dreams had by resurrected beings of their time spent in the Boneyard.33

Notable resurrections


Paizo published a major article on avoiding death, with a significant focus on resurrection magic, in The Twilight Child pgs. 74–79 titled "Cheating Death".

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Logan Bonner, et al. “7: Spells” in Core Rulebook, 415. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Patchen Mortimer. “Cheating Death” in The Twilight Child, 75. Paizo Inc., 2018
  3. Logan Bonner, et al. “5: Spells” in Advanced Player's Guide, 242. Paizo Inc., 2020
  4. Logan Bonner, et al. “Appendix” in Bestiary, 347. Paizo Inc., 2019
  5. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 329. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 362–363. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Patchen Mortimer. “Cheating Death” in The Twilight Child, 76. Paizo Inc., 2018
  8. James Jacobs, et al. “Adventure Toolbox” in Worst of All Possible Worlds, 71. Paizo Inc., 2023
  9. Erik Mona, et al. Absalom” in Absalom, City of Lost Omens, 17. Paizo Inc., 2021
  10. James Jacobs & Russ Taylor. “Technological Equipment” in Technology Guide, 33. Paizo Inc., 2014
  11. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 3, 266. Paizo Inc., 2021
  12. 12.0 12.1 Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 261. Paizo Inc., 2019
  13. Michael Sayre, et al. “Gamemaster's Trove” in Treasure Vault, 188. Paizo Inc., 2023
  14. Jason Tondro. Fafnheir” in Monsters of Myth, 28. Paizo Inc., 2021
  15. Paizo Inc., et al. “Demigods and Other Divinities” in Gods & Magic, 89. Paizo Inc., 2020
  16. F. Wesley Schneider. “The River of Souls” in Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, 70. Paizo Inc., 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 334–335. Paizo Inc., 2009
  18. Crystal Frasier & Richard Pett. “Songbird, Scion, Saboteur” in Songbird, Scion, Saboteur, 54. Paizo Inc., 2018
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Logan Bonner, et al. Spells” in Player Core, 352. Paizo Inc., 2023
  20. Logan Bonner, et al. Spells” in Player Core, 394. Paizo Inc., 2023
  21. 21.0 21.1 Paizo Inc., et al. Nex” in Impossible Lands, 276. Paizo Inc., 2022
  22. Garrett Guillotte, et al. “Bestiary” in For Queen & Empire, 84–85. Paizo Inc., 2016
  23. Liane Merciel & Shay Snow. Ulgrem-Axaan” in Monsters of Myth, 117. Paizo Inc., 2021
  24. Jessica Catalan, et al. “Chapter 2: Among the Knights” in Knights of Lastwall, 44. Paizo Inc., 2022
  25. Amber E. Scott. “The Worldwound Incursion” in The Worldwound Incursion, 9. Paizo Inc., 2013
  26. Richard Pett. “City of Locusts” in City of Locusts, 29. Paizo Inc., 2014
  27. Paizo Inc., et al. “Demigods and Other Divinities” in Gods & Magic, 90. Paizo Inc., 2020
  28. Amber Stewart, et al. Devourer” in Undead Revisited, 11–14. Paizo Inc., 2011
  29. Logan Bonner, et al. Spells” in Player Core, 355–356. Paizo Inc., 2023 ; specifically the seize soul spell.
  30. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 300. Paizo Inc., 2011
  31. F. Wesley Schneider. “Foreword” in Sins of the Saviors, 4. Paizo Inc., 2008
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Patchen Mortimer. “Cheating Death” in The Twilight Child, 77. Paizo Inc., 2018
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 33.4 33.5 33.6 Patchen Mortimer. “Cheating Death” in The Twilight Child, 78. Paizo Inc., 2018
  34. Dale C. McCoy, Jr., et al. “Bestiary” in The Shackled Hut, 88–89. Paizo Inc., 2013
  35. Michael Sayre, et al. “1: Gears Characters” in Guns & Gears, 37. Paizo Inc., 2021
  36. Tito Leati. “Shattered Star Treasures” in Beyond the Doomsday Door, 61. Paizo Inc., 2012
  37. Paizo Inc., et al. “Gods of the Inner Sea” in Gods & Magic, 39. Paizo Inc., 2020
  38. Crystal Frasier, et al. “Bestiary” in Ashes at Dawn, 88. Paizo Inc., 2011
  39. Crystal Frasier, et al. “Bestiary” in Ashes at Dawn, 89. Paizo Inc., 2011
  40. Paizo Inc., et al. “Appendix” in Gods & Magic, 124–125. Paizo Inc., 2020
  41. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 87. Paizo Inc., 2019
  42. Linda Zayas-Palmer. Leshy” in Ancestry Guide, 42. Paizo Inc., 2021
  43. Laura-Shay Adams, et al. Usaro” in The Mwangi Expanse, 269. Paizo Inc., 2021
  44. Paizo Inc., et al. Geb” in Impossible Lands, 166–167. Paizo Inc., 2022
  45. Crystal Frasier. “Gardens of Gallowspire” in Gardens of Gallowspire, 21. Paizo Inc., 2019
  46. Paizo Inc., et al. “Gods of the Inner Sea” in Gods & Magic, 38. Paizo Inc., 2020
  47. F. Wesley Schneider. “The River of Souls” in Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, 72. Paizo Inc., 2014
  48. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 198. Paizo Inc., 2020
  49. 49.0 49.1 James L. Sutter. First World Adventures” in The First World, Realm of the Fey, 3. Paizo Inc., 2016
  50. 50.0 50.1 Logan Bonner, et al. “2: Tools” in Gamemastery Guide, 141. Paizo Inc., 2020
  51. Scott Sharplin. Down the Verdant Path, 14. Paizo Inc., 2018
  52. Mark Seifter. Sprite” in Ancestry Guide, 126. Paizo Inc., 2021
  53. Logan Bonner, et al. “Age of Lost Omens” in GM Core, 177. Paizo Inc., 2023
  54. Kate Baker, et al. “Chapter 2: Pathfinder Society Factions” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 25. Paizo Inc., 2020
  55. Kate Baker, et al. “Chapter 2: Pathfinder Society Factions” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 26. Paizo Inc., 2020
  56. 56.0 56.1 James Jacobs. Jakalyn” in Legends, 57. Paizo Inc., 2020
  57. Erik Mona, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 65. Paizo Inc., 2019
  58. Mikhail Rekun. Baba Yaga” in Legends, 30. Paizo Inc., 2020
  59. 59.0 59.1 Mikhail Rekun. Eutropia Stavian” in Legends, 42. Paizo Inc., 2020
  60. Erik Mona, et al. Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 128–129. Paizo Inc., 2019
  61. Alexander Augunas. Hao Jin” in Legends, 46. Paizo Inc., 2020
  62. Erik Mona, et al. “Walls, Gates, and Keeps” in Absalom, City of Lost Omens, 258. Paizo Inc., 2021

External links