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How restrictive are you with Raise Dead?


Advice


Looking at the demographics suggested in the Settlement Rules and we can see that we don't encounter an NPC high enough level to cast raise dead before hitting a large town (2000 - 5000 people) and the material components are 5000 gold in "diamond".

For lower level parties this is a small fortune and you will have only 9 days to get to them to such a healer (assuming that teleport is not yet available because they are say level 7 at this point).

Would "diamond" have to be a single diamond worth the 5,000 gold, and thus potentially MUCH harder to find? Or would a pouch full of 200 gold diamonds (totaling 5,000 gold) work just as well?

Worse, Raise Dead is fairly restrictive in the way it is worded with, "While the spell closes mortal wounds and repairs lethal damage of most kinds, the body of the creature to be raised must be whole."

What if the body was badly damaged during death such as crit which triggered massive damage? Or death by fire, acid, lava, etc. Now i can understand death by poison, or a simple arrow through the heart, but some of these situations seem to be beyond what Raise Dead should be able to handle (higher level spells would of course make this a moot point). Do you tell the players, "No you are dead and no healer within range can change that?" What if the bad guy was able to deliberately coup de gras the PC in some graphic fashion?

Another consideration which I've been considering as well it the cost of having a cleric cast the spell in the first place. Possibly while using strong arm tactics such as stating "I brought you back, now you owe me! <insert Geas here>"

Just some thoughts as I'm looking over some of the mechanics from a recent game in which my players tried to convince me that "any town" would have a cleric who could raise a dead party member who had suffered death by massive damage. I cried foul on that, even going so far as to reference the Healers Handbook which states (something to the effect of) "healers powerful enough to raise the dead are rare".

Silver Crusade

Gentle Repose can extend the time limit.


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How restrictive am I? Maximally. Custom setting, in which player death is somewhat less likely due to house rules (we use the "Death Flag" from "Raising the Stakes") and Raise Dead literally is not possible. Only effects that can return somebody from the dead are harder to access than Wish/Miracle.

I personally dislike the idea that death is not meaningful, since there's somebody in every sufficiently large town who can undo it if you pay them enough. I'm personally happier to make "death" comparatively unlikely (though the players can still fail to complete their goals, they just don't die as well as fail), than I am to make death a revolving door which only hits the players in the pocketbook.

Plus "nobody comes back from the dead" means nobody gets a backstage pass to "what happens after you die" so the metaphysics are a whole lot more speculative.


Death by massive crit, etc. - I don't think this would be a problem. The body must be whole, but not intact. Find all the bits, shove them back in the right place, and the spell should work.

Diamonds - I think the guy providing level 5 spellcasting services can probably supply the diamond, as long as you're willing to pay for it. They're aware of what their material component requirements are.

Paying thousands of gold is punishment enough. I wouldn't derail a campaign by having the party traipse about the country looking for a giant diamond and a high-level cleric who doesn't impose unreasonable requirements, and casting Gentle Repose over and over again, while the player of the dead character is excluded from taking part.

Grand Lodge

My group just finished book 5 of Curse of the Crimson Throne and we used my oracle's scrolls of teleport to get to Absalom, buy diamonds, and then Raise a party member, animal companion, and an NPC.

So at higher levels it's pretty much readily available to any party with a caster if you're playing in Golarion, but it's still expensive to do and clear those negative levels.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The question about the form that 5000gp worth of diamond takes is irrelevant. Our game works in abstractions, and treats a single 5000gp diamond, a handful of lesser-value diamonds worth 5000gp and 5000gp of diamond dust to be functionally the same, and interchangeable.

This is not logical, from a real-world standpoint, since the value of a diamond is linked to such intangibles as color, clarity and cut. Our game doesn't worry itself over such things, and treats commdities like diamonds as having a fixed value in gold pieces.

Regarding the availability of a high-level cleric to cast the spell, keep in mind that a lower-level cleric could also have access to a scroll through the hierarchy of his church. IMHO if the players have the gold to pay for a cleric's services and for the material cost, as well as any mark-up that the cleric might require, then there shouldn't be any major problem with raising dead PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:


Paying thousands of gold is punishment enough. I wouldn't derail a campaign by having the party traipse about the country looking for a giant diamond and a high-level cleric who doesn't impose unreasonable requirements, and casting Gentle Repose over and over again, while the player of the dead character is excluded from taking part.

Totally agree with this. While they can take over some henchman or rescued NPC for a bit, its usually not as fun as playing their character.

If there is to be a bigger price tag (or they didn't have the money to start with) I like the root of them now owing someone a big favour - I've had one campaign totally change its course due to that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I always loved the following story on this topic (I think it was from a forum post but couldn't find it - apologies if I'm misreporting details)

Group was playing Rise of the Runelords. A couple of characters died around level 2. Party can't get them raised and just bury them. Players start new PCs.

At the end of the AP, the party cleric, who has been with them all the way through, realises he can now cast resurrection and has tons of cash. He gets a spade, digs them up and resurrects both of his old friends.

I think the story went that the players of the level 2 characters then played them in the next AP the group did...


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

Because I like my campaigns to be story-driven and want my players to be invested in their characters, I'm honor-bound to make raise dead reasonably available. One of the changes I also made was to change breath of life to cure deadly wounds. The spell works exactly the same except since it's a cure spell the group cleric can spontaneously cast it and since he has the Healing domain it gets empowered as well.

To compensate somewhat, I really upped the lethality of my campaign once the PCs hit 9th level. They're 14th level now, but have had to raise dead party members eight times, required a resurrection one time, and been saved by cure deadly wounds countless times.

Seems to work for my group.


Interesting responses all the way around. Thank you for your input!


Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:

Looking at the demographics suggested in the Settlement Rules and we can see that we don't encounter an NPC high enough level to cast raise dead before hitting a large town (2000 - 5000 people) and the material components are 5000 gold in "diamond" ...

Would "diamond" have to be a single diamond worth the 5,000 gold, and thus potentially MUCH harder to find? Or would a pouch full of 200 gold diamonds (totaling 5,000 gold) work just as well? ...

Another consideration which I've been considering as well it the cost of having a cleric cast the spell in the first place. Possibly while using strong arm tactics such as stating "I brought you back, now you owe me! <insert Geas here>"

I try to run it close to the rules when possible.

Since it is a 5th level spell, you must generally travel to a large city to find a cleric capable of casting raise dead (based on the CRB). The material component is one diamond worth 5000 gp, though I often would hand-wave this away. If I'm feeling cantankerous, the cleric could provide it, with a 10% markup for having to track one down.

The cost of having the cleric cast the spell is caster level x spell level x 10 gp. Between the raise dead and two restoration casts, that's around 1300 GP (depending on the CL of the cleric), plus 7000 GP in material costs. I don't see any need for additional "cost." For low level parties, I have occasionally given them access to raise dead at a reduced monetary cost from friendly dieties. The remainder they made up by running side quests for the church. That's just how I dealt with it though.

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:

Worse, Raise Dead is fairly restrictive in the way it is worded with, "While the spell closes mortal wounds and repairs lethal damage of most kinds, the body of the creature to be raised must be whole."

What if the body was badly damaged during death such as crit which triggered massive damage? Or death by fire, acid, lava, etc. Now i can understand death by poison, or a simple arrow through the heart, but some of these situations seem to be beyond what Raise Dead should be able to handle (higher level spells would of course make this a moot point). Do you tell the players, "No you are dead and no healer within range can change that?" What if the bad guy was able to deliberately coup de gras the PC in some graphic fashion?

Resurrection or true resurrection work, as you referenced. In cases where these are not available, reincarnate may also work (and can be fun, if the player is on board).


Not particularly restrictive beyond the rules of the game (big enough settlement being the main one).
I'm in the camp that says it's no fun for a player to be sidelined/playing not their character for a while. I want them to be up and running and getting on with the story/playing the game.

Death is never fun in and of itself, making recovering difficult feels a little like rubbing salt into the wound.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm pretty lax with it, because losing a character you have emotional investment in can be a group-dissolving experience.

I would definitely allow 5000gp worth of diamonds in any form. I might even allow just 5000gp flat out. If they're really poor, I might be persuaded to allow them to trade in magic items at full value instead of selling them for half.

As for the presence of a suitable cleric, if the group is in a small town that normally does not have one, maybe there happens to be a higher level cleric passing through on an inspection tour or something.

I pretty much bend over backwards to justify accessibility to Raise Dead, and my policy is never to make a player permanently lose their character unless they're genuinely okay with it.


I've been toying around with using corruptions as a long-term consequence and danger of resurrection magic. I enjoy it, and some of my players like the idea, but I don't think the player who got the corruption enjoyed it much. So I'm not sure it's the best general practice.

Not every character death allows for a raise dead spell to work, and there are a lot of restrictions on it already, but it all depends on the campaign.


How restrictive am I? It's literally impossible. Dead is DEAD.


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Dead is dead?

For all those complaining Raise dead is too easy:Oh yeah.
Players: “Hey Bob, we have to go on a quest for about 4 nites of gaming in order to raise you, so I guess you can just stay home or you can play my Mount.”

Bob: “yeah, sounds like real fun. Look, instead- here’s Knuckles the 87th , go ahead and loot Knuckles the 86th body. He's got some cool stuff."

The whole idea of “death should mean something” becomes meaningless when we all realize that D&D is a Game, Games should be Fun, and in order to have Fun you have to Play. Thereby, when a Player’s PC dies either you Raise him or he brings in another. Raising is preferable story-wise, and costs resources. Bringing in another costs continuity and actually increases party wealth. Not to mention, instead of an organic played-from-1st-PC we have a PC generated at that level, which can lead to some odd min/maxing.

The third alternative is “Sorry Bob, Knuckles is dead. You’re out of the campaign, we’ll let you know when the next one is starting, should be in about a year or so.’ Really? I mean when Black leaf died, sure but in real games?

And one of the devs is on record that 5000 gps of diamonds is worth exactly that and exactly that hard to get. It's not the diamond so much, it's the 5000gps of sacrifice.


Wheldrake wrote:

The question about the form that 5000gp worth of diamond takes is irrelevant. Our game works in abstractions, and treats a single 5000gp diamond, a handful of lesser-value diamonds worth 5000gp and 5000gp of diamond dust to be functionally the same, and interchangeable.

This is not logical, from a real-world standpoint, since the value of a diamond is linked to such intangibles as color, clarity and cut. Our game doesn't worry itself over such things, and treats commdities like diamonds as having a fixed value in gold pieces.
.

Sure it;s logical. A 5000 gps flawless diamond might be the size of a hummingbird egg. 5000 gps of diamond dust might fill a sack the size of a football.

Sovereign Court

The main reason it isn’t logical is the price of any item fluctuates.

Darn it, gold prices are down today, so the 50 gp worth of gold dust I had ready to cast wall of iron is only worth 47 gp today.

Spell fails!

The values listed for components are an abstract. That silver mirror worth 1000 gp doesn’t really mean you just need an expensive mirror. You need an incredibly well designed and clear mirror. Having intricate silver chasing worth 990 gp and a cheap, cloudy, viewing surface doesn’t actually work.

But we abstract. So yes, you can pound that 200 lb block of silver into a flat surface, polish it up, and have your 1000 gp silver mirror.


DrDeth wrote:
Sure it;s logical. A 5000 gps flawless diamond might be the size of a hummingbird egg. 5000 gps of diamond dust might fill a sack the size of a football.

In our world, $500,000 of diamond dust would weigh about 5,000lbs.

Druid: "We need some diamond dust for Restoration."
Cleric: "I have a 5000gp gem in case we needed a Raise Dead."
Barbarian: "Great! I grab the gem and pound it into dust with my magic warhammer. How many times will that allow us to cast Restoration?"
GM: "I'll check the internet... Hm... I calculate that your diamond dust is worth... two silver pieces."

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I'm pretty liberal with Raise Dead. I've even waived the cost for some characters.


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Zhayne wrote:
How restrictive am I? It's literally impossible. Dead is DEAD.

You think that's tough? If you die in one of my games, you die in REAL LIFE!


As a GM, I usually adhere to the rules as written unless the circumstances justify some leniency. So, for raise dead and other expensive spellcasting services, the PCs need access to a settlement with a sufficiently high-level caster, and they need to be able to afford the components and the spellcasting service fee. I usually try to minimize the actual play time to accomplish this, so that the character's player isn't excluded for any longer than necessary. (Sometimes exceptions to this are unavoidable, such as the party needing to fight their way out of the middle of a dungeon.)

For example, back in 3E, we had a party death at relatively low levels (4-6, IIRC?), but the party was able to pool together enough cash to afford raise dead. They had to sail to another, larger city to find a cleric of sufficient level, but I hand-waved that downtime between sessions because we all wanted to get back to the adventure.

In my current Pathfinder campaign, we recently had our first PC death, at 3rd level. Raise dead was out of the question due to the cost, but the party had been helping a druid-ruled settlement so I ruled that they could get reincarnate cast here. With a little diplomacy, they were able to get the spellcasting fee waived, but they had to make a quick trip back to their home town to purchase the material components. The reincarnated PC still needs to get restoration cast to remove her negative levels, and she may need to do a short side-quest to raise the funds for that, but at least she'll be active during that time.


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If I have it my way, I don't allow any rez magic besides Breath of Life and plot macguffin and PCs instead get a stack of fate/hero/whatever points they can burn to cheat death per game.

Easy access raise dead/resurrection honestly just makes internal consistency a pain to handle when anyone with means (kings, nobles, etc) just shrugs off death barring excessively convoluted means to keep a corpse dead and I was never a fan of Tippyverse frankly.


I follow along Wheldrake's line of response. Don't let it hold up the adventure too long. If the PC's get a bunch of diamonds but need a big one, just assume they trade them to the caster and he uses his own diamond. Just like if they paid him the gold piece cost to cast the spell. If you have a small town and no caster high enough, give the local cleric a scroll for emergencies. They still pay for it. This is all unless the story and campaign has a reason to require them to travel or find such things, however.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:

If I have it my way, I don't allow any rez magic besides Breath of Life and plot macguffin and PCs instead get a stack of fate/hero/whatever points they can burn to cheat death per game.

Easy access raise dead/resurrection honestly just makes internal consistency a pain to handle when anyone with means (kings, nobles, etc) just shrugs off death barring excessively convoluted means to keep a corpse dead and I was never a fan of Tippyverse frankly.

You cant avoid death by age. Wealth people live until they die, makes sense.

A King using reincarnate wouldnt be a kin anymore, why people should believe its him?


Letric wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

If I have it my way, I don't allow any rez magic besides Breath of Life and plot macguffin and PCs instead get a stack of fate/hero/whatever points they can burn to cheat death per game.

Easy access raise dead/resurrection honestly just makes internal consistency a pain to handle when anyone with means (kings, nobles, etc) just shrugs off death barring excessively convoluted means to keep a corpse dead and I was never a fan of Tippyverse frankly.

You cant avoid death by age. Wealth people live until they die, makes sense.

A King using reincarnate wouldnt be a kin anymore, why people should believe its him?

Actually you can avoid death by age these days with the various reincarnation spells. The cyclic variety even keeps you as the same race. Plus its not hard to verify that a reincarnated guy is in fact the same guy. Magic solves everything and all that jazz or just doing it publicly if you want to be mundane about it.


Matthew Downie wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Sure it;s logical. A 5000 gps flawless diamond might be the size of a hummingbird egg. 5000 gps of diamond dust might fill a sack the size of a football.

In our world, $500,000 of diamond dust would weigh about 5,000lbs.

Druid: "We need some diamond dust for Restoration."
Cleric: "I have a 5000gp gem in case we needed a Raise Dead."
Barbarian: "Great! I grab the gem and pound it into dust with my magic warhammer. How many times will that allow us to cast Restoration?"
GM: "I'll check the internet... Hm... I calculate that your diamond dust is worth... two silver pieces."

No, that 5000gps diamond yeiled 5000gps of dust. I know, that doesn tmake much sense, but it does,


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My campaigns usually call it quits around 12-14 level. So raise dead is present, but not quite a neverending crash cart. Our preference is around raise being extremely rare. I know that sometimes initiative or crits go against players, but the addition of hero points has helped to offset that.


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I'm in the camp with restricting Raise Dead but making PC dying more difficult. I didn't like that in my previous campaign death was just a speedbump and had no gravity to any situation. It just broke my immersion when party members had no problem picking a fight with a huge dragon but everyone in the party would abandon an area just at the signs that there were rust monsters nearby (because Raise Dead and two Restorations is cheaper than that +3 weapon I bought!)
So for the next campaign I made changes to how long it would take them to fall permanently but made it clear that coming from the back from the dead was fairly rare and risky. Divine casters straight up won't entertain the idea if person in question is of an opposed alignment or ideology to their faith or risk losing their own divine abilities (and even if they are of a similar or same faith, they may ask for something besides monetary compensation such as vowing to spread the word of their faith, doing some work on their behalf etc).

Grand Lodge

Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Letric wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

If I have it my way, I don't allow any rez magic besides Breath of Life and plot macguffin and PCs instead get a stack of fate/hero/whatever points they can burn to cheat death per game.

Easy access raise dead/resurrection honestly just makes internal consistency a pain to handle when anyone with means (kings, nobles, etc) just shrugs off death barring excessively convoluted means to keep a corpse dead and I was never a fan of Tippyverse frankly.

You cant avoid death by age. Wealth people live until they die, makes sense.

A King using reincarnate wouldnt be a kin anymore, why people should believe its him?

Actually you can avoid death by age these days with the various reincarnation spells. The cyclic variety even keeps you as the same race. Plus its not hard to verify that a reincarnated guy is in fact the same guy. Magic solves everything and all that jazz or just doing it publicly if you want to be mundane about it.

Cyclic reincarnation is a 6th level spell known only to druids. Good luck convincing druids to extend your life beyond its natural limits so you can keep your power. Just not gonna happen for the vast majority of king's/nobles.

Additionally, not everyone wants to come back after they die, even if they thought they did before death. One of the Pathfinder novels has a great example of this where someone who made plans to be resurrected just doesn't want to after their death.

And as for normal reincarnation, most people probably aren't gonna risk coming back as a kobold, goblin, bugbear, etc.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Letric wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

If I have it my way, I don't allow any rez magic besides Breath of Life and plot macguffin and PCs instead get a stack of fate/hero/whatever points they can burn to cheat death per game.

Easy access raise dead/resurrection honestly just makes internal consistency a pain to handle when anyone with means (kings, nobles, etc) just shrugs off death barring excessively convoluted means to keep a corpse dead and I was never a fan of Tippyverse frankly.

You cant avoid death by age. Wealth people live until they die, makes sense.

A King using reincarnate wouldnt be a kin anymore, why people should believe its him?

Actually you can avoid death by age these days with the various reincarnation spells. The cyclic variety even keeps you as the same race. Plus its not hard to verify that a reincarnated guy is in fact the same guy. Magic solves everything and all that jazz or just doing it publicly if you want to be mundane about it.

Cyclic reincarnation is a 6th level spell known only to druids. Good luck convincing druids to extend your life beyond its natural limits so you can keep your power. Just not gonna happen for the vast majority of king's/nobles.

Additionally, not everyone wants to come back after they die, even if they thought they did before death. One of the Pathfinder novels has a great example of this where someone who made plans to be resurrected just doesn't want to after their death.

And as for normal reincarnation, most people probably aren't gonna risk coming back as a kobold, goblin, bugbear, etc.

This was my point. Reincarte is nice, but its also risky move. Even if magic can tell youre the King, would people like being ruled by a dwarf, or kobold?

Regarding topic, I dont like coming back from death being harder than already it.
Its expensive, sets party back in WBL and requires having a cleric.

I dont know, never seen people going to their death just because they can come back


DrDeth wrote:

Dead is dead?

For all those complaining Raise dead is too easy:Oh yeah.
Players: “Hey Bob, we have to go on a quest for about 4 nites of gaming in order to raise you, so I guess you can just stay home or you can play my Mount.”

Bob: “yeah, sounds like real fun. Look, instead- here’s Knuckles the 87th , go ahead and loot Knuckles the 86th body. He's got some cool stuff."

The whole idea of “death should mean something” becomes meaningless when we all realize that D&D is a Game, Games should be Fun, and in order to have Fun you have to Play. Thereby, when a Player’s PC dies either you Raise him or he brings in another. Raising is preferable story-wise, and costs resources. Bringing in another costs continuity and actually increases party wealth. Not to mention, instead of an organic played-from-1st-PC we have a PC generated at that level, which can lead to some odd min/maxing.

The third alternative is “Sorry Bob, Knuckles is dead. You’re out of the campaign, we’ll let you know when the next one is starting, should be in about a year or so.’ Really? I mean when Black leaf died, sure but in real games?

And one of the devs is on record that 5000 gps of diamonds is worth exactly that and exactly that hard to get. It's not the diamond so much, it's the 5000gps of sacrifice.

I can't agree that raising is preferable story-wise, because I can't think of a single story where coming back from the dead didn't involve some kind of epic quest or event (X-Men Comics notwithstanding).

How is 'meeting a new teammate' costing continuity? There's a lot of people in a campaign world.

I use the Automatic Bonus Progression from Unchained, so party wealth spiking or whatever isn't an issue.

At 9th level, the 'expected' WBL is 46K per PC. Assuming 4 PCs, 5K is a drop in the bucket.

Just like coming back to life should be a big deal, dying should be a big deal, too. It doesn't happen often. It's part of the climax of an adventure, or a heroic sacrifice, or the culmination of that character's story arc.

Sczarni

I'm glad you asked... I have just finished "fleshing out" how my 4th Level Gray Paladin will be able to Raise Dead.

CHA 20 (+5 uses Lay on Hands)
+2 CHA enhancement item (2k gp) (+1 use LoH)
Extra Lay on Hands Feat (+2 uses LoH)
Greater Mercy
Ultimate Mercy (10 uses of LoH = Raise Dead, no gp cost).
4th Level = 2 Uses LoH + 6 CHA (total w item) + 2 use ELoH = 10.

Yep. At 4th level this NG Shelyn Gray Paladin is going to be useful in PFS (and could be in a home game as well). On "non-raising" days she subs as a 20d6 healer (10d6 LoH w up to +10d6 if no mercy is needed). Not bad for a 4th level character, IMHO.

ps. First level she looks way different, with Noble Scion WAR (Cha bonus as dex) and Improved Init = +9 init at 1st level (+10 in daytime with Strength of Sun trait). But she'll be raising dead long before the Clerics!
(at worst, she will need to get to level 5 - but that will probably be multiclassed to something else since she can take the Ultimate Mercy trait at 5th no matter what class she is... might even dip one straight fighter or something)

(you may ask why I didn't just do a normal Paladin... well, I just don't like LG (LStupid) restrictions, personal preference)


Death is less likely:

1) No mortal actually has the power to snuff out a life force. All spells that supposedly do so actually only do so in the physical sense.

2) "Death" is the point where the body becomes incompatible with sustaining life and the soul starts to slip away. This is reflected in stat damage. Magical healing (the body is too far gone for non-magical healing) prevents that slipping for the round it was cast. Thus no matter how much damage you can keep them around with a CLW wand until you can apply enough healing to bring them back.

But recovery is harder:

The spell does not need diamonds. What it does need is to be in the interest of the deity that is bringing them back. That deity will also expect service of a value similar to the component cost. Note that this can be done before the need arises. Someone who has at least twice as much credit with their deity as needed (which basically implies that it's in the dieties' interest to keep them alive) can bring themselves back by directly asking their deity.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

If we're talking ways to make death meaningful, the Death Flag rule from Raising the Stakes is an excellent choice.


It really depends on the setting and tone you're going for in your campaign. In most games I try to ensure players have access to a priest capable of raise dead or resurrection. It keeps the players happy, they just pay the cost or even owe the church a favor if they can't pay.

In a more serious campaign raise dead might be hard to get and truly miraculous.

A horror game raise dead may well come with its own risks like insanity, demon possession, or a curse.

I've also played in less serious games where the world is littered with vending machine resurrection shrines. Place body on shrine, insert 1000 GP into slot, recieve True Ressurection.

They're all fun, and part of the tone of the game.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
If we're talking ways to make death meaningful, the Death Flag rule from Raising the Stakes is an excellent choice.

I briefly looked this over but didn't really "get it".


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Zhayne wrote:
How is 'meeting a new teammate' costing continuity? There's a lot of people in a campaign world.

It's not the meeting that's costly. It's the loss of the existing key protagonist that's the problem.

In my current campaign, one of the PCs has been adopted as a thrall by a blue dragon (without his consent). Another shot that dragon with a ballista and now hides whenever it's around. Another has an ongoing grudge with an enemy boss who defeated him in a duel, but now they're starting to develop respect for one another. They've all been invited to meet up with someone they rescued from a prison camp to discuss their next mission. They are local heroes for their past deeds. They've developed somewhat fraught relationships with each other due to conflicting ideals of honor and caution.

I'm now worried that these characters will die, destroying all the character development so far and forcing us to start from scratch.


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Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
I briefly looked this over but didn't really "get it".

The Death Flag rule:

The player gets to decide if his character can die. If he doesn't want to die, he is instead gets to survive (in negative HP) no matter what. If he's willing to die, he gets some Conviction points (which give bonuses like rerolls, extra actions, etc.)

It's not going to be to everyone's taste.


If it's Golarion, I go mostly with the written stuff with respect to raise dead availability. You need an expensive diamond (or a thematic substitute when that doesn't make sense for the locale). If the PCs seek out a spellcaster to do it, the spellcaster has to be willing (Dwarven cleric: "Resurrect a goblin? This is Torag's house; begone!" *here comes the Diplomacy check*), and the PCs may need to acquire the diamond if the service provider doesn't have one handy. Other than that, the only limitations are in the spell descriptions.

Regarding damage: A critical hit resulting in massive damage would be a "mortal wound", which raise dead covers just fine. Severed body parts are a bit of a table variation issue--I usually run it as just putting the parts back together and casting the spell, making raise dead a lower level but expensive substitute for the quick version of regenerate. However, if a creature has been, say, partially eaten, raise dead won't restore missing bits.

Death by fire, lava, etc. depends on the degree of damage. If they just took enough HP damage to die, raise dead ought to be fine. If the corpse continued to burn/melt afterward, they're going to need resurrection or reincarnate (if they have at a bit of body or at least some ashes/dust left) or true resurrection (if they don't).

As for "any town would have a cleric would could" etc., again, it depends on whether the body is in a raise-able condition or whether it needs resurrection.

I've experimented with settings that have limited or no resurrection, and they can work fine. If I did so again, though, I'd love to try out the Death Flag TriOmegaZero cited.


Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
If we're talking ways to make death meaningful, the Death Flag rule from Raising the Stakes is an excellent choice.
I briefly looked this over but didn't really "get it".

Every player gets a pool of something like hero points, which are more powerful than hero points (for one thing, they can grant extra actions.) It refills at the beginning of every session. If you, for whatever reason want/need more of them you are allowed to "raise the death flag" in which case you instantly fill up your pool to max and are eligible to die in the conventional fashion until you "lower the death flag" by repaying all of the points you got by raising it. We all made our very own visual aid for this, it's fun.

When the death flag is down, you will not die when you otherwise would, you'd might be incapacitated, maimed, thrown clear by the explosion, captured, buried under some rubble, or any number of other tropes fiction employs when you want to have a character defeated but not dead, but it is always something non-fatal so that the relative unavailability of resurrection doesn't mean you can't undo it.


Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Automatic Bonus Progression - the idea of just raping the corpse of one of your closest of friends as a WBL buff was outrageous to our troupe and as such we implemented a form of this rule long before it was ever included in the cannon options.

My dad was in WW2. When your buddy fell in combat you looted his ammo, grenades, medkit, maybe gun, cigs and anything cool he might have, and then saved his watch, wallet and pictures to send home. Everything else was fair game.


I don't care for Raise Dead myself but I use the rules as written.

In the past I've played in games with high body counts in which the same characters have been killed and raised repeatedly. It gets farcical pretty quickly. And, although I've never used them, it seems to me that the Death Flag rules simply replace death with unconsciousness. So there's still plenty of scope for farce.

What I do, no matter what game system I'm using and no matter whether resurrection is common, rare or non-existent, is set the difficulty level so that player characters are only likely to die if they do something stupid. Consequently death is quite rare in my games.


My current game is pretty liberal with the 'revolving door'. I just take it as an opportunity to really crank out punishing encounters. One battle had 6 deaths (out of four characters), many have had 2-3 and, too many to count have had one death. It just means that a single death isn't what the players fear, it's TPKs.

Other games have been less forgiving.


In my most recent campaign, we allow full access to raise dead, but you come back weaker. When you are raised, you take 1d4 of CON drain.

You could alternatively pay for a Resurrection and take 1 point of CON drain or anti up for the big time and get a True Resurrection and no CON drain.

No matter what, the team can always scrape together enough gold to get a Raise Dead, but they sure as heck don't want to take their chances with the D4.

It has struck a nice balance. The players are not foolishly reckless with their characters, but they don't have to worry about permanently losing their characters if the worst happens.


DrDeth wrote:
Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Automatic Bonus Progression - the idea of just raping the corpse of one of your closest of friends as a WBL buff was outrageous to our troupe and as such we implemented a form of this rule long before it was ever included in the cannon options.

My dad was in WW2. When your buddy fell in combat you looted his ammo, grenades, medkit, maybe gun, cigs and anything cool he might have, and then saved his watch, wallet and pictures to send home. Everything else was fair game.

I couldn't agree more, and you are absolutely right about battlefield scavenging. It is the same thing you do when you kill orcs too. What did they have in their pockets that made them worth killin?

On the other hand, using the death of your closest friends simply as an excuse to boost the over all WBL of the party is about like knocking off your mom because she has a life insurance policy. Which all goes back to where the ABP strikes a VERY good balance between these extremes. Yes you can take their family sword, but it is simply the + 1 Master Work ancestral blade the character started with, and not the + 3 flame tongue he wielded in combat.

Other "adventuring items" in our campaign were largely exotic / masterwork & alchemical items due to our campaign setting being a low magic one. Silk thread & Ninja climbing claws? Yes. Rope of Climbing? Nope.

In such a setting the family signet ring the PC was wearing was worth far more because it was a family signet ring and much less so because it was made gold.

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