View Full Version : Death & Afterlife Options

2012-05-21, 12:20 PM
I was hoping to start a dialogue regarding options I am considering offering to dead characters, but am in very early stages right now. I hoped your mighty minds might be able to offer thoughts/variations on the comments below:

What happens when a person dies? Is it possible that death is really not the end? Is it possible for persons to affect the world from beyond? Could a person die, and continue on as a ghostly advisor? Perhaps die using a form of a wizard’s curse to get back at killer, or help compatriots? Or have heroes’ being more powerful than the average person affect the area they die (kind of a wild magic / death of the emperor in orbit around endor kind of thing). Rather than death being a roll a new person, or resurrect the old one, have another option.
Options for the Dead Character:
1.) Only specific persons known to the dead person may summon them in order to answer a limited number of specific questions
2.) Such a raising ritual could be available to anyone, and the dead could be forced to answer and act under the power of the summoner.
3.) A more powerful ritual could allow the dead person to come back for limited times to act as a character in the story, or combatant, but at reduced power with all attributes of a ghost.
4.) The dead might only be able to manifest in relation to a place, item or person, and may have limited memories powers or ability to affect the outside world… some enchanted swords are not really enchanted, but rather are haunted, and empowered with the essence of the original wielder or the ghosts of those killed by the wielder.
5.) ?

2012-05-21, 12:42 PM
In a campaign I am working on, death is general the end of that player character. The main reason being the ghost template makes them instantly more powerful.

The dead can be raised back to some form of living, or living like status via various rituals or the mad fevered creations of alchemists. The dead can also be visited by finding links to the realm of the dead, but for living people the realm of the dead is a terrifying and often jarring experience (Alla Silent Hill esque worlds). The dead can sometimes be talked to via oracles, divination ect, and at times the dead haunt the place of their death.

However my world has imprecise rituals of necromancy, often playing with the dead comes at a terrible cost. For example rituals to resurrect the dead rarely work and generally cause the raising of zombies, the permanent desecration of an area, curses on the character or the characters themselves to be cursed with a poltergeist.

However if a particularly good PC dies in an area I do roll a d% to determine if the area becomes hallowed, and for evil, unhallowed. Also sometimes I do grant their items some magical abilities. Of course this only happens with heroic deaths so as to discourage the players from just killing each other for magic items.

2012-05-21, 12:42 PM
The Ghostwalk sourcebook might be helpful.

2012-05-21, 12:50 PM
The dead can only come back if they convince some god of the underworld that they have a task that is major enough to justify it. They may also then owe the deity some debt that may be called in the future, possibly at a very inconvenient time.

Heroes of Horror has a section on different options that make death less of a revolving door. That's probably worth reading for more ideas.