Urgak became a pretty funny distraction in the game. One time, the party sorcerer fried him with a fireball, killing him instantly. Three months later, Uragk returned somewhat singed and battered. The funny thing was they were in a desert and could see someone chasing them just on the horizon and each day they checked the figure would seem closer, gaining on them. Finally after three days they could see that it was Urgak, back for more. They decided to set up an elaborate trap in the hopes of keeping him caged in a deep pit. The ranger who was 17th level created a pit trap that wold ensure that Urgak could never climb out. Of course, Urgak fell in without a fight and dies as a result of the fall. They buried his body thanks to the sorcerer and his earth based spells in hopes that the madness would end.
Fast forward 5 real months and one of the Player said that his character would be going to bed. Suddenly...URGAK ATTACK!! The little ankle biter was in the character's bed under the sheets, caked with desert dust. He always seemed to surface when the players just started to forget about him.
A couple of years ago I created an annoying goblin named Urgak. Every once in a while, at the most inopportune times, Urgak would attack the PCs (usually during swanky banquets at the King's court, or in the middle of a town). The rules I made for Urgak were as follows:
1. Urgak would always be 1st level.
I have had this discussion many times on these boards and elsewhere. I have always found the ability to raise somewhat problematic as written. Death is not permanent enough and is less of a motivator than it is in our world. Here's how I deal with raising the dead in my homebrew of Morvia.
1. You can only be raised by a priest of your faith. Therefore a cleric of one god cannot raise someone who venerates another god.
2. A life for a life. If you are resurrected or raised, there has to be a cost of a life. The thing is, you don't know who that will be. When you're raised, someone, somewhere will be chosen to take your place. It may be someone you know, or it may be a complete stranger. They may be an evil king or an innocent child. That's the price that must be paid. This becomes a heavy decision and brings back the permanence of death.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
I have to be honest about this because so many folks think that the crunchy rules in a class control EVERYTHING that a PC can do. Now there's no doubt that the rules are geared mostly toward encounters that deal with some sort of conflict, hence all of the numbers and stuff. But, I think that the big limiter on what a PC can be good at or what they can do rests more with the player than that rules. I have had players take on a monk and play them to a tee, making it fun to play, interesting to watch and most importantly, having them effective in both combat and non combat situations. I have seen players with a straight up fighter, geared toward the art of war and combat, come up and tell me that they don't know what to do with the PC when it comes to combat beyond drawing their sword and start swinging. I can go on and on about thins but ultimately, I think it's the player who must determine if the class they have chosen is "balanced". The numbers and stats can't tell you as a player what to do, they can only tell you how you can do them, the rest is up to your imagination.
My philosophy as a long time GM is "Never say no when you can say yes." Saying no to a player's idea stifles creativity. I know that all of the rules over so many books with endless options may seem like rules bloat, and it probably is, but that's why the PRD exists. Also, if a player can use those rules so can the GM. I can recall the looks on my player's faces when I revealed the BBG of a recent campaign as Sorcerer/Were-Shark. All of his spells were skewed toward water based type magic and when he cast tsunami on the group, they were woefully unprepared. Which reminds me, the other rule of thumb I go by is, "Saying no to a player also means saying no to yourself."
Anyway. It's your game and I respect your decision to not include certain books.
I'm going to sound like a mean old DM because my group has run into this sort of situation before. I usually say the following as I see them pain over each and every excruciating option available. It usually goes something like this:
"For the love of all that is sacred...RUN AWAY!!!!"
Seriously, it's like it's no longer an option for my group.
In turn, that is my opinion on what you and your group could have done. There's no shame in running away to fight another day. Or you could think of it in different terms. Call it "tactically repositioning" and pat yourselves on the back for your ingenuity. Regroup and refocus.
I know that in the campaign I have been running since 1987, there have been some standardizations in the world. Sometimes, a player comes along who wants to create a character that at first glance doesn't seem to "fit" in with those standards. However, I prefer to listen to the character concept first and would never just outright say no to them, only because they may bring in a new twist or story idea that can be really creative. Get involved with the character concept with the player. Help him/her to fit the PC in your world.
I have never been a fan of Wayne Reynolds' artwork. Look at the size of the feet of everyone he has ever drawn. I don't think anyone has a size larger than 4 or 5. Also, some of his proportions are dubious at best. I'm not saying that the man can't draw, quite the opposite, he can, but he'll never match the likes of Kerem Beyit who did the covers for The Serpent's Skull. That guy is talented.
From my point of view, the issue I have with MMOs of any stripe really is that it strips away the idea that you're the hero in the campaign. When you play a paper RPG with friends, the idea is that you and your party are a rare group of people who gain fame and fortune in a world largely made up of mundane, every day folk (sure there are other heroes and powerful villains in that game world, as well as powerful creatures, but they are largely outnumbered by average folk). In that world, you are the exception. In an MMO, every player wants to be the hero and wants to be the center of the story, the problem is no one really is because it's all a level playing field. You don't run into the simple farmer, the shepherd, the blacksmith or the innkeeper. The only people you run into are wizards, rangers, thieves, knights, clerics and all the variations in between, but really the only thing separating you from them is the amount of time they played compared to how long you have played. The sense of individuality that face to face role playing brings to the table is unique, and no MMO will be able replicate that, at least none that I have seen so far. Don't get me wrong though. I would love to see Paizo and Goblinworks succeed in this endeavour though.
Okay, I'm really getting into the background of my campaign world (things like customs, beliefs, superstitions, etc...) and one thing that has been in the back of my mind for some time is raising the dead. Religion is a big deal (as I'm sure it is in most campaign worlds) but what I'm trying to emulate is the power that the Catholic Church revelled in during the times like the crusades or the Spanish Inquisition.
I started to think that since this is a polytheistic world with many gods representing different spheres of influence, what would the feelings of all these beliefs have on raising the dead. I know that in game terms, one can cast a spell (Raise the Dead, Resurrection, True Resurrection, etc) and ask the departed soul to return to his/her former life, however, I wanted this to have more of an impact in the world besides the resurrected character being penalized 1 level. So I have listed possible consequences of raising a person back to life that I would like an opinion on. Do any make sense? Is it too restrictive? Does it effect the balance of gameplay or the rules? If you have any suggestions to add, please feel free.
1. A cleric can only raise a dead character if that character is of the same faith. Doing so otherwise, would cause the cleric to be stripped of their rank, lose their parish (or equivalent), and would no longer gain levels as a cleric. Also, they could no longer cast divine spells as a cleric.
2. A Character can be raised only by a Wish or Miracle Spell. All other spells that raise the dead do not exist.
3. Raising the dead requires an XP cost by the cleric. This would force the church to require a sizable payment to be made (either in a standard tithe or some other means such as land, an artifact).
4. The friends, families, companions, of the dead character are themselves sent to the plane of existence to seek out the character themselves and convince him/her to come back with them to the material plane.
Anyway, that's all I have for now. Again, let me know what you think of each of these ideas, and if you have any to add, feel free.