Assasination and Raise Dead


General Discussion

1 to 50 of 53 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Hi everyone.

As part of designing a world heavy with intrigue, I wanted to get some opinions on the Setting wide consequences of the Raise Dead spell, in particular when it come to targeted assassination.

In fiction (and to some degree in reality too), assassins tend to prefer using subtle and discrete methods to kill their target, sometimes making it look like an accident. Sniper rifles, stabbing, poison, accidents, they enable to commit the deed and avoid alerting every cop and bodyguard in a 10 mile radius of the assassin's presence.

The problem comes with this fact: Raise Dead costs 5000 credits + dealer markup to make happen and pretty much anyone worth sending an assassin after will easily have the financial means or backers to guarantee they'll be back up the very next day unless steps are taken to make sure the body is too damaged or impossible to recover.

In fantasy settings, casters able to do this were too rare and far most settings so murdered kings/lords... could still stay dead. However, in a future setting where Abadar Corp probably offers literal life insurance and every major faction, mafia and government probably has their own pet high level mystics to raise their VIPs/leaders/key witnesses back from the dead how can an honest Red Mantis assassin perform their deadly trade and ensure the target stays dead ?

As mentioned before, the traditional methods tend to leave a fairly intact corpse so that's not really an option. So how do you figure assassins work in Starfinder ? Do they use heavy weapons that turn the target into a red stain ? Do aircar bomb suddenly become popular ? Does the business resort to kidnap and kill ?


The "arms race" between assassins and mystics would probably result in the development of stuff like poisons that sever the soul from the body, darts filled with Xenomorph acid that liquefy the target's insides beyond the ability of Raise Dead to repair (it's not True Resurrection after all), telefrag weapons that send the target's head somewhere different than its body, and so on.


Raise Dead is an issue for the targets who can afford it, though that will not cover everyone - not everyone who wants someone else dead is dealing with the rich and powerful, because sometimes people are just petty and vicious and are willing to pay to make sure other people aren't around anymore. And even if power is involved at one end, maybe they just want to make nosy low level employees disappear after reading a little too much about certain projects...

Raise Dead's weaknesses are primarily time and trauma, and if you can secure the body then it's easy to exploit those; ideal no-revival kills may look like kidnappings or disappearances as a result. It's more complicated if you can't, though, and it raises the question of just how much damage weapons actually do, and how much has to be done to prevent a revival. Unfortunately, there aren't any rules to cover that, nor for exciting science fantasy tech like proper explosive ammunition on this scale, so it's a bit hazy... sufficient mutilation is more or less purely GM fiat. High-end sniper rifles might be adequate, but they may not. Heavy weapons aren't guaranteed within the rules, nor are explosives, but they may see some use for jobs where subtlety is not required.

However, as much of an issue as Raise Dead can be, Reincarnate is potentially a bigger one. It's a cheaper, lower level spell that only needs a piece of the corpse rather than a mostly intact body. Not everyone is going to be on-board with coming back as something else when selecting resurrection packages for their life insurance policy, but those that are may be even more annoying to permanently kill than their richer - or just more conventional - counterparts. And even if Reincarnate isn't considered, how much of the body can you restore with prosthetics before revival in the magical science fantasy future? If you have the means, could you stick a cloned head on a decapitated body and revive them then?

I see two basic options for no-revival kills. Either it looks a bit like a kidnapping because you're securing and disposing of the body directly, or you start having to consider things like explosives or heavy weapons to ensure sufficiently massive trauma. Disintegrating weapons may also get involved, for those who have access to them.

No-revival assassinations would probably either be very clean, or very, very messy.


Honestly, although it may suck for players, I'd also adjust the cost of raise dead to be dependent on the target (kinda like an item of their level or something). It's more expensive to raise a powerful overlord than it would be to raise a peasant.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The presence of such magic would indeed influence assassination techniques. My guess is that criminals/assassins would put more effort into getting rid of bodies. With space travel being a common mode of transportation, destroying a starship during travel is one option, as is dumping a body in space, or launching one at a star or black hole. Where there's a will there's the cold uncaring vacuum of space.


I would consider adding in a few conditions to raise dead - such as, the decedent must have their head for raise dead to work, or some other "key" part of their body. Assassins specialize in killing AND removing said body part. Fuzzypaws has some good suggestions in this regard - a clearly understood rule that Raise Dead doesn't work if the damage reaches a certain point.

This also puts a lot of emphasis on Resurrection or True Resurrection. That's great in my mind. But if those are becoming a bit too potent, you can also have a rule that those must be performed in very holy sites (many of which disappeared with Golarian). As such, it's not simply having a mystic walk into the board room - the company must finance an expedition to Planet X to get their president back. And they may not want to. And their enemies may be waiting along the way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Pathfinder novel "Death's Heretic" introduced an interesting scenario that got around the assassin/resurrection problem in a different way: a wealthy merchant was murdered, and had made a prior deal with the Church of Pharasma to be raised if he met a suspicious death... but resurrections failed because his soul was missing. The protagonist had to solve not just a murder, but also a soul theft.

I won't spoil the end (it is a great story), but suffice to say, a knowledge of magic and inter-planar politics would be a requirement for any high-end assassin that wants to ensure their targets stay dead for good.


Immediately following up a murder with necromancy performed on the corpse would also ensure they couldn't be raised.

Not only did you eliminate your business rival, but you get mindless servant as an added bonus!


There are two much more basic barriers to raising someone from the dead: there is a specific time window, and their soul has to be willing to return.

The first barrier is probably the surer one. If you're murdering someone, make sure to drop them down a deep dark hole wherein their body will not be found for more than a week, or much longer. Or just dissolve the remains in an acid bath or something or blow them up so definitively that there are no physical remains left to work on. There are any number of ways that one might do this.

Once that first hurdle is cleared, a lot of people might assume they would meet the second condition when making "arrangements" to be posthumously raised, but being a soul on the other side -- freed from worldly cares and offered the "opportunity" to come back in a reduced version of their own body, or worse a completely different body -- the picture could look a lot different. The spell might require active negotiation with the departed soul, and possibly the fulfilment of some unanticipated precondition. This is a very likely barrier to there being an "industry" in raising the dead, is that the dead mostly aren't heroes who urgently need to get back out there or Vecna will take over the galaxy. The outlay of time and money will be fruitless more often than not.

I think you can pretty safely assume that Reincarnate and Raise Dead are both spells for the most extraordinary situations and people, and even then it's so easy for things to go wrong that it can never be considered routine (unless you want it to be so in your campaign). Even if it's a PC you're raising, "the target’s soul must be free and willing to return" could easily still be the stuff of an entire mini-quest in itself.


CeeJay wrote:
freed from worldly cares and offered the "opportunity" to come back in a reduced version of their own body, or worse a completely different body -- the picture could look a lot different.

This is a big one. The only people who would probably be willing to return are:

1) Heroes that have some unfinished business to fulfill (i.e. PCs, of which there are only 4 or so in the galaxy)
2) Evil people that are destined for a pretty unpleasant afterlife.

I don't think most good or Neutral non-heroic types would even consider coming back from the dead.


*cough* If there are only 4 heroes in the galaxy, than you are running a rather sad galaxy.

More generally, 'unfinished business' is not going to be *that* rare a thing. Its not going to be the norm, but so long as people die suddenly and unexpectedly, there will be people who desperately want to see their family again.

( That said, I could easily see some form of 'Last Rites' spell, which is basically "Very temporary, possibly intangible only, revival, to allow for the deceased to say their goodbyes and make necessary arrangements". Sort of a buffed up Speak With Dead, more than a lesser Raise Dead. )


A non-exhaustive list of people who would probably want to come back from the dead:
Anyone who loves money, and thinks they can make some more money.

Anyone with a Big Important Project that they only need one more year to complete (ever watch The Wire? Frank Sobotka would totally come back.)

Anyone who wanted a position of power, because of the power.

Anyone who wants revenge on their killer, or their loved one’s killer. Or both.

Someone who died trying to rescue or find a loved one (have we watched The Expanse? Go watch the Expanse because it’s awesome, but also Prax Meng would totally come back if he died.)

Really, anyone with a goal, nefarious or virtuous, that they felt was more important than their life/death would probably want to come back.

Hell, I’d come back just to mess with people.


an scroll (spell gem in SF) of Animate dead has always been the best way to deal with Raise Dead for an assasin. Turn the corpse into a zombie.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Metaphysician wrote:

*cough* If there are only 4 heroes in the galaxy, than you are running a rather sad galaxy.

More generally, 'unfinished business' is not going to be *that* rare a thing. Its not going to be the norm, but so long as people die suddenly and unexpectedly, there will be people who desperately want to see their family again.

This is about to get more into philosophy that gaming, but I feel I must address this.

I think you and Pants are both underestimating the allure of Eternal Bliss. A Good person that dies with the option of returning has to choose between

A) A never-ending afterlife where all of their needs are met and they will suffer again, and might even get to see their long lost loved ones (depending on their alignment, and how a GM interprets afterlife memory). Perhaps most importantly, they will not have to go through the pain of dying again.

and

B) Return to a life where they feel pain, hunger, and illness, and they will have to work to provide for themselves. If they were murderer once, they will be at risk for being murdered again. Most importantly, they would be returning to a life that is at best postponing the Eternal Bliss that's waiting for them, and at worst, giving them a chance to morally screw up and lose it.

I don't see how most Earthly concerns would even be considered for most people. Why be concerned about amassing wealth or power when you could no longer need them? Why would you return to life to get revenge for your lover's death when you could choose to be with your lover, forever, right now? Only things of galaxy-shattering consequence (in other words, being in a Starfinder campaign) would be enough to make a Good person want to come back; situations where, if they stayed dead, tremendous evil would be unleashed, the galaxy would blow up, etc.

Evil souls, on the other hand... yeah, they have every reason to want to return to life ASAP, and they will probably have 2 or 3 contingency plans in place to make sure they are dead for as little time as possible.


Metaphysician wrote:
*cough* If there are only 4 heroes in the galaxy, than you are running a rather sad galaxy.

There don't have be only four, but it's doubtful there would be enough to make raising the dead routine enough to cripple assassination as a profession. That would cheapen heroism and also raise serious questions about where all these Operatives are coming from. Heroes who have the kind of work that requires coming back from the dead should certainly be rare.

(Leastways I tend to prefer settings where that's the case. Of course it's so common for D&D-style settings to be the opposite that Tomb of Annihilation's Death Curse uses it as a central device, personally I don't have a taste for that.)

Quote:
More generally, 'unfinished business' is not going to be *that* rare a thing.

Unfinished business that actually motivates souls to want to "grunt and sweat under a weary life" after tasting the other side very easily could be. Big Lemon has covered that topic quite ably, and I agree with him.

Quote:
Its not going to be the norm, but so long as people die suddenly and unexpectedly, there will be people who desperately want to see their family again.

Well there is a big part for this in Starfinder; it's part of what fuels the temptation toward undeath, for instance. Eox feeds on it. But that doesn't mean that raising the dead will be routine. Heck, at least the undead get to be immune to a bunch of things, like normal diseases.

Quote:
( That said, I could easily see some form of 'Last Rites' spell, which is basically "Very temporary, possibly intangible only, revival, to allow for the deceased to say their goodbyes and make necessary arrangements". Sort of a buffed up Speak With Dead, more than a lesser Raise Dead. )

Mystics and priests of Pharasma who specialize in communing with and through the Boneyard would make sense. There are whole real religions and occult practices based on this premise and would scratch the itch in a setting with real results without having to clear the far higher hurdle of raising or reincarnating someone.


Big Lemon wrote:

Immediately following up a murder with necromancy performed on the corpse would also ensure they couldn't be raised.

Not only did you eliminate your business rival, but you get mindless servant as an added bonus!

in a pathfinder pirate game, we'd kill em, put em in a coffin, animate them, and then bury at sea (or bury the animate skeleton on an island.

so raising or using higher magics was quite difficult.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Big Lemon wrote:
CeeJay wrote:
freed from worldly cares and offered the "opportunity" to come back in a reduced version of their own body, or worse a completely different body -- the picture could look a lot different.

This is a big one. The only people who would probably be willing to return are:

1) Heroes that have some unfinished business to fulfill (i.e. PCs, of which there are only 4 or so in the galaxy)
2) Evil people that are destined for a pretty unpleasant afterlife.

I don't think most good or Neutral non-heroic types would even consider coming back from the dead.

I can think of a 3rd type: A murdered person who could identify his or her killer if brought back. So an additional measure that an assassin needs to take is to ensure that the victim does not learn anything useful to the future murder investigation before their death.


I think most people would rather follow Altered Carbon and try to raise from the dead as much as they can, if given the oportunity.

People try to achieve inmortality, and they don't ussually suicide just because they made a Contact with Other Plane and know heaven is real.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
I think most people would rather follow Altered Carbon and try to raise from the dead as much as they can, if given the oportunity.

I think most people think they would. But trying to avert or cheat death is a whole different business from actually wanting to reverse it once you've crossed over.


CeeJay wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I think most people would rather follow Altered Carbon and try to raise from the dead as much as they can, if given the oportunity.
I think most people think they would. But trying to avert or cheat death is a whole different business from actually wanting to reverse it once you've crossed over.

Well, Lazarus did.


Which actually never quite made sense in the context of that Gospel, really, since the person raising him had already made clear that his whole deal was about spiritual immortality... but never mind. :P At any rate it was never made clear whether Lazarus had a say in the matter that I can recall, and certainly religions promising paradise in the afterlife should very much not be interested in seeking immortality in this life.


Thanks for the feedback of idea. To address the various points raised:
- The world I'm going for is full of crime syndicates, cut throat mega corps and many other powerful organizations or individuals playing dangerous games for more power. It's powerful would tend more towards the Altered Carbon philosophy towards death, especially if you're part of the proverbial 0.001% who's life gives access to so many pleasures that even heavenly afterlife can't provide. (tis better to rule in hell as they say)
- In regards to body disposal/undead making... it's one of those easier said than done things. Assassinating someone powerful and well protected is already a very challenging task (as anyone who has ever played Hitman can attest), but assassinating someone, and then disposing of the body/raising as undead/soul theft... is going to be exponentially harder, especially if security is tight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

To get raised you have to have exactly the right level of "unfinished business". Too little and you're happy to stay dead, too much and you can't be raised because you've already come back as a vengeful undead...


Midboss57 wrote:
- In regards to body disposal/undead making... it's one of those easier said than done things. Assassinating someone powerful and well protected is already a very challenging task (as anyone who has ever played Hitman can attest), but assassinating someone, and then disposing of the body/raising as undead/soul theft... is going to be exponentially harder, especially if security is tight.

It might influence methodology. Assassins might be tempted to go much louder and more destructive than our beloved Agent 47 would be wont to do (the attempted nuclear assassination in Dune: Messiah comes to mind as a possible template). Alternatively they might be much more tempted to strike in space, where it would be easier to just blow up an adversary or board and ventilate them and then blow them out into space or maybe just disable their ship and fire it into a star or the atmosphere of a nearby gas giant. Or just yoink them into the Drift and set them loose at some random point where finding them would be near impossible.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You don't have to be moustache-twirling evil to be evil enough that an unpleasant afterlife might be waiting for you. One of my grandfathers hung on to his life with his very fingernails because he was fairly certain that he hadn't lived up to his Christian (Anglican) ideals well and Hell was waiting. I'm not even sure which of his misdeeds he was most worried about. He was a respected retired bank manager.


avr wrote:
He was a respected retired bank manager.

Very ouch*. See, that's where you want undeath. If your soul is being punished for past misdeeds, chances are it's not free for resurrection or reincarnation. I can see many a regular soul, not very bad but not especially good either (in their own estimation anyway) going that route, and its being a major part of how Eox does business.

* I kid.


If not being virgin until you marry, or reading an Horoscope once, condemns you to hell, as it says in current real world religious books, then it makes a lot of sense wanting to ressurrect. Most people will not go to heaven if the bar they have to pass is strictly following the letter of said books.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
an scroll (spell gem in SF) of Animate dead has always been the best way to deal with Raise Dead for an assasin. Turn the corpse into a zombie.

Would this actually work? Yes, Raise Dead does not work on undead. However, if you kill a zombie, its not a zombie anymore, its just a corpse. What would keep someone from just killing the zombie, and *then* using Raise Dead?


Big Lemon wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:

*cough* If there are only 4 heroes in the galaxy, than you are running a rather sad galaxy.

More generally, 'unfinished business' is not going to be *that* rare a thing. Its not going to be the norm, but so long as people die suddenly and unexpectedly, there will be people who desperately want to see their family again.

This is about to get more into philosophy that gaming, but I feel I must address this.

I think you and Pants are both underestimating the allure of Eternal Bliss. A Good person that dies with the option of returning has to choose between

A) A never-ending afterlife where all of their needs are met and they will suffer again, and might even get to see their long lost loved ones (depending on their alignment, and how a GM interprets afterlife memory). Perhaps most importantly, they will not have to go through the pain of dying again.

and

B) Return to a life where they feel pain, hunger, and illness, and they will have to work to provide for themselves. If they were murderer once, they will be at risk for being murdered again. Most importantly, they would be returning to a life that is at best postponing the Eternal Bliss that's waiting for them, and at worst, giving them a chance to morally screw up and lose it.

I don't see how most Earthly concerns would even be considered for most people. Why be concerned about amassing wealth or power when you could no longer need them? Why would you return to life to get revenge for your lover's death when you could choose to be with your lover, forever, right now? Only things of galaxy-shattering consequence (in other words, being in a Starfinder campaign) would be enough to make a Good person want to come back; situations where, if they stayed dead, tremendous evil would be unleashed, the galaxy would blow up, etc.

Evil souls, on the other hand... yeah, they have every reason to want to return to life ASAP, and they will probably have 2 or 3 contingency plans in place to make sure they are dead for...

See, the problem with this logic is that it presumes a 'Good Soul' would be primarily motivated by their own self-interest, in achieving and maintaining 'eternal bliss'. Part of being Good, with a capital G, is that you are more concerned about *other* things than your own benefit. Given the choice between returning to the living world of uncertainty and suffering, and leaving family members in trouble? If you are heading to anywhere in the upper planes, you should be picking the latter every time.

Now, its entirely possible that the relevant cosmic intake personnel might well persuade you that, while its a valid and laudable impulse, its also unnecessary. This wouldn't change the fundamental starting position. Also, just because striving for a return to fulfill desperate business is not necessary, doesn't mean that, when there's a nice convenient Raise Dead being flagged up for you, that its wrong to take it, either. . .


gustavo iglesias wrote:
If not being virgin until you marry, or reading an Horoscope once, condemns you to hell, as it says in current real world religious books,

... then resurrection wouldn't be a way of opting out. Places like Hell and the Abyss don't work that way. The soul must be free and willing, which presumably includes not being condemned.

Of course I'm assuming most people would want to avoid perverse definitions of "good" in their games -- which is one key reason for games with afterlives to have the gods as living presences, so that you're not dependent on the "letter" of some book --= but it does raise some interesting questions. I could see this being a reason that non-evil or even good souls chose undeath out of fear of the afterlife. Supposing you were a basically decent person who nonetheless suffered guilt because they hadn't done enough, in their own judgement, for other people? Supposing you had been sold some really particular definition of "goodness" that claimed you'd be sent to the pits for masturbating or being gay or having any number of other otherwise harmless proclivities or traits? Heck, supposing you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got struck by some disaster before you got the chance to do some important spiritual thing you'd been planning on?


Metaphysician wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
an scroll (spell gem in SF) of Animate dead has always been the best way to deal with Raise Dead for an assasin. Turn the corpse into a zombie.
Would this actually work? Yes, Raise Dead does not work on undead. However, if you kill a zombie, its not a zombie anymore, its just a corpse. What would keep someone from just killing the zombie, and *then* using Raise Dead?

Well, actually in Starfinder Raise Dead WOULD work. It just cost more money (15.000).

In Pathfinder it wouldn't work. Undeads can't be raised, and undeads can't "ust die", they are destroyed.


It's also worth mentioning that, in a society where the dead can be raised, assassination may not always be about permanently killing someone -- it can still be an effective means of getting someone out of the way for a little while or of sending a very pointed message of displeasure.


Tyrnis wrote:
It's also worth mentioning that, in a society where the dead can be raised, assassination may not always be about permanently killing someone -- it can still be an effective means of getting someone out of the way for a little while or of sending a very pointed message of displeasure.

Again: Altered Carbon is an example.


It should have occurred to me to mention this earlier, BTW, but it occurs to me that the faux-immortality of Altered Carbon / Eclipse Phase-style "sleeving" would indeed have a place in Starfinder but not via the Raise Dead or Reincarnation spells, which involve transmigration of souls and all the complications we've been talking about. They're more like a variant of undeath: just copying data into fresh meat. It occurs to me that there's probably someone on Eox who's heavily into researching just this.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
If not being virgin until you marry, or reading an Horoscope once, condemns you to hell, as it says in current real world religious books, then it makes a lot of sense wanting to ressurrect. Most people will not go to heaven if the bar they have to pass is strictly following the letter of said books.

Operative word here is "if". I think you may be projecting a little *too* much of your views on a certain "real" religion (views that, for the record, I think I share with you) onto how you interpret the afterlife of the PF/SF universe.

Good people that don't "make it" into Heaven go to Nirvana or Elysium instead, which are all great in their own way and unarguably better than being alive.

GMs are more than welcome to set their SF campaigns in homebrew universes where the afterlife is a total mystery, of course.


Oh, one other thing I wanted to point out: Spellcasters capable of raising the dead are actually slightly LESS common in Starfinder than in Pathfinder.

This is by virtue of the fact that we only have 6th level casters in the game, and 16th (I believe) is the minimum level required to cast Raise Dead, as opposed to 11th in Pathfinder.


Big Lemon wrote:

Oh, one other thing I wanted to point out: Spellcasters capable of raising the dead are actually slightly LESS common in Starfinder than in Pathfinder.

This is by virtue of the fact that we only have 6th level casters in the game, and 16th (I believe) is the minimum level required to cast Raise Dead, as opposed to 11th in Pathfinder.

14th, actually. Raise Dead is a 5th level spell, which Mystics get at 14. However, you have to account for the fact that, the setting has industrialized magic. You don't need a specific Nth level caster in order to get a resurrection, you just need the technomagical creation that provides the effect. Or, the better quality of hospitals probably do have "revivification machines", though the cost for using them is pricey. Like everything else in a hospital.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You know, that's a good point. What were those medical evac teams called in Shadowrun? I bet something like that is kicking around too.

I can't believe Big Pharma got us in our future sci-fantasy game too!


Metaphysician wrote:
Big Lemon wrote:

Oh, one other thing I wanted to point out: Spellcasters capable of raising the dead are actually slightly LESS common in Starfinder than in Pathfinder.

This is by virtue of the fact that we only have 6th level casters in the game, and 16th (I believe) is the minimum level required to cast Raise Dead, as opposed to 11th in Pathfinder.

14th, actually. Raise Dead is a 5th level spell, which Mystics get at 14. However, you have to account for the fact that, the setting has industrialized magic. You don't need a specific Nth level caster in order to get a resurrection, you just need the technomagical creation that provides the effect. Or, the better quality of hospitals probably do have "revivification machines", though the cost for using them is pricey. Like everything else in a hospital.

You might be right about the industrialized setting, but one could argue these factors cancel out in terms of how readily available resurrection is.

In Golarian days, magic was not industrialized, but spellcasters able to raise the dead were much more common. Now, magic may be more accessable in general, but fewer people have the know-how necessary to cast the spell (or make an item that effectively casts the spell).


I think you'd still need a live spellcaster to raise dead, maybe. That's kind of a complicated one. You could rig up a machine to do it from a spell chip... but raising the dead isn't really Triune's domain, in which tech (I think) falls. So would it be effective? Esp. in a complicated case where you might need to communicate with the soul and tell it has so much to live for, etc. etc.? Seems like you'd still want a good solid meatbag for that sort of thing.

Also, apparently resurrection can botch and leave you as a form of undead, according to the news on Borais in Pact Worlds, which adds a fresh wrinkle.


CeeJay wrote:

I think you'd still need a live spellcaster to raise dead, maybe. That's kind of a complicated one. You could rig up a machine to do it from a spell chip... but raising the dead isn't really Triune's domain, in which tech (I think) falls. So would it be effective? Esp. in a complicated case where you might need to communicate with the soul and tell it has so much to live for, etc. etc.? Seems like you'd still want a good solid meatbag for that sort of thing.

Also, apparently resurrection can botch and leave you as a form of undead, according to the news on Borais in Pact Worlds, which adds a fresh wrinkle.

There's certainly precident for hybrid items that duplicate the effects of lesser healing spells, so it is concievable, even if such an item doesn't exist yet in a rulebook.


Oh, I know, and the Computer rules would let you make them on the fly. I'm just trying to think through what the actual spell involves beyond the bare-bones rules. Like, what determining if a soul is "willing" involves, and whether that's a binary state and you just sort of hope for the best or if it's something a spellcaster could influence.

(Strictly-speaking the RAW *is* just "cast it and hope it works" but I think one could get more interesting opportunities out of the whole exercise than that, even an entire mini-adventure that involves interacting with the Boneyard and its psychopomps.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I could see the more common devices require skilled operators, who possess the Mysticism skill, in order to properly perform the willingness-tests. Imagine a VR chair, with the doctor hooked in so that they can "follow" the soul-bond away from the body and request the decedent's return. There would hopefully be safety interlocks to protect the doctor from unnecessary psychic damage of contacting outer planes. Think circuit breakers that blow and end the link, if the connection leads to, oh. . . Baator, and a fiend objects to the poking around.


Even Good individuals would have an incentive to return to the living, since -- unless something changed between the time of Pathfinder and Starfinder -- souls usually lose their memories before being made into something else, even if they are destined for one of the Upper Planes. So in most cases, Good people DON'T get to enjoy bliss -- something that has a common history with them does, but they don't.


Various things Pathfinder has said about the afterlife, memory and reincarnation are covered on this StackExchange thread. I don't think there's anything super-definitive there about how much consciousness and memory a soul retains on arrival.

It would seem that the requirement that a soul must be "willing" to return implies that the soul would have to have retained some meaningful frame of reference for giving its consent, for what returning means and whether it's worth it. It might well have access to more than its own memories in making that decision if one takes Pathfinder's extensive Planar lore on board.

I said earlier that souls that have been consigned to Hell or the Abyss might not be "free" and available for reincarnation or resurrection, but that might not actually be true. Supposing it serves Hell's purpose for someone to be resurrected, say, in the case of someone who really exemplifies Hell's view on things; the powers of Hell might well be amenable to freeing them and they'd quite plausibly be motivated to return, maybe on the promise of trying to earn a higher-up place in Hell on the next go-round.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Even Good individuals would have an incentive to return to the living, since -- unless something changed between the time of Pathfinder and Starfinder -- souls usually lose their memories before being made into something else, even if they are destined for one of the Upper Planes. So in most cases, Good people DON'T get to enjoy bliss -- something that has a common history with them does, but they don't.

Whether or not a soul is "made into something else" when it goes from being in a body to being a petitioner is a philosophical point I don't think we can have a definitive answer on, but it is true that, at some point in the process, they do lose most of their memories of life.

However, we don't know when exactly this happens. It could be that as soon as they die (if their memories are stored purely on their brains), or they could be waiting to be judged in the boneyard for a week before they start to lose their memory. I think the memory loss is a moot point, because it could support either claim: a character that is losing their memory might want to return to life to keep it, but it could also be said that if they lose their memory, they wouldn't remember any of their reasons to return.


Metaphysician wrote:
I could see the more common devices require skilled operators, who possess the Mysticism skill, in order to properly perform the willingness-tests. Imagine a VR chair, with the doctor hooked in so that they can "follow" the soul-bond away from the body and request the decedent's return. There would hopefully be safety interlocks to protect the doctor from unnecessary psychic damage of contacting outer planes. Think circuit breakers that blow and end the link, if the connection leads to, oh. . . Baator, and a fiend objects to the poking around.

I like this concept. It would definitely need a LOT of ranks in the skill in order to be used.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I tend to figure that the memory loss is mostly just a side effect of deep time. If you've been a petitioner for a thousand years, its really hard to remember much about the fifty years of mortal life you had prior to that. Its not even that the memories are gone, so much as. . . they are old, and not as important to the present day, so they don't have as much weight. Being fundamentally transformed from your prior existence doesn't exactly help matters ( even a Petitioner is still something well different from a mortal ).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Big Lemon wrote:


This is about to get more into philosophy that gaming, but I feel I must address this.

I think you and Pants are both underestimating the allure of Eternal Bliss. A Good person that dies with the option of returning has to choose between

A) A never-ending afterlife where all of their needs are met and they will suffer again, and might even get to see their long lost loved ones (depending on their alignment, and how a GM interprets afterlife memory). Perhaps most importantly, they will not have to go through the pain of dying again.

and

B) Return to a life where they feel pain, hunger, and illness, and they will have to work to provide for themselves. If they were murderer once, they will be at risk for being murdered again. Most importantly, they would be returning to a life that is at best postponing the Eternal Bliss that's waiting for them, and at worst, giving them a chance to morally screw up and lose it.

You are essentially describing one of the essential subplots involving Buffy Resurrection in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was brought back because her friends needed her to help them stomp evil, and was given no choice in the matter. What they didn't know was that Buffy had been rewarded with Eternal Bliss and had no way to tell her friends what she had lost. Said friends had assumed she had been in a Hell dimension, when in reality they had placed her in a dimension (theirs) that was Hell compared to what she had been dragged away from. Some friends, right?

Of course PCs are in a situation where they will usually have enough unfinished business to want to come back even if they'd "made it" to Eternal Bliss (of course, it's just as likely the player will roll up a new character to carry on the struggle). And some people might find everlasting bliss boring and want something to strive for anew (these people might favor being reincarnated as an infant to start life over from square one and try a completely new direction). NPCs, on the other hand, can have a million reasons to either come back or stay dead. Even some evil characters might want to stay put in the afterlife if they can project power from it, or have their more twisted desired fulfilled.


Metaphysician wrote:
I tend to figure that the memory loss is mostly just a side effect of deep time. If you've been a petitioner for a thousand years, its really hard to remember much about the fifty years of mortal life you had prior to that. Its not even that the memories are gone, so much as. . . they are old, and not as important to the present day, so they don't have as much weight. Being fundamentally transformed from your prior existence doesn't exactly help matters ( even a Petitioner is still something well different from a mortal ).

There's also the River Styx. And since those raised or resurrected carry very little in memories of the time they spent dead, there's definitely some sort of immediate filter.

1 to 50 of 53 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / Assasination and Raise Dead All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.