Death and its reprecusions


When a character dies, either due to damage or some other violent ends, his spirit immediately departs (unless magic constrains it) until such time that magic can be used to return it to the person's body.  Typically the spirit will travel to the realm of your god and potentially years may go by while only several days on the material plane.  This experience has great power to completely overwhelm a persons concept of themselves and the world around them, granting them epiphanies that they would never had in life.

However, only in the rarest of circumstance (and with a dieties blessing) does an individual remember anything once returned to life.  The mysteries of the universe cannot be exposed to the minds of mere mortals.

Rules governing Death

  • Magic and Divine aid are the only means to return from death
  • When you do return you experience an immediate 500 xp/level drop in your total XP (about 2 sessions worth)
    • XP Loss will never reduce you in level, if you less XP then what is required for the level you are on, you must make that up before you can continue progressing
    • If you have less XP then the minimum needed for your current level, you cannot create any magical items, cast spells with an XP requirement, or in any other way spend XP
    • You do gain the XP for the last battle you were in before dying
  • Once awakened, you have 1 hit point and are considered fatigued until you can rest for at least 8 hours.  If you participate in any activity that normally would make you fatigued, you are instead exhausted
  • You lose all of your spell like abilities, special abilities, and spells until you have recovered for at least 8 hours.


Everything below was for discussion

Current Rules

P.145 Dead (-10 hit points or lower)

When your character hit points drop to -10 or lower, or if he takes massive damage (see above), he's dead.  A character can also die from taking ability daamge or suffering an ability drain that reduces his constitution to 0.  When a character dies, his soul immediately departs.  Gettting it back into the body is a a major hassle (see bringing back the dead, page 171.).

 p.171 Bringing back the dead

Several spells have the power to restore slain characters to life. 

When  a living creature dies, its soul departs its body, leaves the material plane, travels through the astral plane, and goes to abide on the plane where the creature's diety resides.  If teh creature did not worship a diety, its soul departs to the plane corresponding to its alignment.  Bringing someone back from the dead means retrieving his or her soul and returning it to his or her body.

Level Loss:  The passage from life to death and back again is a wrenching journey for a beings soul.  Counsequentily, any creature brought back to life usually loses one level of experience.  The character's new XP total is midway between the minimum needed fro his or her new (reduced) level and the minimum needed for the next.  If the character was 1st level at the time of death, he or she loses 2 points of constitution instead of losing a level.

This level loss cannot be repaired by any mortal mans, even wish or miracle.  A revived character can regain a lost level by earning XP through further adventuring.  A revived character who was 1st level at the time of death can regain lost points of constitution by improving his or her constitution score when he or she attains a level that allows an ability score increase.

Here is a list of current spells that I found from all the books in play that restore a person to life

Raise Dead/5th (PHBI)
Resurrection/7th (PHBI)
True Resurrection/9th (PHBI)
Revivify/5th (Minatures)
Death Pact/8th (Divine)

DM's Thoughts on Death in Play:   Death in D&D has always been around and unfortunately in the DMG, which has an abundance of alternate rules, there is no additional information on reducing the penalties of death.  I encourage all of the players to get involved in the their concept, put time and effort into creating the person you will be role switching with for potentially the next year or so.  I want the players to be intimiately aware of their character's personalities, background, and flaws.  This may take a significant period of time outside of game night, but the reason for it is simple.  You will do everything you can to save your character from dying.  The more attached you are to your character the bigger the rush and enjoyment you will have when you narrowly survive the fight against the end boss, disarming the lethal trap, or being recognized for your contributions to a kingdom.  These things will get your heart pumping and adreline flowing, as goofy as that sounds it is true.

However there is a downside to this.  If your character does die, and worst comes to worst, he cannot be raised, it will be depressing.  Many players have felt this anguish, and on occasion have thrown up there hands in disgust and may leave the game forever.  Those players that are strong enough should remember the sacrifice of their previous character and start anew, with the hope of one day toping their enjoyment they once had. 

If the conditions permit themselves, characters can be raised, however the XP hit could be upto 20 (minimum 7) encounters worth of foes, and with an infrequent played game, may mean months of lost work.  Such a loss may be equally as daunting as losing a character permanently.  However, removing the (perhaps extreme) penalties of death from the game would also reduce the rush of success, which would make the overall mechanics less effective.

I've come up with 1/2 a dozen different alternatives to the current scale of death that I would like people to review with the above in mind.

Alternatives to Tranditional Death – I see this being broken into 4 catagories, choosing one degree from each.  All of these alternates would still require the character to be out of combat for at least for that encounter.

Resource needed

  1. a 5th level cleric spell Slot (Raise Dead)
  2. A 3rd level spell (lower all raise dead like spells by 2 levels)
  3. Ability to turn undead (perhaps a turn check)
  4. Any magical healing or heal check

Cost of a Raising a character

  1. 5,000 gp Flat Tax (current) 
  2. 500 gp/character level (same as above but scales towards character wealth)
  3. 250 gp/character level
  4. No Material Cost

Penalty after being raised

  1. Lose 1 1/2 Levels of XP (current)
  2. 400 XP/Level (equivalent to 2 nights of play), Note: never results in actual level loss, but you can have less XP then what is needed for your minimum level that needs to be made up, during this "negative minimum XP" no spells with XP cost or magic items can be cast or created
  3. 200 XP/Level (equivalent to 1 night of play), see note above
  4. Lose just enough XP to be at the minimum for your current level, this is nice since it doesn't penalize a character that continues to die any more after the first
  5. -2 loss of constitution
  6. -1 negative level each time you die, as if struck by an undead, until you gain a new level
  7. Nothing


  1. You lose all of your abilities, spells until you have a chance to recover (current)
  2. Lose use of all of your abilities from your highest level until you have a chance to rest
  3. Awake with same abilities that you died with

Death and its reprecusions

Black Rock hutchgamers