Raise Dead Consequences

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So I'm not opposed to letting people hold onto their character, but I'd like to have some consequences for coming back from the dead.  Any suggestions?

Read on if you want more info about my campaign:

My world is basically a water world.  It is a pocket universe which the Gods used while creating the various planes, to basically dump anything they created that they didn't like.  As such it's filled with backfiring magical artifacts, angry races and a serious lack of love for the Gods.  As such, people in this world generally hate the Gods for having created such a volitile place.  Additionally the Gods have made this world hard to access to planar travel because they'd prefer some of their "mistakes" not to be released on the universe.  So even those who do worship them, rarely recieve their help.  

The point being I don't want raise dead to be super easy for my players.  One of them was just brough back and I told her there was a black mark on her hand... I'm not sure why yet though!  I figure at the very least this will be a visual cue to those around her that she has accessed the power of the Gods and make them fear and avoid her in general.  But beyond that I'd really like some sort of specific problem.  I figured maybe the mark on her hand will keep growing into a full blwon tattoo of the random God which answered her call and now she's connected to him/her but idk... maybe even make the player roll randomly for this connection...

Okay I'm rambling... PLEASE HELP! 
Well, Raise Dead always had a downside or two that came with it already, regardless of edition, so I don't really see a need to add on top of that. Just use it as is and you should be fine.

As for extra storyline stuff, make it a naritive problem, not a mechanical one. The blue mark on her hand may not carry any penalties or other game effects, but it may affect the story at a later point in time.

Happy Gaming
You could always just say that coming back from the dead is impossible.
I'd ask the players to create some downsides to being ressurected. They don't have to be a mechanical penalties, but chances are they could create some really good issues for their characters, maybe some stuff you as the DM wouldn't have thought of. Plus it gives them more control and buy in, so they are less likely to see it as a punishment and instead view it as this cool new complication.
I agree with merb101 - let your players decide, based on leading questions you ask them. "What was it like on the Other Side? Who did you see there? What message did they give you? What did you bring back with you? How does that complicate things for you going forward?"

I have a question for you though: Why do you feel raise dead needs consequences or shouldn't be super easy? Why do you think it's designed that way?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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The point being I don't want raise dead to be super easy for my players.

Why not?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The point being I don't want raise dead to be super easy for my players.

Why not?



Maybe becuase they probably won't care as much about what happens to their characters if they know that nothing's going to happen to their characters?

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Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Anyway, it's not like death is the only bad thing that can happen to a character. Or even a particularly interesting thing.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Anyway, it's not like death is the only bad thing that can happen to a character. Or even a particularly interesting thing.

It is pretty interesting if you are playing a character who is a key element in the story and the character's death becomes a world-changing event.

That way, even if the character makes a near-identical character (as some players are sometimes wont to do), it's not the same experience for the second character... because the world has changed with the first character's passing.


Back to the original post...
The mark on the hand could be a sign that the player has cheated death, so to speak.

The mark is already interesting because of the superstitious reaction that the character is getting from other people. That might be enough.

More high fantasy would be to perhaps give the bearer of the mark some sort of cursed ability... like a Midas Touch. They would have to be careful until they learn to control the power... if they ever do.

The player might discover that each use of the ability causes a cumulative 1% chance of dying again or becoming temporarily demon-possessed or turning into a vampire... whatever you want to make up that keeps it interesting. Just throwing out some random ideas you might dig.



A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
So I'm not opposed to letting people hold onto their character, but I'd like to have some consequences for coming back from the dead.  Any suggestions?

In my game, I have let the "consequences" be as simple as the spent money and as complex as receiving a quest from the Raven Queen. Actually, after typing that out, I realize those are the only two consequences I have used in 4e.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Actually I like the cheated death idea.  Perhaps down the line, the character comes upon a small group of people who have died the same way (or just plain died) within the world?  Maybe they are known as outcasts, and are effectively treated like lepers were in the middle ages.  They are effecitvely "touched by the god(s)" and so become one of the "bleak" or "lost" ones within this world.  This can create some major tension with other locals ranging from ignoring the character (when making purchases or going to a tavern/public place) to as bad a lynch(drowning?) mobs literally chasing the PC. 

Maybe this is even the beginning to releasing themselves from this plane of existence?  The PC slowly begins dreaming of the material plane - maybe they see visions of a dry land and think its something on the current world but actually of another plane.  Maybe they begin to materialze on the material plane for moments at a time, and as the mark continues to spread, so too does the time spent on the material plane.  I dont know how invested or how in to the water world your players are, so this may not be a good idea.

An amusing idea might be that the mark is now a way for spellcasters to effectively "summon" that character on the material plane for moments at a time against their will.  The summoning could last for perhaps 60 seconds at a time or so.  Maybe they would have to succeed on a Will save against the summoner to not follow direction or something after being summoned.

Certainly sounds intriguing the world and all.  It does never hurt to talk to the players and get their thoughts.  Ability loss is acceptable as well.  I get the ressurection being a big deal since you dont want your players to needlessly throw themselves at encounters they may have trouble with, without forethought.

Maybe the mark is because of the taint on their soul and it is manifesting itself, and the Nine Hells now have a "hook" in the character so that they may possess their soul in time without some sort of atonement.  Maybe they have dreams and nightmarish visions of the Hells and wake with the mark burning and effectively putting a small combat penalty on them for the days they have those nightmares....

Good luck though, certainly interesting!

Maybe becuase they probably won't care as much about what happens to their characters if they know that nothing's going to happen to their characters?



  My experience is that Raise Dead (or an equivalent) is a prerequisite for caring about characters; people aren't inclined to care about (or put effort into) Red Shirts.


  My experience is that Raise Dead (or an equivalent) is a prerequisite for caring about characters; people aren't inclined to care about (or put effort into) Red Shirts.


 In our campaign the raise dead spell doesn't exist. It's been going for a few years and we've only had two deaths so far, one of which we realized would have actually survived afterwards (clerics have a miniscule chance of divine intervention, and the roll passed when we remembered it). Because death is irrevocable, we take a lot more care with our characters. 

"Encouraging your players to be cautious and risk-averse prevents unexpected epic events and-well-progress at a decent pace in general."-Detoxifier

"HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA NOT REGENERATING DUE TO FIRE" -iserith 

"If snapping a dragon's neck with your bare hands is playind D&D wrong, then I don't want to play D&D right." -Lord_Ventnor

The point being I don't want raise dead to be super easy for my players.

Why not?


I would say because  that feels like a video game to me.  I guess it's just an old school mentality of, if you die you die and interesting twists can come from it.  It's the unpredictability of a character's death that I like, that can really change the story.

That being said I would rarely tell a player they can't bring their character back from the dead.  Sure if Tiamat came down and ate their head off, I'd probably say "no more of that character" but generally I think if they want the character back, they can have them back, but I'd like a story element to happen with it.

Additionally it just fits into the world and the fact that the God's and religion is scarce and distrusted in my campaign.  It'd be fun to have a consequence that gets worst and worst each time.
I'd ask the players to create some downsides to being ressurected. They don't have to be a mechanical penalties, but chances are they could create some really good issues for their characters, maybe some stuff you as the DM wouldn't have thought of. Plus it gives them more control and buy in, so they are less likely to see it as a punishment and instead view it as this cool new complication.

really love the idea of asking the players... something I rarely think of.  I guess I'm an egotist a bit!  Thanks.
Actually I like the cheated death idea.  Perhaps down the line, the character comes upon a small group of people who have died the same way (or just plain died) within the world?  Maybe they are known as outcasts, and are effectively treated like lepers were in the middle ages.  They are effecitvely "touched by the god(s)" and so become one of the "bleak" or "lost" ones within this world.  This can create some major tension with other locals ranging from ignoring the character (when making purchases or going to a tavern/public place) to as bad a lynch(drowning?) mobs literally chasing the PC. 

Maybe this is even the beginning to releasing themselves from this plane of existence?  The PC slowly begins dreaming of the material plane - maybe they see visions of a dry land and think its something on the current world but actually of another plane.  Maybe they begin to materialze on the material plane for moments at a time, and as the mark continues to spread, so too does the time spent on the material plane.  I dont know how invested or how in to the water world your players are, so this may not be a good idea.

An amusing idea might be that the mark is now a way for spellcasters to effectively "summon" that character on the material plane for moments at a time against their will.  The summoning could last for perhaps 60 seconds at a time or so.  Maybe they would have to succeed on a Will save against the summoner to not follow direction or something after being summoned.

Certainly sounds intriguing the world and all.  It does never hurt to talk to the players and get their thoughts.  Ability loss is acceptable as well.  I get the ressurection being a big deal since you dont want your players to needlessly throw themselves at encounters they may have trouble with, without forethought.

Maybe the mark is because of the taint on their soul and it is manifesting itself, and the Nine Hells now have a "hook" in the character so that they may possess their soul in time without some sort of atonement.  Maybe they have dreams and nightmarish visions of the Hells and wake with the mark burning and effectively putting a small combat penalty on them for the days they have those nightmares....

Good luck though, certainly interesting!

These are great suggestions.  I especiialy love the idea of them running across someone who has been raised before and seeing what's in store for them ahead.  Devilish!

Additionally in regards to the summoner thing, I think maybe liches and so forth, or undead things will have an advantage against her in the future.  I will have to work on what that advantage is so as it fits into the rules of this world but I love that.  Thanks for spurring my imagination in a new direction.
Thanks to everyone so far, for the advice.  I appreciate all the replies.
You could also look at it from the other angle.  They haven't been touched by the gods.  By dying and coming back they've escaped the realm of the gods.  They've basically given the proverbial middle finger to the gods and escaped back to the mortal world.

People with such a mark have proven that they are not bound by the gods.  They could become the most influential people around.  Perhaps there are even a secret groups of god worshipers that hunt down people that are marked?
I would say because  that feels like a video game to me.  I guess it's just an old school mentality of, if you die you die and interesting twists can come from it.  It's the unpredictability of a character's death that I like, that can really change the story.

That being said I would rarely tell a player they can't bring their character back from the dead.  Sure if Tiamat came down and ate their head off, I'd probably say "no more of that character" but generally I think if they want the character back, they can have them back, but I'd like a story element to happen with it.

Additionally it just fits into the world and the fact that the God's and religion is scarce and distrusted in my campaign.  It'd be fun to have a consequence that gets worst and worst each time.



These are all valid reasons to want to raise an eyebrow at raise dead. I'm also a fan of at the very least, making any resurrection (or otherwise any "undoing" of death) a conversation that adds to the game in addition to being a simple game mechanic. Some food for thought:

Why is raise dead relatively cheap and accessible in the base game? While raise dead has its place in the genre, I think this is because in a non-competitive, participatory game where it's not terribly easy to whip up a new PC quickly, raise dead and its ilk are a patch to solve the problem of players being forced out of the game experience. To that end, raise dead is not the problem. It's an attempt at a solution to an underlying problem, specifically, "We're 30 minutes into the session and Bob's character died. What's he going to do for the next few hours while we play?" Many DMs have come up with their own ways of dealing with this issue. Like raise dead, those are just patches with usefulness that will vary from table to table. (I make no judgment as to what are good or bad approaches as long it works for them.)

As hit points are an abstraction, they do not represent physical damage unless you want them to. A "hit" result on dice doesn't necessarily mean a physical hit to the target. It simply means a success on the action taken such that you can apply an effect fictionally and mechnically to the target. Hit points, which can then represent anything from physical damage, emotional stress, luck, endurance, or what have you, are deducted accordingly. Taken to the next logical step, this means that 0 hit points or less can mean you're knocked out or otherwise "taken out" of the current scene until you recover. It doesn't necessarily mean you're dead, even if you've rolled 3 "death" saves.

What does it mean to be "taken out" and what does it take to recover? Whatever you want it to mean, given the context of the situation, and the desires of the player or players involved. It could mean death, certainly, and many players will prefer that option if the death was particularly cool, heroic, or - my favorite when I'm a player - ironic. Or if they like whatever tension comes from knowing they could die by taking the wrong step or because of bad luck. Other players may decide they really don't want to spend the rest of the night making a new character or playing an NPC. Or that the death they got wasn't the death they envisioned for their ultra-heroic paladin archetype and is unsatisfying. Thus, they might choose to recover in some other way ranging from needing raise dead to simply dusting themselves off and getting back into the action because the hit points they lost didn't represent blood loss, dismemberment, or immolation by Tiamat's breath weapon. Instead, it just means the hero was taken out in some other way like in the pulp action serials of old and comes back in the next scene with a harrowing story to tell about how he laughed at death yet again.

That all said, I think the best way to handle this is to be flexible and collaborate with your players when death comes around. Death is an opportunity, but rarely does it have the impact we desperately hope it will when the dice go in that direction. If you collaborate on it with your players, it will have that impact every single time because you'll be making it interesting at that moment in time to that particular player in a way that leaving it to the dice alone almost never will. And that's all that really matters - the conversation that the opportunity stimulates and what it means going forward.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

This came up in my Thursday game recently. We talked about having the character owe the Raven Queen a favor or bring the character back for an unknown purpose to be revealed at another time! It was kind of fun thinking up all of the different consequences, but the person eventually decided to make a new character from scratch.
I have easy time making Raised Dead pc who are female players really truly regret they died and got raised w/out effecting any game mechanics.

I just tell them they aged 25 years, and got white hairs and wrinkles under their eyes.  It seem to effect them more then any mechanical aspect do...  They get all, "Oh my god!  That is not true.  I did not age 25 years.  No way!  Seriously?  Do Raise Dead suppose to do that?"    

She will probably let the entire party die before she dies again hehe.

What's meaningful to one player may not be to another. It is simpler to engineer the "consequence" based on the player and not the pc.  Death is a individual experience.  Result of it should also be personalized.  Wink

I recently had a magic item that changed the player’s races via a disease track. So they started by gaining another racial power (happen to be the Kolbold shifty) then as they moved along the track they lost their own racial power then became that race. This created a whole spin off adventure where the character had to find a cure. I was one of the most memorable things that happen in the arc. Also I gave the character a level 13 demonskin tattoo as an after effect of the disease (we were level 8 at the time).

I know this isn't death, but you could put them on some sort of disease track, that may have ups and downs along the way. It doesn't have to be a roll heal or endurance to see if you move one way of the other it could be skill challenge or having to achieve things.

Showing the mark grow would let the players know it is getting worse and smaller when better.

Alternatively the mark could even have the artifact rules, and is a echo of another soul from the shadow fell. It gives powers when pleases and takes them back when it is not.