My RotR game has been experiencing a few character deaths recently, and may players and I have realized something sort of disturbing:
Being resurrected is the wrong choice, from a purely mechanical standpoint.
If you roll up a new character, the party gets to loot the corpse of their dead friend and then have a new friend show up armed and equipped to the teeth. If you get resurrected, the party gets no new loot, and has to spend a fairly large chunk of gold on resurrection + restoration.
You could bring in the new PC at a lower level, but even then the sheer pile of redistributed gear will usually offset that. Also the player will probably have less fun.
If a player's PC were to die, he might want her resurrected. But it's strange to think of that as the selfish choice when "suck it up and reroll" would be so beneficial to the party.
This has been a problem since the dawn of D&D.
Usually what happens (in my experience) is that either:
You're right that raising/resurrection is like destroying wealth, but in practice I think most people like keeping the same character. And splitting a 5,000 gp loss among 4 PCs really isn't a big deal for characters at mid level.
There are a number of ways to deal with this;
1) Have the PCs return the dead character's belongings to his family.
2) Bury him with his stuff. (many ancient cultures did this)
3) Count it as treasure and adjust future treasure rewards accordingly.
4) Don't give them time to loot the body, force them to run.
5) Make sure the PC dies in such a way that his stuff is ruined.
Yeah, this only an issue if you let the new character that is rolled up get their accumulated wealth by level.
If this becomes an issue where your players are throwing characters into the woodchipper in order to cause loot bloat, bring the new characters in with basic gear and no real wealth by level.
Yeah, when I create a character, I often create a family and backstory, such that when my character's family inherits it, and not allowed to be split by the party - short of consumables like potions and scrolls.
I think splitting the dead PCs stuff among the rest of the party is cheesy - something that I don't usually allow as a GM.
I have a couple house rules for this, hasn't been necessary yet, but here they are:
If the party loots a fallen PC, I will subtract an equivalent amount of wealth from future loot caches. If this generosity is exploited, Bad Things could happen.
If a player is making a new PC, the new PC is at average party level, but for equipment they can choose to (1) spend wealth by level for one level lower, to buy any items available on the PRD (and UE), or (2) spend wealth by level for the current level, but the items available will just be from a (rather long) list I provide via random generation (it should have a provision to say that items under a certain amount are 75% available, but I haven't done that yet, so when it happens, I'll amend that).
Could perhaps use some adjustment, but I like them in theory.
My house rule obliterates this entirely: You can come in at party level, but you have the starting equipment of a level 1 character. It's the party's job to pay to equip you.
Pretty much makes Resurrection the 'cheap' option, and makes people take character deaths a heck of a lot more seriously.