Making Death Scary Again


Advice

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With the ability to avoid death via Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection death is rarely permanent for members of an adventuring party and comes with little real penalty either.

Sure raise dead costs 5,000 gold and has two permanent negative levels. If you have access to Raise Dead you also have access to Restoration. Those negative levels are removed by 2 castings of Restoration and 2000 gp (and 8 days). So the price of death is 7000 gold.

But I don't like this system. I want something that makes death a bit more daunting and terrifying than just a gold sink. I also want it to be fair between martials and casters.

I've seen it suggested before that characters take a permanent (not in any way removable) penalty to con, reducing it by 1 for each death. But this penalizes melee characters more than anyone else as they are more likely to die (taking the hits all the time) and by reducing their con you make them even more likely to die.

And then there is a gold sink issue. With just gold you end up with disproportionate wealth between characters. In this game wealth is power, so I don't really care to create a wealth imbalance between characters. I also use Automatic Bonus Progression Rules to eliminate the Big Six, so it's not as bad. However the issue is still present.

What can be done to make a character death more terrifying without unfairly penalizing the characters that are more likely to die (melee).

I've thought about saying that you can only have Raised Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection used on you each 1 time. That way there is a hard limit on number of revivals. Though there is an increasing cost for each death that imbalances the wealth. Or possibly you can only be resurrected a number of times equal to your con modifier.

I've also considered maybe a method to encourage people to save others. For a party, having a party member die would impose a -1 penalty on all D20 rolls, all save DCs, and applies to all creatures control by the party (whether animal companions, familiar, summoned creatures, eidolons, phantoms, etc) whenever a PC character dies. The penalty would be removed when the character is revived from death. In the even that the character cannot be revived the penalty is removed upon a suitable period of time as determined by the GM (usually next level up or when a major accomplishment is achieved). This is a sort of 'Grieving Penalty'.

I'm open to ideas and thoughts on the subject.

Dark Archive

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I understand you want death to be more than a "gold sink" but with using the Automatic Bonus Progression rules in place, you should already be lowering the amount of wealth the players receive by 50%. Thus, the cost of the raise dead and resurrection is essentially double the normal price since the players don't have access to the funds a party using the standard rules would have. IMO, that is a significant detriment to the group. Further, at least this is how my group plays, the group sets aside an equal share of the treasure (i.e. 4 players = 5 shares) for a "party treasure" that is used to purchase items that beneficial to the entire group (i.e. wands of cure wounds, potions, scrolls with raise dead or resurrection, etc). So when the unfortunate happens, it costs the group and not just the individual. While probably not exactly what you're looking for but thought it was worth mentioning for consideration. :)

On a side thought, I think it would be kinda rude to force the character that died to pay the entire cost of being him back to life, especially in situations where it was the fighter stopping the charging barbarians from getting to the wizard or cleric, or the rogue taking a trap to the face that would have normally affecting everyone in the group. Work as a group of friends, die and live as a group of friends.

Just my thoughts :)


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I'm not convinced making death scary should be dependent on Martial vs Caster.
You imply that Martial characters are more likely to die. I think that's a problem of the power balance between Martials and Caster and has no place on the penalty of death.

Death penalties should not be a balancing factor of class. In the ideal system, both Martials and Casters are equally likely to die. Under this assumption, the death penalty should be equally taxing to both Martials and Casters.

Some may argue that the current Pathfinder system has an imbalance between Martials and Casters. Even if this is true, the imbalance should have no responsibility for determining the penalties associated with death. Fixing the imbalance between classes is the responsibility of the Class system, and the Death system should not be a part of it at all.


This type of thing would only work with a certain type of table.

With gold sinks, the parties I've been in have born that cost together, as much as possible, much like buying the fighter better armor with money from the haul before divying up the rest.

I think permanently handicapping a character would be a bit extreme, even with losing XP, you could gain it back, so I'd say a -1 to con would be a bad choice, because there is only so much you can get back.

I think the grieving penalty is a bit wonky, because characters would react differently, but I don't know how to fit that into it.

The limited number of resurections I could get behind, but it would have to be real clear from the start.


I'd probably just make a quest out of it. And a dangerous one at that. Perhaps mix this with the 1 resurrection rule you suggested. Could require a lot of skill, like talking the Grim reaper or a god out of allowing them to come back, and add a cost to it. Flavorful cost of course.


You can add additional (non-monetary) costs to the casting of death-reversing spells--items for which the group either has to undertake a quest to find (phoenix feathers or essence of an elder elemental) or things that can be found only through morally shady means (angel blood that an evil faith is willing to part with, or that not-quite-trustworthy trader who can score unicorn horn in exchange for a future favor). This can make bringing a character back to life an adventure in itself (making it less a speedbump and more of a hurdle), but it could also mean the player needing to be revived is playing an NPC for a while till his character is back up and at 'em.

Or it could be particularly risky for both the revived and/or the caster to bring souls back from the dead. There was a random effect chart around here somewhere(in homebrew I believe) for character's coming back from the dead--anything from becoming albino to gaining negative energy affinity to possibly pulling something from the beyond with you (roll for initiative!) If even the caster could risk drawbacks from the spell, they might be more averse to giving them out like candy.
Actually, you might even turn these spells into occult rituals (see Occult Adventures) so they are much more difficult without multiple people, always have a backlash and are much worse if they fail.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Just spitballing here, but what about this two-step plan?

1) Remove all forms of dead-raising magic. It's simply not a thing.

2) Remove all the save-or-die effects (and similar) that can cause a sudden and pointless death that you would really want to reverse. That is, make it so death is a result of things going sour for longer than one or two d20 rolls.

This way, death is permanent (and therefore serious), but it's also sort of "justified" when a character does die.


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This is problematic. I'm not sure there is a good all purpose solution.

Be careful of going overboard with penalties. If you make recovery from death, or the associated penalties, too onerous or permanent you risk players giving up on an impaired character. You then get the 'insta-buddy' dilemma of introducing a new PC.

Penalising other players for the death of another is a little heavy handed and I can see that causing bad feeling.

Adding side quests to make recovery more of a big deal often leaves the dead characters player excluded and that is rarely a good thing.

You could make the negative levels stick around longer/be harder to remove. But too many penalties mean more likelihood of failure thus more penalties spiralling out of control.

Personally, I'd prefer maintaining the status quo, even if that is trivialising death a little, to the disruption of introducing a new PC. It keeps the narrative more intact.

For balance between martials/casters maybe -1 primary caster stat instead of -1 con for 9 level casters. (the emotional trauma exceeds the physical trauma by those who channel the most powerful of magics, maybe)

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ideas for scarier death.
% chance it doesnt work. Start at 25 and add 10 per resurection.

Chance to comeback different. Secretly Curse, madness, possessed. Uncurable until triggered.

Chance for the caster to be harmed. Losing limbs, death, neg levels, madness, cursed...

Future healing magic is less effective. Reduce caster level of healing effects by 1 per resurection. Making low level cure wands useless and some high level spells not work immedietly.

death in some areas are perminate. Other planes, occult sites.

Plan for monsters to eat bodies, perform coup de grace, use death effects


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Make raising an ordeal.

Make Raise Dead the only available raise, make it a 9th level spell, have it cost as much as True Resurrection, and stack you with permanent negative levels equal to your level -1.

Alternatively, make it a quest. Literally. Remove resurrection options from players. Have the dead player play a pseudo-ghost/shade of their character (1/2 total HP, can't be healed, dissipates if at 0 HP, comes back the next day?) If you're a low level, have it so you need to quest to find someone who has access and is willing to restore your character. At mid-levels, hunt down artifacts that would let you perform an occult resurrection ritual, then fight off the accompanying undead. If you're a high-level, go track down the demons who have stolen the soul and beat it out of them.


10% of the XP you had when you died. No level loss, just a later levelupping.

P.S.
@ martial vs. caster:
I have the experience that the casters die more often then the martials when you are fighting intelligent opponents.


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Just throwing this out there: Remove all material costs from rez spells, require instead blood sacrifice. Possibly hd in sentient sacrifice, maybe it's free then the character must sacrifice hd in sentients within one month. This seems evil (mostly it is) but they could be creatures they were going to kill in any case.

Alternatively keep rez spells as they are, but when used the character in question has a debate with the master of the realm which he resides (most likely his god, but if he/she doesn't worship a god could be whatever). Now a god (or whatever) is more powerful than petty mortal magics, and yes they will allow a soul out of their keeping. However you owe the deity a number of services equal to your hd at time of revival. If you use resurrection half your hd in services or if true resurrection a quarter your hd in services (the higher the material cost the more mollified the deity is, and requests less of you). These services may or may not be specified before rez, and may or may not be time sensitive. They may be large or small, but whatever the case yes you have been brought back, but a part of you is owned now, and if you don't tow the line, you are immediately brought back (though legitimate faliure may be forgiven - at the cost of more debt -).

Hmm, actually I think I'll use that second one, it reminds me of sponsored magic in Dresden files.


I like the routes that My Self and Hogeyhead are taking.

What if the cost of raising someone from the dead is more expensive than mere gold, time, and spell slots, or even simple bartering. Messing with bringing back the dead risks repercussions for reality. You might open a rift to another plane. Or accidently bring back the wrong soul (the repercussions of bringing back an anti-paladin speak for themselves.) Or you could just cause some future misfortune to balance things out.

Something Like:

The likelihood of an Unraveling is equal to 28% - (3% * Spell Level). The effective level of the spell, for his purpose, can be increased by 1 with a successful DC 30 Spellcraft check.

Result of an Unraveling (d20):
1-10: The next encounter of APL +1 or greater that the PCs face, each enemy is granted a "hero point." 'Cause balance to the world.
11-15: An indifferent, unfamiliar NPC soul with a level equal to the spell level is called back instead of the intended PC. The mix-up is immediately apparent.
16: A hostile NPC soul with a level equal to the PC's is called back instead of the intended PC. The mix-up is immediately apparent.
17-18: The spell fails, and 1d4 hostile Summon Monster (#) spells activated, using the caster's level. The level of the summon monster is dependent upon the spell level of the spell cast. Banishment, Protection from Evil, and similar abilities have only a 50% chance dispel the summons.
19: The spell succeeds, but a powerful (Resurrected PC Character level + 3) hostile outsider is summoned 1d4x10 miles away in a random direction. This functions as Greater Planar Binding, except that there is no limit on the HD, and the Magic Circle automatically fails. The outsider remains on the plane for 1 day per a caster level.
20: The spell succeeds, but is delayed by one minute. In the mean time, reality collapses around the caster, as portable holes inside of bags of holding appear at a rate of 1 per a round in a random direction from the caster at a distance of 1d6x10 feet. During this time, the caster can end this effect by calling off the spell as a full-round action, or can maintain the spell as a full-round action. All components of the spell are used up during this process.

Both the percent chance for Unraveling and the effect are rolled in secret.

Guru-Mediation: that sort of cruelty will get your PCs to come after you with torches and pitchforks. XP loss just gets ugly; there are reasons it didn't transfer to Pathfinder.


Make it so they owe a quest for the Deity/Power that granted the raising. This way the dead person gets raised faster and can be a part of the game still but now they have to put on hold their plans and serve a quest for gratitude for the raising.


I think my biggest problem is that if you create too big a barrier to resurrection then you simply have a revolving door of heroes as one dies and another fills its place, often unceremoniously and often without much care for the departed character.

Because if you make the penalties to large a player would often rather play a new character than be gimped in comparison to everyone else. (Which is valid, it's not fun to be the sidekick).

And if you don't like the revolving door, then the only other option is telling a player they're out of the campaign if their character dies. I think that is obviously a bad solution.

But the opposite problem (and what we have now) is that character death is trivial and represents only a slight gold loss. One that theoretically should be made up for over the lifetime of the character or should be taken from party loot.

I want something in the middle. Something where people will want to hang onto their character (not becoming the sidekick) but where it isn't trivial to bring them back (not merely a matter of gold which is inconsequential in the long run).

That's why I considered the penalty to the party, because it should help to motivate them as a team to protect and care for one another.

Perhaps that coupled with a mission for the party to get the McGuffin to raise the party. No longer a gold cost, but a quest. And combine it perhaps with a individual session for the player of the dead character that represents their "fight back to life" that way they don't just get left out of a session with nothing to make up for it.

Edit: I also like the idea of contracts with Heaven or Hell (from whatever deity) that you will do something specifically for them in response for their intervening with mortal fate.


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The contract I believe is the better form of the "Quest for the raise" cause then the guy who died isn't out of a quest cause his guy is dead.

Joe: "Hey are we meeting up tonight?"
Bob: "Yeah Joe, we're doing the quest to get the priest to raise your guy from the dead!"
Joe: "Okay, let me know how it goes and I'll see you next time. You don't need me there since I'm just dead weight right now."


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Death not being scary isn't a problem that can be solved by houserules, because it all depends on the attitude of the players. If there's a heavy penalty to dying, some players will just create a brand new character and effectively suffer no penalty at all, while players who care deeply about their characters will suffer. On the flip side, even if there's very little penalty at all, players who care about their characters will still try hard to avoid dying, while uncaring players will continue not caring. It's up to you to screen your players and decide whether or not their attitudes and gaming philosophies match up with your own so you all can have fun.

TL;DR: You can't change your players' attitudes.


In my campaigns, spellcasting isn't just available for hire. Gaining access to a high level member of the church to cast Raise Dead would require a party member to be the next tier down in the church's hierarchy or to have done domething particularly notable for the church or an allied organisation e.g. The local count might ask the city's priest for aid if the count is indebted to the PC in question.

I've found that using organisations in this way makes the players more involved in the wider campaign world.

Also, it isn't just the melee characters at risk of death. I try to play different creatures differently. An intelligent creature is likely to be able to assess if a group of adventurers contains a wizard or sorcerer and whether they are a newbie or an experienced spellcaster. If they're facing an experienced spellcaster, they may well try and take them out first. An animal, or low intelligence creature is likely to target the biggest physical threat first. An ambush predator, is likely to take out the smallest and weakest looking etc.

Liberty's Edge

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Look at MMOs where they used to have severe death penalties and now they have almost no death penalties. Face it: death penalties are no fun. I realize that some people are stuck in the past but the future is basically no death penalties at all. People play games to have fun, not to agonize over being dead, with the possible exception of some white wolf vampire players.


Claxon wrote:

I think my biggest problem is that if you create too big a barrier to resurrection then you simply have a revolving door of heroes as one dies and another fills its place, often unceremoniously and often without much care for the departed character.

Because if you make the penalties to large a player would often rather play a new character than be gimped in comparison to everyone else. (Which is valid, it's not fun to be the sidekick).

And if you don't like the revolving door, then the only other option is telling a player they're out of the campaign if their character dies. I think that is obviously a bad solution.

Well the other classical approach is to bring in new characters at the same or even greater penalty, usually in level, from a level below the dead one to everyone starts at 1st level, no matter what.

Not really my thing, but some people swear by it.


thejeff wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I think my biggest problem is that if you create too big a barrier to resurrection then you simply have a revolving door of heroes as one dies and another fills its place, often unceremoniously and often without much care for the departed character.

Because if you make the penalties to large a player would often rather play a new character than be gimped in comparison to everyone else. (Which is valid, it's not fun to be the sidekick).

And if you don't like the revolving door, then the only other option is telling a player they're out of the campaign if their character dies. I think that is obviously a bad solution.

Well the other classical approach is to bring in new characters at the same or even greater penalty, usually in level, from a level below the dead one to everyone starts at 1st level, no matter what.

Not really my thing, but some people swear by it.

Yeah, not my cup of tea either. I want everyone to roughly be on the same power level. Having players a level down doesn't work well with my concept of getting rid of XP and having everyone level at major plot points. There also isn't a way for players to catch up since everyone else would be earning the same amount of XP.


Claxon wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I think my biggest problem is that if you create too big a barrier to resurrection then you simply have a revolving door of heroes as one dies and another fills its place, often unceremoniously and often without much care for the departed character.

Because if you make the penalties to large a player would often rather play a new character than be gimped in comparison to everyone else. (Which is valid, it's not fun to be the sidekick).

And if you don't like the revolving door, then the only other option is telling a player they're out of the campaign if their character dies. I think that is obviously a bad solution.

Well the other classical approach is to bring in new characters at the same or even greater penalty, usually in level, from a level below the dead one to everyone starts at 1st level, no matter what.

Not really my thing, but some people swear by it.

Yeah, not my cup of tea either. I want everyone to roughly be on the same power level. Having players a level down doesn't work well with my concept of getting rid of XP and having everyone level at major plot points. There also isn't a way for players to catch up since everyone else would be earning the same amount of XP.

Well, you don't "catch up", but you do come close in level. If you're a level down, you'll stay a level down, most of the time. In the extreme case though, even if you start at 1st while everyone else just hit 10th - they'll still be 11th when you hit 10th. Assuming you survive. Which you won't.


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Random idea that struck me upon reading this thread:

Every time you die and come back, the GM picks a new flaw (with no offsetting trait) for you based on the circumstances of your death.

Killed by a fireball? Now you have the "Burned" drawback. Etc.

That way you get an annoying mechanical drawback to getting killed that's probably not going to be big enough to drive you to a new character, and it's also tied into the ongoing narrative.

Silver Crusade

What I've been leaning towards is a sort of super-permanent negative level penalty. Bear with me here:

Raise Dead etc. take 24hr to cast, but have no material component. A caster can only cast one each of Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection each week. The penalties from negative levels are removed at a rate of 1/week, but the negative levels remain. This can affect when you die from future negative levels such as from Enervation. If you have negative levels equal to your HD you can't be raised, but while dead you recover from 1 permanent negative level every year, and temporary negative levels are removed at their normal rate.

The intended effect is largely a time sink. When someone dies, the party must go into downtime to recover. During this time the machinations of the world continue around them, possibly causing them to fail at time sensitive tasks. If they wish to recruit a new party member it takes at least a week. In addition, if you die too many times, you will be locked out of life for a year, and thereafter will require something more potent than Raise Dead. This makes pushing forward with a smaller party or not-yet-recovered resurrected members dangerous.

Note that this only works if your players care about the plot/world. I try to make it a point to only play with such players, but I realize it isn't true for everyone.


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I'm not sure about that one, or if it is really going to affect the gameplay the way you want it to.

I feel like if my characters care about the plot, time sensitive events, etc., the last thing I want to do is force downtime on them. If I'm already trying to create a tight narrative event with players racing against time or whatever, deaths even using the normal rules already kind of spoil that tension, and it seems like adding extra downtime from deaths on top of that would lead to a feeling of 'we've already failed, might as well give up' as soon as someone drops.

Or they decide the downtime is too punishing narratively, and push on without the dead guy, meaning you have the age-old 'player with nothing to do while everyone else has fun' issue.


In the end it is just about concept.

You can decide that in your world/plane/whatever, resurrection spells are the stuff of legends, only capable to the greater divine powers or through powerful artifacts. You could even write whole adventures around acquiring this kind of power to get back a chesired character or important npc.

This way, the pc's will try to play more safe and calculate their movements more carefully, and when death unfortunetly gets them, it will definitely have more impact.


Ian Bell wrote:

I'm not sure about that one, or if it is really going to affect the gameplay the way you want it to.

I feel like if my characters care about the plot, time sensitive events, etc., the last thing I want to do is force downtime on them. If I'm already trying to create a tight narrative event with players racing against time or whatever, deaths even using the normal rules already kind of spoil that tension, and it seems like adding extra downtime from deaths on top of that would lead to a feeling of 'we've already failed, might as well give up' as soon as someone drops.

Or they decide the downtime is too punishing narratively, and push on without the dead guy, meaning you have the age-old 'player with nothing to do while everyone else has fun' issue.

And/or the push on with weakened party leading to TPK and campaign end issue.

Even beyond that, at the higher levels death and resurrection really are intended parts of the game. There are way too many SoD type effects, included area effect ones. People will roll low saves, even if they've got them up to reasonable levels. Even careful play can only minimize your chances, not guarantee survival.


Maybe you could come up with a system where each spell has a % chance to fail and if it does fail the character is permanently dead? So yeah someone could try to resurrect you but there's a chance it won't work and if it doesn't you're toast. There could be a bonus based on the character's con bonus or maybe even character level that modifies the rol to determine success. And every time they were successfully resurrected, the chance to fail next time becomes greater, so it's a gamble.

Silver Crusade

You could probably adopt a current favorite concept in other RPGs: failing forward. So a character dies. It's not that bringing them back is hard, it's more just there tend to be... unwanted consequences. Anonymous Warrior touched on this with his d20 roll chart, but I think I would specifically make it affect the world at large, and avoid affecting the character/party specifically.


One of my gms basically made raising contigent on negotiating a service for the god of the dead a-la planar binding.

You get to raise, but then they have to side track their plans/adventure to do some no reward adventuring.


Could play e6/e8. Raise dead doesn't come around until 9th, and the only other source of coming back to life at those levels is reincarnate (which is pretty unreliable).


"Make Death Scary Again" Donald?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In a home campaign of Rise of the Runelords we lost two characters in the Fortress of the Stone Giants. Given that it was a huge rp moment as the (previously somewhat unstable and definitely selfish to a 'T') as the draconic sorcerer discovered that yes, she *did* value these people as not only her traveling companions but also as part of 'her' people, she called on a representative of the deity that one of the fallen heroes followed (the other one was atheist until that point) and was given two things she had to do in order for her friends to be brought back to life.

1. She'd have to word a Wish to capture both the spirit and the letter of bringing the two back (a previous experience with Wish in the campaign nearly resulted in the party slaughtering itself to prevent the using of such a device...). Which she did with MUCH trepidation.

2. She'd have to seek Atonementfor the exceptionally selfish deeds that in part were responsible for the deaths of her two comrades within one moon, or her comrades would revert to their 'dead' state.

As part of her Atonementshe gave up her favored weapon (which was woefully obsolete but mechanically was worth about three times what the Atonement required financially in sacrifice).

It was a very scary experience and full of rp.


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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
"Make Death Scary Again" Donald?

Jawohl! Wir werden den Tod wieder angsteinflößend machen!

Fürchtet euch!


Ricardo Bolas wrote:
Could play e6/e8. Raise dead doesn't come around until 9th, and the only other source of coming back to life at those levels is reincarnate (which is pretty unreliable).

Reincarnate isn't unreliable at all. You have a better chance of getting a physical stat boost than any kind of penalty, along with a slew of powerful racial features.

Bugbear are the best, with +4 Str +2 Dex +2 Con, 3 natural armor, +4 Intimidate +4 Stealth, Darkvision and Scent, Perception and Stealth as class skills. Plop on a hat of disguise if you're worried about appearences, and you're better than ever.


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How about a yin and yang solution. PC gets brought back but an enemy killed by the group in the past also gets brought back to make it happen. The group doesn't know who, but that enemy obviously has an axe to grind and will hunt the party for revenge. And if the party has several PCs that have had to be brought back, the enemies might even gang up on them.


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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
"Make Death Scary Again" Donald?

So about death, and by the way I love death; nobody does death like we do, and it's terrible the way that death has been treated these last eight years. I tell you what I'd do, I'd cause alot of death, so much death, death for everybody, and my opponents, they don't even know what death is. Do you think they can bring death with those tiny hands of theirs, no they can't. I know death, I've been bringing death for so long it's not even funny. You hear those people on the other side saying "death isn't scary", well I tell you what, we're going to make it scary again. Are you with me?

Sovereign Court

Mekia6k wrote:
How about a yin and yang solution. PC gets brought back but an enemy killed by the group in the past also gets brought back to make it happen. The group doesn't know who, but that enemy obviously has an axe to grind and will hunt the party for revenge. And if the party has several PCs that have had to be brought back, the enemies might even gang up on them.

This one I like.

It definitely makes it so that raising doesn't feel "free", but you don't throw off the power levels between PCs so much.


How about: The spells that undo death work normally, but now the party has earned the ire of creatures who make it their business to make sure that nobody can ever profit from a reversal of bad fortune: Psychopomps of all types and eventually Marut and possibly Zelekhut (if the PC was sentenced to death) Inevitables. Even if you serve Pharasma or otherwise get approval for the restoration of life, some of the Psychopomps don't get the message (they aren't Lawful, after all), and the Inevitables just don't care (they are Terminators) . . . .


You could have a life cost a life. So to raise someone from the dead, you need to kill someone. If you're lucky, you might find a willing person or someone suffering from a horrible contagious zombie disease. If you're not... Well, your party needs to decide: Is someone else's life worth more/less than your friend's life?


Be prepared to just cut the campaign short if too many go down? Like in a Kingmaker game here, in the very first battle two PCs got oneshotted, one captured and one fled. So yep, end it there. Freshe xplorers? Sorry, Oleg's got burned down in retribution and they got staked out as a warning.

/fedora


Seen all of these:

Limit the number of times a character can be resurrected (probably the most common, depending upon where the bar is set).

Make them 'trade' with the priest of the god for the raising (probably the best but requires a role-playing solution).

Make the character 'trade' a life for a life (not good for good pcs, and penalises them against evil ones so depends on the sort of game you want to play).

The best way in the games I run? Make magic rare and the sort of priests who can return a person to life even rarer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:

Just spitballing here, but what about this two-step plan?

1) Remove all forms of dead-raising magic. It's simply not a thing.

No need to look further than that imo.


I guess one question..how do most tables actually respond to death once the raise deads start flying around? Is this an actual thing that happens? I only ask because I've yet to really do any adventuring in the heady realm of 9th level.

That said ... again, things are essentially a balancing act. You want death to be a significant thing (because, you know, DEATH), but not enough to outright derail things. As someone who was in that position once, it's really not fun to be literal dead weight.

If it's getting out of hand, I'd link it to some sort of geas or quest after resurrection. That seems the most thematic, and the most likely to actually fit into the setting itself. 'The Dawnflower did a solid for you. Time to pay up.'

As far as these solutions being RP related ... YES THEY ARE. The initial problem is roleplay related (maybe): the idea of someone not caring about their own death. Game mechanics can only go so far if the root issue is a player's perception and roleplay.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you make death too bad, and new characters too much worse, then people will play strategically and tactically. "We fought one monster, let's rest, get our spells back, cast every buff and then try the next" level tactics. If you're playing ultra-gritty realism this is great. If you're playing heroic or swashbuckler it's terrible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If antagonist NPCs are under the same restriction, I'm okay with death penalties.

If PCs struggle with death while the main antagonists treat death like a revolving door, I flip tables.


KestrelZ wrote:

If antagonist NPCs are under the same restriction, I'm okay with death penalties.

If PCs struggle with death while the main antagonists treat death like a revolving door, I flip tables.

I never have NPCs come back, unless an AP has it written in for them to come back (which I don't think any do).

So far I'm think the ideas I like best are the contact with a powerful outsider or the yin-yang effect where an enemy NPC comes back if a PC comes back.

Could make it very interesting either way.

Keep it coming, I love all these ideas.


You could have the material components become more and more rare.


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Raise Dead is pretty predictable. Reincarnate is not. You could replace Raise Dead and Resurrection with Reincarnate in class spell lists. You can get your character back, but you might need to find a new mini...

It might be worth keeping more "usual" methods of raising the dead open via quests (as mentioned above), but remove the no-risk, low-cost options.

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