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Looking for Alternatives: Level Loss with Death


Rules Questions


I am seeking alternatives for the level loss that accompanies death and resurrection.

Resurrection should still carry some negatives, but I would like to avoid things that permanently scar like loss of level, dropping an attribute (e.g. CON) or taking a negative experience hit.

The thought that keeps percolating through my cerebral pathways is something akin to a resurrection "sickness" (maybe there's something already in the game that could be used: LINK, not sure) that is more brutal with the lower level spells. This affliction would fades in time (a day? week? not sure).

Hmm, maybe they could just be slowed, as the spell for some hours....<ponder>

I am open to any idea though, including FedExing the dead player (not PC...we're going after the RL person here) my homework to do.

I would love something that is easily applied/conceived and does not cause the player to retool their entire sheet and unleash their inner accountant.

Any ideas oh kind/smart/wise community?

p.s. Yes you are correct. I want to kill them much more often to fulfill my sick desire to bathe in their blood weekly, but their tears are starting to sting my eyes.


This idea is a bit crazy, but think about it for a moment: what if, instead of actually losing levels when brought back to life, characters instead received some sort of debuff merely called "negative levels"? It wouldn't literally be a lot level - it would just be a tacked-on penalty (-1 to attack rolls and saves, -5 HP, etc) and could be removed with a Restoration spell. Now characters aren't permanently scarred.


It case it wasn't clear, Xenh, the no doubt lovely Roberta is unleashing sarcasm on you. A "permanent negative level" in Pathfinder isn't actually a lost character level, but just a penalty that can be removed with the right spells, to the tune of about 1,000 gold.

http://www.pathfinder-srd.nl/wiki/Energy_drain_and_negative_levels


Rudy2 wrote:
It case it wasn't clear, Xenh, the no doubt lovely Roberta is unleashing sarcasm on you.

/nod, the sarcasm was not lost on me.

<beaming smile>

The rule is known to me.

I am posting seeking alternatives to the level loss mechanic (or "level loss" if you prefer) after a resurrection though :)


Perhaps make it twist the person's mentality or purpose in some way. If you're killed by x species, the person now builds a strong hatred and, without the appropriate save, will attack relentlessly until it is dead.

If it was caused by a trap, or by other-like-elements, I really liked the idea that another person had created where they develop a phobia. Fall to death? Res and now a strong fear of heights. Drowned? Fear of water. Electrocuted? Fear of storms.

I'd just avoid fear of dungeons. Maybe a fear of caves?

EDIT: Whatever it is, it needs to be a critically bad fear, or bloodlust. It can be cured, sure. But that cure is a great plot for a story you can spin as the GM. If you now have a fear of water, your party can slowly help you grow out of it, climaxing in you needing to save someone from also experiencing a watery grave.

IE: Don't make death light.


In my own campaigns, I make players restored to life roll a d20. If they roll higher than their Con, the PC loses a Con point.

Resurrect provides a -2 on this check, True Res provides a -4, and a natural 20 always loses a point.

Reincarnate doesn't apply any Con penalty, as it screws over the PCs quite nicely already.

I know you wanted to avoid a straight Con loss, but with this system, its the players' fault if they end up losing a stat point :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Easiest alternative: do nothing. Resurrected character gets up and goes back to adventuring. If you want the death to mean something, keep a running total of deaths. When the character reaches a certain number of deaths predetermined by the GM, the death is final.

Used to use that one back in 2nd edition when level loss was loss of an actual level, and a serious pain the rear to everyone.


If you understood they weren't permanent, then I'm confused as to your question. Permanent negative levels do not require the player to "retool" their entire sheet. It's pretty simple, actually:

-5 max hp for each negative level
-1 to all d20 rolls for each negative level (note you don't have to change all your skills, just take off for the negative levels whenever you roll a d20)
-1 to your level for level-dependent effects for each negative level.

It's barely more complicated than applying an effect like sickened to them, really, which just applies -2 to their d20 rolls, and weapon damage rolls.

If your players have difficulty with this level of math, then perhaps they should be studying arithmetic with their time instead.

If you're concerned with the permanence, and don't want players to have to shell out 1,000 gold to remove one, then just make them temporary negative levels. Players get a new saving throw each day to remove a temporary negative level, and you could just make the DC for the better resurrection spells lower.


Rudy2 wrote:
If you understood they weren't permanent, then I'm confused as to your question. Permanent negative levels do not require the player to "retool" their entire sheet.

I was confused by some of the posts and then I realized the disconnect is from my poor placement of this post. Shouldn't start threads from my phone I guess.

If there's a part of the boards for seeking input I should be there.

KHShadowrunner wrote:
Perhaps make it twist the person's mentality or purpose in some way. If you're killed by x species, the person now builds a strong hatred and, without the appropriate save, will attack relentlessly until it is dead.

I love this thinking : )

Had not thought of this...oh the possibilities.

Marigold Malachite wrote:
In my own campaigns, I make players restored to life roll a d20. If they roll higher than their Con, the PC loses a Con point.

A neat part of this is it benefits the beef in the front ranks (likely to care more about CON).

Would you permit a hero point to be used for a bonus or re-roll?

sowhereaminow wrote:
Easiest alternative: do nothing. Resurrected character gets up and goes back to adventuring. If you want the death to mean something, keep a running total of deaths. When the character reaches a certain number of deaths predetermined by the GM, the death is final.

I see how rigid I am in my thinking. I keep wanting there to be some comeuppance for biting the proverbial bullet, but you are right that it is just one more potentially arbitrary rule to be potentially modified.

The thought of the accumulation of deaths really had me thinking...

Keep em coming, some amazing ideas here


While musing on this I am starting to see some trends in my thinking:
- Easily tracked
- Simple/Easily understood
- Temporary negative(s)
- Death should be negative enough that people avoid it like the plague, but snuggly enough that charging a dragon is on people's minds
- Hitting the group in the pocketbook is nice since it might not be the dead player's fault they're dead
- Individual punishment (temporary lingering effect) and something a tad harsher should be built in (to punish moronic deaths)

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