A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    arkanis's Avatar

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    Default Death and Undeath Rules

    DEATH
    So, at 9th level dying becomes pretty meaningless since your cleric buddy can just bring you back from the dead. Doesn't seem right. It ruins the roleplay of it all. I can see bringing someone back who is only recently dead the same way we resuscitate people nowadays but I don’t like the whole “drag the body across days of wetlands to get to the nearest temple and have our buddy raised from the dead.” That’s just horribly…unheroic. Plus it discourages character’s IC value of life and fades the boundaries of good and evil when considering human life.

    So I propose a slightly varied restriction on all resurrection spells including Reincarnation, Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection:

    Reincarnation and Raise Dead must be cast on a body within 1 minute/caster level of the creature's death or the spell will not work (not including casting time). The spell brings the creature back to life, but does not heal any wounds, does not restore lost limbs (thus the victim of a vorpal effect cannot be raised), and does not cure diseases; thus the creature is brought back to life stabilized at -1 hp and retains any infections they had at the time of their death plus they suffer any further infection which may have been inflicted upon their body during their death. Otherwise, these spells work normally.

    Resurrection faces the same restriction as above except it will work up to 1 hour/caster level and the creature is brought back with all their hit point damage converted to nonlethal damage. Otherwise, this spell works normally.

    In order to bring a vorpaled creature back from the dead the Regenerate spell must be cast on the body first (it works on dead bodies for putting limbs back on, but doesn't actually bring the creature back from the dead).

    True Resurrection works normally but must be cast within 1 week/caster level. Otherwise, this spell works normally.

    However, due to these restrictions I think it fair to half the normal material component cost of these spells.

    UNDEATH
    I also don’t like that necromancers can’t actually use any real necromancy until 7th level. I have an altered version of animate dead:
    Lesser Animate Dead
    As Animate Dead except it’s a 2nd level spell and the HD limit is equal to your caster level and the duration is 10 min./level after which your minions dissipate and fall apart (self destruct).
    Last edited by arkanis; 2008-02-15 at 09:59 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    These aren't wholly bad ideas at all, actually, and are similar to what I use. I am a huge advocate of the "if a PC dies, make it memorable and make it forever". When a PC dies, it's big big stuff. And it's sad. Raise dead and similar spells take the, well, fun out of dying. If the characters can't cast that raise dead spell right away, then ya know what? Frank the Fighter is dead, it's sad, hopefully he died well.

    Your time frame on casting those spells seems fair and reasonable. You have X amount of time to begin casting, otherwise, too bad so sad. Actually makes character death really unpleasant and undesirable because adventuring should be scary and dangerous.

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  3. - Top - End - #3
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    arkanis's Avatar

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I don't think these restrictions are completely negating the "Quest to Resurrect an Ally" either. After all, 1/week per caster level (who is at least level 17 to cast 9th level spells) means up to 17 weeks to save someone.

    So at higher levels (and only higher levels) bringing someone back from the dead becomes something possible, although it is still difficult and requires work.

    A good idea in place of my adjustments may even be to ban players from being able to use Resurrection effects and have only very specific NPCs have such abilities.
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I've been toying around with the concept of death and how easily people come back from it. There are factors you must consider: How common is magic in the world? How realistic is that magic? Does it allow for the absolute impossible to happen easily?

    Honestly, you must keep death and the option for a character to not come back be a VERY real possibility, or else you risk desensitizing your players to the idea of being dead. If players don't fear death and the loss of their character permanently, they'll never respect the idea of dying. This leads to unheroic metagaming- "I can just have you rez me if this doesn't work."

    I have yet to find a real balance between death, resurrection, and its consequences.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    Good ideas about the death/resurrection. What I would add (not change) are maybe a xp cost that would really hurt, plus an even increased material cost.

    Hmm, if I was making it for my setting, these spells would be at least epic, requiring a ritual with lots of apprentices, etc. or a more evil kind of spell where you would require a human sacrifice, which is in fact not a resurrection but more of a substitution.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    arkanis's Avatar

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    There were a lot of ideas floating around in my head on how to restrict the resurrection spells without causing an uproar about spell imbalance.

    I thought by reducing the time period in which the body can be brought back, we can still have "near deaths" and characters can be revived from battle, but they cannot have their corpse collected like an object to be shipped back to town and fixed.

    Much like in a lot of movies a hero will perform CPR on another and bring them back in a hurry and rush or have a tear fall on their dead body and magically bring them back right after an immediate death. Anyone see the movies The Abyss, The Princess Bride, The Crow, or other movies where coming back from the dead can actually benefit roleplaying, but only in rare circumstance.
    That heroism is still there, but no one would bother keeping a body after a long battle or journey other than to bury it.

    Since the only way to bring someone back after a long time is a 9th level spell, I figure its makes the game fair so only really high levels will even consider 'you can just rez me' which I honestly think is okay for higher levels (17th+) but not lower levels. But that's just me.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    HellFencer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I love the idea of the heroic rebirth (The Crow), but haven't the faintest idea how you could transfer that (and keep it balanced) to a game system.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I'm not sure about the balance, but it does seem like a very good idea.

    I may try implementing this into my games.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    An alternate idea. Rather than just limiting resurrection, just give it some really potentially unpleasant side effects. How's this for a house rule:

    Dangers of Resurrection

    Reaching beyond the boundary of death is dangerous and bringing someone back to life can have unpleasant side-effects. There is a 10% chance of a side effect, plus an additional 10% for each time a character has been back from the dead before (maximum 90%). Roll 1d100 to pick a side effect from the following:

    1-10: Spell fails without spending any materials. You may try again.
    11-33: The subject returns possessed by an evil spirit that will try to hide its existence and pose as the subject. Treat this as a sentient dominate person spell (ECL 20).
    34-50: The moment the spell is complete 2d6 shadows appear and attack the caster, the subject, and their allies.
    51-55: The moment the spell is complete 2d6 shadows and one Greater Shadow appear and attack the caster, the subject, and their allies.
    56-60: The subject returns insane, as with an Insanity spell.
    61-75: The subject returns as a mindless evil zombie.
    76-85: 1d4 days after the spell an evil clone appears somewhere within 1d100 miles of the subject. The clone is a hideous deformed version of the subject that possesses all their abilities and knowledge. It seeks the original's destruction.
    86-95: The spell returns the subject without a soul. The subject has a neutral alignment, possesses no emotions, and suffers a -4 penalty to its charisma. A Wish, Miracle or Greater Restoration will return their soul to them.
    96-99: A gate opens and pulls the caster into the negative energy plane.
    100: You bring your friend back to life, but their body is twisted into a hideous aberration. In this form they are helpless and suffer perpetual agony. A wish or miracle can restore them to their rightful form, and you can kill them and try to bring them back again.
    Last edited by Lysander; 2009-12-11 at 09:32 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I would just like to point out that if you remove easy resurrection (something I consider to be a good idea), then you should also remove save or die effects. I think that they're part of the reason why resurrection was made so easy in 3.x
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Surgo's Avatar

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    How are you planning on dealing with the fact that failing a single save can often mean death? Yeah, everyone gets behind the "make death more meaningful!" banner but then seems to forget this point that once resurrection starts becoming easily available, it's because it's needed.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    O.O No offense Lysander, but I really, really think that table you suggested is a bad idea.

    Aside from that, Surgo may have a good point there. Hmm.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    Surgo is completely right. Stop dishing the revive's. Consider this;

    It requires around a 9th level cleric to cast Raise Dead (5th level spell). How many level 9+ clerics/etc in say, a 50k population metropolis? How many of these clerics are willing to sell their spells to the pc's to revive them? How many of these clerics have a bag of diamond dust worth more then most peoples -houses- on hand exactly when the pc's need it?

    They rarely do.

    If the player's have someone who can cast revive's, and also have enough regants to do so many times a day/week/month in game (anything less then a month with multiple repeat dead-offenders means dms: Your doing it wrong. Work with them, cause their getting hammered for a REASON), considering their already steep cost, then hush. Thats cutting into the cleric's phat loot to keep his group alive, you know, 'supporting' the team threw life and death and all that.

    And, any 'real' villian just destroys the corpses of their foes and/or makes sure they cant revive, such as by feeding them to pet-lions or the like so their bodies cant be recovered. Dont forget the golden rule of fighting! Focus on the HEALER FIRST!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    I personally think a Permanent Constitution drain is too much of a penalty for resurrecting someone. I mean, after all, you're building a new body for that person, sure, but a new body should be in good working condition, you know?

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    The irony of thread-rezzing a death and undeath resurrection thread fills me with fetid, undead glee

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    My personal fix was to say that death claimed a soul more tightly each time they died so you only had so many deaths before you could no longer be revived. The more heroic you were the more deaths you had and the PCs had 3 with almost everyone else having 0-2 and a few NPCs being noted as having 3. You could gain more by certain acts of extreme importance to the world (single-handedly saving it for example). It only came up with 1 cohort and 1 animal companion, but it made the PCs careful about dying (2 PCs died once each over 8 levels) and they didn't take it for granted. Also this meant that they couldn't just let their cohorts or friends/family die and go "oh it's only 5000 GP".

    This was a game high enough level they could find and afford resurrection and true resurrection (Lv 15+) so I didn't mess with Raise Dead but I did consider banning it completely and just using Revivify (from the Spell Compendium, must be cast within 1 round of death but they come back with no level loss).

    Also at the high levels where True Resurrection is available 1 week/level is long enough to not usually matter. Even the Resurrection change mostly means that starting at 7th level the cleric has to keep it prepped at all times just in case. At 9th level this makes death scary and less so than limiting to Revivify, by 13th level it means you keep the spell prepped instead of preparing it the next day after death, and at 17th level it means revival is cheaper because you just halved the material cost. It does allow mid level characters to go on the epic quest to revive an ally by finding a willing priest of 17th+ level which is good.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Death and Undeath Rules

    Personally,, I like the shades/demons appearing in Conan when they began to rezz him. Having several incorporeal undead/demons during the casting time of raise and rezz spells show up to steal the body can certainly complicate matters.
    And maybe there is a sacrificial component, but it has to be voluntary. The next time events arise that should kill the rezzed character will be altered to kill the one who offered themselves in exchange. Whether this simply means a death that can't be changed, or having the spirits show up again with possibility of defeating them and thus truly cheating death, depends on the tone of the game.

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