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    Canonfire :: View topic - Raising Dead/Resurrection in Greyhawk
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    Raising Dead/Resurrection in Greyhawk
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:43 pm  
    Raising Dead/Resurrection in Greyhawk

    Hi Everyone,

    So I am about to start my new group of players (dungeon punks, let me tell you Sad ) on a campaign. The first scenario will be The Wizards Amulet and then Crucible of Freya (thank you Wink ). I have plastered some house rules on the local site and surprisingly I was hit with raise dead & resurrection questions. Seems folks believe that any ol' cleric can raise dead and are just waiting around for somebody to die so they can. I tried to explain things are a little different in WoG, but failed. Is there any established WoG take on such powerful spells? How about in your WoG campaigns? I just find it difficult to believe that a cleric of Pelor will be happy to pull a soul back from the first or second heaven and place it back into it's mortal coil. Confused
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    Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:43 pm  

    Apart from the potential challenge of simply finding an appropriately leveled cleric of a faith willing to help you (and potential favors they might ask of you) I don't think there are any other restrictions per se. That said, is it a high fatality style campaign? Is the availability of resurrection going to be real concern? How attached do you want your players to their characters...?

    IMG, resurrecton is available with the caveats above. However, my HR is that if you want to keep someone from being being raised/resurrected/etc. - simply destroy the body. Eg. full-on dismemberment, burn it to ashes, devour it... you get the idea. No reasonably intact body = no coming back barring the use of a powerful artifact or divine intervention.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:55 am  

    i believe that you have to go to some sort of "clerical headquarters" to raise dead.

    at least, that how i did.
    our gnome got killed by a giant rock (not in a squish way), so we bag him, and went to verbobonc, where in my campaing, theres a heironeous big church.

    since we had a heironous priest with us (a veteran of war), they agreed to help, but we had to help them, investigating some raiders attacking a small temple (chapel?).

    it was harder then it looked like, but in the end, we got our gnome back from the dead (we believed that the dead throw back!)



    so, my points may be:
    -theres no problem with ressuracton/raise dead, etc, but it should be done by a priests from a big church/specific priests.

    -they will ask something in return

    -if the priest faith doesnt allow raise dead, they should search for someone who do
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:23 am  

    My characters were all from the Old Faith, so they had particular concerns about raise dead and ressurection. If you were just killed and your body was given a jolt back to life by a philter of life, that was OK. Also, if you altered reality such that you never really died by a wish, that was OK too. But, raise dead/ressurection? That was preventing your soul from going to its just rewards/punishment. Reincarnation was viewed as OK, because the new body/character that the soul inhabited could be viewed as the appropriate reward/punishment for its previous life. Finding a rod of ressurection presented some moral quandries.

    I'd say that the particular views on bringing someone back from the dead would be dependant upon the culture, region, and religion of the characters in question. Maybe some of the characters, if properly role-played, would have a do not resuscitate contract with their adventuring peers.
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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:24 am  

    This is one of those where you have to figure out flavor vs mechanics and make a judgement call. Resurrection and Raise dead have been in the game since 1E (dunno about ODD), so its hardly against the feel of Greyhawk. It may be against certain faiths, but it is actually a major point of the game, and acceptable for those who have passed before their time. And that, I think, is the caveat that has to be the one that holds the most weight. Did the character die because of a series of bad rolls that were out of control for the both DM and player? Go ahead and res him. Did the players just get in over their heads, but if they go back they'd have a chance of succeeding? Go ahead and res him. Did the player heroically sacrifice himself to save others? That I think goes to the it was his time. Make sure you reward the player with his next character (maybe let him play a former NPC who has reformed because of his first character's sacrifice). It all boils down to intent. "I may die, and if so, that's fine. Its what I have to do" means you are dead, no res, nothing. Your soul is prepared for death, and is on to its final rest for a job well done. The only exception would be if your god decided you were not allowed to sacrifice yourself permanently yet, in which case res would work.

    But that's just how I do it. And of course you have to find a high enough level cleric.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:33 am  

    Generally, how I handle resurrection, is this way. When you die in Greyhawk, your soul goes to the Plane of Shadow as a sort of purgatory. For a period of time (say, a day/level) your soul wanders. During this period, if you have not been resurrected, your deity comes for you and essentially offers you a job.

    What typically happens, is the party contacts their dead member via Speak with Dead and asks him if he wants to come back to life. If so, they will cast the spell. If the member likes his post-mortum job, however, he will often stay.

    Also, if that character is of particularly high level, and has died performing an act considered valorous by his deity, the deity may refuse to grant the resurrection in favor of having that character join his ranks in heaven/hell/toys r us whatever.

    Like we had a druid with the ocean as his "druidy-thing" and he opted to stay dead so he could get a job as the spirit of lost sailors or something.

    Keep in mind, however, that the role-playing at my game table takes precedence above all things.

    Also, if anyone has been using Pathfinder, as I have, I suggest dumping the Resurrection rules and using the 3.5 ones. They are a lot easier to keep track of.
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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:34 am  
    Canon, and Death

    Okie dokie ...
    First, the primary, most obvious place to go for issues about death is to a cleric of Wee Jas (since they run most places for the dead like mortuaries and crypts and graveyards and such, unless there's ones devoted to other religions). The thing of it is that they're not going to do it at the drop of a hat. In addition to the ususal requirements of tithing, or doing favors for the Church, the Jasadin are not able to just do Ressurections and Raises like that. There are canon sources that specifically say that they can't do them without permision from Wee Jas herself. If the cleric doesn't commune with her first, there are serious penalties until they atone. It's a hat-toss to be allowed if you're non-lawful (50%) and next to impossible (15%) if you're chaotic. (SB, p.81 and others)
    I kind of assume there's other religions that are similarly particular. If you're not a worshipper of that deity, chances should be much, much more slim. Even with a tithe, Pelor wouldn't be likely to ressurect a worshipper of Vatun. I believe alignment conflicts whould be the first obvious issue with ressurection. In real world terms, who ever heard of Bhudda paying attention to the deaths of Mormon missionaries in Africa, or the Christian God healing Egyptian "pagans" in the biblical era? (These are generalities, please don't make this a flame-fest about religion.)

    That being said, you mentioned you were starting a new capaign, right? I presumefrom that fact that you are starting at first level. The biggest issue to me is the location of the adventure. If they're in Diamond Lake, or Two Ford, or some other such small place, the local shrine or what have you is not going to have access to a 9th level caster, for even a simple Raise, and certainly not a 13th level caster for a Ressurection. The 18th level requirement for True Ressurection is obviously right out the window.

    Any thing up to a small town is not going to have a 9th level caster. Even a large town might have one (16% chance), but he is likely one of the highest level people in the entire city. A Small City has solidshot at having somone to Raise (75%), but nothing better. A Large City is garaunteed a caster good enough for Raise (100%), but still only has about a 45% chance of one that can do ressurection. Find a Metropolis, and you're garaunteed the first two spells, but a True Res is still a fairly small 32%. Even in the City of Greyhawk, There are only two men that can do it (as near as I can find). Ravel Dasinder (Clr18 of Boccob), and he's a member of the Directing Oligarchy, and Jerome Kasinskaia (Clr20 of Rao). I think that PCs would be hard pressed to get either of these fellas to come around for healing duties. True Ressurection is one of the rarest things in the game. (Please note that High Matriarch Sarana of the Temple of Pelor in the CoG is only 15th level. Let's also keep in mind that if you're playing Original D&D, it took a 16th level Cleric to do a plain Ressurection. (And there was neither Raise nor True Res, that I can find.)

    I hesitate to even go into the hugely expensive diamonds that are required (in 3rd Edition) for casting the spells to begin with. That alone should mean they're at least 4th level before they can afford a Raise, 6th for a Res, and 8th for a True Res. Add to that the availability of a Metropolis, and the cost (not to mention danger) of travel to get to one, and you're looking at a pretty penny.

    So, after taking all of that into account, there's also the issues mentioned by other posts ... Like the condition of the remains, and whether they can be recovered at all. (Just because the corpse is intact doesn't mean anyone can get to it.)

    More to the point of your question, though ... while I can find no specific mention of WoG stipulations on Rasing the Dead (other than the afore-mentioned Wee Jas issues), I think that the DMG said it best: "Religious Differences: The faith of the player characters and the ethos of the NPC's religion may pose an even greater problem than spell availability. It is quite possible for a cleric to refuse to cast a spell to aid an "unbeliever", "heathen" or "heretic". Some may agree, but only at the cost of donation, service, or conversion. .... In general, it is best to seek the services of a like-minded cleric than to go to a stranger."

    And remember, clerics have spells that can tell whether you really "mean it" when you convert, or pay lip-service to their deity.

    (Note: the statistics and percentages cited above are calculated from DMG p.139, but are estimations based on d6 rolls)
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:33 pm  

    Here's my ideas on this. I think there are several interdependent problems that should be governing the ability of your players to find and acquire magic to bring someone back from the dead. Certainly Greyhawk is a low fantasy setting, every odd joe you bump into in the street isn't a high level NPC like in the Forgotten Realms so your right that they shouldn't expect to be able to order Raise Dead with a side of fries at any corner shrine. Additionally, as you mentioned and the other respondents have indicated there are important ethical questions that will be answered differently depending on who your characters approach. Also, there is the basic problem of the economics involved… the absolute minimum for a raise dead is over 5k unless the NPC is giving you a break on the gp cost for some other consideration. 5,000gp should be a rather large sum of money in a game and this gets even worse as you deal with the resurrection spells. On the plus side for you as a DM though, the bartering you can require player's to go through is a great place to put your adventure hooks to get them to go the direction you want. It is very easy to have a temple unwilling to work with the party unless the party is willing to work with them in return; and if you wanted to send your characters through adventure XYZ, just guess what it is that the temple is going to require of the characters to earn the right to buy that spell?

    Problem 1) Scarcity:
    In Greyhawk, unless you populate it with your own non-cannon NPCs, it would be hard to find an NPC even able to cast such spells except in major cities. Raise Dead you could find in most big cities, Resurrection you could find only in major cities with big temples, True Resurrection was very, very hard to find (there are probably only twenty or so non-evil NPC clerics of high enough level to even cast the spell).

    The material components would also factor in here. Raise Dead requires a 5,000gp diamond, Resurrection a 10,000gp one and True Resurrection a 25,000gp gem. Gems of these sizes should be rare for the 5k end (much bigger than wedding rings here folks) and probably unique for the 25,000gp end (Hope diamond quality here).
    According to the 3.5 DMG pg 51 the average gem is 275gp. You would need to defeat an EL 10 to have even the possibility of a 5k diamond. To get a 25k diamond you would need an EL 16 encounter with the gem being about the ONLY treasure gained from the encounter - that’s fighting an Ancient Black Dragon who's horde is 1 gem and a mound of copper pieces Smile. A DM could send a party of adventures on months of research, tracking down leads, gathering information and casting divination, before they even gain a clue as where they might be able to go to acquire such a prize. Let alone the effort they would need to go through to get it from whatever is guarding it (and something like that WILL be guarded).

    Problem 2) Who to go to:
    Where to even look? Who to approach? If there is more than one option in the city your in which is better? These should definitely be questions your players need to be asking themselves. Different religions definitely should treat the how these type of things are handled. And how they handle it will vary in a wide variety of ways depending on the general alignment of the church, the sphere's of influence and philosophy of the god, and the character's previous relationship with the priesthood ('You want us to raise him from the dead? Isn't he the guy who we hired last year to recover the sacred horn of Heironeous and then he went off and sold it to Church of Hextor instead?'

    The highest-level NPC cleric in Greyhawk, if I'm remembering right, is the Archdruid of Obai-had (26th level or so?) He could definitely cast any of the spells… but would someone devoted to the natural order of things be willing to do so? Pelorites probably would always be willing unless the deceased spirit doesn’t want to return or is evil. Zilchians would probably raise anyone, but would be more expensive than other possibilities (they probably have a schedule of fees posted right by the door to every church). A Heroneon might only provide the service to characters of proven valor. Pholtuns might only deal with members of their religion. And those are the lawful religions. As the lawfulness decreases the possibilities should also grow less organized and confused… altering on a case by case an church by church basis. Istus… sure we will raise this soul if an equally powerful soul is sacrificed as a balance. Kord… if you can beat their high priest in two out of three arm wrestling matches he'll work with you, otherwise take a hike puny man. Ralishazn… well, lets flip a coin on it.

    Who you go to will also have a significant influence on the costs, both financial and ancillary. Zilchian work is probably more expensive financially but not require a lot of other, non-financial costs… plus ask us about our convenient financing terms. Pholtuns… how about the normal cost plus the entire party, including the party's 7th level cleric of Saint Cuthbert, convert as a term of the sale? Ehlonna… well we normally probably wouldn't but if you can eliminate the Blighter that is destroying the eastern reaches of our forest and destroy his undead treant minion then we will help you out as well. A lot of religions might offer to work with you on casting the spell only after you complete some quest for them or on terms that the entire party accept a Geas/Quest spell to complete the mission after the character is raised.

    Problem 3) Financial cost:
    According to the 3.5 PHB we are looking at these basic costs. Raise Dead costs a 5,000gp diamond and at least 500gp to hire a caster. Resurrection costs a 10,000gp diamond and at least 980gp to hire a caster. True Resurrection costs a 25,000gp diamond and at least 1620gp to hire a caster

    Additionally, according to the table on page 129 of the PHB spells with a component cost of greater than 3,000gp are 'not generally available except by DMs permission.' I think I'd do two things with this rule. 1) make the players role play finding and convincing a caster to do it and 2) hike the cost. Perhaps doubling the caster cost per 3,000gp of component involved?

    Further, the component themselves are going to be more expensive that their cost alone would indicate. There shouldn't be many 10k and 25k diamonds laying about. I think finding gems of those sizes would be almost as difficult as finding a cleric. IF there was a gem for sell I think it would actually be more expensive than it's actual worth (excuse me… King Belvor?… can I buy the diamond on the end of your hereditary scepter of state for 10 grand in gold please?)

    Finally, there will be other financial costs… an NPC cleric is quite possibly going to require verification that the soul wants to return before attempting the spell, Speak with Dead doesn't work for this in 3rd edition since it changed speaking with the corpse not the departed spirit and won't be able to check to see if the spirit would want to return to the living so a Commune or similar spell would be needed with the associated costs of that. If the character was killed by something that won't be fixed by a raise dead spell then spells to Remove Cures, Regenerate, or the like may be required so the character doesn't just redie after they are brought back.

    Problem 4) Access:
    Again this problem is subject to being tiered like the scarcity problem. I think that just about anyone with the coin, near a big enough temple that doctrinally would allow it, and willing to give whatever other little things a temple might like from them, would be able to carry a body in and get a raise dead spell. Resurrection requires bigger temples with more senior priests, the characters are going to have to do a lot more fast talking, call in a lot more favors, and are going to need at least some degree of renown and prestige to get access to these folks. True Resurrection? How many people do you know that can get in to see the Pope, the Mormon prophet, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Louis Farrakhan, and the like? I think it would be a good approximation to being able to get in to see an 18+ level cleric. It should require a great deal of effort (learning who to even start talking to, earning their favor to get them to pass you to the next person and earning their favor, etc. before you could get these types of people unless your characters are similarly powerful, famous, or have some other very interesting 'in' to by pass many many levels of bureaucracy to get to a true senior servant of a god.


    Last edited by Varthalon on Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:51 pm  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    Generally, how I handle resurrection, is this way. When you die in Greyhawk, your soul goes to the Plane of Shadow as a sort of purgatory. For a period of time (say, a day/level) your soul wanders. During this period, if you have not been resurrected, your deity comes for you and essentially offers you a job.


    One thing I've been toying around with along that line is using the concept of FR's Kelemvor and translating him to Wee Jas -- the idea being that if you never picked a god, or you abandoned your god/had your god abandon you, you come into the clutches of Wee Jas, and she very rarely will allow those spells, as they interfere with her domain.

    I really think that barring a few oddball exceptions, a cleric of one faith (or allied faiths such as Pelor/Mayahiene or Boccob/Zagyg or Heironeus/Murlynd) wouldn't expend the effort and considerable cost to raise/ressurrect a character who does not worship that god. A few like Pelor might extend that to any good-aligned character, and some churches might raise in exchange for favors or expect a conversion, but most are not going to be that interested in raising the competition's followers (for instance, do you think that a cleric of St Cuthbert would really be that eager to raise a follower of Pholtus?)
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 4:42 pm  

    Thanks everyone for your help. I pretty much agree with everything that has been said, but the younger generation....wow, that hurt to say.....hates the idea of having to actually do something to get raised. I mean, like, we got a lot of gold and I am totally attached to my 3rd level guy Shocked Smile Isn't that enough?

    My view is that to raise someone from the dead is major mojo. To pull someone from their deity.... Confused Being old school, I am having trouble finding anything canon that specifically says "Hero so-and-so died in battle, but his body was brought back to life." I feel that if you do important deeds for a church, are a reknown hero, etc. then perhaps, but hey, even great rulers of the nations don't get a continual rule. Wink
    Would it be safe, in your opinion, to suggest that there would be a capable (but not necessarily willing) cleric in the majority of Capitol Cities, such as Gradsul, Chendyll, Greyhawk, Rel Mord, Dyvers, etc? I
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:28 pm  

    High level NPCs tend to appear near the power centers of the world; just like in ours. Powerful NPCs want powerful advisors - Heads of State don't ask just anyone.

    Even the idea raises problems because powerful people have great responsibilities and demands on their time. ie: Rel Mord - Advisor to the High Priest of Hieroneous - Love to help but he is so busy - Have you talked to the King - Wouldn't like the fact that a priestly order which provides political and military support will be busy ressurecting - who was it again? - never heard of him - how about you come back during Fireseek - it should be slower then - we can talk - cross blades - see later.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:31 pm  

    I tend to think of the gods as being very polytheistic. A farmer would say prayers and give offerings to the Agricultural Gods when planting and harvesting, Berei to protect his home, Heironeous when he practices with the militia, Fharlanghn when he makes the trip to town, Erythnul when his girlfriend cheats on him, Myhriss when he is courting someone new, and St. Cuthbert when he is feeling guilty. People don't really have different faiths, but rather, honor all of the gods. Of course, people have their favorites among which gods to venerate.

    A cleric's role is to administer the spheres of influence of his god. The god would only grant raise dead, and the cleric would only cast it, when doing so advances the god's specific spheres of influence. Fharlanghn is only going to grant it if doing so advances travel, Heironeous only if it advances honor, etc.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:07 pm  

    There is one really neat idea from Eberron that fits right in line with my thinking: not every priest is a cleric. In my games, many "priests" are just experts; they are knowledgable and perhaps somewhat charismatic, but about 75% of all priests are just experts. Some are other things, as well, such as warriors (ecclesiastic knights and temple guards), aristocrats (noble priests), or even PC classes - bards and rogues make great charlatan priests, sorcerers can often pass themselves off as priestly, and paladins and rangers are often cosidered clergy within their religions. Now mind you, I am talking NPC priests here. A PC priest is practically always a cleric. This keeps parties from automatically assuming "Oh, we'll just go to town, find a high level priest, and get our gang healed/cured/ressurrected/etc." Oh, and even those NPC priests who are clerics still charge funds and service for the church, usually seeking permanent converts...
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    Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:14 pm  
    Other non-priestly priests

    One might also add Adepts to that list.

    An interesting note: Previous versions of D&D, not all priests were priests of a specific Mythos. There was the "generic cleric", as well. But there was also the possibility that one worshipped a god that did not grant access to the Spheres of Magic that allowed Healing and Resurrections.
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    Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:11 am  

    I keep things very tight with regard to raise dead/ressurection.

    To even have a hope of being raised or ressurected, you better meet the following criteria:

    *Be a worshiper of the god of the cleric your fellow party members are petitioning to bring you back.

    *If you are not a worshiper of that god, you better have just preformed some sort of service that directly benefits that god or have some real good friends in the church who value what aid you can potentially give them and their god.

    Even still, if the party members do manage to get a character raised or ressurected, they better *ALL* be ready to be geased to perform a task for the god's church. Yes, not just the person being raised/ressurected- they are dead, and are not the one asking to be brought back- but also the characters who are seeking out this powerful magic.

    What effect does this have? Well, first off it quickly teaches players that there are times when they might want to run the hell away from something that might currently be too dangerous for them and/or not take unneccesary risks. You know, when players do things like this:

    "We're mostly out of spells, and our hit points are low on top of that, but let's just explore one more area..."

    You know, dumbass stuff.Laughing So, rather than turn my D&D game into a video game where you can insert so many gold pieces into the slot of the church collection box and hit the "Player 1" button to get another life, I play things very stingy regarding raise dead/ressurection- even among player characters who can cast these spells if they are of different religions. For instance, via speak with dead the party's cleric says to the dead wizard o the group: "You're my buddy and all, but you don't worship St. Cuthbert so you are going to owe me and my god a BIG favor for this. if yopu diagree upon bein returned to life, my god will not allow me to favor you with any blessings whatsoever, such as healing, restoration, cure disease, or anything else."

    If raise dead/ressurection was so common, you'd never see anybody of any import stay dead without there being some sort of soul obliterating magic involved. If you ask me, the presence of such soul obliterating magic would get really old, really quick.


    Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:20 am  

    I borrowed this from somewhere, probably modified it, and have no idea of its source. Rereading it, it is still a bit confusing, and needs to be worked on some more... but here it is anyway.

    Resurrection in the Campaign

    In order to justify that even nobility and influential people DO die, there will be a certain amount of uncertainty in resurrection (and raise dead, etc.). For a character to come back from the dead, he must roll a Charisma check (d20+Charisma modifier). Of course, the DM has final word on this matter. The base DC of this check is 4, modified at each step as indicated on the following table:

    Base DC of resurrection check..... 4

    1. Person has died before..... +2 for each previous death. (Add +2 for each attempt to raise the dead if a try has failed. Keep track of all Raises and attempts!)

    2. Cleric performing ritual is of same faith as person being raised..... —2 AND minus the Charisma bonus of cleric.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. Pick one of the following: Lifestyle
    • Person has lived quite piously and true to his own faith..... —2

    • Person has lived impiously, and/or paid little attention to matters of religion..... +4
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    4. Pick one of the following: Service
    • Person has performed several great services for the faith of the cleric performing the ritual in the last several years...... —2

    • Person has performed numerous great services for the faith of the cleric performing the ritual in the last several years..... —4

    • Person has actively wronged or opposed the faith of the cleric performing the ritual in the last few years..... +4

    • Person has grievously wronged, or aggressively opposed the faith of the cleric performing the ritual in the last decade..... +8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    5. Person is an atheist ....+ 8, +10, or +12* (see note!)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    6. Pick all of the following that apply: Alignment
    • Cleric performing ritual is of a ‘similar’ alignment to that of the person being raised.....minus ˝ the Cha bonus of cleric for one alignment similarity (round down). Minus the full Cha bonus of the cleric if both alignment axis are the same.

    • The faith of the cleric and that of the person being raised are ‘ambivalent or neutral’ towards one another..... +2 for each axis (one step away).

    • Cleric performing ritual is of a diametrically ‘opposed’ alignment to that of the person being raised..... +4 for each axis (two steps away).

    • The faith of the cleric performing the ritual is actively an enemy of the faith of the person being raised...... No chance of success! (unless the opposed deity wants to do it for nefarious purposes, then it automatically succeeds if the person raised is also willing.)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Note that in the case of an atheist, not only is the DC modified by +8, but most clerics will be of a faith considered at the very least ‘neutral or ambivalent’ towards atheism, resulting in one +2 modifier to the DC, for a total of +10 for step 5. Also, many faiths are NOT ambivalent towards atheism, and in such cases one 'opposed' alignment modifier is added as well (for a total of +12 for step 5). This penalty is in addition to other alignment bonuses and penalties. Atheism is not a good idea if you want the gods to be willing to return you to life. . .
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    Sat Oct 04, 2008 12:46 pm  

    My views are pretty much in alignment with all of yours. The problem I am having is...to steal a quote...that the new generation of dungeon punks want everything their way. The moment things seem difficult, they don't want to play. As one guy said on our local board, "What!? You're going to play in Khan's* Greyhawk game? You know people die in that right? And he doesn't let them get raised. He doesn't even have magic shops in his game!" Laughing There is some exaggeration on his part about raising dead, but the other stuff is true; high character mortality rate (cause they do stupid stuff!) and no Abdul & Apu's Magical Emporium for the Divine and Arcane alike in every city.

    *Khan is my username on the local Knoxville site.
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    Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:02 pm  

    Sounds like you need to remind people in your area my favorite D&D rule: "The DM is final arbiter in all affairs of his or her campaign." If they don't like it, they can find another DM.
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    Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:10 pm  

    So in your campaign, say through the coarse of 10 levels, how many times would you as a DM expect or be comfortable with a character being brought back from the dead? Once, twice, more? How about level 15 or level 20?
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    Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:41 pm  

    Typically, I don't have to worry about RD/Res/Rein since there are few character deaths and those players usually just create new characters. I would rather only RD/Res/Rein a PC once in a game.
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    Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:03 pm  
    typically once in a lifetime

    I am in favor of generally having a PC only receive a RD/Rez once. My own characters might have that. I wouldn't be suprised if they needed it up to three times. I wouldn't really allow it more than that. Once at five to ten, once eleven to fifteen, once sixteen to twenty. If they need it more frequently, or closer together than that, there's a problem. Unusual circumstances not withstanding, of course.
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    Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:55 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    *Be a worshiper of the god of the cleric your fellow party members are petitioning to bring you back.

    *If you are not a worshiper of that god, but better just have preformed some sort of service that directly benefits that god or have some real good friends in the church who value what aid you can potentially give them.


    There appears to be a consensus that the resurrectee must be of the same faith as the god. Please help me understand how a person would not be a worshiper of a god in a polytheistic religion? Doesn't everyone say a prayer to Myhriss when they are in love? I could understand if that person was in Tuov lands where Myhriss has no influence, but in the central Flanneass? Or is there a general consensus view among Greyhawkers that each god has its own miniature monotheistic faith?
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    Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:59 am  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    There appears to be a consensus that the resurrectee must be of the same faith as the god. Please help me understand how a person would not be a worshiper of a god in a polytheistic religion? Doesn't everyone say a prayer to Myhriss when they are in love? I could understand if that person was in Tuov lands where Myhriss has no influence, but in the central Flanneass? Or is there a general consensus view among Greyhawkers that each god has its own miniature monotheistic faith?


    i dont see like that...

    in my games, theres must be a cleric from the religion that was requested to ressurect the charater.

    like, the only cleric in my group is a heironeous one, so they had to go to hreironeous church.

    the thing is, now the once dead character gets annoyed eveytime about how "my all mighty good ressurrected you" and "youshould worship him" and things like that ;)
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    Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:45 am  
    Raise Dead/Resurrection

    I've been "lurking" for a few weeks now, trying to "catch up" with you guys. I started playing P&P Greyhawk in the late 70's while in the 82nd Airborne. As an Over-the_Road truck driver, I've been away from the game for many years.
    It seems that a great many gods have been added since my time. I agree that a resurrection/raise dead should be both rare and difficult. But not difficult in the sense that I'm reading (learning about) here. You guys are making it sound almost impossible. Confused I once read a phrase in the Thomas Covenant series, "the power of command." Cool
    Without staring a flame war -- or a religious discussion -- that's just what it is. In the Scriptures, Jesus did not ask, plead or use magic. In the case of the young girl, the young man, and Lazarus, Jesus simply commanded them to get up.
    That's the way it should be -- for a God. I cannot see the need for diamonds, since the God should not require magic to raise the dead. The question should be the God's willingness to do so. And there could be many reasons why the God would not want to do so.
    One of Zodal's spheres is Mercy. His Clerics, according to LGG, spend their time "alleviating pain" and "minister to wounded." Restoring a dead loved one would be a mercy. Also, Zodal considers "the most hateful Gods his friends." So why would the person, necessarily, need to be a worshiper Question Only his superior, Rao, should be able to stay his hand, in this regard.
    Of course, this does not mean that everyone should be raised haphazardly! Exclamation
    No, there should be a legitimate reason, or need, for the resurrection. Otherwise the "natural course" of events -- life and death -- should go forward. That's what any God would normally want. Powerful paladins, such as Roland, as well as powerful kings, such as Arthur, all died without being raised.
    Bringing a dead character back to life should be rare. And difficult, but not because of diamonds. No, a quest should be involved. The God should want something in return for this favor. Some gold for his temple, certainly, but all Gods need "great deeds" to be done.
    Just my thoughts.
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    Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:14 pm  
    Constitution and POV

    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a couple of limitations that should balance the game somewhat. Even if you are free with your players being able to raise or ressurret, the DMG has a guideline for limiting those occurances by the Constitution score value (see 1e DMG page 12).

    Also, as a DM playing the part of the spell caster casting one of these spells, where is the motivation for doing so. Actually, this was touched on but not really from the same perspective that say a PC spell caster in the game would have. If you have a spell caster that is powerful enough to cast raise/res, what do you think that player would do when someone in the party dies? Is the goody-two shoes compelled to always bring back any party member? I doubt it. What happens when strangers (NPCs) find out about this ability? What would you do as a player when characters start begging you to bring back characters--are they even the people that the requesters say they are. Some people will lie about anything when they are desperate, right?

    Then as a DM, there's that balance of--what we're doing should be fun which usually equates to remembering the "rules" are guidelines and following them to the letter if it takes the fun out of your game would be a mistake for you and your group. Somewhere you'll have to find the balance between being too lenient and too tight. That's somewhere between no sense of danger (boring) and frustrated by the "killer DM" (frustration isn't fun either). I think each group probably finds its own balance by trial and error--so go try something and if it doesn't work change the rules.

    Here's some advice that's not so wishy-washy: When a player can't make it to a game and the character dies, don't write "DED" all over it and hand it to him or her or otherwise destroy the character sheet. Figure out a way the character can come back into the game so the player can risk the character's life him- or herself. I've been on both the DM side and player side of that one. Karma's a bitch sometimes.
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:12 am  
    Re: Constitution and POV

    Raymond wrote:
    Also, as a DM playing the part of the spell caster casting one of these spells, where is the motivation for doing so. Actually, this was touched on but not really from the same perspective that say a PC spell caster in the game would have. If you have a spell caster that is powerful enough to cast raise/res, what do you think that player would do when someone in the party dies? Is the goody-two shoes compelled to always bring back any party member? I doubt it. What happens when strangers (NPCs) find out about this ability? What would you do as a player when characters start begging you to bring back characters--are they even the people that the requesters say they are. Some people will lie about anything when they are desperate, right?


    Its always up to the DM, of course. But if your player character wants to raise his dead "friend," that's up to his God. The God is, in effect, doing nothing for the dead player, the God is doing his Cleric a favor! Shocked (The Cleric's motivation is that he wants his friend back. In the real world, we call it brotherly love Happy )

    What's the Cleric's standing with his God? Confused Has the Cleric performed great deeds for his God? Has he done much to spread the faith? Is he vigilant in seeking out those who serve his God's enemies and destoying them? Thus disrupting the enemy God's plans? Why would his God do him this favor? Confused

    As the DM, you have to act as the God would, not as you personally would. Can you, the DM, step out of character? Even the DM has to "act the part." Cool

    Even so, I cannot see the God doing this more than twice in the player's Clerical career. IMO That's what makes a Rod of Resurrection so potent -- and so very rare -- it bypasses the "God" figure. Mad Use with discretion. Shocked

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:39 am  

    Resurrection/Raise Dead should be a major event. If a cleric is neutral or evil, what is the motive? Even if the cleric is good, why would a good cleric raise even a good person without reason; after all that person has gone to serve "goodness" or his deity, etc. on the next level. The reason, IMHO, must be that the character has work left to do in this life.

    I would recommend any NPC cleric that is asked to do resurrect or raise the dead would seek guidance from his deity and either the players would be expected to perform a quest that is in line with the philosophies of the deity in order to further that particular cause. Another way to handle would be that some time in the future there is an adventure that revolves around such a plot which puts the players on the side of the deity's agenda.

    If the players refuse, then this would cause an outright vendetta in the case of an evil or neutral deity or refusal to further help the characters in the case of a neutral or good deity. Of course this may also be affected by the ethics part of the Deity's alignment.

    It is important to note that in AD&D 1e, raising or resurrecting was not 100% (unless your Constitution was incredibly high). The chance of being resurrected was directly based upon your Constitution score, so there was alway a threat that any death was permanent. I always thought this was critical to the feel of the game and it's absense made the game less dramatic.
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:54 am  

    Hi Folks,

    I'm glad this topic has stirred up some friendly debate! There are a few angles that have been forwarded that I honestly didn't take into account. Hence why I ask for you help. Smile

    Telemechus, I agree with you, but you changed the scenario a little. I go out of my way to ensure that the characters who don't have players at a specific session, don't die. Cool However, I am known as a"killer DM" for the fact that characters can and sometimes do die under the auspices of the players. That's what I get for applying the gritty reality of Greyhawk to the game.
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:17 am  

    Telemachus wrote:
    Resurrection/Raise Dead should be a major event.

    It is important to note that in AD&D 1e, raising or resurrecting was not 100% (unless your Constitution was incredibly high). The chance of being resurrected was directly based upon your Constitution score, so there was alway a threat that any death was permanent. I always thought this was critical to the feel of the game and it's absense made the game less dramatic.


    I don't disagree with your "major event" qualification. But, I've always felt that the "rules" were merely guidelines.

    Throughout our own mythology, the Cleric was merely the conduit through which the God's power flowed. Even in Scripture, Jesus told his apostles the same thing; it wasn't them, it was the power of God. Therefore, I question the "Constitution" qualification. Confused

    I have explained my long, career fueled, absence from the game, since the early 80's. Embarassed It seems that, during that time, WotC has "explained" this in the manner in which they "think" it should work. Confused But the truth is that we have our own mythology, and even Scripture (Bible, Koran et al) to tell us how it really works.

    As for our mythology, (Western) it was only the Norse Gods that could not raise the dead. They were also the only Gods not Immortal, to wit, they could be killed. I give you Balder. Cool

    Neither of these particulars was true in the case of the Greek, Roman, Estruscan, or Egyptian pantheons. (Osiris was killed by Seth, another God. But Isis brought Osiris back. A God resurrected another God Cool )

    So, I again submit that it is the God's motivation/decision that will determine whether or not a charater is raised. The conditions that I have previously mentioned, as well as those that Telemachus has mentioned, should be what's used as the basis for the God's (DM's) decision.

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:28 am  
    Polytheism

    I was just thinking about polytheism and how that might play a role in your campaign's interaction with the gods in it. If we look at real life examples of polytheism, I think you can look at the Greco-Roman gods as one example and the Eastern gods from ancient China or Japan as another. The Greco-Roman gods seem pretty jealous of each other and each of these gods probably wouldn't want to help a mortal that wasn't a follower of their own faith. I would think that a mortal that dedicated him- or herself to the worship of a particular god exclusively would probably get special treatment. This is somewhat different than how I understand the gods from ancient China or Japan where they act more like defenders of their own little space and aren't jealous of the other gods in their spaces so they probably wouldn't require any exclusivity in the same way as the Greco-Roman ones would.
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:54 am  

    DwarffromNyrond wrote:
    Hi Folks,

    I'm glad this topic has stirred up some friendly debate! There are a few angles that have been forwarded that I honestly didn't take into account. Hence why I ask for you help. Smile

    Telemechus, I agree with you, but you changed the scenario a little. I go out of my way to ensure that the characters who don't have players at a specific session, don't die. Cool However, I am known as a"killer DM" for the fact that characters can and sometimes do die under the auspices of the players. That's what I get for applying the gritty reality of Greyhawk to the game.


    Glad to help! Happy Ah! To be useful! Laughing

    You're not a "killer DM." I recall that Conan, way back when, was officially given stats, 20+ (something like that). Confused

    Well, in one publication, Conan, does indeed, fight a dragon -- a newly hatched dragon (wingless variety). He has something like fifty men with him (they're actually hunting the thing Shocked ). Unfortunately, they find it! Happy Conan's spear bounces off the dragon's eyeball! Embarassed Conan and three others escape.

    Later, Conan faces the thing again, this time with a magic sword, specifically designed -- by a God -- to kill dragons. Conan kills it -- right after it (the dragon) kills another thirty people! Happy

    Are all of your players 20+ levels? No? Then they should expect to die. Sad Dragons, liches, demons, Iuz, Vecna, et al, are not only, "not for the faint hearted," they're also not for the weak; a.k.a. low level charaters.

    If my players (several of them) aren't 15+ levels, then I try (desparately) to steer them away from such encounters, "for now."

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:33 am  

    i would say more: not only vecna, dragons, beholders and so can kill the charaters...bad dices could do this too!

    im Dming T1, and 3 fighters: 5 lvl dwarf, 5lvl knight and 5 lvl spearfighter got beaten by TWO large spider. well, they killed the creatures, but they got something like 18 dmg each.
    later, the dwarf was looking the kitchen (SPOILER), and the giant flea drained 15 more!

    man, i just added one extra spider till now (cause teh adventure is suppose to be played by 1st and 2nd level charaters), but i dont think i will power up much more :P
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:20 pm  

    rossik wrote:
    i would say more: not only vecna, dragons, beholders and so can kill the charaters...bad dices could do this too!


    I believe that the dice, also, are simply guidelines. Shocked Sacrilege! Mad Wink

    Many of the games I once DMed, had specific objectives in mind; my mind. Cool I led my charaters where I wanted them to go. They would certainly have minor adventures along the way (doing something they wanted), but "X" always marked the spot. And there they went.

    This was done in a way to make it enjoyable for everyone, of course. They never knew that I was doing it. Cool They did not know the "whole story" before I wanted them too. They thought they were just "roaming around" the Flanaess. Happy

    My point is, they did not die before I wanted them to! Exclamation If the dice said that they lost "10" hit points and they only had "8" hit points, then, I ignored the dice, had them lose "7" hit points and fall unconcious. At this point the monsters tended to ignore them and concentrate on the charaters still fighting. In this way, the unconcious character would survive the fight and his friends could "heal" him afterwards. Wink

    Of course, if you (Rossik) have no specific objective in mind (if you're just learning to DM and your players are just learning to play) and you're just wondering around the Flanaess, then, by all means, let them live or die by the dice. It's a great way to learn what to do and what not to do.

    But you want to "grow" as a DM. Your game/campaign should be a story. You're really writing your own book, as it were. There is a beginning and an ending. Eventually, as you grow, there should be a point to everything your players are doing. My games (eventually) were never just about finding treasure, etc. I tried to ensure that it all fit into the entire WoG theme, somehow.

    My name is Dungeon Master and I am the Overgod of my WoG. Happy

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:48 pm  

    well, mysti-scholar, i dont have all teh experience of lots of guys here, but i've been playing/dming for 15 years ;)

    i know that things can/canot happen just as i will, but the way i play now is diferent from when i started.

    when i started, i had alot of commom mistakes, like orcs with 2k gp in their pockets, "labeled" potions and weapons, and so on.

    also, i tried not to kill the PC.

    now, many years from there, i try to play the game with more challenge. if player take risks, he must expect the results.

    in the dwarven story, he whanted to search alone, with no fire or anything. just him and hes ol'infravision.

    i still try not to kill for no reason, but players must know that the their acts have consequences :D
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:04 pm  

    rossik wrote:
    well, mysti-scholar, i dont have all teh experience of lots of guys here, but i've been playing/dming for 15 years ;)

    in the dwarven story, he whanted to search alone, with no fire or anything. just him and hes ol'infravision.

    i still try not to kill for no reason, but players must know that the their acts have consequences :D


    No slight my friend! And I couldn't agree more. Laughing

    As I said, I only did so when it suited my purpose, not theirs. If the player wishes to stubbornly learn the hard way (and his character has no significant value to your campaign) let him die! Happy

    And refuse resurrection/raise dead! Wink I cannot see any situation where a God (through your Cleric) would resurrect a foolish person. Mad

    As I've said before, the God would have his/her own reason for allowing the resurrection. This would usually take the form of the party (or character, at least) being used as a "tool" by the God. Foolish people make very poor tools. I can only conceive of Ralishaz (maybe) needing the services of a fool, and I wouldn't swear to that!

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:55 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar brings up a good point Wink

    The reason the Deity would consent to allow the person to be raised isn't just dependent upon the PC but also the Priest that is acting as a vessel for the power of the Deity. How has the Priest behaved; just because the Priest has power and influence doesn't neccessarily mean he has the good graces of the Deity. Within a polthestic culture even the Deities must be open minded except for some opposed faiths; Priests understand offerings will be other Deities.

    The Deity may have reasons as well; resurrection is a powerful and dramatic demonstration for the faithful. I am sure the news would spread fast; depending on who is raised and generate awe or fear among the populace. The Deity responsible would receive a great deal of attention and interest.

    I would suggest as a means to promote the differences of the classes; Priests are religious individuals dedicated to One Faith. Clerics are individuals interested within several faiths. Help explain why every small village doesn't have several priests. Small villages probably have multi-purpose places of worship and a multi-faith cleric. Note: I didn't say the cleric doesn't have faith but the cleric hasn't specialized.

    I agree also sometimes the players get bogged down in the recipe of action; the will of the Deity should be the overarching factor - What is best for the game. As for the consitution issues; the Deity provides the power to resurrect - the Priest is the conduit - resurrection risk is the shock of being brought back to life.
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:29 pm  

    well sir, you are a truly scholar of the mystique Happy
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    Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:19 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    Mystic-Scholar brings up a good point Wink

    The reason the Deity would consent to allow the person to be raised isn't just dependent upon the PC but also the Priest that is acting as a vessel for the power of the Deity. How has the Priest behaved; just because the Priest has power and influence doesn't neccessarily mean he has the good graces of the Deity.


    Crag! Hail and well met!

    Crag and I are "on the same page" here. Cool If I may be allowed to enlarge upon and clarify my previous comments . . .

    You're playing a Cleric. In the real world you've been playing him/her for two/three years. In game time, the Cleric has been around for some years and is now 20+ levels. (The point here is not the Cleric's power, rather his/her years of devotion) During his/her career, he/she has:

    1. Killed/destroyed a powerful Cleric/Priest of an opposing God, as well as several of that Cleric/Priest's acolytes. This action set back the opposing God's agenda 100 years. Happy

    2. Played a large part in destroying an evil dragon and has used his/her share of the treasure to build a large temple to his/her God in city "X". Happy

    3. Played a large part in saving the above city "X" from an "evil horde" and thus won the devotion of a large portion of the people of city "X" and turned their worship to his/her God. Happy

    Now, your Cleric's friend has died. Sad

    Your Cleric has earned the "favor" of his/her God. The God may very well restore the party member to life, for no other reason than the fact that this Cleric has earned such a reward. The party member is resurrected for no other reason than the fact that he is the friend of the Divinely favored Cleric. Cool

    As I said before, your Cleric should not count on this happening more than once, or twice, during his career/lifetime. Sad

    In addition, the Gods created humans, so, ensuring that both the Cleric and his friend survive the resurrection process (Constitution) is simplicity for the God. Happy

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:51 am  
    Gems and Spells

    I was thinking about the gem thing. Where is that part written--in the DMG somewhere? I don't beleive the god would want a gem but I do believe a cleric would to further his or her religion. At that point in his career would that be an unreasonable fee? Having the PCs go get something is a good game device. If I ask a church, temple, or mosque, "Hey, can I get married here?" I would expect them to charge me something for the ceremony--at least if I wasn't a member. Shouldn't I expect the same in the game for this type of ceremony?

    Also, the discussion has been flowing as if the god decides. But clerics get their spells in advance of using them. It's the cleric that decides. Nobody has said that casting raise requires a commune first. The cleric would by this time in his or her carreer have some idea what is allowed or not allowed but at the same time I believe in most cases a god would be looking for the outcome of his or her cleric's use of the granted powers.
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    Fri Oct 10, 2008 12:54 pm  
    Re: Gems and Spells

    Raymond wrote:
    Also, the discussion has been flowing as if the god decides. But clerics get their spells in advance of using them. It's the cleric that decides. Nobody has said that casting raise requires a commune first. The cleric would by this time in his or her carreer have some idea what is allowed or not allowed but at the same time I believe in most cases a god would be looking for the outcome of his or her cleric's use of the granted powers.


    Raymond! Hail and well met! Happy

    If I may say so, you seem to be operating under a very unique surmise. Confused The God does decide. Sad

    The Cleric does receive his spells in advance, HOWEVER, no mortal, Cleric or otherwise, can "Raise" a dead person, nor "Resurrect" them. Such a feat is accomplished by the power of the God in question. Mad

    You speak as though the Cleric can "Raise the Dead" without his/her God's permission. As though the God cannot prevent the "Resurrection," because the Cleric "already has the spell." Not so. Shocked

    For example: Your "Cleric" woke up this morning with all of his/her spells. Then, he/she promptly "sins." Sad Uh, oh, punishment. Shocked Your Cleric is immediately stripped of all his/her spells. You must remember, Clerical spells are not memorized, they're granted. Wink

    In other words, your Cleric's "Raise Dead" spell, that he/she just cast, was not granted, it was denied. In game terms, the spell failed. It failed for no other reason than your Cleric's God wanted it to. Sad

    You also said that the God would be 'looking for the outcome of the spell.' If your Cleric's God takes a personal interest and wishes the spell to succeed, then it will. Cool

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:36 am  

    Well, I do things rather differently.... First, most of my "priests" are not spell wielding clerics. Those are the equivalent of special orders. So its not that easy to find someone able to cast high level cleric spells.

    I replace the Raise Dead spell with the Revivify spell, which restores life to those who died very recently. If you've been dead for days, you need Resurrection.

    More importantly, the gods of the dead are involved in all resurrections (not revivifications). One must got to a priest of Wee Jas in areas where she is predominant or the priest of Oeridian/Flan cults must invoke Nerull and ask him to release the soul. I don't have this "every god gathers his own followers in his own garden" approach. There is a Land of the Dead and once you get there, one of the dieties that presides over the gateway has to allow you out.

    The upshot is that it is possible to be restored to life, but its hard and costly. While this is unfortunate for PCs, it is really necesary to keep every dead noble from popping back up...

    The flipside is the DM needs to take care with what sorts of high lethality devices he uses. Players ought to have the opportunity through careful recon and research to find out if they are going to meet 'instadeath' type attacks, so they can consider their defenses.

    It also helps that I tend to run my campaigns in the 3-12 lvl range, so mass instadeath affects aren't all that common.
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    Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:10 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    More importantly, the gods of the dead are involved in all resurrections (not revivifications). One must got to a priest of Wee Jas in areas where she is predominant or the priest of Oeridian/Flan cults must invoke Nerull and ask him to release the soul. I don't have this "every god gathers his own followers in his own garden" approach. There is a Land of the Dead and once you get there, one of the dieties that presides over the gateway has to allow you out.


    Vormaerin! Hail and well met! Happy

    Query; How do you handle the Heaven vs Hell thing? Is there no reward/punishment in your world for having lived a good/bad life? Confused

    Such rewards or punishments would be the purview of the Diety whom your character has been worshipping/serving all his life, would they not? It would not be the place of a God with whom your character is unfamiliar and has, therefore, never tried to please during his lifetime to decide his/her ultimate fate, would it? Confused

    If so, then why worship any particular God at all? Shocked Why do you have Priest and Clerics -- of specific faiths -- if their service accounts for nothing at their time of reckoning? Why serve Pelor? After all, its Wee Jas who will decide whether or not you burn in Hell, not Pelor. All hail Wee Jas, the one and only God! Shocked Confused

    This method makes no sense for me. Confused Pelor has his own standards of what is good and loyal service. Wee Jas' does not make that decision for Pelor, nor does any other God.

    IMO, There would be a locale where the deceased would "go" and await his/her God's judgement. There may or may not be a certain God "assigned" to "watch over" such souls, until such a time as that individual's God pronounced "sentence." But the character's ultimate destiny, Heaven/Hell/Resurrection, would be the decision of his/her God, not some "foreign" Diety.

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Sat Oct 11, 2008 7:18 pm  

    Well, my academic background is in cultural anthropology and religious studies, so that affects my thinking on these matters. I tend to approach things from more of a 'real world' perspective than a pure fantasy one.

    Greyhawk is a polytheistic world and one that has multiple pantheons. In the real world, groups of gods formed cultural teams. What made you a good worshipper of Athena was not vastly different than what made you a good worshipper of Ares or Zeus. In fact, the main thing that determined your specific faith was where you were born. All Greeks went to Hades to be judged, because all the "Greek" gods had pretty much the same definition of "what is right and just". A god who didn't teach that stuff was on some other team. A demon, as it were.

    With various minor exceptions, the same general concept held true for all the European and middle eastern polytheistic faiths. So that's how I have my campaign set up. I have a much clearer "These are 'The Gods' and those are 'The Demons'" set up than the default.

    No one has a faith that doesn't incorporate either Nerull or Wee Jas in some way. Whether its the Aerdy pantheon or the Old Faith or the Raoan hybrid pantheon of Veluna, they at least acknowledge that Nerull is the keeper of the Dead... just as Hades, Hel, Ereshkigal, etc did in their pantheons. They weren't nice folks, but they clearly weren't Demons.

    The Gods, even the nasty ones, still want the world to exist. Demons, though, want the world to dissolve into chaos and be gone. IMS, Incabulos is a mad god who walks the boundary between the realms of the Gods and the Demons and some say the final fate of the world will be determined by whom he sides with in the final battle. Beltar is a Kali sort of figure... hated by most gods, but her destructiveness is considered essential to opposing the demons..


    So.. Heaven and Hell like you see in Christianity and most Monotheistic religions really doesn't have anything to do with how I have religion operating in Greyhawk. Fantasy Religion is not, imho, a bunch of monotheisms in parallel (as it is often portrayed).
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    Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:52 pm  

    Hail Vormaerin! Happy

    Not to dispute your supposition, but even in Greek mythology all of the dead did not receive the same reward. Ultimately, they went to different locations, after Rhadamanthus, Minos and Aeacus passed judgement. And even after that, both Heracles and Zeus rescued people from Hades. Hercules even rescued Alcestis, the wife of his friend Admetus, from Thanatos and Hades.

    Aesculapius, while a mortal, raised Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, from the dead. ("Delivered him from Hades") Zeus deemed no mortal should have such power and struck Aesculapius dead. But Aesculapius, too, was delivered from Hades and was Deified.

    In Norse mythology, those deemed worthy, by Odin, went to Valhalla, while those not worthy went to Hel, which was ruled by the Goddess of the same name and was known as The Kingdom of Death. Thus, in Norse mythology the Goddess of Death, Hel (the Norse version of Wes Jas) had no say as to whether or not anyone went to Valhalla.

    And without getting into too much detail, India has so many heavens and hells -- not to mention the option of reincarnation -- that I don't even try to sort it all out.

    In addition, Wee Jas is Suel. Everyone (in Oerth) may realize that she's the Suel Goddes of Death, but I seriously doubt that the Baklunish Pantheon is going to give a Suel Goddess "jurisdiction" over any of the Baklunish people. The Baklunish Pantheon warred with the Suel Pantheon just as their mortal worshipers warred with one another.

    For all the Gods of a single Pantheon to agree that this or that might happen, after death, is possible. But in Greyhawk, it must be remembered, even the Gods of a single Pantheon fight with one another. Wee Jas has "enemies" within her own Pantheon, much less among the others, of which she has no control. But two, three, or more Pantheons agreeing that all mortals will go to the "one place" is a bit far stretched.

    For this reason, I leave it up to the individual Gods to decide the fate of their worshipers, much like the situation in the Forgotten Realms world of Faerun.

    Just my thoughts.
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    Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:41 pm  

    I didn't say they all got the same reward. I said they all went to the Land of the Dead. Sure, there were various minor exceptions. The Einheriar of Valhalla and of Freyja's hall were a tiny fraction of souls. And while there were high and low rent districts in the Greek lands of the dead, they were all in the lands of the dead. A few mortals became gods or got turned into stars or otherwise didn't die the normal way. But everyone else went to Hades and got sorted into the right neighborhood. And the "right conduct" that got you into the nicer parts of Hades didn't vary from one god to the next in a significant way.

    As far as the Flanaess goes, everyone has Nerull in some form originally. Wee Jas didn't get a "Death" portfolio until the Rain of Colorless Fire. She doesn't keep a separate realm of the dead. She is the guardian of the dead. The Baklunish are generally considered to have Nerull as part of their pantheon under another name, Tharoth the Reaper (per the Oerth Journal).

    Aesclepius was struck dead for selling the restoration of life, not for having it. I believe that in some versions of the myth Hades complained about it to Zeus. I'm not sure what you were attempting to establish with your stories about life restoration. Those were remarkable feats that are clearly the exception. Life restoration in D&D is far, far easier. And I specifically stated that I used a non standard interpretation of how Greyhawk's dieties interact.

    Yes, the gods have other gods as enemies. Real world pantheons certainly did so as well. The Greeks were full of internal strife. It wasn't uncommon amongst the Norse, either. The Mesopotamian groups had their internal as well as external rivalries, too. It doesn't preclude unity on the "big picture".

    You can have every god have complete jurisdiction over the entirety of their worshipper's life and death, but that's really a monotheistic view of things. Which, as I said, is the most common way of portraying fantasy faiths. Every god for himself and everyone with a self contained church structure. Its just completely ahistorical, at least for mediterranean and mesoamerican faiths. I'm not especially familiar with the myths and religious practices of hinduism, though my brief survey didn't lead me to believe it was vastly different in that regards.

    Mind you "ahistorical" and "bad" are not synonyms. Its just the way I want to structure things in my campaign. But then, I also put a lot more emphasis on the religion than on the gods.

    And later the basic structure of polytheism started to fray under the influence of mystery cults and early monotheistic faiths like Mithraism and the outright Gnostic and Christian religions.
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    Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:11 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    I said they all went to the Land of the Dead. Sure, there were various minor exceptions . . . And the "right conduct" that got you into the nicer parts of Hades didn't vary from one god to the next in a significant way.

    The Baklunish are generally considered to have Nerull as part of their pantheon under another name, Tharoth the Reaper (per the Oerth Journal).

    I believe that in some versions of the myth Hades complained about it to Zeus. I'm not sure what you were attempting to establish with your stories about life restoration. Those were remarkable feats that are clearly the exception. Life restoration in D&D is far, far easier. And I specifically stated that I used a non standard interpretation of how Greyhawk's dieties interact.

    You can have every god have complete jurisdiction over the entirety of their worshipper's life and death, but that's really a monotheistic view of things. Which, as I said, is the most common way of portraying fantasy faiths.


    Hail Vormaerin!

    I've stated, elsewhere in these forums, that I've been away from the game for many years. I only found Canonfire! a few weeks ago. I'm not up-to-date on all of the Oerth Journals, but I do believe that it has been said that they are not "canon." Irregardless . . .

    But, your poisition is taken from a 21st century Point of View. The people of the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica did not view it that way. That is why they, themselves, spoke of "foreign Gods." Shocked

    There are differing points a view, even among Anthropologist. You know this. In the 21st century "we" go back and say: "Oh, look! These two Gods -- though worshipped half a world apart -- have the same portfolio, why, they're the same God, just different names." But, if you were to go back in a time machine, that argument would fall on deaf ears, and you know it. Modern day Anthropologist made that connection, not the actual worshipers of the Gods. (Yes, the Greeks made some such connections, {i.e. Egypt & Rome} but the world does not revolve around the Greeks, much to their disappointment)

    When it came to "life restoration . . . Hades complained about it to Zeus."
    Really? Why complain about it to Zeus? Could it be that Hades was unable to prevent the "life restoration" and so he sought the intervention of a "higher power?" Confused

    If Hades (a.k.a. Wee Jas) had the final say, why did he need to complain to Zeus? And why weren't any of these personages restored/returned to Hades? After all, he did complain about it and so its obvious, to me, that he did not approve of it. Mad

    Each of us will run our game in the manner we see fit. And this is both fitting and proper, we are the DM. I'm simply trying to explain, as simply and logically as I can, why your method does not work for me. I don't share your thoughts on this matter. Sad

    All I'm saying is that, in my world, one God/Goddess does not rule over all the dead, over all the deceased worshipers of all the Gods. Each Divine Pantheon has its own Heaven and Hell, with their own God/Goddess over seeing their own version of the "Land of the Dead."

    In my world they are not all the same God/Goddess with a different name. They are each different and unique.

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:39 am  
    Alrighty then

    Okay, sums that up. So we are all pretty much in agreement that I, as a DM, am not too far out-of-line by explaining to the players that there isn't a cleric sitting in every church in every major city willing and able to raise the deceased pc? Smile

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    Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:15 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:

    Each of us will run our game in the manner we see fit. And this is both fitting and proper, we are the DM. I'm simply trying to explain, as simply and logically as I can, why your method does not work for me. I don't share your thoughts on this matter. Sad



    Well, I don't see where you get the impression I have any objection to this view. In fact,I open my initial post saying "I do things differently" not "this is the way it should be".

    However, I do object your assertion that I'm imposing some modern view on the situation....beyond the idea, perhaps, that its an academic field of study. Syncretism is, in fact, quite ancient and not purely Greek (though they are best known for it). Anyway, I was discussing the subject from the DM's point of view. If you want the myths of the many religions in my campaign, that's rather more than a single forum post can handle. What the man on the street believes and what is true are not necessarily related. I don't believe the gods send memos down to their priests explaining things.

    There are other solutions to the "problem" that most of the Baklunish gods are not described in the books. You can make up yet more gods of your own to fill out the pantheon. It just happens not to be the approach I prefer.
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    Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:42 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    However, I do object your assertion that I'm imposing some modern view on the situation....beyond the idea, perhaps, that its an academic field of study . . . It just happens not to be the approach I prefer.


    Vormaerin! Greetings again!

    Please accept my apologies if I have offended in any way. That was not my intention. Embarassed

    I've viewed our discourse as "lively debate," a free exchange of ideas, thoughts and view points. And I've enjoyed it. Happy

    WoG is nothing more than a fantasy world and is not based on facts, or real world mythology. I thank you for sharing your views, you really have given me food for thought. Confused

    Again, my sincere apologies if I have offended you in any way. Embarassed

    See you in the forums! Happy
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    Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:48 pm  

    Bah. You don't survive on any forums, even relatively mild ones like this one, if you get offended that easily. I certainly don't. You can disagree with my ideas all you want. I'm perfectly capable of distinguishing between my ideas and my person.

    I will note that other regulars have commented to me that you are bit strident in your presentation, so you might consider how you are saying things in addition to what you are saying. As I said in another thread, everyone on this forum plays the game differently and everyone here is a "Greyhawk heretic" in some fashion. There isn't all that much "canon" and its highly contradictory. The point of canonfire is for everyone to share their different views. There's very little under discussion here that is a matter of "fact" that could be wrong.

    Most posters aren't trying to convince anyone of anything. They are just presenting how they do things, in case that appeals to others.
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    Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:02 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar; be as strident as you like Smile

    If the forum doesn't evoke passion and heartfelt opinions GH is truly dead. I have found your posts well written and insightful; IMHO you are a fine addition to the site. Always in favour of a heated discussion.
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    Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:51 pm  
    Casting Spells

    Yes, I think the group has several examples of why there isn't a cleric in every town that will be able to cast a Raise Dead for PCs like filling up a tank at the closest gas station.

    I have interperted the why in which clerics get to cast their spells differently than maybe most people. I like the thought that if a cleric has done something to get "cut off," that the cleric will find out the next time he or she tries to get more spells and realizes that he or she only has what ever has been granted left so those spells will probably be used with the upmost of care in the assumed attempt to redeem him- or herself.

    If the cleric is an "open channel" that could have the spell denied before it occurs, then the spell really never has been granted to the cleric during prayer. The cleric could just let the god decide which spell ought to be cast anytime as if the cleric was an antenna broadcasting the god's (DM's) choices. I wouldn't run a campaign that way.

    Are we looking too deep? Maybe we're better off with the "generic" cleric concept! A cleric of the <insert Charlie Brown animated adult muffled voice here> faith which has a holy symbol that looks like <insert fuzzy censor effect here>.

    Happy
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    Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:06 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    For this reason, I leave it up to the individual Gods to decide the fate of their worshipers, much like the situation in the Forgotten Realms world of Faerun.


    Would people worship individual Gods? Isn't the point of a Pantheon that members of the society worship all the Gods?

    Certainly people would often have patron Gods - like a locksmith would be dedicated to Dalt. But wouldn't the locksmith understand that Dalt is the God of locks, doors, and portals? If so, wouldn't the locksmith also understand that when he is worried about matters of death it is Nerull he must placate or Wee Jas he must court?
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    Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:48 pm  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    Would people worship individual Gods? Isn't the point of a Pantheon that members of the society worship all the Gods?


    It's simply the concept of "Patron," which seems to escape some. And I'm tired of dicussing it.

    Regardless of the fact that all Greeks honored Zeus, Athena was the Patron Goddess of Athens, not Zeus. Athena was the Patron Goddess of Odyssues of Ithaca. Odysseus went to Troy because Athena asked him to go, the other Gods could not influence him as she could.

    He was eventually forced to acknowledge Poseidon's place and position, (Poseidon and Apollo were said to have built the walls of Troy) but it was still Athena that held first place with Odysseus, not Poseidon or Zeus.

    You are the DM, do what you will. You do not see my point, I don't understand yours. Enough said.

    I'm finished here.
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    Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:45 pm  

    Sorry, I know next to nothing about mythology.
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    Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:34 pm  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    Sorry, I know next to nothing about mythology.


    No, allow me to apologize, OleOneEye. I did not mean to sound as though I were being "short with you," personally. Embarassed

    Each of us has our own view of things. I'm simply no longer interested in debating the subject. Sad

    In each Mythos, be it Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Assyrian, Norse, et al, all the Gods of the Pantheon were honored. In that sense, they all received worship. But, for the most part, each person had one particular God to whom they would render their worship. For example, most Norse warriors went into battle shouting Thor's name, not Freya's or Heimdall's. Confused

    (Freya was the Goddess of Love and Beauty and a wife of Odin's, Friday is named for her. {Some associate her with Frigga, [Goddess of Fertility] Odin's other wife} Heimdall was the guardian of the Bifrost bridge connecting Asgard {heaven} to Midgard {earth}. It was his lot to blow the horn which would summon the Gods to Ragnarok, the final battle)

    All of the Norse people would offer sacrifices to all of the Gods, but warriors would offer more sacrifices to Thor, (the Thunder God) or Tyr (the God of War). These two Gods were their Patrons.

    So all of the Gods would receive "homage" within the Pantheons of my game, but each person would have a Patron God/Goddess. The God they would be especially attached to and to whom they would render "extra" worship. Wink

    Just my thoughts. Happy
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    Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:31 pm  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    Sorry, I know next to nothing about mythology.


    Unlike in fantasy campaigns, one's patron deity was usually determined by where one was born (mediterranean religions particularly) or one's social status or profession. Religion was a more communal experience than generally thought of today. The point wasn't to "save" one's soul. The point was to make the gods happy so they were nice to you instead of mean (to put it a little snidely).

    Worship was mostly in the form of big festivals and events and the patron diety got more and better of those than other gods. But individuals would still go to other gods for matters in their sphere of influence.

    Where you went after death was not directly related to one's 'religious' beliefs. Everyone Norse went to Hel's realm unless they were able to attract a Valkyrie's attention by their deeds in battle, in which case they went to either Odin or Freyja's Hall. All the Sumerians when to lands of the dead regardless of which city (and, thus, patron deity) they worshipped.

    Modern religions are about 'saving the soul' Ancient ones are about appeasing the gods. Fantasy ones usually can't decide which they are :P
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    Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:38 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Modern religions are about 'saving the soul' Ancient ones are about appeasing the gods. Fantasy ones usually can't decide which they are


    In the case of Greyhawk specifically, a few of the deities seem to behave in ways that very intentionally mimic monotheistic proselytizing faiths (St. Cuthbert, Pholtus, Wastri, Al'Akbar) while most of the rest are closer to ancient polytheistic norms. (The exception here is Riggby, who proselytizes so vigorously for Boccob - to the point of actually using the words "convert or die" - that I can only think that in the original campaign he wasn't devoted to the Uncaring at all. This instead seems more likely to be a retcon introduced when Gygax got around to inventing Boccob, probably long after he stopped regularly playing the character).

    St. Cuthbert and Pholtus in particular seem so specifically intended as a reference to Christianity that treating their worshippers as if they were devotees of Zeus or Apollo seems awkward. Instead, the Flanaess seems more like a parallel of Europe where Christianity (and Islam) existed, but never gained the monopolistic power it did in the real world. Or simply hadn't yet. Imagine a world where Constantine kept Roman paganism as the official state religion, or look at the way religions worked and continues to work in parts of Europe and elsewhere where Christianity has been introduced, but hasn't yet become the dominant faith.

    That is not to say that Cuthbertines or Pholtans are actually monotheistic, but the Pholtans are not just monolatrous, but in the Pale at least seem actively hostile to other deities - not denying their existence, but seeming to hold them unfit for to be worshipped. I don't think it would be strange if they denied that any foreign god of the dead had power over Pholtus' faithful (Wee Jas was noted as being popular in the Pale in Dragon #88, though the LGG doesn't reflect this - it's a matter of interpretation; it certainly wouldn't be outrageous to portray Wee Jas as having a place in the official theology of the Pale, but it might be more in character if they treated the Jasians as heretics). Cuthbertines seem to get along better with other deities, having notable alliances with Rao and Delleb and getting along fine with Heironeous and Pelor, and an interpretation where Cuthbert is seen as subordinate to a greater deity wouldn't be out of line (it wouldn't be canonical, but it wouldn't be out of line). Even so, the Cuthbertine faith is portrayed as very evangelistic and intolerant of unbelievers, especially as originally presented, and giving St. Cuthbert his own Heaven would seem to fit.

    It wasn't universal that polytheistic faiths shared a belief in a common afterlife, either. In the Roman empire, theories on the afterworld were quite mixed. Some believed in transmigration of souls, some believed that souls traveled upon death to the Sun; those influenced by Zoroastrians believed they traveled into the heavens to join the stars. The Neo-Platonists took seriously Plato's invocation of the Greek underworld, but were more inclined philosophically toward newer notions of the soul ascending upward. Some attempted to reconcile these very different notions by introducing something new: the idea that a soul traveled upward or downward depending on how much it was weighed down by its good or bad deeds. This idea, of course, later became part of Christian doctrine, but the Neo-Platonists came up with it first.

    One idea I've floated here before is that the Oeridians, who we know revered the sky and the heavens, associated their various gods with specific constellations and believed that the souls of the departed joined the specific constellation associated with their patron gods upon death. The Oeridians have no specific god of death of their own, only the psychopomp figure of Celestian, associated with both the stars and the Astral Plane. As such, I think belief in an underworld or a single "lord of the dead" is out of character for them. It wouldn't be strange if the primitive Oeridian notion of souls joining the stars evolved into a more sophisticated notion of a series of complex Outer Planes on another level of existence in which a variety of gods contend over souls - even if such weren't a verifiable fact.

    I'll note also that many historical polytheistic faiths believe in multiple souls, where one goes one place and the others go elsewhere. One soul might be reincarnated, one might join a universal "world spirit," another might go to Nerull and still another might go to one's specific patron.

    Even more so than the Roman Empire during its pagan height, the Flanaess is a melting pot with a variety of religious traditions and metaphysics jostling against each other, blending, evolving, and reacting. With no single equivalent of a Pope to keep doctrine consistent from region to region, I think it'd be very unlikely for notions of the afterlife to be consistent (unless the gods themselves come up with a consistent system and communicate it clearly to their worshippers, in which case any comparisons to real-world faiths go out the window regardless). With no single pantheon leader among the gods, I don't see any agreement to allow this or that deity to exclusively handle such a valuable currency as souls happening, either. The laissez faire, "each god for itself" system that is D&D's default seems the most likely result for reasons of both internal logic and historical comparisons.

    Extra note: What exactly does it mean to be a "god of the dead" in such a situation? Well, for one thing, Nerull isn't the god of the dead - he's the god of death and murder, the moment of death, more like the Greek Thanatos than Hades. His "underworld" portfolio probably refers to the Lower Planes - the spiritual home of all that is evil - and the criminal underworld, the domain of those thieves and assassins who work in the shadows. I think some of the Suel might well believe that Lendor has given Wee Jas special dispensation over the deceased, whether in a "protector of the physical bodies of the departed from desecration" way, a "guardian of those souls unclaimed by anyone else" way, or in a "administrator over the purgatory through which all must pass" sort of way, or combination of the above.
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    Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:58 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    OleOneEye wrote:
    Sorry, I know next to nothing about mythology.


    Unlike in fantasy campaigns, one's patron deity was usually determined by where one was born (mediterranean religions particularly) or one's social status or profession. Religion was a more communal experience than generally thought of today. The point wasn't to "save" one's soul. The point was to make the gods happy so they were nice to you instead of mean (to put it a little snidely).

    Worship was mostly in the form of big festivals and events and the patron diety got more and better of those than other gods. But individuals would still go to other gods for matters in their sphere of influence.

    Where you went after death was not directly related to one's 'religious' beliefs. Everyone Norse went to Hel's realm unless they were able to attract a Valkyrie's attention by their deeds in battle, in which case they went to either Odin or Freyja's Hall. All the Sumerians when to lands of the dead regardless of which city (and, thus, patron deity) they worshipped.

    Modern religions are about 'saving the soul' Ancient ones are about appeasing the gods. Fantasy ones usually can't decide which they are :P


    This is exactly how I run the Greyhawk gods. Thank you for putting it so well.
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    Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:34 am  

    What happens in the afterlife in a D&D game is a very interesting question and it has never been truly answered outside the spurious sources of Planescape. The game, in its beginnings, really did not care how it worked nor what roles the gods did have compared to the layout of the inner and outer planes.

    IMO, it's of great importance to note the use of mortal souls and spirits in the outer planes. In the netherplanes rot grubs, manes, lemures and other lesser fiends are constructed from wicked souls while purer souls can be used as energy, components or bargaining chps. The Upper planes surely have similar, if more altruistic, use of pure souls. In other words, souls have value! IMO there is a short period of time after a persons death where the soul/spirit wanders aimlessly around the planes trying to find its "resting place". During that time the soul can be brought back through "normal" magic but it can also be waylaid by soulnabbers - night hags, demons, devils, wizards etc.

    If nothing unfortuitous happens the soul finally reaches a spot where it can find its resting place. The gods naturally have agents roaming about trying to herd the souls to their abodes to bolster the god's own might. IMO, a soul travels to the abode of his patron god through directions from that god wherever the god has set up shop. If the soul becomes lost it goes somewhere else, to the plane of his or her alignment if nothing else.

    Also, IMO gods aren't products of the outer planes. They are able to live on any plane regardless of alignment but naturally many prefer to hang around those of like-minded disposition. Demons, and other planar creatures, however, are born and bound to the planes that created them - in a way they are living extensions of the plane itself. The issue becomes blurred when discussing certain elder beings who've been around longer than the planes themselves.

    Finally, though real-life mythology and religion can be useful when fleshing out the planes and the gods it really can't explain the cosmology of D&D simply because all of these gods and beings are supposed to actually exist simultaneously - they aren't myth and they have clerics able to commune with them which means that quite a few people are able to tell what the gods are thinking! The people in a D&D campaign have very few myths but a lot of facts about their religion!
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    Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:24 am  

    Gilban wrote:


    Finally, though real-life mythology and religion can be useful when fleshing out the planes and the gods it really can't explain the cosmology of D&D simply because all of these gods and beings are supposed to actually exist simultaneously - they aren't myth and they have clerics able to commune with them which means that quite a few people are able to tell what the gods are thinking! The people in a D&D campaign have very few myths but a lot of facts about their religion!


    This is by no means a given. It assumes that you have a lot of high level spell casting clerics, that the gods' minions actually answer such questions, and that the answers are taken as authoritative. Any or all of those things /could/ be true, but they need not be.
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    Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:33 pm  

    In the afterlife of my campaign, you roll up a new character
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    Fri Oct 17, 2008 11:53 am  

    Spoil sport Anced_Math Laughing
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    Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:11 pm  

    I’ve always had fun with the religions in Greyhawk. Especially since I think that each culture and race has a different spin on how it all works. True there is a lot of bleed over and such, especially after all the intermingling of cultures that went on after the great migrations. But most of the basic cultural biases still exist.

    First a bit of definition for what I’m talking about. These are simplified definitions of one of the most complex topics in existence: Religion, so I’m sure people can find myriad ways to disagree with how I’m defining things. But I’m putting them out there so you can see what I think I’m talking about when I mention them in the rest of the post.

    Animism [god is in everything] Tribal religions, Native Americans, Shinto, Hindu
    Anthropomorphism (giving inhuman creatures or forces human characteristics)
    Henotheism [there are many gods but only one is worthy of worship] classical Greek/Roman, Old kingdom Egyptian
    Monotheism [there is one god] Christian, Jews, and Muslims
    Polytheism [there are many gods] Hinduism, ancient Greek/Roman
    Pantheism [god is everything and everything is god] some sects of Buddhism


    This is how I have my religions working when I run Greyhawk campaigns:

    Baklundish in its earlier origins were more a Pantheistic religion. Istus is everything, she controls all fates and all aspects of reality. Later, in part through their contacts with other cultures this broke down a little into a Henotheistic or even Monotheistic view, acknowledging the other races and cultures gods but still believing that only Istus was worth worshiping. Later, a few other powers crept into the belief system, namely Geshtai, Xan Yae, Al’Akbar, and Zuoken but more in a role like the Catholic system of Saints than a true polytheism. All the other Balkundish gods other than Istus were mortals that gained their powers and while the Balkundish people may pray to them for favors the power comes from Istus through them. The Baklundish priesthood is one church all worshiping Istus and venerating the lesser gods.

    The Suel religion is a Henotheism. The have many gods, each god has its own church and priesthood. Priests are dedicated to one god and gain all their powers from that god. Suel cities usually have a state religion like the classical era Greeks and late-kingdom Egyptians. People of the Suel culture that live outside of predominately Suel populations (and thus in population centers that don’t have a Suel patron deity) usually have one god that they worship.

    Oeridians began as Animalists. They worshiped the natural world they lived in, the sun the planet, the seasons, and such. Gradually they anthropomorphized these natural forces into their first batch of gods: Procan, Atroa, Wenta, Celestian and such. After the culture encountered the Suel they began to anthropomorphizing more esoteric concepts into the divine and gods like Erythnul, Faharlanghn, Heironeous and Hextor, Rudd, and Pholtus had their origins. Some gods that began in other cultures but fit well into the Oeridian concept of faith were easily accepted into their belief system such as Beory and Pelor. Each god has its own priesthood and the clerics are devoted to their individual god and receive their powers through their patron deity, although the clerics may pray to, give thanks/acknowledgment to, or make offerings to another deity of the pantheon if the situation falls under that god’s sphere of influence rather than their own. The people worship all the gods, turning to whichever deity is most appropriate to the situation.

    The Flan, like the Oeridians, began with Animalism and are still the the most primitive of the human cultures, so while they are evolving into a polytheistic system their beliefs are still very heavily Animalistic and their gods more closely tied to elemental forces. The religions of the Flan are in many cases more primitive as well. While the principle gods have established priesthoods and clerical orders many of the other divine forces are still worshiped shamanistically or through cult practices. The flan people reflect this same dichotomy. The more civilized Flan, tend to practice Polytheistically worshiping all the gods although they may have one in particular that they venerate. The less civilized Flan, such as the northern barbarians or the southern jungle tribes have gone through less anthropomorphism and actually worship the forces and spirits of nature with less focus or need to see them as powerful humanoid forms.

    Non-human religions vary a little bit but most of them, especially those of the player character races are similar in some way. The Elves and Gnomes worship their respective pantheons as a group. There is only one elven priesthood and the clerics and people pray to whichever god most closely applies. The Dwarves are Polytheistic with traces of Henotheism. Dwarven clerics are dedicated to a single god, and all gods are usually represented in all dwarven communities although many communities have one principle deity they focus on. Halfling beliefs are Polytheist with a priesthood dedicated to each god and the people praying to all of the gods. Orcs are similar to Baklundish model: all orcs worship Gruumsh and the other orc gods were mortal heroes that elevated themselves over the corpses of their enemies. Orcs may worship the lesser gods as situations dictate but always with Gruumsh over all.

    Of course there is also the aspects of every population that gets involved in worshiping devils, demons, elemental princes, and the elder gods and those forces are able to grant clerical powers, but none of the major cultures are based on such a worship. (of course Lloth has the drow culture, Iuz actually lives in the world, and Grazzt has some good size cults hidden around, and other such ‘religions’ exist but not to the extent of the major human religions and main non-human cultures).
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    Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:31 pm  
    RL vs. VR

    There's something to this conversation that I think is missing with regard to trying to talk about all these gods in Greyhawk as functional NPCs. It's that in real life there were times and places where cultures had their pantheon which didn't fit with the one next door. I don't mean that Odin is the same as Zeus and so in English we get both Thursday (Thor's Day) and Saturday (Saturn's Day) without too much conflict. Rather, I mean that it seems to me that followers of ancient gods and the followers of other ancient gods might want to discount the other culture's gods as either weak or fake when they can't equate maybe Egyptian with Greek gods. What we're doing in D&D is allowing both Ra and Zeus to exist as NPCs (if your DM allows multiple pantheons to exist in your campaign). So from the standpoint of Greyhawk culture, they both may have power but I would think that a foriegn pantheon may be rejected by locals loyal to their traditional group of gods.

    So I think many players of D&D may not have seen the gods in Greyhawk as part of a single pantheon but competing pantheons.

    I wonder what the gods in Greyhawk as NPCs get out of having followers. I've never seen that they get power from it. Some novels I've read (I don't remember which ones) had the idea that a god that looses all followers dies and a god which is gaining followers gains power. It wasn't clear if the power was through the influence of the followers or something in D&D terms like better stats.
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    Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:46 pm  
    Interesting Site Regarding Gods

    www.godchecker.com

    It has http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/mesopotamian-mythology.php?deity=TIAMAT&ds=N

    and all this time I thought Tiamat was a D&D creation. I should have known it's origins are from Mesopotamia.
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