Please fix REINCARNATE


Combat & Magic


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm petitioning the Pathfinder RPG team to change the tabile for the reincarnate spell. Please remove races with level adjustment and/or racial hit dice from the table. Having a character being reincarnated as one of these races produces mechanical nightmares.

Please also make it clear what happens to a reincarnated character's racial abilities. Do they go away? Are they replaced with those of the new race? If so, what happens for example with the bonus feat a human gets, this being a racial ability after all...

Thank you for listening. Keep up the good work!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Standard rules say that a reincarnated character loses all racial abilities and ability modifiers of the old race in favor of the new one. The Pathfinder Alpha does not posit any change to this. So the bonus feat and skill pts would go away.

The other option would be to impose a feat and skill pt deficit in which would have to be paid off with future acquistions.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

According to rules as written this is probably true, but actually doing it this way requires extensive book-keeping, because you'd need to remember which feat ist the human bonus feat and which skill points are the human bonus, too. Highly impracticable.

It gets even worse if you think about polymorphing (or wildshaping for that matter). If you're a human and you polymorph into something not human, you lose your bonus feat and skill point, which could actually invalidate your build by losing a prerequisite which might even mean that you can't poymorph anymore... This leads to madness :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zaister wrote:

According to rules as written this is probably true, but actually doing it this way requires extensive book-keeping, because you'd need to remember which feat ist the human bonus feat and which skill points are the human bonus, too. Highly impracticable.

It gets even worse if you think about polymorphing (or wildshaping for that matter). If you're a human and you polymorph into something not human, you lose your bonus feat and skill point, which could actually invalidate your build by losing a prerequisite which might even mean that you can't poymorph anymore... This leads to madness :)

Let's not get silly here. The things that you lose in polymorph are the ones that directly impact on your body, senses and movement abilities. i.e. low-light, darkvision, etc. You keep your stats save as adjusted by your form.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
LazarX wrote:
Let's not get silly here. The things that you lose in polymorph are the ones that directly impact on your body, senses and movement abilities. i.e. low-light, darkvision, etc. You keep your stats save as adjusted by your form.

Not if you use the polymorph subschool rules (cf. Rules Compendium). You keep your creature type and hit points, but the rest of your stats get effectively replaced with those of the creature.

But this is besides the point and has nothing to do with reincarnate.


I think if Level Adjustment could be repaired (we can end world hunger as a good warm up) then the reincarnate table could work fine with a variety of critters upon it.

In my home games, I make a big distinction between natural and infected lycanthropes, with infected ones being cursed/rabid etc, and natural being an actual species (that looses the infection ability) and while posessed of strong emotions, maintains control over themselves even on the full moon. As such, I put the lycanthropes as a large chunk of my homebrew reincarnate list.

However, without a solved level adjustment system that can take the strain of a "sudden acquisition" without leaving a party memeber unbalanced compared to the rest, I find myself agreeing that the list should be modified to a "core or at least +0 LA" racial spread.


Why not assume nothing changes but appearance. Say, Reincarnate rolls you into being a bugbear, but you keep everything about your old character except your appearance changes to match. If your size changed because of it, modify your character's size as normal, but otherwise the only change is cosmetic, not mechanical. It takes some of the fun and wonder out of the spell, but it removes the headaches, too.

*shrug* I miss having animals on the list, honestly. But I can see where the mechanics would make it difficult to really balance the spell.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hmmm.

Reincarnate puts a departed soul into a new body.

What happens to the soul that was originally motivating that body?

Dark Archive

I posted my reincarnate re-write attempt in the spells focus thread. It deals with the very issue of LA and racial HD (which has plagued my group over the years, repeatedly!)

Shadow Lodge

Zaister wrote:
Not if you use the polymorph subschool rules (cf. Rules Compendium). You keep your creature type and hit points, but the rest of your stats get effectively replaced with those of the creature.

Ugh... Rules Compendium, a classic example of WTF? Too little, too late then they don't release the changes to the SRD so we have three sets of rules: core as released, core in SRD, and now core as altered by Rules Compendium. In any case, Polymorph changes in RC are not compatible with Pathfinder so just don't apply.

As for reincarnate:
Hmm... my interpretation of the spell as written in the PRPG is that the character just changes ability scores but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Jason has created a specific thread for problem spells. I suggest you post your concerns there.

Looking through the list someone has already brought it up. I am certain it wouldn't hurt for you to reiterate it and bring up any specific concerns you have.

-- Dennis

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

I've always thought that reincarnate should allow you to rebuild your character from scratch. Same XP total, same gear, same basic personality, but you can change everything else (and must at least change your appearance). No rolling on charts to see what you become; if you want to come back as some weird race with a level adjustment, just rebuild your character to be that weird race and incorporate the level adjustment into your new build.

That would change reincarnate from an annoying spell that either screws your character concept or gives you free stat boosts, to a spell that allows you to play something entirely new when your character dies without abandoning character continuity.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Epic Meepo wrote:
I've always thought that reincarnate should allow you to rebuild your character from scratch.

This makes the most sense to me. The only problem I see is that you could just as easily say that your character comes back with the exact same stats as the original character...which may be technically correct, but seems to sidestep the down side of the spell, as compared to the other life restoring spells. Still, I'll probably start using this in my own games, but remind players that the level loss imposition remains (the cost of dying, and all).

As an aside, the name of this spell always bothered me. I realize that you can't have a player actually be re-born, due to timeline restrictions, but having a body suddenly generated to accomodate the character's soul feels wrong to me. (Although it does eliminate the problems associated with "bumping" a soul out of an existing body.)

Thankfully, I've rarely had to work with this spell, since most of my players have preferred to use the ones that actually return the original character to life.

Dark Archive

Epic Meepo wrote:

I've always thought that reincarnate should allow you to rebuild your character from scratch. Same XP total, same gear, same basic personality, but you can change everything else (and must at least change your appearance). No rolling on charts to see what you become; if you want to come back as some weird race with a level adjustment, just rebuild your character to be that weird race and incorporate the level adjustment into your new build.

That would change reincarnate from an annoying spell that either screws your character concept or gives you free stat boosts, to a spell that allows you to play something entirely new when your character dies without abandoning character continuity.

I agree with this mostly!

I think you should have some holdover from your previous character (alignment, personality, Int, Wis, Cha), but otherwise, start fresh! It beats the math and mechanics of shoehorning in a race into an existing character. After all, your race is the foundation for everything else that follows (class, skills, etc).


Perhaps the rebuild mechanic is somewhat limited? I can see a lot of min-maxers jumping all over this, thats all.

Perhaps something aligned to favored class of the new race? You can freely trade levels for levels in the the favored class of the new body? Or a list of "associated" classes? I can see dwarves having fighter, paladin, cleric, and even rogue, but druid and sorceror have always been "outside" the racial norm for them.

That being said, I love the idea of reincarnate as a rebuild opportunity. Its usually around the time "back from the dead" spells become available that people start noticing their particular build is not so effective anymore. (I have a few "organic growth" characters, who often paint themselves into corners mechanically. Part of the reason I allow skill points to be "saved" until right before the next level up. That way the person who just got on a boat can actually learn to swim after a week, instead of after the boat has landed and a month later in the middle of the desert.)

Also, new body, possible new gender! Set your percentiles as you need, some groups will take to that easier than others. Mine I could do 50/50, but I've played in others where 99/1 would be the only tolerable way.

The old 2nd ed description just made it sound like Bob the human fighter died and then the spell was cast and then Bob the bugbear fighter comes walking out of the bushes into camp.

Personally, I describe it as a bump appearing on the ground, which throbs with life, growing larger and larger, with terrain appropriate flora growing on it rapidly, cycling through the years in fast forward. Finally, as the lump is now roughly man-sized, a faint mist/soul/energy comes from the mouth of the deceased (last breath paradigm) and flows into the lump, where upon the earth around them parts, and they are born anew. Feel free to jack it, if it works for you.

Shadow Lodge

Epic Meepo wrote:
That would change reincarnate from an annoying spell that either screws your character concept or gives you free stat boosts, to a spell that allows you to play something entirely new when your character dies without abandoning character continuity.

Except it also changes it from being the least favorable method of coming back to life to the most favorable method. I would be fine with this if it were the highest level of the raise dead type spells, but it is the lowest level one.

To be honest I wouldn't mind the suggestion you made with a higher caster level. As written it's a crap shoot with your character which IMO is not cool. I had a character who had the option to get reincarnated and she chose to just roll a new character instead.

So the question you've got to ask your player is 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

-- Dennis


The rebuild option could be part of True Reincarnate, a higher level version.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

In my gaming group, players are so anxious to try out new builds, their characters usually refuse to come back from the dead, even when offered free true resurrection spells. So I'd like to see even the normal reincarnate spell allow a total character rebuild. That'd be about the only way to keep the same characters around at my table.


Epic Meepo wrote:
In my gaming group, players are so anxious to try out new builds, their characters usually refuse to come back from the dead, even when offered free true resurrection spells. So I'd like to see even the normal reincarnate spell allow a total character rebuild. That'd be about the only way to keep the same characters around at my table.

While I am sure that Jason's whole purpose of creating Pathfinder RPG is to make *your* gaming group happy, I don't think that this would benefit the gaming community as a whole. Many other groups DO pay for raise dead and the like and want to continue their characters. If you have characters who care nothing of roleplaying their characters to completion, it sounds like you need to have a house rule that allows the total character rebuild upon a reincarnate or raise dead.

Grand Lodge

The Black Bard wrote:
Also, new body, possible new gender! Set your percentiles as you need, some groups will take to that easier than others. Mine I could do 50/50, but I've played in others where 99/1 would be the only tolerable way.

I've often thought this (and other aspects) should be alignment related: gender change for Lawful 1 in X, not lawful or chaotic 2 in X, Chaotic 3 in X, where X could be 100, 12, 6 or 4 depending on group preference.

Put me down for support of allowing a significant degree of rebuilding. While on the subject, I'd certainly allow a free alignment change if the player wanted.


sciencephile wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
In my gaming group, players are so anxious to try out new builds, their characters usually refuse to come back from the dead, even when offered free true resurrection spells. So I'd like to see even the normal reincarnate spell allow a total character rebuild. That'd be about the only way to keep the same characters around at my table.
While I am sure that Jason's whole purpose of creating Pathfinder RPG is to make *your* gaming group happy, I don't think that this would benefit the gaming community as a whole. Many other groups DO pay for raise dead and the like and want to continue their characters. If you have characters who care nothing of roleplaying their characters to completion, it sounds like you need to have a house rule that allows the total character rebuild upon a reincarnate or raise dead.

Meepo, I apologize if my earlier comments seemed a bit snarky. My frustration wasn't really at you but in the mentality of your players. I had a couple of players in the past that could care less of the campaign and only wanted to playtest character concepts. It stole the fun out of the game both for me and the other players at the table. I ended up re-tooling the players instead and moved them out and others in. That made the remaining players very happy because they could focus on the campaign and the adventuring team (rather than the offending players). You might need to do a similar thing, I believe.

Back on topic, I really don't think that complete character re-tooling option would be good for the game. At best it could be an optional rule for those that want/need it. Otherwise it would be best for the DM to house rule it.

Shadow Lodge

sciencephile wrote:
Back on topic, I really don't think that complete character re-tooling option would be good for the game. At best it could be an optional rule for those that want/need it. Otherwise it would be best for the DM to house rule it.

I think players make some bad decisions and every once in a while need a chance to rethink. In particular beginning characters or the ones who have trouble grasping the rules. It's really frustrating for someone to be stuck with an ineffective character choice for months on end because they made some bad choices early on.

That said, it's best the DM makes any sort of decisions like this rather than have the player do it. With a "Retool" spell in the book I can see players deliberately killing characters off for a retool.

As you said, an optional rule would fit the bill.

-- Dennis

Dark Archive

I think Reincarnate as a rebuilding feature, not a retooling feature, is the way to go. And if you have the character rebuilt to a level lower than before, I'm sure players won't use it needlessly.

Besides, it's happened in my game, and I'm sure it's not uncommon -- a player becomes bored or disenfranchised with their character, and starts acting in suicidal ways, so his character can die so he can bring in a new one.

At least if Reincarnate is a rebuild option, you have these sort of players not harming continuity, because they are effectively the same character, personality-wise.


0gre wrote:
sciencephile wrote:
Back on topic, I really don't think that complete character re-tooling option would be good for the game. At best it could be an optional rule for those that want/need it. Otherwise it would be best for the DM to house rule it.

I think players make some bad decisions and every once in a while need a chance to rethink. In particular beginning characters or the ones who have trouble grasping the rules. It's really frustrating for someone to be stuck with an ineffective character choice for months on end because they made some bad choices early on.

That said, it's best the DM makes any sort of decisions like this rather than have the player do it. With a "Retool" spell in the book I can see players deliberately killing characters off for a retool.

As you said, an optional rule would fit the bill.

-- Dennis

Honestly, with more thought I am not even sure it should be an optional rule for reincarnate. I think addressing the problem of players needing a re-tool would work best in the DMG part of the book. In a section that would be advice on how to run the game and deal with certain problems that come up.

The advice section could mention that one of the roles of the DM is to make sure that the game runs smoothly and that both the DM and the players should be enjoying the game. If a player has made a bad choice and wants to change his character, he/she can let the player do so if it will mean a more fun experience for the player and the group. Putting it into a "running the game" section would address the problem as a whole and not tie it directly to a certain spell.

I agree that if it were allowed for a certain spell, some players would run their characters too haphazardly because they would want a re-tool. Unfortunately, this behavior is likely to take another player's character down with him/her. It would be far better to address outside of a combat situation.

If there was some insistence that a spell do it, perhaps a high-level costly spell could accommodate it. Something like

Mind Transfer
This spell transfers the person's thoughts and memories into another being. It acts similar to reincarnate except that only memories are transferred to the new body. All skills, feats, class features, etc. are not transferred.

This would allow the re-tooled character to retain story knowledge and re-tool. It would also focus it to a non-combat situation (they don't have to die to make it happen). Thus they will not be suicidal in combat.

Still, I think the optimal solution is to have the character re-tooling under an advice for DMs section.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

sciencephile wrote:
Meepo, I apologize if my earlier comments seemed a bit snarky. My frustration wasn't really at you but in the mentality of your players.

I've got a thick skin. I found you're snark rather funny.

But several previous posters have mentioned the point I was actually trying to make with my anecdote. Sometimes, players get stuck with suboptimal choices, or try new options that look good on paper but that don't pan out in actual play. It would be nice to have a built-in means of rebuilding characters. And if being reincarnated isn't the definition of being rebuilt, I don't know what is.

And incidentally, for anyone who's worried about characters killing themselves off to get free rebuilds from reincarnation, I'm just as worried about characters killing themselves off to get jacked up into races with higher adjustments.

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