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Raise Dead and the Diamond Thing


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Only if everyone can get the spell cast for them.

Which if it is free, without penalty, and available to most adventurers, it would seem that would happen lots.

I mean, if there is no consequence for death, why wouldn't more clerics make it to levels were they could cast raise dead, and then when they are there, why wouldn't they.

Again let me be clear. I think players should have access to raise dead, and I think raising your character shouldn't make your player lag significantly behind. My suggestion was 5% xp loss with a negative level if that takes you below your currently level until you get enough xp to get back to your current level. Remove all gold costs.

A temporary penalty with a long term impact.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Solutions that result in mixed levels in a party are horribad in a game that builds its' math around the assumption that the entire party is at the same level.

Liberty's Edge

Gorbacz wrote:
Solutions that result in mixed levels in a party are horribad in a game that builds its' math around the assumption that the entire party is at the same level.

Someone missing an evening results in mixed levels.

And you know the CR system isn't built on that assumption.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Solutions that result in mixed levels in a party are horribad in a game that builds its' math around the assumption that the entire party is at the same level.

Someone missing an evening results in mixed levels.

And you know the CR system isn't built on that assumption.

It is, if 2 level 5 chars and 2 level 6 chars have a CR 9 encounter, they're toast. If 4 level 6 characters have a CR 9 encounter, they can pull it off if everybody is on the top of their game that night.

Also, have you seen all the "we've done away with XP and level up at appropriate moments" posts? XP penalties are lost on them, because they don't use them.

Liberty's Edge

So we shouldn't have rules about XP because some people don't use XP?

Assuming your PC dies more or less the same amount as everyone else, you are all the same level. As you level, the 5% you lost at 5th level isn't going to create much of a gap. Probably less than a missed session.

If your PC dies that much more than everyone else in the party, probably time to retire that character. Which is kind of why I want to have some lasting consequence involved.

Again, this is less of a penalty than existed in 3.5, doesn't remove anyone from the game...hell a negative level isn't even really that much of a penalty anymore.


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if an exp penalty doesn't matter enough to give you negative levels, it's useless. if an exp penalty matters enough, it increases the risk of dying more, thus worsening the issue (unless removing those negative levels can practically be done in other ways than adventuring).

IMO exp penalties are among the worst penalties around, since the chance of them effecting your stats is also random.

Liberty's Edge

It is the lasting effect that makes you hesitate and remember. Anything you can shrug off in a week isn't going to be memorable or feared.


But if the penalty is just an irrelevant number that doesn't affect your character in the slightest, it doesn't matter. Experience points can't be felt, seen or touched in-game, and out of game they only matter when they bring you to a new level.

And if it DOES affect you, it affects you a LOT (a level is a big thing!) and highly increases the risk that you'll die for those sessions, increasing the penalty.

It is also random. Being 5% behind in xp means you'll be behind in level about 5% of the sessions, if you're the only one who's died.

I'm not against long-term penalties, but I don't think they should be of the kind that makes you noticeable easier to kill, nor do I think they should be random*.

If looking for long-lasting penalties, I'd much prefer any of the following:
- Raising the dead requires sacrifice of another living being, an evil action, and getting raised has a tendency to draw you towards evil.
- Getting brought back to life often doesn't completely heal you, leaving you with some permanent sign (loss of hair, corpse-pale skin etc).
- To escape from death you must (in addition to the spell) make a deal with the god of death where you offer it a piece of your mind as a pledge, and you lose one skill rank in a skill of your choice.

Or there may be any number of others. Exp penalties feel very mechanical rather than rooted in the game world, and they're not good mechanically.

*of course all penalties are random; a -1 is a 5% chance of failure. Exp penalties are doubly random in that there's both a % chance that you'll have the stat penalty and then the normal chance of the penalty affecting the roll.

Liberty's Edge

Looking at what you listed.

- An evil action makes it inaccessible to most non-good players, so that is a non-starter.

- I don't mind the physical effect, but short a table you are just asking for GM fiat, which is the same concern I had about "Material Component: Macguffin" Good idea that I would enjoy playing both would risk the "GM vs PC" that the penalty was claimed to be.

- I don't know why the god wants a piece of your mind. I understand it is an attempt at penalty, but it doesn't make much sense to me.

I am open to ideas, I just don't like that death is meaningless.


Ilja wrote:

But if the penalty is just an irrelevant number that doesn't affect your character in the slightest, it doesn't matter. Experience points can't be felt, seen or touched in-game, and out of game they only matter when they bring you to a new level.

And if it DOES affect you, it affects you a LOT (a level is a big thing!) and highly increases the risk that you'll die for those sessions, increasing the penalty.

It is also random. Being 5% behind in xp means you'll be behind in level about 5% of the sessions, if you're the only one who's died.

I'm not against long-term penalties, but I don't think they should be of the kind that makes you noticeable easier to kill, nor do I think they should be random*.

If looking for long-lasting penalties, I'd much prefer any of the following:
- Raising the dead requires sacrifice of another living being, an evil action, and getting raised has a tendency to draw you towards evil.
- Getting brought back to life often doesn't completely heal you, leaving you with some permanent sign (loss of hair, corpse-pale skin etc).
- To escape from death you must (in addition to the spell) make a deal with the god of death where you offer it a piece of your mind as a pledge, and you lose one skill rank in a skill of your choice.

Or there may be any number of others. Exp penalties feel very mechanical rather than rooted in the game world, and they're not good mechanically.

*of course all penalties are random; a -1 is a 5% chance of failure. Exp penalties are doubly random in that there's both a % chance that you'll have the stat penalty and then the normal chance of the penalty affecting the roll.

The issue with those type of penalties is that they aren't a consistant punishment. Some characters won't care. Some will be seriously hurt.

Going in order:

- Will be impossible for many parties and trivial for others. A good party will almost never be able do it. An evil party was planning on killing that innocent person anyway.

- Many players simply won't care. Others will be extremely upset. I know people who would absolutely hate for their character to be ugly. On the flip side, some players find it amusing(Bloatmages for instance).

-I consider this to be a pretty weak penalty. Some people(a wizard for instance) are looking at 90 skill ranks at level 10 and this is barely noticeable. Others(fighter) will feel it slightly with their 20 skill ranks.

Liberty's Edge

I don't seek consistency as much as I seek impact.

I think Reincarnation is a great spell for death, and you can come out of that at a mechanical advantage.

Part of the problem for me is people to invested in what they want to make their character rather than interested in finding out what happens to the character.


ciretose wrote:

Looking at what you listed.

- An evil action makes it inaccessible to most non-good players, so that is a non-starter.

I don't get this at all. Non-good characters should have an even easier time to do it, right? No moral issues at all.

Quote:
- I don't mind the physical effect, but short a table you are just asking for GM fiat, which is the same concern I had about "Material Component: Macguffin" Good idea that I would enjoy playing both would risk the "GM vs PC" that the penalty was claimed to be.

Since we're discussing table solutions everything's up to GM fiat anyway. And it could be codified if we really want to, a random table, or specific depending on spell, or whatever.

Quote:
- I don't know why the god wants a piece of your mind. I understand it is an attempt at penalty, but it doesn't make much sense to me.

It could be motivated in many different ways. The power of the god of death is fueled by the minds of those that die, and that it could allow someone of power to go back to get a more powerful mind (so when it dies the god can claim a larger prize) but want the piece as a "bail". Or it could be kind of a "pay the ferryman to grant you passage", just a bit more expensive - maybe it's a price to get the "ferryman" to smuggle you out (granted, this works better if the "ferryman" isn't a literal ferryman) or whatever. It's quite easy to get it to work storywise (what's the story behind a 5% xp cost?) and provides a long-lasting penalty that doesn't generally make you that much more easy to kill.

Quote:


I am open to ideas, I just don't like that death is meaningless.

Neither do I. I also feel that death should be either permanent or at least very, very severe, and I feel that it's better to make the PC's have an easier time surviving than making them have an easy time getting back.

But I think exp penalties are a really, really bad penalty - more or less regardless of the cause.


ciretose wrote:

I don't seek consistency as much as I seek impact.

I think Reincarnation is a great spell for death, and you can come out of that at a mechanical advantage.

Part of the problem for me is people to invested in what they want to make their character rather than interested in finding out what happens to the character.

Yeah, I know several people who would rather reroll than have their character become a bugbear or drow.

Liberty's Edge

@ilja - Typo, good parties are out of luck.

I'm not talking table solutions. I'm talking stopping the trend of decreasing the relevance of death and coming up with rules suggestions that address SKR's concerns without ruining the narrative and verisimilitude.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
It is the lasting effect that makes you hesitate and remember. Anything you can shrug off in a week isn't going to be memorable or feared.

I would just like to say that this isn't true in my experience at all. At low levels, with no healer, that's longer that it may take for a party to recover from one battle.

I recognize that others have conflicting experience, but a week is a substantial amount of time... and to have someone haunted by something that long is quite a thing for a character.

To me, the fact that you died is penalty enough. The cleric now has to change their spell selection, burn raise dead (which, as you know, brings you to 1 hit point, and two permanent negative levels or two points of CON drain), preferably cast restoration (again, as you know, once now and once later), and a bunch of curatives to get you back in the game by the following day at best, and you've still got a penalty that hangs on until the next week. There is literally no other penalty in the game that goes through all those hoops. Not to mention if your corpse is turned into undead (animate dead being fast enough to cast in battle means necromancers probably do), killed from a death effect, or turned into an elemental* or outsider (as the polymorph general rules and specific spells don't qualify that you revert when you die...*), you're out of luck even then. Regardless of those, though, to paraphrase, you are having a bad problem and will not go adventuring today.

All of which, of course, is presuming they were victorious enough to win the fight without you, which is by no means a guarantee.

* I'll readily give you elemental body has a limited duration, and that any sort of reasonable understanding is that it will run out as normal regardless of whether the character is dead or not. Polymorph Any Object, on the other hand, does not necessarily have one, if used properly. While a GM can easily extrapolated that a simple dispel magic (or greater ~) can undo the transformation (if the CL-check succeeds), that uses up yet more party resources. There are, of course, other reasonable ways to extrapolate that this occurs without those spells. So either way, if that happens, it means you won't go adventuring today.

Another thing I'd like to mention is the fact that the monetary cost starts making sense again if you have the whole "you have to bargain with a creature" idea. As I pointed out: if streets are paved with gold, the gold has to come from somewhere.

Really, there are all sorts of reasons extraplanar creatures might require or ask for monetary-value compensation.

What doesn't make sense is "you need money to cast the spell". There are work-arounds for it, and some half-explanations, but it's so inconsistent, there needs to be some sort of flavor for why otherwise its verisimilitude-breaking for many people (which was part of the issue with 4E's ritual system, even though they tried to add interesting flavor).

One of the things I like better about 3.X than PF is the fact that XP was actually a thing in the world. In the 3.X rules, everything that appeared on your character sheet was 'touchable'. It was all up for use somehow in the appropriate circumstances. Nothing was so abstract as to "only go up"... which XP does now.

Even though I loathe XP penalties and costs in general in a personal way (I don't want to lose XP!), I love the fact that, in the 3.X games, there is no mechanical element that is just an arbitrary mechanical element. (Before PF came along and we switched, I was contemplating a way to allow people to "share" XP magically, kind of evening out the pool... allowing characters who missed sessions to "catch up" with the "experience" of others, and it lessened the burden of those that shared (they lost minor XP).)

That's one reason to just straight up switching it over to gold-equivalent costs is so jarring. Where once everything was "real" to the world, now... it's not. (Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this, I promise.)

While there were financial costs in previous editions, they kind of evened themselves out in a strange sort of way, and did so within the contexts of the game world (being able to trade XP for money, or other elements, or being - at least in my possibly-rose-tinted memory - slightly more digestible in their consistency and discreet natures).

At this point, though, what we've come to is the arbitration of just dropping the XP penalties, adding temporary effects, and keeping the strange financial costs... for no readily discernible reason. I think the fact that it kind of costs something, but not really, is where the disconnect is coming from.

If WLB means that you'll "get it back" eventually anyway, which was SKR's assertion, than it's really kind of meaningless. You just use gems to cast a spell.

I think people will be able to accept anything that makes more sense than that. The reason it doesn't work cognitively right now is that magic is basically a large impersonal force, and we're given no reason whatsoever that it might like some gems.

Is magic personified by a goddess who constantly tends the balance of it? Perhaps she enjoys the taste of gems, or simply uses the cost as a way of dampening potential abuse to her delicate Weave. (Incidentally, this kind of thing was one reason, I think, I enjoyed the 3.X FR and Mystra so much more than 3.X Greyhawk.)

Is an outsider required to raise dead for you? Perhaps they need financial compensation for any number of reasons (building materials, their own magical constructs, their value as soul-containers, making deals with other powerful creatures, etc).

Similarly, there are ways to justify other costs and penalties.

ciretose, I'm curious, would it help if the dead character can't be healed above 1 hit points (or some similar problem) or have their negative levels removed without first having a different restoration cast on them, but still maintaining the one-week interval? That would push the penalty to two weeks. That's pretty heavy, mechanically.


Just as a side note, I've always assumed that removing the XP cost from crafting etc was a direct result from the Living GReyhawk game, where casters would deliberately craft items not because they needed them, but in order to burn xp and thus remain in the campaign for longer. This became more prominent as the campaign's level cap dropped: I've DM'd for people who practically begged me to kill their character so they'd loose a level and could continue playing.

Anyway, in my own campaign death is a roleplaying issue, and otherwise ignored. In the real world, breaking a leg used to be a really serious issue. I don't think anyone is complaining that these days it's a problem, but generally not exactly life threatening. All sorts of deadly diseases are now a matter of seeing the doktor and taking your pills.
In D&D, it's even less, as a quick visit from the local cleric will see you right as rain again in moments.
Personally, I have no problems with death being treated in a similar way: accidents happen, but with the proper help, you'll be back on your feet soon enough. YMMV of course.
We've never much bothered with explaining the cost involved: one spell requiring a 5K diamond is no more incongruous than another requiring a pinch of sulphur or the hairs of a cat. It may be less convenient to the PCs, but that's not something a force of nature cares about.

Liberty's Edge

At that point, nothing has a lasting impact on a player. There is basically no reason to hang up your sword other than old age.


Gorbacz wrote:
ciretose wrote:

In his example, the GM screwed up. The GM should find a way to fix the screw up and fortunately, since the GM has that power, the GM can.

The other players didn't dock her anything if that is the rule. It isn't a conflict at the table, if anything she is grateful other players at the saved her at all.

That is exactly what happened in 3.5 and I never remember anyone ever resenting the party for bringing them back because they got a negative level.

Ever.

For every you with your approach to what others do at your table, there's one Icyshadow. :)

Wait, is the context here positive or negative?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
ciretose wrote:

In his example, the GM screwed up. The GM should find a way to fix the screw up and fortunately, since the GM has that power, the GM can.

The other players didn't dock her anything if that is the rule. It isn't a conflict at the table, if anything she is grateful other players at the saved her at all.

That is exactly what happened in 3.5 and I never remember anyone ever resenting the party for bringing them back because they got a negative level.

Ever.

For every you with your approach to what others do at your table, there's one Icyshadow. :)
Wait, is the context here positive or negative?

A little from column A, and a little from column B :*

Actually, what I meant is that your case of bad GM shows that not always the people at the table have the tendency to get along and sometimes giving them the less reasons to argue about is better.

Liberty's Edge

Where I am saying if you can't get along with your table, maybe your table isn't the problem...


I'm probably still affected by a lack of sleep since I needed that explained.

Anyway, it's already gone to 21 pages and there's still arguing over this matter going on?

ciretose wrote:
Where I am saying if you can't get along with your table, maybe your table isn't the problem...

...your implication went down the drain the instant you threw it. When I walked out of that one table, so did everyone else.

Liberty's Edge

Discussion, not argument. I know it is confusing, but Gorbacz (and others) and myself (and others) are making intelligent points defending disparate points of view, assuming each other are equals who simply disagree.

So far this thread hasn't gotten infected by the never ending ad hominem/strawman plague. Maybe we can keep it that way?

Liberty's Edge

Icyshadow wrote:


...your implication went down the drain the instant you threw it. When I walked out of that one table, so did everyone else.

Well that didn't take long...


Didn't look like that to me a few pages back while you and Gorbacz debated the topic.

And what's this about not using ad hominem yet implying I was the problem when it was the DM? :3

Liberty's Edge

Icyshadow wrote:

Didn't look like that to me a few pages back while you and Gorbacz debated the topic.

And what's this about not using ad hominem yet implying I was the problem when it was the DM? :3

I don't suppose asking you nicely to go derail some other thread would work, would it. I understand Gorby cast "Summon Icyshadow" but there must be some kind of counterspell I can employ.

Liberty's Edge

So back on topic, is there any flexibilty in the other sides position for an outcome that makes death more permanent or that has some kind of effect that would encourage Bob the Failbot (aka a PC that dies at a rate far in excess of the rest of the party) to hang them up and create a new PC for the campaign?

I'm just trying to get an idea of where a middle ground could be hashed out, if anywhere.


If someone invested time in their character enough to actually RP him/her properly and do their best to keep them alive, I doubt this flexibility will be offered since it's simply too much asked. New PCs are nowadays made if you didn't care for the dead character or really have no other choice, like if a Soul Eater runs off with your spirit to chew on and you are dead forever in the case of Pathfinder at least. You seem equally inflexible (and also rather condescending) with your stance, so I doubt this middle ground will be found.

Liberty's Edge

It isn't about not being able to bring them back.

Never has been.

It is about the fact that if you remove any impact of death from the game, you disrupt the narrative and you risk the character becoming not so much heroic as persistent.

Even Super Mario could only die so many times before the game was over.

I think the threshold should be relative. If you happen to be in a high death campaign, as long as you die about the same as everyone else your character is just as heroic or competitive as everyone else.

But we are also discussing removing the gold cost, which means there would really be no penalty in the long run for bringing back a Bob the failbot a couple times a session.

Why is it ok for a Soul Eater to have a lasting impact in the game, but not ok for death? Why should 90% of the monsters in the bestiary be speedbumps?

If it is such a problem to have lasting consequences, why have things like soul eaters? Would a GM who chooses a Soul Eater be engaging in "GM vs PC"?

If we can get down to it, what we are saying is "Fine, 3.5 may have been to much, but removing the penalty entirely is to little."

Is there no middle ground?

Shadow Lodge

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I think if I give the GM a piece of paper with the Konami Code written on it, I should get 30 lives free of charge. After all, it's the only way any person that wasn't an obsessive ever managed to beat Contra.


Is it not the impact of death that you don't (in older editions) come back from it?

Liberty's Edge

In 1e you had to roll a fort save, and even then you could only come back a max of your con modifier.

Earlier I said I was find with it being something where you come back unless you roll a 1 on a d20, but I can see where some people wouldn't be ok with that.

Currently, all I'm calling for is a 5% XP penalty, with a negative level if that takes you below your current level until you earn enough XP to get back to your current level.


There was already a point presented why persistent negative levels and uneven character levels are not a good thing neither for the players nor the DM.

Shadow Lodge

You could come back, but you lost a level (zapped back to the mid-point in XP of the previous level, IIRC), and you lost a point of Constitution. Neither of thse things could be negated by a spell (or any other means, for that matter). If you were first level or your Constitution was at 1, you wouldn't be raised. Your original Constitution from when you were level 1 was the absolute maximum number of times you could be brought back to life. When the cleric cast Raise Dead or Ressurrection, you also had to succeed on a System Shock roll (percentage based).


Again, CR assumes a party of four players all on the same level.


ciretose wrote:
At that point, nothing has a lasting impact on a player. There is basically no reason to hang up your sword other than old age.

Assuming this was aimed at my post: Well yes, that is entirely correct.

Although in reality, most PCs at some point (read: when the players decide they want to play something else) will settle down and get married, and spend their days raising kids and running their lands, be it a farmstead or a kingdom.
You seem to imply this is a bad thing, but neither I nor my players have ever found it so.

Liberty's Edge

Icyshadow wrote:
There was already a point presented why persistent negative levels and uneven character levels are not a good thing neither for the players nor the DM.

And refuted. Because that was exactly how the system worked prior to Pathfinder existing for how many years?

Because no one ever misses a session and the XP...

Liberty's Edge

Icyshadow wrote:
Again, CR assumes a party of four players all on the same level.

No, actually it doesn't.

Liberty's Edge

Maya Deva wrote:
ciretose wrote:
At that point, nothing has a lasting impact on a player. There is basically no reason to hang up your sword other than old age.

Assuming this was aimed at my post: Well yes, that is entirely correct.

Although in reality, most PCs at some point (read: when the players decide they want to play something else) will settle down and get married, and spend their days raising kids and running their lands, be it a farmstead or a kingdom.
You seem to imply this is a bad thing, but neither I nor my players have ever found it so.

I am implying that when you remove disincentive and fear from death, you change the narrative of the game.

Adventurers, by definition, prefer to adventure rather than settle down. The narrative historically is the adventurer hung up his sword when it got to dangerous or they got to old.

Too dangerous becomes much less of a factor if death isn't an actual problem. That changes the narrative.

In games I've played in 3.5, generally if a player started falling behind the party because of multiple deaths, they retired. They could catch up because of the leveling system in 3.5, but often it was just a concept that stopped working at higher levels, leading to death and and party (and player) frustration.

I don't think "most" adventurers retire in the narrative of the worlds we adventure in. Most die adventuring, while a lucky few get out before that happens with enough loot to live comfortably.

Only, if you remove the penalty for death..."Daddy, don't go to the cave with all the treasure, it would be too dangerous, we would have to find a cleric to keep bringing you back over and over again until you beat the level!"


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ciretose wrote:
Maya Deva wrote:
ciretose wrote:
At that point, nothing has a lasting impact on a player. There is basically no reason to hang up your sword other than old age.

Assuming this was aimed at my post: Well yes, that is entirely correct.

Although in reality, most PCs at some point (read: when the players decide they want to play something else) will settle down and get married, and spend their days raising kids and running their lands, be it a farmstead or a kingdom.
You seem to imply this is a bad thing, but neither I nor my players have ever found it so.

I am implying that when you remove disincentive and fear from death, you change the narrative of the game.

Adventurers, by definition, prefer to adventure rather than settle down. The narrative historically is the adventurer hung up his sword when it got to dangerous or they got to old.

Too dangerous becomes much less of a factor if death isn't an actual problem. That changes the narrative.

In games I've played in 3.5, generally if a player started falling behind the party because of multiple deaths, they retired. They could catch up because of the leveling system in 3.5, but often it was just a concept that stopped working at higher levels, leading to death and and party (and player) frustration.

I don't think "most" adventurers retire in the narrative of the worlds we adventure in. Most die adventuring, while a lucky few get out before that happens with enough loot to live comfortably.

Only, if you remove the penalty for death..."Daddy, don't go to the cave with all the treasure, it would be too dangerous, we would have to find a cleric to keep bringing you back over and over again until you beat the level!"

Although there are many tales of heroes riding off onto the sunset to their next adventure, there are at LEAST as many of the hero saving the day, marrying the princess, and... settling down. Especially the ones that never DID want to be a hero, but were forced into the role by circumstances. Frodo sails to the elven ancetral lands to settle, Samwise gets married. So does Aragorn.

Cohen the Barbarian carves himself and his horde a place into legend, but NOT because he's too weak to continue heroing; despite being well beyond 80, he wants to continue!

Yes, by removing the penalties from death you change the narrative: you get a different story. Whether or not this is a bad thing depends entirely on the type of story you want.
Our group makes a big deal of dying roleplay-wise, especially when there wasn't enough cash to pay for the spell and an alternative method of payment had to be found.
But loosing a level (or a con point) was one of the first things that got houseruled out as unrealistic and undesirable.


Conan the Barbarian as an example? I'd rather use Beowulf as one, since he went to kill a dragon while he himself was an old man.

Liberty's Edge

Frodo and Samwise never wanted to go adventuring in the first place.

Aragorn kept fighting with the Riders of Rohan even after he got married and became king.

So not good examples.

Conan I would argue is the exception that proves the rule.

Also, remember, SKR is advocating removing the cash penalty as well. So it wouldn't be about scraping cash. It would be about basically nothing at all but the spells.

I am not opposed to the roleplaying suggestions, but they don't seem realistic plug in options beyond Material Component:Maguffin on a side quest, and they don't answer the questions of "What happens if you fail the side quest" or worse "What if someone dies on the side quest?"

My main thing is I don't want it to be a "press continue" type scenario that kills the narrative.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ciretose wrote:

Frodo and Samwise never wanted to go adventuring in the first place.

Aragorn kept fighting with the Riders of Rohan even after he got married and became king.

I've only ever read the Hobbit, the first half of Fellowship, and seen the movies, so please forgive my ignorance. Why on earth would Aragorn be fighting the Riders of Rohon?

Also, I distinctly remember Frodo volunteering to take the ring to Mordor. It may not have been "wanting" in the sense of "I want to go to the circus," but I don't see how anyone could volunteer for anything they didn't want to do.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Guys, this a beer & pretzels game, not Fantasy Literature Simulator.

Liberty's Edge

"with" as in "along side"

Liberty's Edge

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Gorbacz wrote:
Guys, this a beer & pretzels game, not Fantasy Literature Simulator.

Football (both kinds) is a beer and pretzel game.

Gaming is Serious Buisness (tm)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Guys, this a beer & pretzels game, not Fantasy Literature Simulator.

Football (both kinds) is a beer and pretzel game.

Gaming is Serious Buisness (tm)

Anybody who comes along drunk to a soccer game gets dumped in the ditch.

It's a SERIOUS GAME. THERE WERE WARS FOUGHT OVER IT.

We can't afford to risk a loss because of human weaknesses. Our ancestors are staring at us from across the void.

We don't care if Americans drink their "beer" before their "football", because neither their beer nor their football are remotely close to The Real Thing.

(Just don't let them catch us trying to play baseball, it's kind of embarrassing.)


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Geek elitism ftw <3


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Huh, though I'd posted this some time ago. Instead I'd apparently "previewed" it, gotten distracted by a baby, and then forgot about it later. Whoops!

So, to catch up with the current convo:
Bilbo: totally retired after the one adventure he secretly had longed to go on his entire life, fully volunteered for, and was contracted with. And then raised his nephew on stories of his adventures.

Older post:

ciretose wrote:
At that point, nothing has a lasting impact on a player. There is basically no reason to hang up your sword other than old age.

I can't tell if that was to me or Maya Deva (or both), so...

ciretose wrote:
ciretose, I'm curious, would it help if the dead character can't be healed above 1 hit points (or some similar problem) or have their negative levels removed without first having a different restoration cast on them, but still maintaining the one-week interval? That would push the penalty to two weeks. That's pretty heavy, mechanically.

So does this make it feel like it has more oomph?

And as to your question... actually, yeah, there are plenty of reasons to retire from adventuring.

First, having those negative levels means it's more likely you'll die. Second, having those negative levels means it's more likely the character will have lingering "feeling" of death.

Those are two reasons for a character to simply stop.

I mean, you seem to be arguing that if death can be undone than nothing matters. That's nowhere near true. If the game was able to be "die/get raised until you win" that's pretty much true whether death has a permanent penalty, a financial penalty or any other penalty.

The game is a narrative. Dying already interrupts that narrative. By its very nature anything that wasn't specifically planned by the GM that happens in the narrative "interrupts" or rather changes the flow of the narrative.

Let's take a look at APs, since at least on that we're all on similar pages.

What happens if a character dies?

Now: they pay money, blow all of their normal healing in a day, and are weaker for a week*.
Narrative interrupted? Somewhat, but still able to keep going.

Proposed change one: Material Component the MacGuffin: they pay the MacGuffin, if they have it.
Narrative interrupted? Highly variable, dependent upon the MacGuffin, the availability thereof, and the like.

Proposed change two: the quest: they complete a quest.
Narrative interrupted? Quite possibly, though not necessarily highly, or even at all, right now. Similar to the MacGuffin above, it depends entirely on the quest relative to the narrative, and also if the debt is called in now or later.

Proposed change three: personal costs: they must change their character.
Narrative interrupted? Less than anything else so far... but players may hate it, and it has less obvious consequences and questions that come down the line.

Proposed change four**: free: they blow all their normal healing in a day, are weaker for a week*.
Narrative interrupted? Somewhat, but still able to keep going. This interrupts less than proposed change one.

* Ugh that's difficult to type correctly for a dyslexic man!
** I suppose this is actually proposed change one, but whatever.

To answer the question, "What happens if they don't do the quest later?" for the various summon/pact type things: Geas/Quest (both lesser and normal varieties possibly available), Mark of Justice, and/or Contengency Spell (Finger of Death/Greater Bestow Curse/Weird/anything else you want here). Certain celestials have amazing power at their beck and call, and contract devils can write things up so that it's effectively unbreakable. What this becomes is a contract with a creature akin to that (as one idea).

In this case, if someone complains about forcing their character, it's literally something they agreed to do with a power from beyond. If they made a contract with a contract devil and then got upset when the time came to pay up later, it's not the GM's fault by any means.

It's also a pretty solid feeling of impending "something" when a PC wracks up unspecified debts "in the future". That has proven to have some amazing character stuff in the past for us.


Icyshadow wrote:
Conan the Barbarian as an example? I'd rather use Beowulf as one, since he went to kill a dragon while he himself was an old man.

Not Conan, COHEN the barbarian, from the Discworld tale The Last Hero (and various other books)by Terry Pratchett.

http://thecimmerian.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Cohen.jpg
Yes the name is a pun a pun, as is the fact that his first name is Gengiz :)
Though the original Conan is not a bad example of a hero who just keeps going either, except he never really gets old; he starts out as a teenager, and in the last books is around 40-45 I think.


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ciretose wrote:

Frodo and Samwise never wanted to go adventuring in the first place.

Aragorn kept fighting with the Riders of Rohan even after he got married and became king.

So not good examples.

I thought you listed unwilling heroes as part of the group that would want to continue if not for lasting death issues. Must have misread something.

ciretose wrote:
Also, remember, SKR is advocating removing the cash penalty as well. So it wouldn't be about scraping cash. It would be about basically nothing at all but the spells.

IF that is how he wants to play, that's his choice. If Pathfinder decided to remove the gold cost in the books, I'd not be greatly concerned either, though I'd probably houserule some sort of quest, it's just too good a plot hook to pass up on.

ciretose wrote:
I am not opposed to the roleplaying suggestions, but they don't seem realistic plug in options beyond Material Component:Maguffin on a side quest, and they don't answer the questions of "What happens if you fail the side quest" or worse "What if someone dies on the side quest?"

Hm? I thought that one was pretty obvious: if the quest fails, no Raise Dead. Or if that already happened, you still owe the church/deity a big one, and still need to find a way to settle the score. If somebody dies on said quest, well, then you will have to arrange for ANOTHER Raise Dead.

ciretose wrote:
My main thing is I don't want it to be a "press continue" type scenario that kills the narrative.

Now that I can agree with, though it would depend on the story. To me, at low level death is a big issue; the party generally doesn't have the means to cast the spell themselves, and the cost is pretty significant. So, lots of roleplay opportunities.

At higher levels, the party generally CAN cast the spell, and the cost is negligible, and so the impact on the story is negligible as well, and the roleplaying is generally limited to pestering the newly revived PC and a sense of accomplishment that something that used to be a serious issue no longer is.

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