This spell was similar to speak with dead but with some important differences. Unlike the more common spell, no corpse needed to be present to answer questions—the answers came from the spirit of the drowned individual. Another distinction was that the name of the deceased had to be called out as part of the casting. The name had to be sufficient to uniquely identify one drowned individual.
The priest could cast speak with the drowned dead upon himself or herself, or upon another person within nine feet (3 meters) of the caster. A maximum of two questions could be asked, and the answers came back in normal conversational speech. If the drowning victim was of different alignment than the caster, or more powerful in life than the caster was at that moment, then the spirit had a chance to resist answering and, if successful, ending the spell. Otherwise, the answers were always truthful, but they could be obscure, misleading, evasive, or cryptic. If a question about events that occurred after the victim's death was asked, then the answer was unknown and the question was wasted.
Only verbal and somatic components were required to cast this spell. A unique name of the drowned victim had to be known and spoken as part of the casting.
Pirates were known to hire Umberlant priests to cast this spell and then use carefully worded questions to ascertain the location of or directions to a shipwreck or sunken treasure.