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Monday, February 3, 2014

Bring Out Your Dead - Some Ideas for Effecting PCs When Returning From Beyond

This table is far from complete, but it came to me as I spent the commute from hell driving in to work this morning. Have New Yorkers completely forgotten how to drive in snow?

Anyhow, I'll add to this as it comes to me ;)

I Once Was Dead and Now I'm Not Table

1 - Raised character must tithe 90% of all earnings for the next 5 years to the church that raised him

2 - Character no longer requires sleep, but healing magic is only 1/2 effective for them as they have "one foot in the grave"

3 - Character has a 20% penalty on future expo earned, as part of his mind is always elsewhere. This also bestows a +4 bonus to mind effecting spells

4 - Character takes on a grey hue to his skin tone. Clerics can turn him as an undead creature equal to his level. A result of "D" causes 1d6 damage per level of the turner. Undead, intelligent or otherwise, will not attack the PC unless attacked first, as they see him as "one of their own"

5 - If the raised is an arcane spell caster, he permanently loses the ability to cast 1d6 random spells that he already knows. All characters suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls, as the body is stiff and does not move as well as it used to. The first point of damage incurred by the PC from each successful attack is ignored. This can result in damage of "0".

6 - PC is "Touched by the Gods" - He is now a 1st level cleric of the god that raised him. Previous class abilities and HP are retained. New HP are not gained until the cleric level exceeds the previous class level. Clerics that are raised become 1st level fighters - holy warriors in the service of their god.
Previous cleric abilities and HP are retained. New HP are not gained until the fighter level exceeds the previous cleric level.


  1. I like all of your options, cool ideas for resurrection consequences. In Blood Moon, I just decided to see how playing the undead would work for players. Currently have one player who is a haunt (ghost) and has enjoyed the experience.

  2. I like the chart.

    On Tekumel, if you are a member of the Temple of Sarku, you can be brought back as an intelligent undead known as a Jajgi, who retains memories and abilities, but has no soul.

  3. Cool idea. Love to see some Lovecraftian stuff and get funky with it.

  4. That's a very good table! Many Players tend to be blase about being raised from the dead!

  5. "Brain Damage" Character takes 1d6 INT or WIS damage take 1d6 months per point of INT/WIS damage to recover. If INT or WIS falls below 3 character goes insane and requires "hospitalization" until recovered.

  6. 7: Any wounds a revived characters takes "bleed" maggots and other small disgusting insects. No pure mechanical effect, but it will definitely have a negative social impact on those that encounter it.

    8: Each time the character kills a creature they subconsciously recite a quiet prayer in a strange and alien language. If someone can translate this they will likely become very afraid for the character speaks a message of utter doom.

    9: The character speaks in a monotone voice and seems to care about nothing ... except for their new-found obsession with how everything, if you look at it the right way, shows signs that She Who Sleeps is just starting to awaken.

    10: All of the character's teeth fall out ... and new ones start to grow. They are (1-2) a bit too large and blunted, (3-4) numerous and small like baby teeth, (5) snaggled and rotten and constantly falling out and regrowing, or (6) a little too long and a little too pointed. No matter what the character's charisma drops by 1d4+1 points (indicating the severity of the strange teeth). Paladins are terrified of this result.

    11: The character's eyes glisten like a cat's in low light. The character gains low light vision (of the type appropriate for your game) or if they already have it can see in total darkness. Unfortunately, they are also -1 to attack in direct sunlight and tend to scowl and squint a lot when outside in the daylight.

    12: The character pick up an acute case of paranoia and is fairly certain that the Altrusian Constructs from the Machine Core are going to be coming for him any day now. THey have such terrible human eyes in their metal faces...

  7. good list- one could take things in many different directions. I've seen a few other folks come up with lists - here's the Dungeon Dozen's: http://roll1d12.blogspot.com/2012/08/raise-dead-weird-side-effects.html

    Take a look at Sine Nomine's Yello Bone Legion for another take on the 'resurrected': http://www.rpgnow.com/product/113808/Black-Streams-The-Yellow-Bone-Legion

  8. There's also the "Meddling with Life" (I can't remember its actual name off the top of my head) table in ACKS; or as I know it, "why Snorri the dwarf has one eye" table.

  9. From the home brewed setting we are using (edited for brevity):
    The Risen (Raise Dead)
    The PC has a ghastly pallor of death, and the odor of the grave hangs close about them. These unsettling characteristics penalize them on all Charisma-based checks. The very existence of these "Risen" is considered heretical by the Church, whose official position is that they are an abomination that must be destroyed.

    The Returned (Resurrection)
    When a PC is returned by a Resurrection spell, they are torn back from where their soul had gone, and are forever altered by the experience. Mind and body are subtly (or not so subtly) twisted, and there are often terrible consequences. After the Resurrection spell is cast successfully, roll a d100, or feel free to invent new results:

    01-10: Insanity. The worst condition.
    11-20: Madness. A lesser form of insanity.
    21-30: Twisted. "Something not quite right."
    31-60: Haunted. Suffers from bouts of restless sleep.
    61-100: Soulworn. Nearly intact. Only an uncanny quality (hollow eyes, white hair, an unsettling laugh) marks these unfortunates.

    Those with the worst conditions are actively hunted by the Church. The lesser ones not so much. Soulworn are merely shunned.

    The Resurrected (True Resurrection)
    The caster must negotiate with the deity or a representative for the PC’s return. There must be some convincing argument why the character should be returned to life, and the negotiation can mean performing some great task for the deity. The spell otherwise functions normally with no penalty, since the deity has agreed to the return. The Church sees those affected by this spell as heroes, chosen by the Gods to perform some as-yet undone great service for the faithful.

  10. Brilliant. Makes me think of a side campaign full of carnage and raised characters getting in worse and worse shape as they ise up their lives hoping to fulfill their gods will

  11. I like it! I especially like the "one foot in the grave" thing. Even if you don't impose any other limits, perhaps this would be a good one; you only have two feet, so you can only be raised once. After that, you're firmly planted in the soil.

    A lighter version might be escalation; you can be Raised once, and after that you can only be Resurrected. After that, you might be Reincarnated. After that, say goodbye.

    Just spitballing here though, I usually don't allow any raising of any sort in my campaigns - it just creates too many inconsistencies for my tastes.

  12. We always had risen characters be able to see the spirits of the dead everywhere. Ghosts that were not always visible to others. Also these characters were always attacked first by the undead who knew they were different.

  13. Ah, fun stuff! Some other ideas: returned characters are more visible to the undead. Less intelligent undead will notice returned PCs first (although sometimes view them without hostility) but woe be it to the returned PC who tries to sneak into the Lich's castle. Think Frodo putting on The Ring.

    Also a chance of being "followed back" by something unpleasant.

    Finally, if there's a chance of the spell failing, failure might mean that a daemon returns to inhabit the player's skin. Player continues playing like the spell worked but is secretly collaborating with GM on A Fiendish Plan. This one only works with players who are open to it (someone ok playing a "fake" character that is almost certainly going to end up dead or a powerful NPC in a few sessions).