Raise Dead in Next

I think Raise Dead should be a little harder to accomplish in Next, with a longer lasting penalty.

I am currently (that's the issue) playing a character that was killed by gnolls during the last session. Out of character, I simply failed to realize that this was the "big" encounter. In character, my Sorcerer is followed around by tribesman who tell him he is the reincarnation if a mighty dragon, indeed-- so he would not feel particularly threatened by mere gnolls... until it was too late. The death made sense, in and out of game.

After the rest of the party defeated the gnolls and finished the quest, another player simply hauled my body back to town, paid the monetary cost, and had an NPC caster in the city cast Raise Dead. If this was Next, my character would simply sleep it off for a few nights, and be good to go.

I think the Raise Dead penalty should last potentiality longer, perhaps for a level. I also think Raise Dead itself should have a risk for the caster, perhaps also imposing a penalty on them, making it unlikely most NPCs would cast it on a stranger, and also of more consequence to the players.

Last year, in this campaign, the party was captured by orcs rather than TPKd, and later escaped. I think some DM fudging (like the capture) is fine, but sometimes the character has to die, and it has to mean something.


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It's all up to the DM how available Raise Dead is. 9th level casters should not be par for the course, but rare and impressive people who have things to do for their church.
Personally I severely limit ressurection spells. I think the very idea of them completely breaks any fantasy world.

"The King has been murdered!"
"Again? Get the ressurection scrolls."

I allow them but only a very short time after death, with the materials on hand.
Although I agree with you to some extent - as a player you always have the option, if you really believe that ". The death made sense, in and out of game." to refuse the raise dead.


I wish more players would look at the events from the perspective of what makes for a good story - and if the character's story deserves to end there, to let it end and create a new character.


That said - such things are always up to the DM.   Who says there is a cleric of the necessary level in every small town the PCs pass through?  Are they going to head all the way back to 'the big city' to find a cleric of the necessary level?


On the other hand - there is a general relationship between how long it takes to make a character and how easy it is to get raised.  Games where it takes 30 seconds to a couple of minutes to make a character (e.g. AD&D 1st) can 'afford' to make raises tough to get and expensive - because the player (which is the one that matters, moreso than the character) is only out of action for a few minutes.  Games where it takes thirty minutes using a computer program to create a character  - and doing it by hand is prohibitive - can generally not afford such draconian raise dead rules.


D&D Next is trying to straddle both - and just as the decision of basic/standard/advanced - and what modules to use is in the hands of the DM, this needs to be as well.


I would recommend a sidebar on this issue.  It the DM is running a basic game where the PCs can make a character and get back into the action in moments  - by all means make raise dead hard to come by.  If the DM is running a complex game with many modules and dials, and making a new character is a serious time commitment - I'd go with making death a bit less permanent.


Carl            
when i DM, i reserve the resurrection spells for when a player loses a character they were really into. i usually have the resurrection be the work of some cult or ancient magic, and not something a PC can ever learn.
Spells like raise dead or wish is why I wanted rituals to be a seperate system, versus an alternative casting method. It would tie together scroll creation, ritual books, componenet requirements, story components or other miscellaneous requirements. Like a scroll, you could set up ritual use for non-casters so if a cleric is not available you could have an alternative to find any ancient tomb of the dead, that requires a sanctified alter (ritual focus to replace componenets or caster level). If the cleric was available they would still need a sanctified area, and would need to be in the good graces of a local church.
While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.
While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.



I agree with this, mostly. In my current situation, both the player and the character acted foolishly, and I felt more agreeable to this death than others in the past (possibly because this character's survival had already been fudged). The other player and the DM just went with what the rules say, that Raise Dead can be cast for X amount by the appropriate caster, and my character will be good as new in a few game days.
While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.



I agree with this, mostly. In my current situation, both the player and the character acted foolishly, and I felt more agreeable to this death than others in the past (possibly because this character's survival had already been fudged). The other player and the DM just went with what the rules say, that Raise Dead can be cast for X amount by the appropriate caster, and my character will be good as new in a few game days.



I don't know if you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But I liked the bit of a twist that occured when they brought Buffy back from the dead.



She came back pissed off.  She was in heaven.  She was at rest.  She was done with all the crap back in Sunnydale.  And they yanked her out of there and forced her to come back and deal with all that again.  And she was not happy about it.



Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....


Carl       
While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.



I agree with this, mostly. In my current situation, both the player and the character acted foolishly, and I felt more agreeable to this death than others in the past (possibly because this character's survival had already been fudged). The other player and the DM just went with what the rules say, that Raise Dead can be cast for X amount by the appropriate caster, and my character will be good as new in a few game days.



I don't know if you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But I liked the bit of a twist that occured when they brought Buffy back from the dead.



She came back pissed off.  She was in heaven.  She was at rest.  She was done with all the crap back in Sunnydale.  And they yanked her out of there and forced her to come back and deal with all that again.  And she was not happy about it.



Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....


Carl       



Watched and love (most of) Buffy. I am definitely considering coming back upset... or possessed (by a Gnoll-summoned demon, with DM approval).
I'm planning on either running Dark Sun where raise dead simply doesn't exist or Forgotten Realms where it's intended to be a  complete sandbox. I'm willing to allow raise dead (in certain towns/cities) for the Forgotten Realms campaign. But they're not going to have the diamond (note: that's a singular diamond!) on hand. That's something the PCs are going to have to get.

I did some digging to convert 500gp in D&D money to USD. I did this by converting the price of bread (the traditional manner in which to convert dollar values). According to Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue a loaf of sourdough bread is worth 15sp. The standard price of sourdough bread appears to be $4.

Therefore 15sp= 4 USD
Therefore 1.5gp = 4 USD
Therefore 500gp = 1,333 USD

According to this site diamonds are (roughly) worth 69 USD per carat. Therefore a 1,333 USD diamond is about 19 carat. Accroding to this site that's roughly 17mm

That's a pretty big diamond. Considering a junior city guard earns about 76gp a year. That's a sizeable chunk of coin. Bigger if you get one of a yellow colour.

Your church isn't going to have that amount of coin just sitting there. That's enough to feed 26 orphans for a year! Also, a diamond worth that much is going to get stolen. So the PCs are going to need to quest for it. Unless they've already received one in the past (or there happens to be a major import of diamonds around). As such, the player gets to say "you know what. I'll probably just roll up a new character."

Finally that's just the raw components. The church is then going to demand payment. And that gives the GM plenty of opportunity to throw interesting plothooks at the PCs. For example, they'll need to convert to the religion of the church if they're not already a member (thankfully clerics have access to speak with dead so they can ask the departed soul if that person's interested in converting before casting the raise dead spell).
Good module/side-bar information with this thought.
I have had characters go out doing something heroic and having to take a bit to decide if I wanted them brought back. As often as not I choose to let their story end there. Penalties, enhanced costs, and such should be a table to table decision.
Options and guidelines are always good to include, though.
On a related note - do any of you have any experience with the Ashes of Athas death certificates?  Essentially if you die during some adventures you get a 'cert' that  potentially gives you some benefit on your next character - typically something narratively related to the story in progress.  

Carl
Personally, I think mechanical penalties are the worst conceivable way of solving the issue and making them last longer only makes things worse.  Restricted access at least begins to help solve some of the issues, but the cure can be worse than the disease.

Sometimes, character death is good.  It was a fitting end, the player is looking forward to trying something different, or the story just demands that a character stay dead.  Easy access to resurrection can ruin that.  Even if you as a player are willing to say "that was a good end, I refuse resurrection," does that make sense to the story?  Why would the paladin of ilmater who sacrificed himself to save others in a heroically awesome moment then decide, "you know what, I've given enough, I'm just going to hang here with my god and let someone else save the world," even though the player has a new concept he's itching to try out and resurrecting the paladin would just totally trivialize his sacrifice.  Why wouldn't a king have a high level cleric with a raise dead scroll follow him around everywhere, just in case?  But mechanical penalties don't solve any of those issues.  The king doesn't care about them, the paladin's sacrifice is still trivialized, and the player still has to choose between breaking character and good story/playing what he wants.  Restricting access doesn't help much, because too often there's no good reason not to have access right there, or the problem is simply temporary as you carry around the corpse until access presents itself.

Sometimes, it's bad.  Your beloved character that you've been adventuring with for years takes a few unlucky crits in what should have been an easy fight, and now the party is down a man in the middle of the dungeon crawl on their way to the heart of evil, and if they turn back they'll have to start over.  It's ignominious, it throws away all the connections that character has built to the world, and it puts a serious crimp in the drama if the party has to turn around and raise him from the dead.  Again, mechanical penalties aren't helpful here, beyond a "serves you right for letting yourself get killed" that I find anathema.  I'm all in favor of consequences, but mechanical penalties are just saying "I punish you for something that may well just be bad luck (which can't be discouraged) or in-character decision making (which shouldn't be), in a way that just prevents you from contributing to the party's success."  Restricting access just makes this problem worse, because there is no good story reason for the times you have access to be positively correlated to the times when character death is bad (in fact, I can think of good reasons why it should be negatively correlated).  You won't find a high level cleric in the middle of your dungeon crawl unless the DM says "deus ex machina" but you will find one in the palace of the newly dead king.  You won't find one in the woods where a random encounter gone south kills the wizard, but you're more likely to have though to bring the appropriate materials along for that epic boss fight where the paladin heroically sacrifices himself.

Consequences, properly done, should be story consequences: things that you wouldn't want to happen to you, but which make for great drama when they happen to your character.  Supposing that while you were dead, your soul suffered an eternity of torment at the hands of some arch devil?  Now you've got character development and a new bad guy to layer into the campaign, and you end up with a deeper story instead of a bored player.  Your actions had consequences, they changed the story (far more than a trip to the city and a few days' rest), but those consequences make the game more interesting not less.  Story consequences also help the first problem.  OK, the king as a high level cleric on standby in case he gets assassinated, but what if he comes back wrong?  What if getting him back at all is still a major quest, because you have to head into the underworld to retrieve his soul?  There are still huge consequences to having let the king die in the first place: much huger ones than "he has a -1 to all rolls for three days" (or even ten years), and ones that add to the story.  The paladin's sacrifice isn't trivialized, because he was tortured for centuries thanks to that death, maybe even turned to the dark side.  And if the story demands the character stay dead (or a player just wants to roll up a new one) there are a multitude of story reasonss why he must stay dead without feeling contrived: the cost of saving him is simply too high, requiring a deal with the devil that is too expensive or a quest they don't have time for while the world falls apart around them, or they simply don't care enough about jerk-face McSteals-a-lot or commoner number 423.  And best of all, the inability to save him becomes itself a dramatic moment in the story instead of "let's stuff his head in a bag of holding until we find a high level cleric" or "DM says his soul is at peace and doesn't want to return."

TLDR version: Mechanical penalties and restricted access don't add to the story, and they get in the way at times when character death is bad as often as they help when character death is good (unless the DM contrives otherwise, which is contrived).  Story penalties for the win!
I'm one of these players who see character death as an opportunity to play something else.
A DM bribed me into accepting a raise dead once, to keep the character into the story (I accepted, chocolate is my weak point).

The ability to be resurected is already a coherency problem within the "system". The classic downsides (-1 Con, big money), have an impact on the adventurers but not on many wealthy and influent people.
The only interesting resurections, from a story or credible world building, are quests or mini-quests. If most people are unable to complete the quest to return to the living world, then it becomes credible when rich people are dying before maximum age.

I think the only cost for a resurection should be a good story.
Should be a setting/DM dial.

Personally, I have weaved resurrection into my setting to work with it.

Death in my setting causes magical madness which can accumulate from many sources. If you become too mad, your body rejects your soul (becoming a ghost) or your soul refuses to return to the living world. So players have to manage their PC's stress as they can go loco and get final death.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Much like HPs, AC, and other gamey abstractions. The availability of magical healing and resurrection is a gaming element, properly placed within a game not a fantasy novel sim.
Restricting access just makes this problem worse, because there is no good story reason for the times you have access to be positively correlated to the times when character death is bad (in fact, I can think of good reasons why it should be negatively correlated).

If your players are going into a dungeon crawl with a big campaign defining climactic battle, you can always drop a scroll of raise dead into the party's hands before the dungeon. If you drop it early they might not realise you're worried they're going to need it.

Consequences, properly done, should be story consequences: things that you wouldn't want to happen to you, but which make for great drama when they happen to your character.  Supposing that while you were dead, your soul suffered an eternity of torment at the hands of some arch devil?  Now you've got character development and a new bad guy to layer into the campaign, and you end up with a deeper story instead of a bored player.

You could always have a devil pop up and say "oh dear. I see you've lost a dear and departed friend. How sad. If only someone could help you. For a price."

Devils may have become my new favourite villain for D&D ;)

OK, the king as a high level cleric on standby in case he gets assassinated

Why would a cleric agree to this? They should be doing their god's work. Not waiting around like some gun for hire in case the king should die. When you have an immortal ruler you invite tyranny. Or you invite incompetency. Everyone knows that they can't gain the throne because the king's going to just get raised. They become bored, disillusioned, apathetic. It weakens the kingdom and the power base that the church is clearly trying to build.

TLDR version: Mechanical penalties and restricted access don't add to the story, and they get in the way at times when character death is bad as often as they help when character death is good (unless the DM contrives otherwise, which is contrived).  Story penalties for the win!

I completely agree with this. I'm inclined to remove the penalties altogether. I can cause much more trouble then a mere "-4 to all rolls" (which, incidently, largely screws over fighters more than wizards who typically don't roll to damage enemies).
It's all up to the DM how available Raise Dead is.

And that's the end of the thread, as far as I am concerned.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I don't know if you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But I liked the bit of a twist that occured when they brought Buffy back from the dead.



She came back pissed off.  She was in heaven.  She was at rest.  She was done with all the crap back in Sunnydale.  And they yanked her out of there and forced her to come back and deal with all that again.  And she was not happy about it.



Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....


Carl       



I don't remember where I read this, but I read in a splat book from one edition or another that the plane you travel to in the afterlife was directly related to your alignment.  In the event that my character dies, I'd actually like to roleplay being in whatever plane that happens to be and determine my feelings after the fact.  So, instead of sitting out of the game until resurrection, I could experience my character's death, and roleplay accordingly.  Depending on alignment, the character could potentially experience some character changing aspects due to the knowledge of their fate in the afterlife.  It could change a character's outlook entirely, maybe alter their alignment, or perhaps encourage them to continue the life they have.  So, you could theoretically find yourself in a literal heaven or hell situation and want to react if resurrected.  Of course, my DM hates splitting the party, so I'd likely just have to go home until I make a new character or get raised.

Much like HPs, AC, and other gamey abstractions. The availability of magical healing and resurrection is a gaming element, properly placed within a game not a fantasy novel sim.



For the most part, +1.

Death is the result of attack rolls, ac, hp, saving throws, etc.-- Raise Dead, if it exists at all, should have game elements (level, cost, possible penalties).

And, just as the DM can fudge an enemy's rolls/stats if it makes for an unfun game/story, so can the DM fudge if and how Raise Dead is available.
Raise dead is a needed spell, especially for those dungeons of death.    

There is nothing like being eaten by the dung monster....      

 


I'd really like to see a little sidebar or a rules module that gives a few simple choices for how to run this based on campaign style. Sure you can just forbid it, but here are couple other simple options.

1. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per week (rather than day).
2. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.
3. Raise dead requires a power (quest) component, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.

I'm a fan of either 2 or 3, but I wouldn't want to prevent anyone from using the default or 1.
I will fudge rolls and the outcome a bit in my campaign so characters don't have near the chance of dying to a bumble bee sting scenario so to speak. If a player dies in my campaign it will be invariable at a high drama stage of the game, maybe that is why only a handful of my players have ever died in 25 years of gaming.

My players know that death during a session is normally not going to be resolved in that particular session, though if it happens early we may stop and address it, as I don't want a player to sit for the rest of the session with nothing to do. We normally talk about ressurection / raise dead after and we do our best to honor the story and the player who lost their character.

Bringing a character back from death doesn't just happen in my campaigns. I think taking mortality out of the game all together can lead to a disconnect of the player to the character's sense of survival. "I am going to run into the room with the dragon and attack him head long. What is the worst thing that can happen? I have to pay for a ressurection?"
without alignment in the game you will be floating around in a netherworld of nothingness guess another reason to include it as a module
I prefer to play with no fudging of dice rolls in combat and with the threat of a TPK or 2 in every adventuring day. Thus I prefer a minor punitive death as dying and losing the fight is quite often enough of a penalty to the players anyways.
Raise dead should be 10th level spell, available only for lvl19 characters.

It should cost "an arm and a leg" and recipient and the caster should get -12 penalty for all abilities(minimum can still be 1), and removing -2 penalty per month, so they would be back in full strength in 6 months.

While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.



I agree with this, mostly. In my current situation, both the player and the character acted foolishly, and I felt more agreeable to this death than others in the past (possibly because this character's survival had already been fudged). The other player and the DM just went with what the rules say, that Raise Dead can be cast for X amount by the appropriate caster, and my character will be good as new in a few game days.



I don't know if you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But I liked the bit of a twist that occured when they brought Buffy back from the dead.



She came back pissed off.  She was in heaven.  She was at rest.  She was done with all the crap back in Sunnydale.  And they yanked her out of there and forced her to come back and deal with all that again.  And she was not happy about it.



Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....


Carl       



In D&D, though, you have the option to refuse to come back.  If you CHOOSE to come back, you can hardly be upset with the person who cast the spell.
If your players are going into a dungeon crawl with a big campaign defining climactic battle, you can always drop a scroll of raise dead into the party's hands before the dungeon. If you drop it early they might not realise you're worried they're going to need it.



Ah, but then the scroll is available at times when character death is a good thing, too.  Give it too early, or get lucky and don't need it on that big battle, and you'll have it on hand when the king gets assassinated or when the paladin makes his heroic self-sacrifice.  Give it at the precise moment it's needed, then yank it away when it isn't, and we're in contrivance territory again.  Meanwhile, even if you ignore the contrivance and are perfectly happy letting the DM define, without rhyme or reason, when characters can and cannot be raised, you aren't adding the kinds of things to the story that good story consequences could add.

You could always have a devil pop up and say "oh dear. I see you've lost a dear and departed friend. How sad. If only someone could help you. For a price."

Devils may have become my new favourite villain for D&D ;)



Which is exactly what I'm suggesting.  Story based restrictions (the devil pops up when he wants to) with story-based costs ("for a price").  This is totally different from "all level X clerics can cast raise dead for a monetary price."  Even if X is high, the price is high, and you put some other arbitrary restrictions on like time limits and availability of ingredients.  Story based restrictions step in when they're needed and step out when they aren't.  Level and resource restrictions don't - they just exist, and are or are not available when logic rather than story dictates and when the DM fudges things in typically obvious and annoying ways.

OK, the king as a high level cleric on standby in case he gets assassinated
Why would a cleric agree to this? They should be doing their god's work. Not waiting around like some gun for hire in case the king should die. When you have an immortal ruler you invite tyranny. Or you invite incompetency. Everyone knows that they can't gain the throne because the king's going to just get raised. They become bored, disillusioned, apathetic. It weakens the kingdom and the power base that the church is clearly trying to build.



You have an odd view of politics.  First, easy raise dead does not equal immortal, it just equals no assassinations (you still get old).  Not very many kings have been assassinated, proportionally speaking (at least as far as history remembers - and btw, killed in a coup/battle doesn't really count as a replacement immediately establishes himself and simply orders no resurrections.  Second, gaining the throne is hardly the only motivating force for other courtiers, there are plenty of other positions of power.  Third, I don't really see inability to be assassinated without simultaneous plot to capture control as being the only motivating force against tyranny or incompetence, there are plenty of other ways to lose your throne even if you are a completely selfish jerk (which most people aren't).  Fourth, the king has a high level cleric standing by (which only needs to mean in the vicinity, with plenty of leeway for him to go about gods' work in the capital city), because in exchange they get donations to the church and the kings ear in matters of policy, both of which have the potential to do a lot more good than one cleric - even a reasonably high level one - running around on his own.  Unless, maybe, if the level restriction is so high that we're talking once in a generation hero-types only, they might be able to do more good questing.  But then what happens when your 5th level hero you've been adventuring with for months kicks it in an ignominious and story-inappropriate way?  This demigod who can't be bothered to raise a bloody king is going to take time out of his day to help you?  Level restrictions just don't correlate well with the "right" availability.  Unless you force it to in non-sensical ways.  So why have a rule that does very little good and forces the DM to fudge things to avoid very much bad, when you could have a rule that does a lot of good and doesn't require heavy handed DMing?

I'd really like to see a little sidebar or a rules module that gives a few simple choices for how to run this based on campaign style. Sure you can just forbid it, but here are couple other simple options.

1. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per week (rather than day).
2. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.
3. Raise dead requires a power (quest) component, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.

I'm a fan of either 2 or 3, but I wouldn't want to prevent anyone from using the default or 1.



Personally, I think a sidebar solves nothing.  Penalties just don't do a good job of making death painful, no matter how long they last.  They make dying boring, not painful, the costs are entirely dependent on the campaign's pace (my last campaign of 2.5 years took place in the span of about 3 months, should a 1st level misstep result in penalties that are still around when you're fighting demon princes?), they are entirely independent of whether the dying was the reult of behavior you could or should discourage, and even when by extraordinary happenstance everything lines up so that they are just the right level of pain for this circumstance without sidelining the character or crippling the party at an essential moment, they add nothing to the story.  Level based/monetary restrictions, no matter where you choose to set the threshold,  are never going to correlate well with when raise dead should be available without blunt DM intervention.  Forcing a quest, with the amount of guidance you could fit on option 4 of a sidebar, is likely to result in a player getting sidelined for an extended period or forced to roll up a new temporary character to play while his buddies hunt down a giant diamond, and then while they go adventuring while he rests his way back into a shape where he isn't a liability.  Meanwhile, all of them turn character death into a temporary setback rather than a moment for character development and plot twist.

In short, this isn't a question of your "taste" of how big the penalty should be, how long it should last, how rare resurrection should be.  No matter what your answer to those questions, mechanical penalties and material/level restrictions are not the best answer.  So a sidebar that lets you tailor mechanical penalties and material/level restrictions to your answer will never get you to the best outcome.  The game has matured from the endless dungeon crawl Gygax envisioned into an epic saga.  Raise dead needs to mature with it: from a patch for high-level character death creating too much level disparity with the rest of the party into a dramatic moment that drives the story and the characters forward down a new and unexpected path.
Raise dead should be 10th level spell, available only for lvl19 characters.

It should cost "an arm and a leg" and recipient and the caster should get -12 penalty for all abilities(minimum can still be 1), and removing -2 penalty per month, so they would be back in full strength in 6 months.




Nothing stops you from implementing that as a house rule but the fear in your heart.
While death is naturally a very serious thing, heck, it's a literal end, I am not personally a fan of losing a character that I am not ready to lose.  I'm probably new-fashioned in that respect, and some may call me entitled, but I don't want to see a character that I put a large investment in removed from play at my inconvenience.  A player character's end should be meaningful, and making resurrection abilities nigh-impossible to access makes lethality less than favorable to me.  It's especially upsetting to lose a loved character due to a bad roll or two.




This is not an insult.  This is just an example of a very different playstyle than my group has.  We want players who don't mind death at all.  We want players that are quick to create a new character and jump back in.  We rarely to ever use raise dead or resurection.  And someone dies at least every other session, normally to a mistake, and occasionally to a save or die roll.  We love that way of playing.  I think it is hard for the game designers to create a game for so many diverse playstyles.  We have had people over the years who walked out the door after their character died.  Our thoughts were, he is not the right person for our group.  Seen a few get mad.  Seen a few who just didn't like our game and didn't take it personal.  Many different types of roleplayers.  But I like games where player mistakes lead to death, and their will be a FEW chances for death to come down to a random die roll.  That keeps it interesting to me.  If you like save or die effects (I do) then only skilled players with some luck will reach the high  levels of the game.  This is all my personal opinion.

I liked 4e use of raise dead as a ritual.  Then as a DM it didn't matter where the characters go.  The availability of raise dead was in my control regardless of the "level" of the cleric.


As for the raise the king scenario, I've always adopted the fluff that only certain people can be brought back.  Those that have blessed by fate or some other story reason.  99.9% of the population can't be.


I don't beleive in punishing the character (and by extension the play experience of the player) with long lasting penalties.




Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....


Carl       



In D&D, though, you have the option to refuse to come back.  If you CHOOSE to come back, you can hardly be upset with the person who cast the spell.



Where  - outside of fourth edition - is this stated?



Carl

Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....
Carl       


In D&D, though, you have the option to refuse to come back.  If you CHOOSE to come back, you can hardly be upset with the person who cast the spell.


Where  - outside of fourth edition - is this stated?
Carl



It's in 3e too, right in the core books.
I expect that ressurection will see quite a few dials & modules in the Advanced rules. There are just too many ways to use it, not only from group to group, but campaign to campaign. I think Raise Dead, as done now, is close enough for the Base Game, so long as there are enough ways to modify it to fit each group's playstyle.

In AD&D, you lost a point of Con when you came back. Bad, but not really character breaking because it was a chart, not the 2/1 setup we have now. Additionally, there was a percentile roll required, based on Con score, or you were permanently dead. I liked this element, because it explained why every important NPC didn't come back every time they were killed (they eventually fail their roll). Because of this roll, players tried very hard to stay alive, because there was always a chance (no matter how small) that they were gone forever.

In 3E, you lost a Level. This was by far the worst penalty, in any edition. It created horrible imbalances in party level, in a game based on the party being the same level, and often times the deaths cascaded as a character was weaker and weaker, until it was no longer viable. This made death terrifying, and many players I know became cowards instead of heroes.

In 4E you suffered a minor penalty for 3 Milestones (~6 Encounters). This was the weakest penalty, and the least consistent from a game world perspective. If it took me 2 days or 2 years to reach 3 Milestones, the penalty would last, and the penalty itself wasn't even that bad, IIRC. Additionally, having the cost based on the level of the character didn't make any sense, and made dying at 11th and 21st rediculously expensive.

I would like to see something closer to AD&D's system, myself. Instead of a loss of Con, perhaps a loss of HP or a Temp Con Penalty. I would also like to see a Con check required (DC 5 maybe) for resurrection, if only to justify why NPCs don't auto-res.

Just because they raised your character, that doesn't mean you have to be happy about it.....
Carl       


In D&D, though, you have the option to refuse to come back.  If you CHOOSE to come back, you can hardly be upset with the person who cast the spell.


Where  - outside of fourth edition - is this stated?
Carl



It's in 3e too, right in the core books.



You are correct (been awhile since I read it) - but I don't recall that being in OD&D or AD&D  (and the 'willing to return line' is definately not in the spell description in either 1st or 2nd AD&D), so it can't be said to be a general rule for D&D. 


And the idea of someing being brought back whether they like it or not (whether being denied Paradise as in Buffy's case or being raised so you can exert your will over them/ torture them/ etc) is a common trope.

Of course - it is a moot point since the 5N spell specifies a "willing soul".   Personally, I rather it didn't.  I think it makes for a more interesting world if the spell allowed you to pull someone back whether they want to come or not.  When it comes to raising PCs, the question of whether or not to raise can be handled at the table and when the PCs get to the point where they can raise the dead themselves, it allows for far more chances for PCs mucking around in the world and annoying the powers that be that way.   It's just a more fun game when the PCs can raise the dead whether the dead wants to be raised or not.

But you can still be unhappy about it.  You've never had anyone ask you to do something and felt obligated to help them out - and at the same time resented their asking?


    

Carl   
  

I'd really like to see a little sidebar or a rules module that gives a few simple choices for how to run this based on campaign style. Sure you can just forbid it, but here are couple other simple options.

1. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per week (rather than day).
2. Raise dead costs 5,000gp, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.
3. Raise dead requires a power (quest) component, and the penalties drop by 1 per month.

I'm a fan of either 2 or 3, but I wouldn't want to prevent anyone from using the default or 1.



Personally, I think a sidebar solves nothing.  Penalties just don't do a good job of making death painful, no matter how long they last.  They make dying boring, not painful, the costs are entirely dependent on the campaign's pace (my last campaign of 2.5 years took place in the span of about 3 months, should a 1st level misstep result in penalties that are still around when you're fighting demon princes?), they are entirely independent of whether the dying was the reult of behavior you could or should discourage, and even when by extraordinary happenstance everything lines up so that they are just the right level of pain for this circumstance without sidelining the character or crippling the party at an essential moment, they add nothing to the story.  Level based/monetary restrictions, no matter where you choose to set the threshold,  are never going to correlate well with when raise dead should be available without blunt DM intervention.  Forcing a quest, with the amount of guidance you could fit on option 4 of a sidebar, is likely to result in a player getting sidelined for an extended period or forced to roll up a new temporary character to play while his buddies hunt down a giant diamond, and then while they go adventuring while he rests his way back into a shape where he isn't a liability.  Meanwhile, all of them turn character death into a temporary setback rather than a moment for character development and plot twist.

In short, this isn't a question of your "taste" of how big the penalty should be, how long it should last, how rare resurrection should be.  No matter what your answer to those questions, mechanical penalties and material/level restrictions are not the best answer.  So a sidebar that lets you tailor mechanical penalties and material/level restrictions to your answer will never get you to the best outcome.  The game has matured from the endless dungeon crawl Gygax envisioned into an epic saga.  Raise dead needs to mature with it: from a patch for high-level character death creating too much level disparity with the rest of the party into a dramatic moment that drives the story and the characters forward down a new and unexpected path.


I completely agree that my suggestions don't solve the campaign consequences of coming back from the dead. The intention was to provide ways that the mechanical effects of the spell could be adjusted in order to better fit more playing styles, without requiring an essay in the spell description.

Since you bring it up, I'll explain how I like to handle it, because I like it to be meaningful in my campaign. This is the sort of stuff I would like to see given as suggestions in the DMG. In fact, there could be a whole page devoted to campaign consequences of raising the dead and how to deal with them. But the spell description itself needs no more than a sidebar, IMO.

Reasons post people who can afford it still don't get raised from the dead:
1. You might not come back. Someone else could jump into the astral conduit (in Great Wheel cosmology) and possess your body instead.
2. You might be missed. Friends, foes, gods or others might not like you leaving them. Someone might come back looking for you.
3. Your raising was noticed. Something saw the magical effect and took notice. Who knows how it might take advantage of the situation.

And the most important one of all:
4. People know this. Almost everyone has heard stories of those sorts of things happening. What would that do to the subjects' trust in their lord if they can't be sure it really is him or her that came back? Does that wealthy merchant really want to risk some extraplanar fiend following him back home to his family? Pinging the radar of the planes may not be a great idea.

Evil villains probably don't care, and want to come back if they can afford it. PCs come back if they can, because they are adventurers...but to most people adventurers are shifty sorts you can't really be sure about anyway. If they are smart they don't advertise that they've been raised from the dead three times.

For me, in addition to raising the price (my calculations based on the justified assumption of a silver piece being based on a Roman denarius tell me that 5,000gp is in the ballpark of 1 million American dollars), adding in those campaign concepts serves to capture the feel I desire for raise dead. Sure, adventurers do it, but it isn't quick or easy, and it comes at the cost of either campaign downtime or extended weakened adventuring performance. I don't want it to be routine and I want my players to fear dying.

And then, whenever I want, I can inflict one of those interesting deterrents...hehehe.
Hmmm - drawbacks to being raised.


Perhaps Raise Dead always 'works' - as in it always brings someone back.  But if the soul wasn't willing, another soul goes in its place.


Now a character might feel obligated to respond to the pull, if only to spare their allies the danger of someone else coming back in their place (and spare their own reputation any embarrassment for whatever this someone else might do while wearing their flesh).


But it is still their choice.


I like it.



Carl          
 
Sword of Spirit:
Those sound like great story consequences.  But then you have to ask yourself, once you have those story consequences, are the mechanical penalties, level restrictions, and price tag getting you anything?  If a first level character really wants to come back, despite the risks, why should you tell him no just because he can't afford to pay?  Why should you force him to take a back seat for the next couple of days while he recovers?  I think the answer is "nothing."   Have a greater devil follow a PC home and burn down his village, and players will fear death way more than if you slap him with a -2.  I think the default should be a level one ritual with a modest component price that any 12 year old crazy enough to break taboo can try (FMA, anyone?), without any mechanical penalties to the subject, because there is nothing that those restrictions and penalties do that can't be done better with story.  If old-schoolers want a sidebar for nostalgia purposes, fine, knock yourselves out, but the default should be the rule that is best for most people.  The old rule is not that rule, and tweaking the size and duration of the penalty, the level of the spell, or the rarity and expense of its material component are never going to make it that rule.  
Everyone wants a different game, and so wizards should be working on a sidebar that explains what happens if you choose certain options. For instance:
1). No ressurection: pro: death is very serious - gives the opportunity for heroic sacrifices. Con: can make players feel a beloved character died before the story is complete. Best used: when creating characters is fast, and when shorter campaigns mean less time for complex stories.
2). Gold only, or temporary setbacks. Pro: players can choose when their characters story ends. Con: some people find death is too temporary, leading to reduced interest/engagement.
3) permanent drawbacks: pro: Keeps death a disincentive, increasing "edge of seat feeling". Con: Permanent drawbacks can feel like the player is being permanently punished for bad rolls or bad decisions previously.

IMHO, permanent drawbacks seem the worst of all worlds - cheapening death compared
To "no resurrection" and punishing players. But, as long as the dm who is makin the permanent drawback understands the players who like that kind of thing, I'm happy.