Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Steven Shumway I’m 21, a student at Utah State University and I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for about 5 or 6 years. I think it is the most fun you can have with your brain. Because of this I have been immersed in the culture of the game both in game stores and online since I discovered it and fell in love with it.
Dungeons and Dragons is a very dangerous game for the characters each of the players run. Death is a likely outcome for many would-be heroes. However unlike the real world death is not permanent. When certain characters become powerful enough they can achieve the ability to bring people back from the dead through magic. There is a cost to this, in the form of expensive materials for the ritual. However, once the characters reach this level of power, the expense is more like chump change to them. This makes death a less meaningful and impactful event in the game than many players, my group included, believe it should be. Below are my groups rules for making death and coming back from it more interesting, as written in my houserules notebook.
The process of bringing someone back from the dead is an arduous process. Souls in the Great Beyond have very little reason to leave and if they do, the way back is hard to find. A spell that brings someone back from the dead does not instantly revive them. Instead it opens a way to entreat their soul back into their lifeless body. When the spell is cast up to three Players can opt to make an offering or speech of some kind to try and convince the spirit to come back. Each player makes a skill check relevant to their contribution to the ritual. The DM then sets the DC they must beat based on how much the spirit can connect with the offering. For example a spirit is more likely to hear the pleas of a distraught lover or close friend than an acquaintance. The DM then rolls a d20 and has to beat DC 20. For each successful entreatment the DC is lowered by 3. On a success the player is brought back to life.
This particular rule was written to sound as though it came from the Player’s Handbook. This was because this issue was very contested and spawned a lot of debate over what was appropriate. The text had a lot of things scratched out. This rule was meant to make it so the death of someone could be a more permanent thing. It also meant that a player being resurrected was a dramatic and tense moment, which everyone believed it should be. It made it so you were uncertain whether or not you would ever see a character you may have spent months or years with ever again.
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
G6: Socializing Games
Shumway, Steven, "Resurrection Rules" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 304.