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    Canonfire :: View topic - How to handle Character Death in Greyhawk
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    How to handle Character Death in Greyhawk
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 25, 2012
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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:27 pm  
    How to handle Character Death in Greyhawk

    I'm a new DM trying to figure out how to handle death in a new campaign. I have a small group, so losing even one member could cripple the adventure.

    I've personally decided to use the optional "Hovering at Death's Door" rule from the 2E DM guide to provide some padding while still maintaining a element of suspense, but beyond that I don't know how to handle death in the world.

    Should I make Raise Dead available at every cleric's temple for a fee? Should I require a short quest on behalf of the temple? Should I stick to the dice and have the player roll a new character?

    What experiences have you had?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:57 pm  

    Almost everyone I have ever known has used the "Hovering at Death's Door" optional rules; so much so that I really don't consider them optional at all. It is simply one the best things for adding tension/suspense to the game, and the side benefit of keeping characters alive is surely important as well.

    I wouldn't go so far as to make raise dead available everywhere, but most chapels will likely have at least one scroll of raise dead around for really big emergencies. Such a scroll might be available for a price, and a "favor" too(i.e. a minor quest, such as the PCs take care of problem for the priest, kill a dangerous monster, put an end to bandits that threaten parishioners, recover stolen money/items, etc.). The priest's disposition, and therefore the cost of the service, will certainly be linked to how the PCs interact with them, or if their current cause is one that benefits the priest's religion and/or the local community/congregation.

    Returning somebody from the dead is a big deal, but it isn't always the only solution. Unless a character is really well connected, they aren't likely to get access to something like raise dead. When I ran ToEE, a few characters were killed in a particular incident which may very well happen early on. I'll not mention any spoilers though. Instead of seeking to raise dead on the slain characters, a new one showed up in town. Another turned out to be a lowly follower of St. Cuthbert helping out at the temple of Hommlet (a grave digger acolyte actually), and yet another was an aspirant in service to Jaroo the local druid. There are a lot of factions in and around Hommlet to make use of, and there are potentially lots ties to far flung organizations. Perhaps Burne has a new apprentice that nobody has seen yet, or one of Burne's Badgers is keen to make something more of himself, rather than just be a member of the village militia. When we added new character in this way, we always set them back one half a level of XP behind the other characters- not enough to cripple them, but just enough to make them work for their new position among the adventuring party. To a lesser degree it is also a penalty for playing unwisely. Players often forget that fighting isn't the only option. The adventurers can also choose to run away, and come back better prepared. Wink
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:41 pm  

    I have a really strong distaste for raise dead and resurrection. That's just my personal thing. So what I have done has been to make raise dead just a really serious healing spell for someone who is pretty much going to die without it. Think of it as getting that incredible life-saving surgery without which you would die. To go along with that when a character has reached the point of death, the player has two choices.

    1) Your character is grievously wounded, like axe to the skull wounded, passing in and out of consciousness, can't move, make coherent sentences, etc... The rest of the party can then get them back to a temple that might have a healer who can do the equivalent of raise dead for the standard price or an appropriate quest/task.
    2) Your character can be permanently dead, but you get to make an awesome "last words" they want to say. Examples I give are anything from admitting your secret love for the gruff dwarf fighter, to the patented Gandalph "Fly, you fools!" as the horde of orcs washes over you.
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:42 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Almost everyone I have ever known has used the "Hovering at Death's Door" optional rules; so much so that I really don't consider them optional at all. It is simply one the best things for adding tension/suspense to the game, and the side benefit of keeping characters alive is surely important as well.

    I would agree that it is not an "optional rule", but IMC it is not a regularly occurring one either. If through bad luck the PC perishes, deaths door should be an option, if they died do to poor decisions is another matter. IF players become accustom to the DM "bailing them out" or if Death is not a possibility, then they often take unnecessary risks. PC's should play it as if their lives depend on it. Cause they do..Evil Grin
    Another option is Reincarnate Spell too, This can lead to some interesting role play as well. and is a lesser level spell than the Resurrection / Raise dead options. You could certainly develop a quest seeking out the local druid as a side trek to recovering a lost commerade.
    Cebrion wrote:

    To a lesser degree it is also a penalty for playing unwisely. Players often forget that fighting isn't the only option. The adventurers can also choose to run away, and come back better prepared. Wink

    Big C makes several valid points, and as he also commented, there should be a penalty for unwise actions. Live to fight another day should always be an option path the players often fail to include.

    As the Lich Lord says to the first level Fighter brandishing that new long sword... "you can't be serious"...
    Mawwahhhaaa
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:02 pm  

    I allow players to have a Rasie Dead cast on them from Temples or whatever, but its basically a STIFF cost on cash plus a quest and some stat penalty of some sort. I allow it but its gonna cost em hard.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:47 pm  

    As always, I'd like to point out that in my opinion it's not nice to use clergies as spell-markets. You should be an established follower with a good track record to even have a chance to get resurrection.

    So that's basically how it goes in my game. You join the local church, you do things for them (exciting adventures of course) and they might let you have Raise Dead if you happen to get killed. If you travel to another kingdom you might have to start all over again, because different temples of the same faith aren't necessarily allied.

    I simply can't stress how much I hate divine casters acting like sleazy salesmen. Holy magic should be a little bit restricted. But that's just me.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:58 pm  

    I'll vote for the men of wisdom above everytime.

    Once a character has been Raised the expectation bar gets set and there's only one way that will now go. Death is a part and parcel of the environment and if that threat is even slightly removed player's attitudes to it soon change too.

    The best thing for a small group I've always found is to have a trusted npc that accompanies the party on their adventures. This npc is loyal, reliable and has no dark past or major foibles. He/she is simple to run for the DM as an npc but can be taken over at any time should a pc be stricken by something debilitating or even killed. The game shouldn't stop because a PC has died. In fact it should continue and continue to affect the campaign and the other pcs in it. Death is a great opportunity for players to reflect on a fallen comrade and, once the passage of time has healed, a marvellous chance for a player to try a completely different character.

    By all means use Raise but this should also be something that changes the course of the campaign. In other words, it should be as big an experience as death itself. Sadly, in a lot of games it isn't and that's a shame.

    A stupid death, however, should be toasted with a raised glass not a raise spell.
    Paladin

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:34 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    I'll vote for the men of wisdom above everytime.

    Once a character has been Raised the expectation bar gets set and there's only one way that will now go. Death is a part and parcel of the environment and if that threat is even slightly removed player's attitudes to it soon change too.

    The game shouldn't stop because a PC has died. In fact it should continue and continue to affect the campaign and the other pcs in it. Death is a great opportunity for players to reflect on a fallen comrade and, once the passage of time has healed, a marvellous chance for a player to try a completely different character.

    A stupid death, however, should be toasted with a raised glass not a raise spell.

    HOOOZAH and Well Put... If the PCs know there is a safety net, they will use it. Let us all raise a glass to those entertaining but less than thought provoking characters of our past that perish in our entertainment! Laughing
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:17 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Almost everyone I have ever known has used the "Hovering at Death's Door" optional rules; so much so that I really don't consider them optional at all...


    -I use it for PCs and NPCs (friendly and hostile).

    Cebrion wrote:
    ...I wouldn't go so far as to make raise dead available everywhere, but most chapels will likely have at least one scroll of raise dead around for really big emergencies. Such a scroll might be available for a price, and a "favor" too(i.e. a minor quest, such as the PCs take care of problem for the priest, kill a dangerous monster, put an end to bandits that threaten parishioners, recover stolen money/items, etc.)....


    -An adventure possibility which the DM can prepare ahead of time, knowing that it's going to come up.

    Personally, I've only see one PC get resurrected, and that was in the mid-1980s Monty Haul days.
    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:05 pm  

    Nerdcav,

    I think I agree with the general forum in this case in pretty much all aspects. Here's a few other things to keep in mind.

    On top of using the Death's Door option (which could leave the recovering character with some lingering emotional or physical effects, being so close to death and all), there are some spells, if you have a cleric on hand, that may stabilize the condition and prevent the use of a Raise Dead. The Complete Book to Necromancers offers the 3rd lvl priest spell (Necromantic sphere) appropriately called Death's Door which would bring a character back from the brink of death without any lingering effects. Other DMs allow curing magicks that bring a character above 0 hp to stabilize.

    As for Raise spells, I think that most religions would only consider this gift to a character who is a member of that faith OR who has died in the service to that Power or supporting a cause near and dear to that Power. Lawfuls might be more stringent (in my mind, St Cuthbert and Pholtus are the least likely to offer a Raise Dead without just cause) than others, with Pelorians the most likely to aid an adventuring party (but still requiring payment of some sort). Only major temples, in my mind, have even a chance to offer this boon, unless you have reason to place a high lvl cleric (9th min) in a small community (could happen, I suppose).

    -Lanthorn
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:07 pm  

    I hear you guys - death should be an event, not just a road-bump. I think I agree - but how do I handle the disappointed players? I may have shot myself in the foot by asking them to come up with a background for their characters - now they have an attachment to the character which would be harder to break than if I just had them roll up a character on the first game night.

    Do you talk about how you intend on handling death ahead of time so they can proceed with caution? At least two of my players are heavy MMO players so "battle rez" and the absence of real death is a regular part of their adventure mindset. How have you all handled the player when the character dies? Any advice to prep them in case death does occur so the fun doesn't end?
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    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:33 pm  

    Great question, friend. Part of it, I think, is the personality of the player as well as his/her maturity. It's a game, first and foremost, although I will admit that losing your FAVORITE character is rough. Secondly, in a fantasy game, even death is not an end-all, for it is possible to raise the dead (granted, there are prices to pay, unless you are "well" connected or can call favors due). Thirdly, I allow most players, especially seasoned role-players, to roll up MORE than one player so that if one is killed or incapacitated, there are back-ups to be had, and the adventure can proceed. In fact, my main player, a friend I've had since high school, is a VERY adept role-player who can juggle MANY PCs simultaneously without issue. If I think he makes an error in holding true to a character, I call him out on it (respectfully) and it is typically not an issue. Likewise, I play MANY PCs in any given campaign, shifting hats all the time. Maybe it's not an orthodox approach, but it works for us.

    -Lanthorn of the Many Guises
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:52 pm  

    Thanks Lanthorn - I think these guys are mature enough to handle it, I just want to make sure I do my part well. I put together some prep notes for them to use in getting started, and it in I directed them to create 2 characters for just this purpose - the second one being a friend or associate of the original character who will take up the mantle should the original snuff it. All in all, I think it will go just fine, but I'm going to at least warn them that rezzes are rare and expensive, and not simple restart buttons. That way they can get in the right mindset from the jump. I think I'll make reincarnation a bit more available - since it recycles nature, as it were, and makes for more interesting role playing. Thanks for all the excellent feedback!
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    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:37 pm  

    Resurrection from the dead should be rare, as the others have said, but there is a way to make it seem more rare than it is, if you play it right.

    For example, when running a new group of players through The Keep on the Borderland, I warn them that if they get in over their heads, they should not be afraid to run away. Invariably, they get in over their heads and refuse to run or simply get someone in the party killed. They go back to the Abbot at the Keep and ask for help and he makes a deal with them. He explains that his superiors in the city have provided him with a single Raise Dead scroll intended for use by his Acolytes in the event of the Abotts own untimely death. He also explains that he has divined that an assassin has been sent to kill him, but that he can't simply have someone arrested because he has seen a future crime in a vision. So, he asks that a member of the party challenge the assassin on the Abbott's behalf to a duel. If the PC is victorious, the Abott promises to use the Raise Dead scroll on the fallen member of the party, since he'd otherwise just have to waste it on himself after the assassin is successful.

    The next time, the PCs know that there are no more Raise Dead scrolls available, but the Abott suggests that they seek a Druid rumored to live in the wooded hills nearby. Thus, the new party is introduced to the fun of Reincarnation. Happy

    SirXaris
    Paladin

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    Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:49 pm  

    nerdcav wrote:
    but how do I handle the disappointed players? I may have shot myself in the foot by asking them to come up with a background for their characters - now they have an attachment to the character which would be harder to break than if I just had them roll up a character on the first game night.

    I too have players come up with a very detailed ( and I weave background) into their character, so don't consider that a short sighted thing. IT ADDS to the DETAIL AND MAKES the GAME....
    IMC, in one example I have a barbarian PC that is the Prodigy of his "earlier self" thus further adding to the back history since the death is a detail that could be passed down in lore to the "newly generated character". This could easily be adapted to brother, sister, cousin, ect. I have found thru the years that the player appreciates the continuing level of detail that this method brings.... IMC it has been continually going on for 20years ( Yea REAL years...) so PCs are often the prodigy or the ancestors of others...
    ITs a fine line to balance between Challenge and Impossible Odds, especially if your players don't know when to find the exit and return when better prepared.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:37 pm  

    As a DM, I let people die. Usually once at 0 hit points they are unconscious / in shock, losing 1hp/round and will die at -10 hp if they aren't tended to. If a priest casts cure light wounds, they're back to 1hp and it's time to get some rest.

    Dying though can be really exciting plot hooks. I'm sure a temple in a larger town or city could provide such services...for a cost. Maybe all the good temples say "no" and the only one that says "yes" is for an evil god. Or maybe a druid reincarnates them. There's a lot that can be done with death.
    GreySage

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    Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:17 pm  

    Elliva, I gotta say, I like your style! Evil Grin

    Among some of my closer friends, I have been dubbed a "killer DM" for my (ruthless?) ability to 'pull the trigger' and slay PCs. Granted, I don't typically do it unless it's for a good reason, or without clearly letting players know it is a possibility. I agree that killing a character, though harsh, can often further a plotline.

    I've done it before, and will do it again. Off the top of my head, I think my main player has lost half a dozen PCs, mainly around 3rd lvl. We now refer to it as the 'deadly' level. The second hurdle, for whatever reason, is 5th.

    Just recently, he lost a favored character, a battlemage, AGAIN. Doran's been killed three times and afflicted with lycanthropy TWICE. It's been a real roleplaying device, not only getting this fellow cured and raised, but also as a psychological challenge for my player. All those clerical ministrations also gave me, as DM, some great adventure plotlines. And Doran has made some sacrifices along the way, though not all of them to his liking, including his most recent one...

    -Lanthorn
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    Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:35 pm  

    Depending on what type of campaign I am running depends on how I treat the characters.

    If I am running a very difficult and potentially deadly set of adventures then I will offer the players a pool of characters (2-3) to choose from (similar to Dark Sun). If I am running a reasonable set of adventures where death can occureI explain to the players about this and also tell them just how difficult it is to have a character brought back from the grave and potential pitfall for doing so.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:17 am  

    For some players the trick is a simple as learning when to back away from a fight that appears too tough. There are many options to players that choose their battles but it's a lesson that can be hard to learn because a lot of groups just have one tactic; steamroller the opposition.

    The DM can help by laying the possibility of an uneven encounter at the start of the campaign. This problem has been exacerbated by later editions of D&D and its offshoots with the increased reliance on balanced encounters through mathematical formula.

    Tell the players the world is a dangerous place and, although you want them to have fun, some challenges may be too tough when first met. Play the long game, it's a campaign after all.
    Paladin

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    Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:53 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    For some players the trick is a simple as learning when to back away from a fight that appears too tough.
    Tell the players the world is a dangerous place and, although you want them to have fun, some challenges may be too tough when first met. Play the long game, it's a campaign after all.

    WELL PUT... IMO too many of "today's campaigns" think linking playing through two or three games constitutes a "campaign".. it doesn't.. that's a SERIES... a campaign is marathon, not a sprint. It is a labor of love from both the DM and the PC and if done correctly is remembered well for the investment in time and comradeship 10 fold.
    It is not that the DM has to have the WHOLE world PLANNED out.. but a good framework helps... I go into every evening KNOWING what my players are LIKELY to do, but that doesn't mean the do it nor do I lead them there. Good DMing is like a "good weather forecast" mostly accurate but not foolproof. Plan for the obvious contingencies, death included, and see what happens. I structure from most likely to WTF possibilities but that is the left brained engineer in me.
    Even in DEATH there is plot and storyline. teach the players to embrace those as positives not losses. I (after a 10 year sabbatical) restarted my campaign last October at the request of my son and former players. They wanted a game with teeth and rich history. So I, in a sense, am still playing the same campaign I started in 1980 nearly 32 years later. Have there been changes, deaths, etc, sure. Rule changes, and expansions among them, as the game goes on. Death of PCs and NPCs have certainly taken place in the past and night before last IMC hehe. Some are pointless, some are due to player attrition ( these are written in similar to an actor leaving a TV series) ever notice that if the actor comes back.. they are written back in? Even these elements can be tools. My own avatar is a prime example of that. He was a PC of mine in another game session that "died" and has since "returned" IMC to become a Nemesis for the PCs. Just in case any of my PCs are peaking in, lets just say he's angry about being left when the party fled that black dragon and wants the world to know his pain.. hehe
    The point is, turn the death into a story element. its classic writing in all great literature.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:31 pm  

    DLG is an undead poet. Well written, Tex! I concur fully and have nothing to elaborate on his excellently typed perspective.

    -Lanthorn

    FYI: hitherforth, perhaps we should refer to DLG as Darth Tex. Or Undead Tex. Wink
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:35 pm  

    nerdcav wrote:
    I hear you guys - death should be an event, not just a road-bump. I think I agree - but how do I handle the disappointed players? I may have shot myself in the foot by asking them to come up with a background for their characters - now they have an attachment to the character which would be harder to break than if I just had them roll up a character on the first game night.

    Do you talk about how you intend on handling death ahead of time so they can proceed with caution? At least two of my players are heavy MMO players so "battle rez" and the absence of real death is a regular part of their adventure mindset. How have you all handled the player when the character dies? Any advice to prep them in case death does occur so the fun doesn't end?


    The potential of death being permanent is necessary to keep your role playing game from turning into a roll playing game. Video gamers need to change their mindset to really enjoy a good storytelling rpg game.

    That being said, players have hated losing their characters since the dawn of the hobby, and that's something you should think about when running your game.

    I tend to follow the comic book rule in regards to death: death should be rare, and a death should have meaning and impact for the player and the story. You can play fast and loose with your dice rolls (since you roll the player character's damage) if they are losing too many hit points by staging "near misses" or reducing the amount of damage actually rolled.

    Of course, if a player insists on doing something really stupid, like swimming in plate armor, then you should allow Darwin's Rule to apply.

    Sometimes a player WANTS a heroic death for his character. I recall playing in a sci fi game that was coming to a close; we were on a "Bug Hunt" as in Aliens bugs, and ran into a Predator. One player's character was badly wounded and sacrificed himself to let the others get away. The player looked at the GM and said, "Spine me! Spine me!" So the Prediator ripped out his spine and skull as a worthy adversary.

    It was a great gaming moment, and the player was thrilled.
    Paladin

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:45 pm  

    Theala_Sildorian wrote:

    Of course, if a player insists on doing something really stupid, like swimming in plate armor, then you should allow Darwin's Rule to apply.

    HERE HERE!! hehe
    If you allow "stupid" to take hold, it leads to an infection and then an epidemic. As I tell my players... in nature there is No "society" representing the protection of slow zebras just because the lions pick on them, they just get invited to lunch Evil Grin
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:24 pm  

    I use hovering on death door. Though raising the dead can only be done by priests who worship a god or goddess of the dead. The price besides favors and financial pitfalls, requires the bargaining of a soul for a soul. If one comes back another must take its place.

    Many people say will this favor evil npc's and characters, maybe? Though think of the repercussions of bringing someone back to life dealing with churches of Nerull, or Wee Jas. What happens when the church tells you they need a righteous soul to replace the one you want released, or better yet the party has to take a life to resurrection their friend. The moral dilemma can be too much for the pc's to bear.

    Later

    Argon
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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:58 pm  

    Personally, I strongly dislike resurrection-type events. IMHO death and the possibility of recovering from it should be seriously meaningful events rather than simple exercises in game mechanics.

    IMC, I use the death's door option (which isn't really an option in my preferred rules system). I also allow all of the resurrection-type spells, but with much stricter controls. To begin with, I double or treble the costs in the PHB, and sometimes increase them more if my players are being particularly reckless. Also, I make it a firm rule that NO ONE will perform such spells without a really good reason. In other words, if a PC died heroically while pursuing goals supported by the cleric/religion performing the spell, he MIGHT have a chance at resurrection. If not, he's out of luck.

    There is one exception to this. I make reincarnation slightly more available (twice the listed cost). I change the spell's description, though, so that it's far less likely a character comes back as one of the standard races. There's about a 50/50 chance a reincarnated character comes back as an animal or plant native to the terrain in which the spell is performed. If this occurs, an additional spell is required to "awaken" the character so that he can speak/move/think as he did before. Rather than rolling on a table, I pick a likely critter than seems to fit the character's personality.

    And yes, that does mean that in my campaign it's possible to see sword-swinging shrubberies and bunnies with bad attitudes traveling with adventuring parties. Maybe someday I'll have my son describe what it was like to finish up the ToEE as a giant frog.
    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:30 am  

    Argon wrote:
    Many people say will this favor evil npc's and characters, maybe? Though think of the repercussions of bringing someone back to life dealing with churches of Nerull, or Wee Jas. What happens when the church tells you they need a righteous soul to replace the one you want released, or better yet the party has to take a life to resurrection their friend. The moral dilemma can be too much for the pc's to bear.


    Seems to me that it definately favors evil PCs/NPCs. Evil NPCs would have little to no compunction about killing another to raise someone they prefered. Neither would evil clerics or clerics of evil gods.

    So, your system gives Evil a definate advantage in the raising of the dead. Perhaps you write in a culture taboo in your campiagn about stealing souls from the heavens so that good NPCs/PCs don't want to raise anyone. Confused

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:18 am  

    I thought specifically about this very post last night when my player's tatooed Flannish mage got fried to a blackened corpse (-28 hp) by a Call Lightning spell.

    I knew his character was, pardon the pun, toast when he tossed his d20 save, winced, gyrated his body, and walked away from the table, shaking his head. A 5. Sad

    I turned to my player, long-term friend and fellow player/DM (we swap roles), who has a very matter-of-fact attitude, especially since he has many PCs he controls (he's a very adept role-player). He merely shrugged, said it's part of the game, and realized that death is not always permanent, given the right circumstances.

    I offered a 'fudge', but as part of that deal, it means I give one to the opposition at a time of my choosing (I like 'balance' it seems), but he said, "No" and wanted the roll to count, accepting the loss of his mage, with the possibility (not guarantee) of bringing him back.

    So the game continues.

    Rest in peace, Kai-tel. May the Flannish pantheon accept your worthy soul, and perhaps the Sun Father, Pelor, will restore you...

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:32 am  

    To my mind the player in the above example has, at some point, made a decision to keep the PC in a position where a single spell can reduce them to -28 hp and is therefore fully accepting that a failed save can toast the character.

    This is not a time for weeping and wailing about whether the character can be restored, more an opportunity to celebrate a valiant sacrifice or an act of crass stupidity.

    The idea of the DM bargaining out of character to restore a character is, to me, ludicrous. If a DM uses a fudge no-one should ever know except him/her or the game is undermined forever. Keep it in role one way or the other and let the game carry on; it seems the player was amenable to this at least.

    The last line of the post is how it should always be, and adds a memorable postscript to the character's life.
    GreySage

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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:16 am  

    Poor Kai-tel did get in a bit over his head, but circumstances conspired against him. He was trying to aid his fellows by launching into the air with a Fly spell, thus catching the attention of some lizard men who hurled javelins and darts his way. Unbeknownst to Kai-tel (and his allies), some powerful combat-enhancing magicks were used to assist the proficiency and lethality of their reptilian foes (a combination of Prayer and Recitation will do that) . Quickly, the luckless mage found himself with a javelin imbedded in his chest and down to 6 hp. Wisely, he opted to flee back towards the relative safety of the party's magical fortification (Leomund's Secure Shelter). Sadly, it was too late for Kai-tel, as a lizard man shaman of Semuanya targeted him for roasting with his Call Lightning spell...

    As for 'bargaining' I can see you point Ragr, but it was more out of respect to my player. However, it always comes with the price that I will offer such leeway to the opposition as well, and only once in a campaign.

    Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:25 am  

    Might have come across as "snarky".

    Wasn't meant as a criticism of you, the DM, Lanthorn.

    I don't think you took it that way but I wanted to be clear.

    I've played in games where the GM has said "okay, let's replay that bit" when a character has been killed. The player who most wants to walk away from the table at that point is me. Wink
    GreySage

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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:11 am  

    I'm in the middle there, fellas. I like to punish the PCs by forcing them to run away, leaving their wagon(s) full of used arms and armor behind or having them get captured and all their treasure and equipment taken. But, I don't like to kill them off permanently very often. Only if a player has told me that s/he would rather play a different character do I kill a PC off permanently. If a player does something stupid and gets his or her PC killed as a result, I have no qualms about letting the PC die, but, like Lanthorn, if the player really enjoys the PC, I'll arrange for its return. I'll just force the PC to pay through the nose in one way or another.

    When playtesting with pregens, however, it's another story. That's where I can keep a kill tally with relish. Evil Grin Of course, if I TPK the party, we try it again. If they kill my dragon turtle in three rounds with no PC slain, I increase his power or change something else and we do it again. Razz

    SirXaris
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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:30 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    like Lanthorn, if the player really enjoys the PC, I'll arrange for its return.

    Jokes aside, ditto that.. We have "player points" that the Player can "buy" the PC back from me.
    SirXaris wrote:

    When playtesting with pregens, however, it's another story. That's where I can keep a kill tally with relish. Evil Grin

    OH YEA!! hehe The red shirt crewman #9!! thats why my players ask the names of all the NPCs to determine who is expendable! They think they know if I have to randomize a name he's toast...hehe
    GreySage

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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:05 am  

    Ragr, no offense taken, friend! This is where posting and email have their drawbacks. You lose a lot of nuance that is not present, unlike casual face-to-face conversation. I try to keep that in mind when I read posts, as well as when I type replies (and add parentheticals just to be clear). But, I appreciate your clarification.

    For the topic at hand, though, I typically allow one 'fudge' per character, just to account for those random rolls that can skew something. I leave it to the player character if I enact my 'fudge' roll or not. I don't fully mind killing PCs, at least if they act stupidly. However, when a PC dies a luckless death, like poor Kai-tel mentioned above, part of me internally winces. Guess I am getting soft... But I still contest that death of characters is and should be part and parcel of playing the game. If players know that there is no way they will be killed, it loses part of the excitement and risk involved.

    As for Kai-tel...as he was acting on behalf of the Church of Pelor on 'religious business,' there is a decent chance his remains will be restored...granted of course, he and his allies are willing to agree to some clearly defined terms.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:06 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    ... if the player really enjoys the PC, I'll arrange for its return. I'll just force the PC to pay through the nose in one way or another.



    Just ain't gonna happen in my little corner of Oerth. I do use an option within BRP called fate points where a character can swap power points out for reduction on damage or a bonus to a roll in order to help save themselves, but once you're gone........

    My players know that I'll end the characters without batting an eyelid (although I'll sympathise with them afterwards). However, there's an inherant trust within the group that guarantees that it won't be done with malice and, as the players know that the risks are ever present, they don't swagger about like overweening bullies as can be the case in a "no threat" game.

    Having said that I will openly admit to fudging on a regular basis if it serves a "value added" game benefit. This doesn't effect character death in any way though as it happens long before things get to that crucial stage.
    GreySage

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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:09 pm  

    Ragr wrote:
    Having said that I will openly admit to fudging on a regular basis if it serves a "value added" game benefit. This doesn't effect character death in any way though as it happens long before things get to that crucial stage.


    Perhaps this is where our different styles balance out. I don't fudge anything. I make every roll for the monsters To Hit, Damage, Saves, etc. right out in front of the players and they all take what is rolled. After a few rounds of combat, I'll even give out the opponent's AC (they've struck at it enough to have guessed it by then anyway) so they know whether they've hit or not. That way, no one complains when they do get killed. They don't accuse me of fudging in the monster's favor to make it tougher and they don't whine because I didn't fudge in their PC's favor to prevent a death.

    SirXaris
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    Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:20 pm  

    Worth pointing out that the fudging isn't always about dice rolls; it may be a simple as a subtle line of questioning from me as DM. For example, if the pcs decide to press on to deal with an encounter I know will probably cause them big problems because their resources are depleted, I may simply ask them "can I have a rundown of hit points and spells left, guys". Now, I don't know whether they've cottoned on to this as a hint or not but it certainly gets them focussed on their character's true state at that moment. Alternatively I might have an NPC chip in with some "divert" information or even have a seemingly random encounter occur which can deplete resources a little more or plant seeds of doubt in the pc's minds about the encounter ahead.

    These tricks, and a few others I play from time to time, all help to avoid the situation where I might be tempted to fudge things at the big encounter itself and ensure that players don't start to look to me for a comeback solution.

    The key is to get the fix in place before the death arises. If it still happens, well....... Evil Grin
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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:24 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    Worth pointing out that the fudging isn't always about dice rolls; it may be a simple as a subtle line of questioning from me as DM.

    TOTALLY AGREE here. IMOC I make 90% of the rolls on table infront of Players so there is no real Fudge there to be made, let the chips fall where they fall good or bad for either side. BUT do agree with Ragr, there are other ways to fudge.
    I also utilize NPCs to influence PC direction.
    I increase or decrease the cannon fodder creatures based on party strength.
    I will sacrifice an NPC to save the party.
    I have had Primary Nemesis's allow the PCs to leave the field of battle on occasion (LE bad guys work well for that).
    I manipulate the wandering monster check by not making "1" the number that triggers it. Meaning since I roll most of my rolls in view, (of course the PCs dont know which rolls mean nothing and which do) and if I determine that an area would be a 1d12 for a wandering monster check, I don't AUTOMATICALLY make it a 1. I predetermine what the number might be say 5 instead, log it in the adventure, and if the party is beat up, they just dont encounter the WM. or if they do, maybe its automatic Evil Grin
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    Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:53 am  

    A shovel.
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    Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:25 pm  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    A shovel.


    -ba da bump!

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    Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:07 pm  
    Character Death

    I prefer the "3rd ed rules; 1st ed feel method" myself.

    Therefore, I permit the players the usual access (though, again, I've always considered WoG on the low-magic end of the spectrum) to Raise Dead or Resurrection.

    However...

    I make it a DC5+CharLevel Diplomacy check to convince Nerull/Wee Jas to permit the soul to return to the land of living.

    This makes sense to me for a few reasons:

    1} Nerull/Wee Jas aren't going to care too much if some small fish escape the net. Big fish, otoh, are a bit too precious to let go.

    2} It makes the Diplomacy skill that much more interesting (along with Charisma)!

    3} It opens the door to a fun role-playing experience.

    Cheers, all!


    Last edited by DrassustheGaunt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:36 pm; edited 3 times in total
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    Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:29 pm  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    A shovel.




    http://www.sadtrombone.com/

    Razz

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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:39 am  

    Great feedback from everyone! I have a question for those of you who use the Death's Door rule. Do you allow mortal wounds to take a character into negative hit point area, or do you set it to zero and start dropping towards -10HP from there? Obviously, if a single blow can drop a character to negative hitpoints, there is a very real chance of instant death with a powerful enough hit. On the other hand, 10 rounds is a long time to let a character hang on, imho. I'm currently ruling that any blow that drops the character below positive hit points sets them at zero and they are unconscious, then they start dropping hp. There's always the risk that a nasty orc or goblin with give them the old coup de grace while they're down, but other than that, once they're down they get 10 rounds for someone to come rescue them. Not sure if I'm going to keep this ruling as is, so I'm interested in your experiences!
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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:47 am  

    nerdcav wrote:
    Do you allow mortal wounds to take a character into negative hit point area, or do you set it to zero and start dropping towards -10HP from there?


    I allow mortal wounds to take a character into negative hit points.

    Some attacks are just that bad - no denying it.

    But, as always, YMMV.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:02 pm  

    Nerdcav,

    I gotta admit that I am pretty 'harsh' on this one. Like the Rakshasa above (greetings, DrassustheGaunt!), I plummet characters into negative hit points if the damage accrued does so. Then each round thereafter, an additional hit point is lost til 'true death' occurs at -10.

    Furthermore, I have ruled that any character who enters the negatives will require one solid day of rest for each point below zero. Only curative magick, in my game, may mitigate that situation. And there is still a chance that the character will suffer some permanent scar or a debilitating injury (again, barring curative magick, but sometimes even that won't help unless it is at least 3rd lvl spellwork or above!).

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:12 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I gotta admit that I am pretty 'harsh' on this one. Like the Rakshasa above (greetings, DrassustheGaunt!)


    I'm guessing you're an "Olde School" student, like myself, as your method reminds me of the At Death's Door [sp] spell from the original Unearthed Arcana.

    Certainly that's a way to go and I think a good choice for players/parties that may game a bit too "fast and loose" - thinking wounds, and even death, are little more than minor inconveniences.


    And thanks for the warm welcome, Lanthorn!

    [Side note: I just posted in the introductions thread]
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:20 pm  

    Yep, I likewise allow damage to take a PC into the negative. Otherwise, 10 rounds is just too easy for a character to survive.

    SirXaris
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    Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:57 pm  

    bump:

    After reading this thread it looks like the majority of the dms are for killing PCs. Thats ok but why are most against the use of raise dead? I can't imagine why a cleric of almost any church would not cast this if they were able. If it was a PC he would sleep pray and have the spell back. Is it more than that for a NPC?

    Not sure how often the people here get to game but for me its four months of the year with two weekends a month. We have had one weekend of T of EE and they just defeated Lareth the Beautiful. The quarter-orc fighter that takes after his mother's side is alive but incapacitated. The Dwarf fighter/cleric from the Principality of Ulek is dead dead. Thats where the session stopped.

    The party has seven characters all first level. I am using the alive but out until -10 then dead. When you come back from the minuses you need rest with care for 24 hours. First time one of them died they went back to town but after that i allowed them to hole up in a room.

    Needless to say they were continually holing up. I was a little unprepared (to much time reading about the world of greyhawk) and the final battle took two game days. During that final battle i could easily have destroyed them all. A staff of striking takes first levelers out one hit at a time. Then what? Drink beer?

    So i had St. Cuthbert send a message to his cleric and that brought the fighter back to fight with the rage of the Gruumsh blood coursing through his veins. It still took a couple fudges that no one knows about for them to win out.

    If the Cleric at the church in Hommlet was high enough level i would let him bring the dwarf back to life for the fee laid out in the DMG. 9 days to get to Verbobonc starting now.

    Freakin love this game
    GreySage

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    Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:21 pm  

    Personally, I am not against the use of Raise Dead, given that certain stipulations are made. I don't see clerics Raising just anyone, however...

    -Lanthorn
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    Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:23 pm  

    mcneilk:

    Go with what works for your players and your campaign. We've all given suggestions and told you what works for our campaigns. I even mentioned that I used to allow any PC to be raised at any level - for a price. I've gone over to the other side now, but I may level out sometime with a happy medium. Razz

    Don't feel like you have to DM the way the majority tells you is the right way to do it. Wink

    SirXaris
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    Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:14 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:


    Don't feel like you have to DM the way the majority tells you is the right way to do it. Wink

    SirXaris


    True that, SX! I completely agree with that sentiment. Consider whatever we tell you as suggestion and advice only, unless you are asking for a 'by the rules' question.

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:52 am  

    mcneilk wrote:


    After reading this thread it looks like the majority of the dms are for killing PCs. Thats ok but why are most against the use of raise dead? I can't imagine why a cleric of almost any church would not cast this if they were able. If it was a PC he would sleep pray and have the spell back. Is it more than that for a NPC?


    -This was covered in another thread:http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=54224#54224

    ...but I'll boil it down to these:

    1) "Raise Dead" requires at least a 9th level Cleric. There aren't that many 9th level plus Clerics running around. FWIW, there are none in Hommlet the canon version of Hommlet (T1);

    2) If there is a 9th level Cleric, there is no guarantee that they (or their deity) is inclined to raise people who die at all, and if they are, they still might have other priorities for spells ("Raise Dead" is not the only 5th level spell, after all);

    3) Even in D&D 3.5, a 9th Level Cleric gets a max' of only 2 spells per day (3 if in one of the cleric's domains);

    4) Keeping all the above in mind, add in the proportion of clerics to people, and particulalry the proportion of 9th level Clerics to the general population. The PCs are not the only ones who would like to be raised. Keeping that in mind, a "Raise Dead" using cleric can use one of two priorities (or a combination thereof):

    a) Merit. The definition might depend on alignment, but how many heroes of even evil alignment would say out loud "Screw the dead little girl, high priest. Our buddy likes to kill people with his axe!" Razz And again, most evil clerics have better things to do with a 5th level spell than use it for "Raise Dead" (even if their deity allows it);

    b) Supply & Demand = Cash.

    In D&D 3.5, the going rate is 10,000 gp. Where do adventurers get 10,000 gp? Higher levels might have the cash, lower ones won't (or shouldn't). They could volunteer for service in lieu of cash (perhaps enforced by "Quest" or "Geas"), but even assuming a generous 100 gp per level per month, that's a lot of service. Possible adventure hook, tho'.

    Anyway, it all adds up to "Raise Dead" et al being rare.

    SirXaris wrote:
    ...We've all given suggestions and told you what works for our campaigns... Don't feel like you have to DM the way the majority tells you is the right way to do it. Wink


    -Hmmm... I doubt that Mcneilk is going off a vote. More likely, he's looking for the best rationale. Lanthorn can explin, I think. Wink Well, I've given mine. Smile
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    Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:49 pm  

    It was Lareth that struck him down so i would think that losing his life battling evil would be merit enough.
    I am positive that vebobonc has a 9th level cleric. They may be rare but surely not endangered.
    At the end of the day in every world money talks. Why would a church not want 5000+ gp?


    Also a raise dead lowers the raised character's constitution by one. Then there is the system shock roll. Things can still go wrong.
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    Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:23 am  

    mcneilk wrote:
    ...I am positive that vebobonc has a 9th level cleric. They may be rare but surely not endangered...


    -Not a problem, if they make the trip. I'm sure there's a high priest of St. Cuthbert there. The party will still have to wait if he memorized a different spell that day. Maybe longer, if there are other priorities.

    "An emergency on your part is not neccessarily an emergency on mine." Laughing

    Of course, Argon has his "only high priests of deitites of the dead e.g., Wee Jas, can do that.

    mcneilk wrote:
    It was Lareth that struck him down so i would think that losing his life battling evil would be merit enough...


    1) It would still depend on why they were battling evil. Evil guys fight evil guys all the time. If was for rape, burn, plunder, kill, maybe not;

    2) Still comes down to the definition of "merit." Between a full grown man and a little girl, who does the high priest of St. Cuthbert raise first?


    mcneilk wrote:
    ...At the end of the day in every world money talks. Why would a church not want 5000+ gp?


    -It's not supposed to work that with the good deities. Wee Jas, sure. But they're harder to find.

    But the characters still have to come up with the moolah, or provide a service worth that to the temple.

    mcneilk wrote:
    ...Also a raise dead lowers the raised character's constitution by one. Then there is the system shock roll. Things can still go wrong.


    -True. You pay 10,000 gp to raise your buddy and you get a corpse anyway. Bummer. Confused
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    Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:28 am  

    I don't have Fate of Istus with me, but I took a look at D&D 3.5 DMG for the spread on high level NPCs (the same chart is also in the D&D 3.5 Complete Adventurer, IIRC).

    A Large City has an adult population of 12,001-25,000 (average 18,500). It normally includes three Clerics, three Adepts, and three Druids, each of 10th - 15th level. The next highest (six each in number) would be 5th - 8th in level (i.e., no "Raise dead").

    Verbobonc's population in CY 591 is 12,700 (11,600 ca. CY 579). That's lower than average for a Large City, if you want to adjust. Of course, the DMG points out that low population areas might have unusually high level NPCs floating around (partcularly on frontier and backwoods areas), but Verbobonc isn't really in that category.You could also substitute some of the Druids with Clerics, which would be a maximum of nine who could cast "Raise Dead" if they and tgheir deities were so inclined, and the recipient were worthy and/or could foot the bill.

    My "feel" is that D&D 3.5 has a somewhat higher spread of high level NPCs than AD&D1 or AD&D2, but not by much.

    mcneilk wrote:
    ...Also a raise dead lowers the raised character's constitution by one. Then there is the system shock roll. Things can still go wrong.


    -True. You pay 10,000 gp to raise your buddy and you get a corpse anyway. Bummer. Confused[/quote]

    -I assume you're playing AD&D 1 or AD&D 2. In D&D 3.5, "Raise Dead" is automatic, if the corpse wants to come back and the god's are willing. If one of those high priests happen to be a clandestine cleric of Nerull, he or she probably won't be of much help, even if you could find them. Lirr has other priorities, and Istus will probably just say the Baklunish equivalent of "Que Sera Sera".

    The DMG also points out that you need 5,000 gp in diamonds as a component, which are expended on using the spell. Everything else can fall into line, put if they ain't got no diamonds, you need an alternative... pages 26-27 of the AD&D DMG ahd "gem qualities". Diamonds are listed as "invulnerability vs. undead", but clear gems are related to "luck". Green gems are noted for "reproduction, sight and resurrection, maybe orietal emeralds would do the trick. If rubies are noted for "luck", then they might do as well as diamonds.


    FWIW.
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    Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:35 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:

    My "feel" is that D&D 3.5 has a somewhat higher spread of high level NPCs than AD&D1 or AD&D2, but not by much.

    The versions really aren't the determiner for population. your campaign year would be. If utilizing various canon it would vary from pre- Ashes to CY 585 to Cy591 depending on locale.
    As for NPC levels, sure All the versions escalated character levels. At one point it was good enough to achieve "named level", but that as they say is another tale.

    mcneilk wrote:
    ...Also a raise dead lowers the raised character's constitution by one. Then there is the system shock roll. Things can still go wrong.
    -I assume you're playing AD&D 1 or AD&D 2. In D&D 3.5, "Raise Dead" is automatic, if the corpse wants to come back and the god's are willing.


    Automatic for 3.5? really... must have over looked that one...... Just another case of them watering down back "life choice consequence".... humm I can for see a new house rule coming. Evil Grin
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    Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:03 am  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:

    My "feel" is that D&D 3.5 has a somewhat higher spread of high level NPCs than AD&D1 or AD&D2, but not by much.


    The versions really aren't the determiner for population. your campaign year would be. If utilizing various canon it would vary from pre- Ashes to CY 585 to Cy591 depending on locale...


    -I don't follow the above.

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:

    My "feel" is that D&D 3.5 has a somewhat higher spread of high level NPCs than AD&D1 or AD&D2, but not by much.

    ...As for NPC levels, sure All the versions escalated character levels...


    ...that's what I was referring to. You see a higher percentage of 2nd level and above NPC types in D&D 3.5, I think. Of course, the 1st level "NPC" classes translate to the AD&D 0 level character...

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    ...Automatic for 3.5? really... must have over looked that one...... Just another case of them watering down back "life choice consequence".... humm I can for see a new house rule coming. Evil Grin


    1) The deity in charge of has to be OK it. That is almost pure DM territory on the restriction side;

    2) The person has to want to be raised, and that is not neccessarily the same thing as the player wants to be raised (they're dead, after all): If you were enjoying the Seven Heavens, would you want to go back?

    Maybe...
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:07 pm  

    I pretty much tell them, you die you're dead. So, they work VERY hard to avoid death. Now, I also won't kill them from a simple missed save or something. They are the heroes, and unless they are stupid, their deaths, when they happen, should have meaning.

    In my current campaign, there have been a few deaths. First to die was Derry, the 6 Wisdom halfling thief. He liked to identify potions by tasting them. Last words: I wonder what this potion does? He was buried in Hommlet, and the party had a statue of him commisioned. They also traveled through his home town, Littleborough, and met his parents. They gave his magic short sword to his mother. It was all very well-played.

    Next was Isilme, the dark elf Bladesinger/Song Mage. When she was fried by a fireball, the player was such a pain in the **** that I devised a way to bring her back. Believe me, it was just easier. Philidor actually did it. He's Tenser IMC (catapulted through time and sort of "hanging around" until his time, I haven't worked out all the details). Anyway, I used this to foreshadow what would later happen, as well as to set up the meeting between Isilme and Tenser later. She recognizes him, but he doesn't. It's a big mystery to her. I probably should be booed for bending on this one, but really, it just was WAY easier.

    Next was Vestron, the elven fire mage. Incidentally, the same player as the halfling Derry. I used the adventure from the City of Greyhawk set, or maybe FtA, where the party comes across the statue that all the fey folk are arguing over. There are literally hundreds of pixies, sprites, satyrs, and elves. You're supposed to THINK your way through this one, but he fireballs the statue, to end all the fey bickering! So, I fired about a hundred pixie arrows and slept the entire party. He was slain, while the fey took nearly ALL the party's magic items! Last words: "I fireball the statue." Now the verb "To Vestron" means to do something insanely stupid which will likely result in your own, and maybe everyone's deaths!

    Next was Wonillon, the gnome fighter/thief. His last words say it all, "I backstab the basilisk." His statue was left behind, being too heavy to take along. As it turned out, the player didn't really like him anyway, and he wanted a more traditional fighter, so it wasn't a big deal.

    Next was a two-for-one. The bard and paladin were stuck in a trap where the floor swiveled, sealing them off from the rest of the party. Right from Grimtooth's Traps! Kobolds were firing at them from a murder hole above, while they clung precariously to the edge of a step, now turned 90 degrees. The party dallied getting to them, and both eventually fell the 50' to the ground and died. The party brought their corpses back to Ulek, along with hundreds of survivors from the Pomarj. The local temple used Raise Dead on both, but I set up some major foreshadowing about another character through this, which is just now coming to pass. Basically, they were turned down by the temple's god, but on intervention from the Cat Lord, the spells were granted. What this means, they don't know or understand. I DID make it cost 5K each! :)

    Next to die was Hepla, the wizard whom the Cat Lord in interested in. She has now died twice, and each time remembers a bit more of the afterlife, where she is in the realm of the Cat Lord. I'm setting up some stuff for later, but she's figured out that her amulet is an Amulet of Nine Lives. She is leery of using them up wastefully, not sure if IT has nine or if SHE has nine. Better safe than sorry. Still, the player is doing a fantastic job role-playing the whole thing, and is now marrying the paladin whom the Cat Lord wanted brought back. So, the wheels keep turning.

    Finally, the last to die was Taki of the Hill People. He was a big human barbarian. The party was basically in an elevator room, about 50' above the level in some old dwarven area where the enemy was waiting for them to come back down. There was an escape hole out to the mountainside, but they opted to go down the elevator to fight it out. Well, one of the badguys was a wizard, so he just did a Rock to Mud on the elevator floor! Of course, what the players didn't know because they never checked was that the shaft also went down 50', so it was almost a 100' fall. I reasoned that there must have been a steel frame, so I gave them all chance to grab it as they fell. Taki missed. His last words, "I reach out for the wizard as I fall by him!" This was cool. I gave him a chance, and he succeeded at grabbing him. Both fell the remaining 50' and died in a heap together. That was the first "cool" death, even if they were dumb to get into that position. His body was left behind because the elevator shaft was filling with water and they had to escape.

    That's it. There were nearly a few more deaths, but they've all squeaked by. The players know that I try to NOT kill them, but they will not be spared if they are stupid. Further, they also know I make Raise Dead rare and expensive, and so they try very hard to not get killed. So far, it is working out. The object isn't really to kill them anyway, but hey, there are times when death is warranted. Sometimes from stupidity, sometimes from heroism. Can they come back? Yes, but I also feel that making it as easy as in the PC games like Baldur's Gate ultimately takes the fear, and fun, out of death. So, be smart, stay alive, and don't pull a Vestron.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
    Posts: 1276
    From: Clarksville, TN

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    Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:41 pm  

    ragnar wrote:
    I pretty much tell them, you die you're dead. So, they work VERY hard to avoid death. Now, I also won't kill them from a simple missed save or something. They are the heroes, and unless they are stupid, their deaths, when they happen, should have meaning...


    -I'll put you in the Mystic-Scholar SChool of DMing. Laughing

    I'd say that the PCs are heroes in the sense that anyone who takes a shot at being an adventurer is "heroic", but nost of them will probably die deaths which are unnoted and undramatic (except for their friends). "Heroes" in the more common sense of the word are the ones who have the skill, courage and luck to excell. In short, PCs have the potential to be heroes, but have to prove it.
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