Saturday, December 8, 2012

Part 5: Res, and Raise

Recently I have been asking for input about some of the most fundamental spells in the Dungeons and Dragons games - Resurrection and Raise Dead.  These spells are powerful, game altering and necessary.  They have both strong positives and devastating negatives.

There are several possibilities for a dead character.  They can be Res/Raised.  They can stay dead.  They can be rescued from the underworld.  They can become undead.  My next campaign may even be a "dead adventurers game."

The positives of the Raise Dead and Resurrection are undeniable.  Returning a beloved character to life can keep a player happy, it can keep a group rounded. Res/Raise spells can keep a reoccurring villain, well, reoccurring. Res/Raise can be a drain on the party's resources (keeping them in line for the ECL's). It can erase a random event.

The negatives are a lot more subtle.  The GM cannot kill an overpowered character (at least not easily).  Why does everyone with enough money not live forever? How do the players permanently stop the BBM (Big Bad Monster)? What if the character was in direct opposition to the god granting the raise spell?

Here's where I have come to so far on the subject of coming back from the dead:

Raise Dead: In order for Raise Dead to work, first a player must make a choice.  Charisma or Constitution?  Whichever they choose, they will roll a d20.  If they roll equal to or below their Cha/Con score, they are raised. If they roll above, they are not.  They then lose 1 pt permanently in that stat.  The party is free to try again if they fail.  Once a stat is chosen, that is the only stat that can be rolled against for Raise/Res or any other life returning effect.  If they are successfully raised, they then get to roll on a "quirk" chart (sample below).

Resurrection: works very similarly, with the exception it does not cause a lost point in the chosen stat. (however that stat still governs a max number of res/raise effects.)  The "quirk" chart will still be in play for this spell.

Reincarnation: A quick mention on this spell, as it is in the same sphere.  I feel that Reincarnation is sufficiently limiting to use it "by the book," with a single caveat.  Players will re-roll Str, Dex, Con scores, as they have a different body, and that body will probably have different limitations.

There is another part to this, too.  If a character does stay dead, what happens to their loot?  Do they have family that blames the party for the death of a loved one? Are there consequences for their guild?  I know these are story/background, but they are an important considerations with the conversation.

The (rough) "Quirk List" (subject to edit/expansion)

(Brought back by Evil means)
  1. Harm spells heal the character, and heal spells harm the character
  2. Learned a secret of the universe
  3. Something followed the character back
  4. Skin has become pale, giving an undead look (negative modifiers dealing with common people)
  5. Gained Darkvision (60') and eyes glow red
  6. Body becomes allergic to a substance (silver, gold, steel, mithral, garlic, etc.)
  7. Character hears voices (sometimes they make sense, sometimes not)
  8. Character stinks like a grave
  9. Character loses a level
  10. A devilish or demonic deformation happened in the Raise
(Brought back by Neutral/Nature means)
  1. Gained an animalistic trait (horselike nose, frog eyes etc)
  2. Can hear trees speak
  3. Character becomes claustrophobic
  4. Learned a secret of nature
  5. Something followed the character back
  6. Skin tone becomes more "elemental" (orange tint = fire, blue tint = water, brown tint = earth, etc)
  7. Character no longer stomachs cooked meat
  8. Character smells like freshly turned earth
  9. Character loses a level
  10. Gained low light vision (30') and eyes gleam yellow (like a wolf)
(Brought back by Good means)

  1. Character feels pain he inflicts on others
  2. Learned a secret of the universe
  3. Character's skin has a "warm glow"
  4. Something followed the character back
  5. Character unaffected by bright lights
  6. Body becomes allergic to material (obsidian, basalt, salt, etc)
  7. Character gained vestigial wings (useless, but impossible to hide)
  8. Character is blinded.  Gains a "second sight" - sees undead, invisible, and ethereal items
  9. Character loses a level
  10. Character's hair color becomes white or gold
Although, this is all a work in progress, I think I have a good starting point.  Any ideas for expanding these tables?

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