Raise Dead and the Diamond Thing


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

@Tacticlion - By disrupt the narrative I am not refering to "a" narrative, but the entire narrative of the world. There are more than one possible narratives (otherwise the game is a book) but if the world stops making sense, or being interesting, that is itself a type of narrative.

For example, the story of my character in Skyrim is that all those times I died and came back didn't happen. I was just uberawesome all the time and never rode a horse off a cliff because I wasn't paying attention.

The story could have played out millions of different ways, but in all of them the central story "works" because the presumption is that those continue points aren't part of the narrative.

In the D20 universe, death happens, but through literally divine intervention, the Gods smile on the great and heroic hero and intervene.

Pretty big deal.

Except when it's not, because it happens all the time and the Gods are like "Seriously Bob? Dude, come on..."

The AP can go on without Bob. But the story becomes lame if the larger narrative becomes lame.

As to changes you proposed.

Change 1: Is conceptually fine, but impossible as far as I can tell to implement without creating the very "GM vs PC" conflict it is supposed to be addressing. And again, what happens when they fail or worse, someone dies on the side quest to bring back the dead guy...creates as many or more problems than it solves.

Change 2: Basically same issues as above.

Change 3: This is reincarnation basically, and I'm fine with it but others will hate it as much as a negative level, as you said. Which is the larger problem of players being married to what they want their characters to be rather than being interested in finding out what their character becomes in the story...GMing from the wrong side of the table is a whole other thread....

Change 4: Is what we have now, only less. Unless I am missing something...

So we basically have two solutions that require more table conflict (assuming the players already feel there is a GM vs PC mentality, which was what SKR commented on being the problem to start with), one solution that is basically what reincarnation does (a gold standard spell IMHO) and one change that is less than exists.

Maybe it is just a matter of me thinking it is really boring to come to a table and not have anything interesting happen along the way that really effects my character. But if I wanted the story pre-written, I'd read a book.


I think there is another viable method too:
Create a state of "almost-death". Well, we already have one - unconscious/dying et cetera, but make these central parts of the game.

Instead of making raise deads easy at higher levels, make it harder to actually die. Maybe put in a "coma" state, and whenever you would die you roll a Con save vs some low-to-mid DC and if it succeeds you're in coma instead of dead. And let some mid-level spell such as restoration be able to cure that (though it may take some time).

That way, you can both have the cake and eat it too. You can both drastically lessen the risk of disrupting the game with character loss AND have death be a real threat and something not easy to get out of.


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The Hobbit is an interesting example here. Much of the story is about Bilbo being terrified of adventuring. I think the story would have been much less compelling if Gandalf had Raise Dead. Especially if it were free.

Liberty's Edge

Gandalf did get a raise dead. It was a huge and momentous event that forever changed him.

Imagine the story if it was just something that kinda always happens when Gandalf dies.


Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

Liberty's Edge

Irontruth wrote:
Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

He leveled during the adventures spent beyond time.

Admit it, with raise dead free and easy the story would have been much less interesting.

Shadow Lodge

Like I said before, it wasn't some schmuck NPC cleric that resurrected Gandalf. It was the over-god of Tolkien's entire "campaign world". Makes you wonder why he didn't just smite Sauron.


ciretose wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

He leveled during the adventures spent beyond time.

Admit it, with raise dead free and easy the story would have been much less interesting.

Your explanation is assuming things that weren't actually explained in the story. It's an example that doesn't fit what you're advocating at all.

You die, you get to come back with an extra level.

Shadow Lodge

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Gandalf took the standard penalties for a Resurrection spell. However, Eru also threw some Restoration at him, let him hang around in the afterlife for a few weeks, imparted a few more mythic ranks on him, and then sent him back to slightly after his death. Cos over-gods can do that stuff if they want to.

He also soaked those filthy robes in some bleach.


Irontruth wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

He leveled during the adventures spent beyond time.

Admit it, with raise dead free and easy the story would have been much less interesting.

Your explanation is assuming things that weren't actually explained in the story. It's an example that doesn't fit what you're advocating at all.

You die, you get to come back with an extra level.

Sticking to the story, he leveled from killing the Balrog. That thing was a very high CR by itself+experience for escaping Moria(pretty big encounter) and bonus XP for good RPing from his DM.

He got rezzed by DM intervention.


Kthulhu wrote:


Like I said before, it wasn't some schmuck NPC cleric that resurrected Gandalf. It was the over-god of Tolkien's entire "campaign world". Makes you wonder why he didn't just smite Sauron.

Eru didn't come to Middle Earth and smite Sauron because it would have destroyed the world. kind of like destroying the village to save it. Instead he sent the five Istari to advise and unite the free peoples. So, the Wizards (Gandolph, Saruman, Radagast etc.) were the divine version of a Green Beret A team...

Silver Crusade

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Comparing a narrative like the Hobbit to the mechanics of Pathfinder in specific and Pen and Paper RPGs in general is not a wise idea. I know that we all love Tolkien and he inspires much of what we do, but middle earth and the world of table top games are not the same.

Btw way, While having Gandalf being raised every time he dies wouldn't have made for a great story, neither does having Gandalf be a Deux Ex Machina that saves the day whenever the heroes get into trouble that they can't get out of, and yet that's what Gandalf is.

Because that's what you're saying when you try to bring Gandalf into middle earth: You're saying that whenever the party gets in over there head, a freaking Solar should just appear out of nowhere, solve the problem and then turn into a old man with prestidigitation afterwards, until the next problem shows up. Because that's exactly what Gandalf is: a character who is as powerful as the plot demands he be.

Shadow Lodge

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UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A START

Shadow Lodge

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johnlocke90 wrote:
The Hobbit is an interesting example here. Much of the story is about Bilbo being terrified of adventuring. I think the story would have been much less compelling if Gandalf had Raise Dead. Especially if it were free.

Well, I've seen on the forums someone complaining about a bard party member who was terrified of adventuring and the risk of death. It sounded a little less fun for that gaming group than for people reading the Hobbit.

ciretose wrote:

In the D20 universe, death happens, but through literally divine intervention, the Gods smile on the great and heroic hero and intervene.

Pretty big deal.

Except when it's not, because it happens all the time and the Gods are like "Seriously Bob? Dude, come on..."

What about a scaling cost based on the number of times you die? First one's free, assuming you can find someone to intercede (cast the spell) for you. After that the gods require some form of offering (of increasing cost) or else the soul starts to deteriorate and each death applies more negative levels making it hard to recover. Maybe add an absolute ceiling for the death counter based on HD or Con, after which you can't be raised at all. Maybe reduce the death counter every level or every few levels or after a certain amount of game time so that characters who die three times in a long and illustrious adventuring career don't experience the same penalty as the guy who dies three times in a week.

ciretose wrote:
Change 3: This is reincarnation basically, and I'm fine with it but others will hate it as much as a negative level, as you said. Which is the larger problem of players being married to what they want their characters to be rather than being interested in finding out what their character becomes in the story...GMing from the wrong side of the table is a whole other thread....

There's an important distinction between being attached to what happens to your character and being attached to who your character is. Players normally should have some control over how their characters react to the story and how they develop in reaction to the events that occur. Rolling on a reincarnate-style resurrection mishap table might feel too much like forced random character development to a lot of people, especially if that penalty is mental (such as forced alignment change).

Shadow Lodge

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Kthulhu wrote:
UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A START

IT'S 'SELECT START' MFER THIS IS A CO-OP GAME!


Tacticslion wrote:

I suppose it's fair... but it's a very alien mindset from what we've done.

So: let's make another thread for the crafting conversation!

I'm personally considering making raise dead (though not reincarnate) a creature-specific ability, requiring the summoning/binding of/dealing with creatures to do.

That would make some amount of sense for the 'charge', and also allow it to be waived for purposes of quests for the raiser (probably coming with a free geas).

... at least at lower levels, in my homebrew campaign.

I Like this too.


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I'm sure Pharasma has no problem with mere mortals treating Her domain as if there were a permanent revolving door installed...

I can just picture it now:

A long line of people who magically blink in and out again.

"NEXT...oh dammit where did he just go..."


johnlocke90 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

I don't seek consistency as much as I seek impact.

I think Reincarnation is a great spell for death, and you can come out of that at a mechanical advantage.

Part of the problem for me is people to invested in what they want to make their character rather than interested in finding out what happens to the character.

Yeah, I know several people who would rather reroll than have their character become a bugbear or drow.

I know several people who wouldn't reroll, but I know it is not for everyone.

We have used reincarnation many times and it's been great fun. Also: "A wish or a miracle spell can restore a reincarnated character to his or her original form."
So if you are unhappy with your new form, you set is as your personal quest to get restored to your original form.

Silver Crusade

Brox RedGloves wrote:

I'm sure Pharasma has no problem with mere mortals treating Her domain as if there were a permanent revolving door installed...

I can just picture it now:

A long line of people who magically blink in and out again.

"NEXT...oh dammit where did he just go..."

I doubt your typical commoner has access to 9th level clerics


TOZ wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A START
IT'S 'SELECT START' MFER THIS IS A CO-OP GAME!

Co-op game! Mission: Have fun.

Reroll char = not fun
Broke = not fun
Negative levels level(s)/- xxx levels = not fun.


Elamdri wrote:
Brox RedGloves wrote:

I'm sure Pharasma has no problem with mere mortals treating Her domain as if there were a permanent revolving door installed...

I can just picture it now:

A long line of people who magically blink in and out again.

"NEXT...oh dammit where did he just go..."

I doubt your typical commoner has access to 9th level clerics

Correct, so there are some who stay. But adventurers tend to get in that line a LOT! :D (And sometimes they jump ahead, or to the back end of said line as a result of res, raise and the like)

Do you think Pharasma sees through this stuff and made a special line just for adventurers?

"Sir Reginald, Cavalier Extraordinaire, Slayer of Dragons, etc etc etc"

"Umm...Sir Reg, we have an exclusive line here...away from the rabble..."

"Oh how convenient!"


Zark wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

I don't seek consistency as much as I seek impact.

I think Reincarnation is a great spell for death, and you can come out of that at a mechanical advantage.

Part of the problem for me is people to invested in what they want to make their character rather than interested in finding out what happens to the character.

Yeah, I know several people who would rather reroll than have their character become a bugbear or drow.

I know several people who wouldn't reroll, but I know it is not for everyone.

We have used reincarnation many times and it's been great fun. Also: "A wish or a miracle spell can restore a reincarnated character to his or her original form."
So if you are unhappy with your new form, you set is as your personal quest to get restored to your original form.

Personally I enjoy reincarnate. I think spells like that are fun, but Pathfinder has to cater to all types.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ciretose wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

He leveled during the adventures spent beyond time.

Admit it, with raise dead free and easy the story would have been much less interesting.

He recovered the levels he had before and that had atrophied in his time in the Middle Earth. He is a Maiar, not a human.


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Can we lay off the Tolkien? Those references have <0 to do with the Pathfinder gaming system other than as EXTREME outlier "sources" of GENERAL fantasy.

Great novels=/=anything to do with the game.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Cheeseweasel wrote:

Can we lay off the Tolkien? Those references have <0 to do with the Pathfinder gaming system other than as EXTREME outlier "sources" of GENERAL fantasy.

Great novels=/=anything to do with the game.

Yes but we haven't fully explored the possibilities and options in resurrecting Boromir yet ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Elamdri wrote:
Brox RedGloves wrote:

I'm sure Pharasma has no problem with mere mortals treating Her domain as if there were a permanent revolving door installed...

I can just picture it now:

A long line of people who magically blink in and out again.

"NEXT...oh dammit where did he just go..."

I doubt your typical commoner has access to 9th level clerics

The Gamemastery guide say that you can get a caster capable to cast 5th level spells in a large town 2.001-5.000 inhabitants.

The CRB say that spellcasting: cost Caster level × spell level × 10 gp, so 450 gp for a raise dead sans components.
A guy with 1 rank in a craft or profession, that craft or profession as a class skill and a +0 modifier from his characteristic taking 10 will have a Profession check of 14 and get 7 gp week, 28 gp month. subtract the 10 gp/month of a average lifestyle and he will have 14 gp/month of disposable income. 33 months of work to have enough savings to cover for a raise dead.
I would say that a lot of people in a city would have the savings for one raise dead.
And as explained several posts ago, a single 9th level cleric would cover the needs of a town with 1 casting/day unless there was a monster invasion or some other disaster.
When you are old enough that your constitution become a problem you can go to the local witch and ask for a reincarnation to a young body [I assume that druids will be more strict about reincaranting people than a witch]. It will cost only 280 gp.

All the above assume that the cost from restoration will be removed too, so getting your levels/constitution back will cost only 560 gp.


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ciretose wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Yes, except Gandalf didn't lose a level, he gained one.

He leveled during the adventures spent beyond time.

Admit it, with raise dead free and easy the story would have been much less interesting.

Actually, with teleport, cloudkill, hungry pit, major creation, summon infernal host, summon monster V, wall of stone, feeblemind, cone of cold, lightning arc, wall of force, wall of sound, baleful polymorph, elemental body III, fabricate, overland flight, or any of the fifth level spells without a cost the story would have been much less interesting.

Of if divine spells are the thing, slay living, flamestrike, planeshift, righteous might, and wall of stone would have trivialized most encounters.

(In truth, of course, it may very well have been quite interesting, or maybe not; we can't say for sure. What we can say for sure about it is that it likely would have been different.)

Liberty's Edge

Cheeseweasel wrote:

Can we lay off the Tolkien? Those references have <0 to do with the Pathfinder gaming system other than as EXTREME outlier "sources" of GENERAL fantasy.

Great novels=/=anything to do with the game.

Really...because I kind of think Tolkien would be relevant when discussing fantasy settings.

It isn't a pre-written narrative. Even the modules and adventure paths are basically just rough outlines. If you don't believe that, go read various accounts of how they play out in different groups.

The game isn't playing out a linear progression to get to the end. It is seeing what happens when you introduce characters to a setting.

If your mechanics change the setting, they change the game. As I said before, Highlander is a great story, would make a great setting if done well, but that isn't the game that isn't the setting we are playing.

It isn't wrongbadfun to have your heroes be effectively highlanders at your table. That doesn't mean that should be the default. It is much easier to house rule penalties for death away if that is how you want to play than to house rule them in if it isn't.

So why change what has been the default for going on 30+ years?

Silver Crusade

I <3 MERP.


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ciretose wrote:
It isn't wrongbadfun to have your heroes be effectively highlanders at your table. That doesn't mean that should be the default. It is much easier to house rule penalties for death away if that is how you want to play than to house rule them in if it isn't.

I've been reading this thread since the start, but never felt the need to chime in, as the long term posters have all had good reasons for what they've said. If anything, I lean a wee bit to the "drop all costs" side, as a) I'm not a simulationist, and b) my group's experience of the game would hardly be affected.

However, the comment above makes good point. If, as GM, you want to do away with an existing RAW cost, the players will love you for it (even though, clever GMs we are, we know that it's only a borrowing from their future imaginary selves).

If RAW is no cost, and you the GM wish to implement a new one as a houserule, lordy! take cover!

Default, the cost should be there in the RAW. Those who don't like it can chuck it in the river and be their players' new best bud.


ciretose wrote:
So why change what has been the default for going on 30+ years?

No one thing has been the default for 30+ years, except the name and level of the spell. Something about it has changed with every edition.


I am probably going to use something akin to what Tacticslion suggested earlier (and Zark quoted above) - the "You have to deal with something" take. Its creepy and great for rolepley. I'd also use what Weirdo suggested -

Weirdo wrote:
What about a scaling cost based on the number of times you die? First one's free, assuming you can find someone to intercede (cast the spell) for you.

So you have these 'beings' (some sort of shadowy, underworld 'soul snatchers') that bring the spirits of the departed back to you for Rez, but the price keeps going up.

The reasoning is this - most souls are pretty-much ungoverned wherever they went. Stealing them should be fairly simple for some critter "from the other side". However, after awhile the guardians of an afterlife (be they demons or whatever) start to notice 'Bob' keeps going missing, and they keep tabs on him. It becomes harder and harder to steal his soul out from under their noses (hence the price increase).

I can also see the price going up for level, because 'heroic' types will be better watched in the afterlife - a god doesn't want to lose its prize possessions.

I can also see some of these 'shadowy types' either accidentally or on-purpose supplying the PCs with the 'wrong soul', so their friend isn't quite the same afterward. In fact, the entire Resurrection operation could just be a cover for a slow infiltration and invasion from the Netherworld.


Started working on this post hours ago, so it might be out of date. Last post I read was shallowsoul saying he hearts merp.

ciretose wrote:
So why change what has been the default for going on 30+ years?

Because we're not playing the game we've played for 30+ years?

I mean, sure, you could say you're playing an iteration of that game (because, after a fashion, we are), but we're not playing the same game.

Now, that doesn't mean we should just 'change everything' for the sake of changing it, but many of the 'defaults' of first, second, third, and even third-point-five and PF are quite different from each other. Otherwise... why are our rounds six seconds instead of one minute (to name but a single example)?

It occurs to me, the real 'issue' with having raise dead for free is not player access. It's NPC access (at least given how much that's sited). If the general NPC-level presumption was lowered... that would change much to bring balance back into the world at large, and keep verisimilitude (which may be what you're talking about, ciretose, when referring to 'narrative'?).

Additionally, despite the power to raise dead, most settings are going to have a built-in limiter of some sort. In FR it's Kelemvor. In Golarion it's Pharasma (who - it's been noted somewhere on these boards in the last year - doesn't have a proper 'que', but rather can simply take and insta-judge a soul whenever). This could have a specific game mechanic (other than the death-timer) by making it a roll, it could have a cost, it could be only a limited number of times, or anything else of that nature... but it's likely not going to be liked by the majority as a basic rules assumption. In any event, this may not apply to the PCs for all sorts of reasons (and Pharasma as judge of the dead and goddess of prophecy is more than likely to know if someone should be allowed to be repeatedly raised or not).

Add that to the fact that the cleric might be able to raise dead at will (and people might be able to afford it), but cleric likely can't cast: raise dead and restoration and restoration... at least not in the quantity to cover everyone, because he's going to be needing twice as many forth level spells in that case, and he doesn't have them. But the idea that one can afford a raise dead just because one can make enough money doesn't really give the full picture. Disease is a thing and, presuming you can afford raise dead and periodic restorations as Diego noted above, than the big thing is really the current problems with poison, disease, and other ailments that are likely to come up within the course of a lifetime. And if those "don't exist because RAW", well, we've got bigger issues with world consistency and believability than free raise deads.

Also, I think Sean was saying that restoration's cost wasn't as much of an issue because it has different power levels within itself (and costs different amounts). I don't necessarily agree, but I could definitely see his point... thus I don't think that removing the cost is necessarily a proposed change (though it could be and I could be wrong, I'm a little distracted today).

Further, auto-raising everyone 'cause high level clerics is neat and all, but it may very well be that they don't want to come back. Good souls get a reward of immense magnitude, after all, and that leaves mostly the neutral and evil ones that are more-than-willing (at least some of them... some probably can't wait to be demons or devils or whatever). As for evil, some will have unbreakable soul-bargains, and some will be preyed upon by daemons; and many people good or evil wouldn't raise evil people. While fewer neutral than evil, neutral people would be preyed upon by daemons. And then the cleric in the city might not be the 'raising' type. After all, it simply tells you the highest level NPC cleric, not who that cleric is, their alignment, or what deity they worship. Pharasma, Urgathoa, Norgberger, and Rovagug are likely to be hesitant unless it's a worshiper (and even then in three out of four cases, there's likely to be some hesitation). Nethys, Gozreh, and Zon-Kuthon are likely to give odds-to-even chance for something strange or outright refuse for various reasons (ranging from balance of life and destruction, to the natural cycle, to the mourners haven't suffered)*, and Asmodeus is likely to require extensive (and probably secretly extremely costly) contracts to do anything. Erastil and Iomedae* are likely to be quite picky in many cases. Lamashtu is likely to have something "go wrong" (though there's no rules in place at present). Abadar, Calistria, Cayden, Desna, Gorum, Irori, Sarenrae, Shelyn, and Torag are left over as will-probably-raise-you-normally/readily (though Torag will be picky based on the race of the deceased). This is just as true of their worshipers. slightly-less than 50% with no further strings attached... isn't great. Having a 20% chance of finding a cleric who'll just not raise you outside of rather extraordinary circumstances? Well, that's a fair balancing point right there, from my point.

* They might also do the reverse, "You died for the community; be rewarded.", "You died valiantly; I agree to your return.", "The balance must be brought back towards life.", "That was not a natural death.", "He'll suffer so much more alive.", etc. The point is, however, they simply aren't guaranteed to bring you back for their own reasons.

The "reason" for easy-raises being not-so-easy are plenteous and simple to come up with for the world at large.

That said, I admit that it's all rather house-ruley/setting reliant... but that's where we're at now anyway. That 5k gold value diamond thing? Not that hard. Gate (easy enough with a candle, but if the crafting thread is any indication, it's easy anyway), get a solar (or whatever) make your wish (or set your task), and bam. Available for less cost than a raising. Even at 5k gold cost there's the question of why the world doesn't have a ton of auto-raises available already... which goes back to simply reducing the level of NPCs at large.

In any event, if you're going to cry foul about raise dead automatically bringing back all the dead... you've also got to cry foul about the whole system.

All it would really take to "end death" in the system currently is two level 9 clerics of Sarenrae and a level 7 druid of Sarenrae. Literally, death is gone forever.

And wealth really isn't that big a deal... there are many ways to evade, alter, or reduce the supposed limits in the short term, and this particular combination.

For one example I came up with as I'm writing this: have them take the leadership feat.

Leadership score easily 15, but likely closer to 16 or 17. But let's err on the side of less. So, 14. That's 15 1st levels and a 2nd level (minimum modifiers of +4 and +5, respectively, but there is nothing preventing them from having modifiers of +7 and +8 or higher with a single feat choice and careful stat array... since these are likely Adepts, it's practically guaranteed they're at +8 and +9; this is in order to end death, so they'd want to do this). That brings in an average of 9 gold a week per follower, for a total of 144 gold per week. Not ground-breaking, but good. Normally living expenses would come from that, buuuuuuuuuuuut...

The clerics can cast Create Food and Water, and Endure Elements (and their own Adept followers would also be useful here for multiplying the effect).

Suddenly, their followers have need of nothing. All their profession results go directly to purchasing stuff for spells. Ten weeks for reincarnate, fifty weeks (about a year) raise dead. That sounds unbelievably limiting... until you consider that other spells, as mentioned before, can get you diamonds faster. Earth elementals bound to mine them for you from that plane. Summoning up angels of all sorts. Planar ally a single lantern archon (by use of at will continual flame and greater teleport for nine days) means tremendous amount of revenue, especially at the low, low cost of 1,000 gold).

Revenue is then used to purchase diamonds. Diamonds are then used for raise dead.

Or, if they really want to break death forever, the revenue is used to purchase more summoning supplies and (slightly) more expensive casting options. Summon in solar. You guys know the rest. It results in suite of neutral good super-sentient items of immense power that have at will true resurrection, reincarnation, and miracle.

It's breakable, sure, but the power of those two clerics and the druid that is likely one of their cohorts is able to overcome most challenges. In general it would require GM fiat to rule this effect can't work. The thing is... none of this is very hard. At all.

There are 'reasons' no one's done this before. Each campaign provides them. Having free raise doesn't automatically make a game highlander any more than having a costly raise.

To be clear, outside of specific games, I'm not even necessarily for a completely free raise dead. But I can see it's utility and the arguments for it, and thought I'd answer a few potential questions and issues.

Silver Crusade

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I may go back to the old school way and just charge PC's a permanent 1 from their Con.

Edit: Better yet, I may give them a choice of either pay the material cost or pay with Con.


shallowsoul wrote:

I may go back to the old school way and just charge PC's a permanent 1 from their Con.

Edit: Better yet, I may give them a choice of either pay the material cost or pay with Con.

If you give the choice on a per raise dead basis, I can't imagine anyone choosing the con loss. Con is valued at 25k gold per point.

Silver Crusade

johnlocke90 wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

I may go back to the old school way and just charge PC's a permanent 1 from their Con.

Edit: Better yet, I may give them a choice of either pay the material cost or pay with Con.

If you give the choice on a per raise dead basic, I can't imagine anyone choosing the con loss. Con is valued at 25k gold per point.

If they were short on the funds or weren't able to leave the dungeon, area, etc to go and buy the material the PC could give up a Con point to come back.


I'm always up for options!

Sounds like a neat idea, shallowsoul.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tacticslion wrote:
Add that to the fact that the cleric might be able to raise dead at will (and people might be able to afford it), but cleric likely can't cast: raise dead and restoration and restoration... at least not in the quantity to cover everyone, because he's going to be needing twice as many forth level spells in that case, and he doesn't have them. But the idea that one can afford a raise dead just because one can make enough money doesn't really give the full picture. Disease is a thing and, presuming you can afford raise dead and periodic restorations as Diego noted above, than the big thing is really the current problems with poison, disease, and other ailments that are likely to come up within the course of a lifetime. And if those "don't exist because RAW", well, we've got bigger issues with world consistency and believability than free raise deads.

A human or dwarf 9th level NPC cleric almost certainly has three level 4th spells and 1 level 5 spell. Starting wisdom of 15, +2 for race, +1 for middle age give you a wisdom of 19 and 1 bonus 4th level spell.

Poison: generally if you don't have a cleric nearby he can't do nothing anyway to save your life. But he can raise you.

Disease: as pointed out in a recent post (this thread or another? unsure) a Doctor with a +8 skill bonus will give you a +4 bonus to your ST for 1 gp (his success would be almost automatic taking 10) and a vial of antiplague will allow you to make 2 ST for 50 gp.
A Cure disease will cost 150 gp and the caster will have to make a CL check to defeat the disease.
Assuming a commoner suffering from the bubonic plague (DC 17), with already 3 point of constitution damage and a starting constitution bonus of +0, 2 vials of antiplague and a doctor will cure you 33% of the time for 102 gp (and even 1 successful save will delay your death, allowing for further attempts).
The cleric will save you 40% of the time.
The big difference is that the cleric can cure some disease that can't be cured by mundane means, but that isn't the case for the common diseases.
Even better, for 1 gp the doctor can give you a +4 to your ST against less life threatening diseases, the cleric will ask 5 gp to cast resistance that will last 1 minute and wouldn't help against a disease.

Mundane means work better than magical ones against mundane diseases.

All the tirade about who will raise you or not? Irrelevant: the spellcasting available is the level of spells you can get in that location simply paying for them. In a standard magic world they are given as a assured thing in a town of that size for anyone with the cash, regardless of alignment or other factors.
Notice that we have witches in game now and they have raise dead on their lists, so we now have arcane spellcasters that can return people to life and don't need to appease their deity doing that.


But the witches treat it as a higher spell level, thus must be a higher level themselves. Thus it's still not that common.

Reference alignment/availability... you are correct, Diego! I had forgotten that this was change in PF from 3.5 (I still find those things every once in a while).

Which makes me wonder: with so many adventuring-powered clerics available, what're the PCs doing as heroes?

If there is literally that available anywhere... that logically follows that there's someone capable of that in any town that can and will deal with the PCs. If there is someone capable of that in any town that can and will deal with the PCs, then the PCs generally become irrelevant outside of the smallest of hamlets and thorps.

What this mostly boils down to, then, is a problem in the Core rules, and, as I said, the availability of the spell to NPCs.

One solution is, "it must cost money". Another solution is "lower the average NPC level". Either way it accomplishes the same thing: raise is substantially more rare.


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For a medieval society, roughly 90% of the population works in agriculture, which means a lot of people live outside of a town. If a town has 2,000 people, there are probably another 18,000 people living in the region, so that one 9th level cleric the cleric for all 20,000 of them. (For a town of 5,000 people, that's a total of 50,000 people).

If a cleric could cast the spell for free, they could raise 5% of the people who die on any given day. Of far greater impact is the 6th level paladin that takes the Diseased mercy, being able to attempt to cure 5-7 people every day. The majority of death is due to disease, so lower level healers that can prevent/remove disease will have a far greater impact on a magical society.

All that said, the rules should focus on making a fun GAME, not on modeling a realistic world. That way lies madness, because we don't even fully understand the one we live in, let alone have the ability to model it with a couple of dice.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Notice how I suppose that the cleric is at least middle aged. He can have a good range of spells available, but generally he has gained his level going by the steady, slow and safe way. He will not change that unless he was directly threatened and probably at that point he will discover that his normal allotment of spells don't help him, that his gold threaded chasuble can look great and even give him a bonus on impressing his parish but it don't stop sword blows and so on.

Being an adventurer is a mindset, not only access to some skill.

Being the world champion at clay pigeon shooting don't guarantee that you can will react the right way when someone try to mug you. Even having a black belt will not guarantee that if what you have ever done are formal tournaments, a guy with experience in street brawling can be more dangerous even if he has less formal training.

"Lower the average NPC levels" has his set of problems. If 3rd level characters are the best combatants of a whole nation how is that the nation was capable to survive till their arrival?
From where all the stuff come?
And so on at libitum.

But especially: you can want to tell a tale where the characters are the champions of a nation from their lowest levels, other people can have different tastes. We are trying to find a generalized solution, as it was pointed out several times, restricting or changing your world is easy.

Shadow Lodge

As Irontruth pointed out, we've already determined that while free (that is, 450gp casting cost only) Raise Dead would result in a noticable portion of the population returning from the dead, it certainly wouldn't end death forever. Even if we assume that "5th level spellcasting available" guarantees that the PCs will find someone willing to cast for them, it doesn't mean that a settlement of that size has an unlimited number of divine 5th level spell slots available for everyone with 450gp.

Diego Rossi wrote:

"Lower the average NPC levels" has his set of problems. If 3rd level characters are the best combatants of a whole nation how is that the nation was capable to survive till their arrival?

From where all the stuff come?

In my next campaign I'm opting for "lower the average NPC level," at least of sedentary NPCs. You can usually find a 5th level spellcaster around, and large cities will usually have 7th level casters heading up the local temple or wizard's academy, but to reliably get a Raise Dead (or Teleport, or Plane Shift) you have to go to a Metropolis. These mid-level NPCs are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their communities.

There are still a decent number of high-level NPC heroes, but they tend to be running around and dealing with the biggest threats they can deal with in the region - they're the emergency response teams. And while they're great for saving a town from an evil wizard, they aren't reliably around to resurrect little Timmy who got hit by a cart.

EDIT: Most magic items can be crafted by low to mid-level sedentary NPCs rather than high-level heroes, and nonconsumable items can stick around for a while and be passed down for generations, so taking the 9th level cleric out of the town doesn't mean the PCs can't find a staff or two and a +3 flaming burst sword in the dragon hoard.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
In a standard magic world they are given as a assured thing in a town of that size for anyone with the cash, regardless of alignment or other factors

I'm not sure this is supported by the rules. This is what the PRD says:

"Spellcasting: Unlike magic items, spellcasting for hire is listed separately from the town's base value, since spellcasting is limited by the level of the available spellcasters in town. This line lists the highest-level spell available for purchase from spellcasters in town. A town's base spellcasting level depends on its type."

I don't interpret this as an "assured thing for anyone with the cash", I interpret this as a general _upper_ limit. It does not say "all spells up to this level are available for anyone with the cash", it says "this line lists the highest-level spell available for purchase". So in a small town, the standard (according to my interpretation of the settlement section) is that there is at least _someone_ who can cast a 4th level spell and is willing to do so for money.

I can see interpreting it as "all spells of this level are available", but I can't see where you get "regardless of alignment or other factors" from.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because it don't list any limitation. You, as a GM , can add them when you detail your city, but there is no bias in the rules about "not raising evil people" as Tactilson suggested.
The evil but charming guys probably will be raised before the non evil village idiot.

The only limit that would probably be agreed upon in most game world is that outlaws will not normally raised from the dead.


But, Diego, a cleric has the very real advantage that they're not an NPC class. Adventuring may be a mindset, but there are classes that are built for adventuring and clerics are it. The idea that the guy is a cleric - one of the most potent spellcasters in PF - and he doesn't realize he needs armor (that he's trained with and gained proficiency) and weapons (that he's trained with and gained proficiency) is kind of silly. He might not want to go on adventures, but if the need is pressing... well, that's the basic idea behind every "everyman" story ever. It happens. And we know for a fact that there's plenty of adventuring gear in town. Adventurers can get anything they need 75% of the time.

Adepts are the (quasi-) divine spellcasters that aren't built for adventuring, and even they get a semi-decent weapon selection (all simple weapons). (Literally the Adept NPC class is there to provide the ability of spellcasting at a town. That is its reason for existing. And with PF crafting rules, that's really all that's needed to have access to any spell...)

What I said about evil v. non-evil, means simply this: people (and their gods) are going to be discerning, and ultimately there are going to be people behind the casting of the spell (unless you want to make a world where magic is just kind of a thing that, when you're in town, you offer up gold and poof, instant spell, which is really all that's required to go by RAW, and might make a neat campaign concept; it's not the intent or presumption behind the rules, though).

IF you accept that there would be limits, than, reasonably, there will be limits.
IF there is a society, there will be a society. Societies, of course, are made up of people, including the people responsible for casting the spells.

If the cleric of a given town is killed, has his soul sealed, and is then imprisoned (his body and his gem separately) by a band of adventurers, does that town magically spout out a new one because it's town size demands it?

The rules don't say what, precisely, is behind the spellcasting. It doesn't give limits. Similarly, however, it doesn't give limits to how much a person drinks (though it notes that the need to do so), so clearly PF must fall apart at the seams in making worlds, given that the rules don't apply reasonable limits.

Here's the deal: many people are suggesting alternate rules. And why not? I'm trying to give a suggestion about how to have a real, living, breathing world that has raise dead for free. I'm giving an alternate take. Instead of making it cost, reduce the number that can cast it.

There are lots of issues with any approach taken, but if you want a believable world with 'free' Rez, lowering the general level is another option. I'm not saying it's the only option, however.

EDIT: trading "seems" for "seams"; sigh, dyslexia, how you vex me.


How often do people die in games now? Does anyone have a stat, or maybe a guestimate? Is there an epidemic of repeat offendors?

Also are there tens of thousands of players abusing raise dead so vehemently that there is a sense that modern RPers don't give a care about their characters or the game? Is that the perception of modern gaming culture?

I don't have my finger on the pulse; I don't go to cons anymore, I only chat on ONE forum, and I only play w/a dozen gamers. In my limited field however these are not my perceptions. I don't believe but 2 character deaths have occured over the past 7 years and I don't know that my players even know or care about the consequences of Raise Dead.

Sorry if I'm speaking out of turn/frustrating the thread/stepping on any toes.


You're fine, Mark. Welcome!

It's a good question, and I think it varies highly from group to group.

I've found that there is a certain subculture that dislikes things that make the players too powerful... but then that line of "two powerful" blurs from person to person, so the membership of said subculture varies from day to day.

Two things I wanted to point out about Reincarnate (one of my personal favorite ways of raising dead): 1) not only can wish/miracle change you back to your original form, but (barring a bizarre reading of the rules) so can polymorph any object (which is nice as it's a level lower with no high material cost); 2) (something pointed out by others) it has a distinctive and long-term mechanical effect that alters the character in substantial physical ways, that are different from a 'character penalty' (as noted by others). That wasn't the most recent thread of conversation, but I'd wanted to mention it before, so, there we go. :)

Liberty's Edge

I also love reincarnate, but as others have pointed out, many prefer the level loss or penalty to the random change to character.

As to the multiple comments about my 30+ comment, I believe it has always had a lasting effect in all editions up to now. Correct me if I am wrong.

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