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dragonjek
2011-11-07, 08:28 PM
How do you, as a DM or world-builder, approach bringing back the dead to life?

In 3.5, you can bring someone back from the dead at only mid-level (and that's without taking into account that it is a fair bit cheaper to pay a higher-level NPC cleric to do it for you). Why do noblemen ever die? How is the assassination of a political figure ever an important plot point, when he can just be brought back?

In 3.5 at least, there are pretty big drawbacks preventing everyone from being brought back to life--xp costs and level drain. But in, say, Pathfinder, where there is no penalty to experience points, just money... how does the world stay stable? Especially when you go into the splatbooks for PF... there's a lot of ways to bring back the dead or flat-out not stay dead in there. What do you do if a character dies, and the player doesn't want his PC to be infinitely reincarnated just because of the druid archetype she chose?

How do you deal with this? Is magic to return the dead to life rare in your worlds? Is there a time limit past which the dead cannot return? Is this magic granted only sparingly by the gods, or are some souls not permitted to return to the realm of the living? Do you add additional penalties for returning to life, or perhaps have them "come back wrong"?

Dire Moose
2011-11-07, 10:48 PM
After considering how messed-up a world with resurrection would be, I actually decided to eliminate any and all spells and abilities that would permit bringing the dead back to life. That way, the players can't just go "We'll just cast Raise Dead on the king after he's been assassinated."

I do, however, allow my players to create new characters at the same level and with the same amount of XP as their recently-dead ones. Also, save-or-die spells knock characters to -5 hp instead of outright killing them.

Dazdya
2011-11-07, 10:49 PM
I play in a low-magic world, and in a system that puts those society-changing things at higher levels. But that's not really an answer, is it?

One thing you can do is to move the problem. The resurrection is not the problem, no, the problem is that you need the corpse for that. Or the material components for that sort of magic are, shall we say, politically charged?

One of the terrible things in D&D-worlds is that there's drugs and alcohol everywhere, and nothing to smuggle. This gives us another plot hook, smuglers bring in components.

But again, I digress. Most resurrection magic doesn't work beyond the normal life span, but if there's resurrection then there's also rejuvenation. The rich never die. This means that given enough time, they all get character levels eventually (as another sidenote). But maybe assassination has other bonuses.

Lots of resurrection magic has an experience penalty. Can this somehow equate to memory loss? Ok, we won't kill the PM for very long, but he'll forget what he knows about us. How does that sound? Or there is some ability loss with coming back, so that we'll get him eventually?

No, I think I'll stick to needing the corpse for the spell I think. Makes assassinations more interesting, and the disintegration spell more illegal.

Jeraa
2011-11-07, 10:56 PM
I'm a fan of no resurrections, unless extreme measures are taken. No casting a simple spell - you want your friend back, you go to Tartarus, find his soul, and force/convince Hades to send him back. (Or, if your the one dead, finding your own way out of Tartarus).

Morithias
2011-11-07, 11:07 PM
In my setting raising the dead is REALLY simple.....if you're in the middle grounds.

To explain this i'll have to explain.

In my setting the multiverse is the same but a bit screwed up, for example there is only one heaven, and baator and the abyss are no longer things of pure evil and corruption. The Abyss is a giant prison that holds corrupted souls waiting for their release, while Baator is a giant celestial bureaucratic plane of paperwork and rules revolving around death, Resurrection, and the afterlife.

If you go to heaven when you die. You better have a fricken good reason why your person wants to come back. Think about it, your character has died, been told that they've been a good enough person to literally go to paradise right away with no time in the suburbans of limbo, or the prison of the abyss. And you want to LEAVE that? Of course you're allowed to leave, but most people don't unless they're in the middle of a critical plot or have a vow they need to keep.

If you're in Limbo, that's the easiest to leave, you weren't good enough to go to paradise but not evil enough to go to the abyss. Mostly they just let you go with "try to do better before you die next time."

If you're in the Abyss, you do NOT get to leave without a second trial. The spell functions, but right away a harvester devil plane shifts to the party trying to bring him back, and goes over a LONG, LONG, list of rules and papers asking "this guy was corrupt enough to go to the abyss, he is down for 76 murder counts, and 243 counts of jaywalking" why the hell do you want him back?

If you still want him back (and don't kill the harvester devil, if you kill him the resurrection automatically fails), you are taken to baator for a trial, in which you have to argue your reason for bringing him back, and why he shouldn't just go to the abyss and serve him time before being released to Limbo. (Use rules for trials in the FC2).

Mechanus btw, does not have an afterlife it is the plane of living dungeons (basically random dungeons you can enter and train in).

Basically in my setting there is no L-C axis of afterlife just G-E.

Reluctance
2011-11-07, 11:12 PM
What the two posters above me said. Plane Shift comes in about the levels Raise Dead does. Thus, just add a (material? focus?) component of the soul, and you're good to go.

Want your guy back? Go to the afterlife to plead your case/break him out. Keeping your rich alive indefinitely suddenly requires adventures instead of simple money, which cuts down on it a lot.

lunar2
2011-11-07, 11:23 PM
only people with strong spirits can manage the journey back across the divide between life and death. this pretty much equates to people strong willed enough to stick around as ghosts. if a ghost doesn't get up when they guy dies, there's a pretty decent chance he's gone for good. a PC that dies just becomes a ghost automatically, unless the player wants to make a new character. ghosts, on the other hand, are more fragile than they are in the monster manual. every time a ghost dies, it's a dc 20 will save to reform, +2 for each previous death as a ghost. for this reason, most pcs will want a meat body back ASAP, even though it will weaken them.

Funkyodor
2011-11-08, 01:53 AM
We added several house rules involving coming back from the dead.

- Successfully coming back from the after live is an incredable experience worth 1,000 xp.
- All mortal beings get a maximum of 9 lives, so say the gods.
- Raise Dead does not remove levels/HD, instead it does 1 point of permenant Constitution loss.

We also talked about a CL check if the target is outside of the casters Pantheon, and a reduction in material component cost if the target follows the same god as the caster.

We had a plot point involving a holy assassin who custom crafted poisoned quarrels that sacrificed victims souls to its god. This prevented them from coming back through normal means.

Yora
2011-11-08, 08:50 AM
Using PF with a maximum level of 10th, there are actually not that many people in the world who can cast 5th level spells. And since the only spell that is available is raise dead, you have to get the corpse to that person within 10 days. Gentle repose helps a bit, but there are still not that many who can do that.
And then you need a 5,000 gp diamond. Not 5,000 gp, a 5,000 gp diamond. Good luck finding one. And again, in time.

Also, you need a mostly intact corpse. If you want to assassinate a filthy rich king who has his own 10th level cleric, you can still just cut off his head and burn it to ash later. Killed by massive energy damage or eaten by a monster also makes the whole thing fail.
That would also make a really cool quest. Find the kings head before it's too late to raise him.

And even if it all works, you still lose 2 levels.

PCs can be raised, but it will always involve a great effort. NPCs can also be raised, but it's very easy to prevent that both as player and DM.

ILM
2011-11-08, 11:14 AM
After considering how messed-up a world with resurrection would be, I actually decided to eliminate any and all spells and abilities that would permit bringing the dead back to life. That way, the players can't just go "We'll just cast Raise Dead on the king after he's been assassinated."

I do, however, allow my players to create new characters at the same level and with the same amount of XP as their recently-dead ones. Also, save-or-die spells knock characters to -5 hp instead of outright killing them.
Pretty much exacly this, with minor variations in the implementation.

Knaight
2011-11-08, 11:23 AM
It depends on the setting. So, a brief list of settings where this is even worth consideration.

Alchemquest/Archipelago: Its fantasy, there is no bringing back the dead. Magic is limited to transmutation of matter from one element or compound to another, and nothing else, even direct healing is far beyond it.

Atlantis 2.0: Medical technology is ridiculously, stupidly advanced. If your brain is still around and not rotting, you can be brought back. That said, weaponry is also ridiculously, stupidly advanced. And odds are good that once your armor is gone and shields are disabled, whatever hits you is going to be close to complete vaporization.

Mod Bots: You are an AI, so you probably keep an updated copy around somewhere. If you get another piece of usable hardware, you'll be fine.

Shallow Graves: You can just come back from the dead, if you have the willpower for it. Moreover, doing so will drastically increase your magical prowess. That said, the underworld is basically broken, and undead are quite common. If your soul is tied up in an undead that has one, its going to have to die before you can possibly come back, and even then, you are coming back changed. If your soul is tied up in an undead that has several that have all merged together, its well and truly gone. Also, the thing that has several is probably incredibly nasty and dangerous, with some degree of immortality, so killing it at all is risky at best.

Our Land: Nope. You aren't coming back from the dead. That said, you are a wuxia hero, so its not like you are going to die for anything less than a proper tragic end anyways.

Tyndmyr
2011-11-08, 12:18 PM
There's a reason that society, despite having magic and awesomeness, is still generally pretty poor and mostly feudal. Ressurection is that reason.

If you could cheat death by taxing the peasants and keeping them under your rule, wouldn't you? Well, perhaps YOU wouldn't...but somewhere out there, there's a grinning bastard saying yes.

Lord Il Palazzo
2011-11-08, 03:02 PM
In the campaign I'm running now, there's a pretty strong social and legal taboo against bringing back the dead in the region where the game's taking place. Those who do it are generally viewed as little better than necromancers, making a mockery of the natural order and those who are brought back are seen as some kind of soulless abomination. If the players want someone to cast Raise Dead for them, no respectable cleric will do it and the less respectable ones are likely to charge a premium or make other demands because of how rare their service is.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-08, 03:03 PM
What? Bringing back the dead? Haven't you seen FMA? You'll get cool robot limbs or become a physically powerful suit of armor that never gets tired. Wait, never mind. That sounds awesome!

Mark Hall
2011-11-08, 04:15 PM
Generally, in our games, we haven't bothered. Someone always has a new character idea, so we metagame that the person doesn't want to come back, and move on.

Now, if resurrection is cheap and available, it somewhat changes what can be considered a "warning shot". In fantasy terms, I'd take a look at Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels, particularly the book Jhereg... killing someone is a valid form of warning them away from a particular course of action, since it's pretty easy to bring people back to life.

You might also take a look at Richard K. Morgans Takeshi Kovacs novels. In that, a human mind is containable in a "cortical stack". Get killed, they can put you in a new body by transfering your stack. Shooting someone isn't even murder, just "Organic damage". Only murder is when you take their stack or destroy it... and, even then, the rich frequently have back-ups.

boomwolf
2011-11-08, 07:19 PM
In the games I run resurrection is always extremely hard or outright impossible...(with a common case of "technically possible but good luck with that...")

horngeek
2011-11-08, 07:43 PM
Also, in Pathfinder, if you were killed by the Red Mantis, they will know when you're raised, and they will just send you back.

Lord Vukodlak
2011-11-09, 08:36 AM
In D&D it is to easy to die from one unlucky roll. Unless you eliminate high damage multipliers and save or die spells you can't get rid of resurrection.

The Complete Divine suggests that only a rare few indiviguals choose to come back from the dead. Most accept they are dead and choose to remain where they are. They simply don't have the force of will to come back. With that in mind anyone aside from the PC's the DM decides to keep dead will stay so. Even an evil character accepts they're dead because if they came back it only delay a return to where they already are.

My actually advice is this, coming back from the dead requries a special level check, the DC depends on the manner in which you died and the method of restoration. This roll is made secretly by the DM behind the screen. This makes death scary as the PC's really don't know what there chances are.

The reality is PC's wll always make the check if they want to, while NPC's making the check is determined by the DM. But the players think there is a real risk of true death which they can't measure.


but if there's resurrection then there's also rejuvenation. Actually there is little to no rejuvenation magic. spellcasters become Liches because TIME is the one thing magic can't escape to easily.

onthetown
2011-11-09, 09:23 AM
Doesn't happen in my campaign, at least not within the party. There's only one god in my world who really has clerics, or at least she has a monopoly on them, so it's rare to find anybody outside of that faith who can bring back the dead (except the necromancers, but that's not something you want to get into). Coincidentally (muahahahah), they're fighting against this faith. They do have a party member who ran off from said faith, but she's not reached the point where she can cast resurrection spells and it might be hard to get her spells depending on how the abandoned god is feeling toward her. So, resurrection is reserved for important and evil NPCs and enemies, and the party is SOL.

By stark contrast, the campaign I'm playing in allows resurrection as often as you can pay for it. If you die and you have the money (which we do, since our characters are richer than god), the resources are available to be resurrected. Only certain spells and natural causes prevent it from happening, as per the rules.

In another campaign I play in, another gaming system entirely, it's impossible; not even the greatest heroes have been revived. If you die, that's it, you're not coming back. If you're about to die, you can make a Divine Intervention roll to see if your god wants to save you. If not, well, too bad. Roll up a new character. It makes you think before you do something, and we've had some really good battles and strategies because of it. Not one of us has died yet, but we've certainly come close.

Emmerask
2011-11-09, 10:08 AM
How do you, as a DM or world-builder, approach bringing back the dead to life?

In 3.5, you can bring someone back from the dead at only mid-level (and that's without taking into account that it is a fair bit cheaper to pay a higher-level NPC cleric to do it for you). Why do noblemen ever die? How is the assassination of a political figure ever an important plot point, when he can just be brought back?

In 3.5 at least, there are pretty big drawbacks preventing everyone from being brought back to life--xp costs and level drain. But in, say, Pathfinder, where there is no penalty to experience points, just money... how does the world stay stable? Especially when you go into the splatbooks for PF... there's a lot of ways to bring back the dead or flat-out not stay dead in there. What do you do if a character dies, and the player doesn't want his PC to be infinitely reincarnated just because of the druid archetype she chose?

How do you deal with this? Is magic to return the dead to life rare in your worlds? Is there a time limit past which the dead cannot return? Is this magic granted only sparingly by the gods, or are some souls not permitted to return to the realm of the living? Do you add additional penalties for returning to life, or perhaps have them "come back wrong"?


Afterlife is just too good, they simply don´t want to come back. And yes you can deny to come back its in the spelldescription, then the spell does not work.

Oracle_Hunter
2011-11-09, 10:28 AM
In 4e, it doesn't cause too much trouble.
First, it's an 8th level spell -- you need to have a Ritualist that is at the high-end of the Heroic Tier to do it. At least in my world, the majority of entities are Heroic Tier so the number of 8th level Ritualists is relatively low. That said, powerful individuals and kingdoms will have at least one of these on trap.

Secondly, the cost stages up with tier. 500 GP in reagents for Heroic is a non-trivial amount (roughly speaking a LV 2 Magic Item, or half the cost of a LV 5 Magic Item) but at Paragon it is 5K GP -- equivalent to a LV 10 Magic item. Considering how important Magical Items (and Rituals) are to the continued survival of these great powers you still wouldn't be using these left and right. But then again, a Paragon-Tier civilization could easily afford to resurrect high-Heroic generals and geniuses if it needed to.

Finally, it requires a part of the body of the subject to work. Since this is not exactly an obscure fact beyond the Heroic Tier (Arcana DC 24) it simply means that assassins make sure to take the corpse with them after doing the job. Admittedly, I do rule that "part of the corpse" refers to a body part the living person would rather not lose (e.g. ears, fingers) and that a severed body part counts as "dead" when it is severed (so it would only be good for 30 days as a Raise Dead focus). Still, these aren't tremendous leaps to make.
That said, a major point in my current D&D4 Paragon-Tier campaign was when one of the PCs agreed to be killed and interrogated via Speak With Dead to prove to the hostile opposition that what he said was true. He was told by the NPC Noble that he wasn't sure that he had 5K GP to spare to raise the PC after he was done, but he appreciated the sacrifice all the same.

lunar2
2011-11-09, 02:03 PM
Actually there is little to no rejuvenation magic. spellcasters become Liches because TIME is the one thing magic can't escape to easily.

well, i remember reading a 9th level immortality spell somewhere (can't remember where, though). it removed the maximum age, but still allowed aging as normal. works great for a monk or druid, though.

druids can, of course, simply make a "ring of reincarnate" (custom item) that automatically casts reincarnate 1 time when the wearer dies. as soon as they hit venerable, they coup de grace themselves. in 1 hour, they will be back, with the mental abilities of their venerable old body, and a brand new young body. if they're lucky, they'll get something with good physical ability scores (like an orc), and then thousand faces back into their old appearance. in one campaign i played in, we started at 20th level, but i started at 19th level with +9 to intelligence, wisdom, and charisma (reincarnated 3 times).

kieza
2011-11-09, 04:25 PM
In my world, there are quite a few obstacles to resurrection:

1) Various temples and religious orders are the only ones with complete, working resurrection rituals, and they don't resurrect just anyone. You generally need to be an adherent of the faith, have left something important (not only to yourself, but to the church) undone, and you need to be important to accomplishing that task. Even if you fulfill those requirements, once the church raises you, you belong to them for the rest of your life--you must become a champion of the faith, having been returned from the dead by the grace of the gods. (On the plus side, the temple will raise you for free if you qualify.)

2) Any resurrection rituals or processes not under the control of the church are incomplete or flawed, and have more severe side effects. Depending on how well the resurrectionist does his job, these are moderate to severe, and at the severe end of things, they may be permanent. (On the plus side of things, the people who research these rituals are always looking for test subjects, so it's generally free.)

The side effects run from being brought back still with the wound that killed you, being clumsy with your new body, and having mild amnesia, to having a wound that never heals, not being able to enter hallowed ground, and not being the same person when you come back. These latter ones are often permanent.

3) On the legal side of things, once you die, you are considered to have legally died even if you get resurrected within the next five minutes. Your next of kin inherits, including noble titles if you had one, which means that if someone gets resurrected much later, they generally find themselves bankrupt, and if you aren't on good terms with your kids, it tends to happen very quickly. Notably, kings and queens, and even lesser nobility, can't resume the throne once they die and come back, in order to prevent the succession from being as horribly tangled as it was in the case of Kings Ugoyevic II, III, and V, who happened to be the same person. In the rare cases when this has happened, the old king generally stays on as advisor and power behind the throne, but has little official power.

(I once had a player with a level 3 character who was a ruling king who got assassinated, was brought back to catch his killer, and decided that now his daughter was queen, he was going to go adventuring like he'd always wanted but never could.)

Dimers
2011-11-10, 12:26 AM
As a player, I rarely die except by my own prior planning (e.g. going out in a blaze of glory), and I usually have other character ideas I want to try, so it's never come up.

In the game system I'm writing, resurrection is possible, but it's only been done a few times in the history of the world. It takes a lot of effort to track down the correct soul in another plane of existence, haul it away from the potent natural force trying to keep it there, get it back into its body without also inserting any unwanted 'guests', and re-form the natural bond that should hold it in place. The magic involved is so complex that its material component cost is on a scale that only nations or major religions can pay, not even the most powerful individuals. Skill or spellcasting ability isn't an obstacle -- typically a demigod helps out with the actual ritual. There's no big moral objection either. It's just the cost. Since I don't use D&D economics or WBL, that remains a real and meaningful limitation.

The overall effect is to turn resurrection from a purchasable commodity into a story-generating event. If you want to resurrect somebody that bad, you'll have to work to get a sponsor, impress a god with your need, and collect ridiculously rare components from far-flung locales. Yay sidequests! :smallbiggrin:


I once had a player with a level 3 character who was a ruling king who got assassinated, was brought back to catch his killer, and decided that now his daughter was queen, he was going to go adventuring like he'd always wanted but never could.

Nice. Cheesy, but a fun story to play with, and a good way to introduce world-specific ideas to other players.

Lord Tyger
2011-11-10, 01:45 AM
Make it extremely limited by society/religion/law. The wizard's gonna have a hard time finding the spell to copy it into his book, the sorcerer might get a few grateful family members, but will have a rather large irate mob to deal with, etc. The few exceptions being either those outside of society, or High Priests, advisers to kings or rulers in their own right, etc.

kieza
2011-11-10, 02:22 AM
As a player, I rarely die except by my own prior planning (e.g. going out in a blaze of glory), and I usually have other character ideas I want to try, so it's never come up.

In the game system I'm writing, resurrection is possible, but it's only been done a few times in the history of the world. It takes a lot of effort to track down the correct soul in another plane of existence, haul it away from the potent natural force trying to keep it there, get it back into its body without also inserting any unwanted 'guests', and re-form the natural bond that should hold it in place. The magic involved is so complex that its material component cost is on a scale that only nations or major religions can pay, not even the most powerful individuals. Skill or spellcasting ability isn't an obstacle -- typically a demigod helps out with the actual ritual. There's no big moral objection either. It's just the cost. Since I don't use D&D economics or WBL, that remains a real and meaningful limitation.

The overall effect is to turn resurrection from a purchasable commodity into a story-generating event. If you want to resurrect somebody that bad, you'll have to work to get a sponsor, impress a god with your need, and collect ridiculously rare components from far-flung locales. Yay sidequests! :smallbiggrin:



Nice. Cheesy, but a fun story to play with, and a good way to introduce world-specific ideas to other players.

The rest of the party didn't know at first. It only came up when his daughter (the queen) got engaged, and he invited the entire group back to the capital for the wedding. The first they knew about it was when he reined in his horse outside the royal palace and said "Welp, we're here."

Blacky the Blackball
2011-11-10, 04:46 AM
I tend to go the other way.

Instead of adjusting the magic to fit the world (i.e. restricting Raise Dead and other spells) I adjust the world to fit the magic. In particular, since there are so many "Zap! You're dead!" effects I keep the "Zap! You're better!" effects for balance.

Since most (but not all) castles and fiefdoms have a cleric on hand who is 9th level or higher; and those clerics not only get regular tithes from the peasants but also wish to promote their religion, Raise Dead is given out for free to anyone who wants it.

So if Bob the peasant falls off the roof while thatching and breaks his neck, he has a very good chance of being raised (for free). After all, if the local cleric can do two Raise Dead spells per day with no personal cost and no chance of failure* there's no good reason not to do them.

However, there are four wrinkles that mean it isn't all-raises-all-the-time.

1) Raise Dead needs a relatively intact corpse. If you died after getting your arm chewed off, you'll be raised with only one arm. If you were decapitated then you'll be raised with no body and only last a few seconds before dying again (which is why formal executions are done by decapitation).

2) One consequence of death being curable and therefore seen as less serious is that society is much more violent as a result. Feuds and even bar brawls often result in deaths, and there's a legal difference between "murder" and "aggravated murder" (which is murder in a way that prevents raising). Another consequence of this is that sometimes there are more people needing raising than the local cleric can raise; so sometimes there's a waiting list - and it's not easy for some itinerant adventurer to bribe their way to the front of the list because if that bumps Bob the peasant off the end (he'll have been dead too long for the cleric to be able to raise him) the cleric is the one who will have to explain that to Bob's widow and kids.

3) Although Raise Dead Fully also exists and it can raise people who have been dead for longer and only needs a part of the corpse rather than the whole thing, it's a higher level spell and therefore much rarer (from memory you need a 18th level caster rather than a 9th level one). Even then, you need at least a bit of the body; so someone who's been eaten and completely digested or who has been Disintegrated can't be raised.

4) Neither Raise Dead nor Raise Dead Fully will help you if you've died of old age.

* I'm assuming the BECMI rules here, because that's the edition I normally play. I know other editions have costs (e.g. 3.x/4e) or a chance of failure (e.g. AD&D's "System Shock" roll) for Raise Dead.

Coidzor
2011-11-10, 06:09 AM
I mostly handwave it by using the idea of souls having different strengths or levels of refinement (sort of borrowing and reflavoring the idea of levels being multiple souls accumulated by an individual as espoused by... Yahzi[?] and his World of Prime setting).

Certain entities have a quality to their soul such that the resurrection is "smoother," and they're less willing to put up with whatever malarkey their afterlife has in store for them by default, as the further one gets towards purity in one's life, the more one desires to finish the job in life rather than dealing with what they got or taking another go at things.

So the more notable and high powered or leveled a person is, the more that needs to be done to make sure they're kept down, as even in the absence of resurrection magic, that drive can live on and become an undead in its own right or be a path for the soul to return to the body. Though, in a similar way, the more powerful or pure an individual, the better able they are to force/cajol/convince other souls to come back.

Although I'm also toying with an idea of a statue of limitations on time something can be dead before it can be rez'd due to shenanigans on the spiritual side of things, though I'm also intrigued by the idea of hijacking reincarnation when it becomes inconvenient by forcing a new soul into existence out of the raw stuff of creation, switching it out for the soul you want that's been reincarnated, and slappings its memories back into it once it's back in its former shell.

One setting I've been working on for a bit now has an afterlife that makes it so that people who die on the main plane of the setting (which, to borrow 3.X terminology, isn't a material plane at all) have a risk of having the same thing as creates vestiges happen to them both on the way to and the way from the afterlife, due to it being a place that's not technically supposed to exist but does and so it also is supposed to exist by virtue of it existing (this is intentionally contradictory, yeah). It's more that most of the people capable of resurrection magic haven't necessarily figured out that they need to change their frequencies more often though, so they're either not calling the right place to reach the dead or they're giving the dead the wrong coordinates to return to. But, by the time PCs get to the point they'd have that capability, they'd have gotten clued in on the nature of the world.

Before things went pear-shaped there, it was a mild magical utopia in certain places where it wasn't already a magical post apocalyptic roleplaying game, so the main limiter on it was the mechanics of the magic, the amount of time someone could be dead before it didn't work, people wanting the person back, the person wanting to be back, and the cost of the magic, which meant that it was something that mostly just upperclass could afford normally, but except in very, very rare cases, rejuvenation magic reduces the efficacy of resurrection magic, so while the upperclass did suddenly get a longer generation time of their rule, they traded off being young for longer and a longer life span with having a contingency in case they were ganked but not thoroughly.

This gives rise to a larger adventuring class as well, since it beats waiting around to inherit things and makes one more likely to be the one who ends up the chosen heir. Mostly spell components, wars, successful marauding monsters and dragons, and the massive investments of bureaucracy and management were the ways I had envisioned keeping them from becoming Dragonmarked House-style fantasy megacorporations. Not 100% satisfied with it, but I'm not planning on using the setting at that point in its history anyway.

Gravitron5000
2011-11-10, 10:05 AM
Add a material Cost: 1 willing uncoerced soul.

The god of death must have his due. You want to bring someone back, you have to find someone willing to trade places with the departed.

bloodtide
2011-11-10, 11:55 AM
1.Religion Each Religion has quite a bit of control over bringing back the dead, as it's all divine magic. So you would need to be a member in good standing with the church, plus have made plenty of donations, plus be faithful. In general, few people meet the requirements.

Also, most church and clerics will refuse to raise a worshiper of another god, or no god, seeing that as not their 'place'. There are exceptions, but most follow this.

And most churches respect the whole 'circle of life and death' and will generally refuse to bring back someone who died of natural causes.

2.Politics Even if you can find a cleric to cast the spell, someone might have gotten to him first. And simply payed him more not to bring back the person in question. They can also use all sorts of other methods to stop the church.

You also get church politics too. Such as a treaty/agreement between two or more churches about bring back the dead(Such as two lawful churches each agreeing not to raise the dead on their warriors fighting each other to 'let the holy war play out').

3.Greed Sure the book says you'd pay a cleric a couple gold to cast a spell. But stop and think about it, to bring someone back to life is BIG. Why would not a cleric charge more..much, much more. It's a matter of life and death, after all. In short a cleric could get just about anything they wanted, if the others wanted to pay...they might just drop the idea.

This also has the mix of plenty of people want to see a person dead as they benefit from it. So you can't really 'trust' anyone to raise your body after death. They might just take your money and run. And that would be your 'friends', enemies will do much worse.

4.Personality A lot of times most people would not want to bring someone back. Unless the person was the nicest and kindest person in the world, someone won't like them. And that can lead to a general 'don't bring him back'.

This would be especially true with rich and/or powerful folk. No one would want to bring back Mayor McCheese who just tore down and orphanage to build a parking lot. Who would think it's a good idea to bring Boss Hog back, for example?

5.Burn Out Even if a person gets raised, most places will place a limit on the number of times it can be done.

No cleric wants to raise dead on Kenny every single week.



HouseRules:For 3E, I still use the old 2E rules:
*Raise Dead:the dead must roll a check or be dead forever, plus they loose one Con point, are weak and helpless needing 1 day bed rest per day dead.
*Resurrection/True Resurrection:Check or dead forever/no check for True. Caster must rest 1 day per level/hd of person brought back and ages three years.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-10, 02:08 PM
I almost had a recurring NPC antagonist that was going to come back from the dead, but the clerics didn't have the full amount of diamonds, so he'd be brought back as a psuedo-clockwork-cyborg.:smallwink:

GenericGuy
2011-11-10, 02:14 PM
I use the “Pokémon rule,” when a player runs out of HP he doesn’t die, he is incapacitated/fainted and need serious healing. So long as the rest of the party is willing to drag his body back to a healer, the character survives. I normally run Low fantasy settings, so dead is dead in my campaigns.

Trekkin
2011-11-10, 03:08 PM
As far as noble immortality is concerned, I employ an idea from Girl Genius: once you're dead, you cease to exist legally. This makes them worth more to their heirs dead than alive (especially since I've never created a noble NPC who liked their family), which in turn makes resurrection magic only rarely employed by the aristocracy and the political elite. It doesn't hurt typical adventurers much either, given how they rarely own a kingdom or any property requiring a deed that can't be simply transferred by a will.

In a more flavorful sense, the idea that the aristocracy simply rejects the idea of resurrection rather than integrating it into their lifestyle helps make them look reactionary or traditionalist, which is how I usually like to paint them.

Beyond that, I tend to keep in mind that most souls have to have really pressing business to want to leave wherever they've gone, especially since the various subsets of the afterlife want the soul there for its energy and reward their new sources of belief-based power with perfect simulacra of whatever they could want. Yep, my fantasy games have the Matrix for a hereafter, and most people only dimly remember that they're dead. Adventurers, then, need a pressing reason to want to come back in the first place, and then they've got to convince whoever's running their afterlife that their temporary departure represents a net gain in energy for the realm. When coming back requires a Faustian pact, and involvement in a major event, John Q. Peasant isn't coming back.

Coidzor
2011-11-10, 03:24 PM
1.Religion Each Religion has quite a bit of control over bringing back the dead, as it's all divine magic. So you would need to be a member in good standing with the church, plus have made plenty of donations, plus be faithful. In general, few people meet the requirements.

Also, most church and clerics will refuse to raise a worshiper of another god, or no god, seeing that as not their 'place'. There are exceptions, but most follow this.

And most churches respect the whole 'circle of life and death' and will generally refuse to bring back someone who died of natural causes.

Ah, yeah, that reminds me of how I was kicking around a setting for D&D 3.X where adventurers were an accepted part of the cosmology to sort of unify a couple of disparate fluff ideas.

Basically the first ascended mortal of relevance became the god of "adventurers" for lack of a better term, if I were to go back I'd probably make them vestige-touched as a reference to the players who not even the gods of D&D can affect. Anyway, adventurers souls really are different, and through a combination of his various efforts of both cheezing off and placating most of the pantheons of the setting and the extraordinary cantankerousness of the souls of adventurers in the afterlife if they didn't accomplish everything they set out to do(something goes "wrong" and they retain a bit more of their vigor than the usual mindraped slaves of deities that are petitioners), a concordance was established that, essentially, as long as the adventurer wasn't an active enemy of the faith, if the price could be paid, then the deities were obligated to have their clerics do so, since all of the deities were benefitting from the actions of adventurers furthering their interests.

Though deities like Tiamat have even more of a love-hate relationship with them than others because most of them are more dragony than dragons.

So, yeah, if the King is an active adventurer or a former one, he's probably going to be easy to rez if steps aren't taken to preclude rezzing, if, on the other hand, he was the wastrel grandson of the last adventurer to take over the kingdom, he probably can't/won't(since the afterlife that isn't being turned into a fiend's plaything is kind of a lotus eater machine) come back even if an amenable deity/cleric wanted to.

And, yes, this does heighten the hero worship/revilement dynamic that adventurers are usually "supposed to" have going on. It also means that there's a bit more organization to things, though there's always the possibility of just getting into a fight if you want a cleric of a non enemy but still theoretically hostile religion to rez your team pet. A couple of the more "kill on sight" and "doesn't do anything, ever" deities like lazy nature deities and omnicidal reality-killers or even just deities from outside the given multiverse don't hold with the compact at all, but basically act as their whims dictate and get the advantages and disadvantages of that. So Obad-hawaiian Druids (for example) get the full capriciousness of nature's apathy as to whether they'll get to reincarnate for immortality or just be able to rez their dead friend.

Lord Vukodlak
2011-11-10, 04:26 PM
As far as noble immortality is concerned, I employ an idea from Girl Genius: once you're dead, you cease to exist legally. This makes them worth more to their heirs dead than alive (especially since I've never created a noble NPC who liked their family), which in turn makes resurrection magic only rarely employed by the aristocracy and the political elite.

Here is the problem with that legal notion. Its totally unrealistic If your a King you get to make the laws. Why would you keep a law on the books that would let a potential assassin(or the guy who hired the assassin) profit from your demise? Unless the gods themselves are enforcing that law it wouldn't exist. Because the people it most negatively effects are the ones responsible for making the laws.

Your Matrix hereafter makes far more sense.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-11, 06:08 PM
As a player, I recommend using a system for health that allows characters to survive, but be disabled, instead of dying most of the time instead of an HP system if you are going to take away resurrection magic.
Why? Character investment is important.
If you actually care about what happens to your PC, you are going to be more willing to open up to the game world, interact more heavily and meaningfully with NPC. If being in a world without resurrection magic means an unlucky die roll can kill off a character I just wrote a 5 page back story that melded the character with the world around them, or who had forged relationships with PC and NPC alike, including romantic and /or political entanglements, then I am that much less likely to take such an effort again.
Instead, you get a succession of Bob Juniors, uninvested in the world around them as they have no time or inclination to build such connections.
Mind you, too much and too readily available resurrection magic can do the same thing, reduce character investment, if for different reasons.

Traab
2011-11-11, 06:13 PM
REAL assassins make certain to coat their weapon of choice in soul burning poison. Nasty stuff, it actually does spiritual damage to the target, making their soul become too damaged to ever return.

Winter Light
2011-11-11, 08:46 PM
Doing it RAW, justifying anyone rich/popular/important staying dead pretty much needs to involve somehow ensnaring their soul, and hiding it somewhere that they can't just have a mid-level wizard (who's been paid off in advance) scry, teleport, and retrieve.

While I think the religion issue someone brought up was a good one, I sort of find it... a bit unrealistic to assume that, even in a world with obviously existent deities, religions wouldn't be willing to bend the rules in the face of sufficient bribery.

Low-level worlds (i.e. PCs who make it to 6+ are genuinely exceptional) may have a better time of dealing with it. It makes just cremating the body an option. Of course, that would mean that assassinations in general are rarer and better-orchestrated.

My personal solution revolves around the homebrew world I tend to use. Dead people don't go to an afterlife--their souls get whisked away to the "land of the dead", a very real location on a very well-known island, owned and operated by a divine rank 0 "Queen of the Dead". The reasons for this being the case are... complicated, but getting someone back from the dead requires going there and negotiating their soul's release. High-ranking clerics and expensive material components aren't required, but anything short of a mid-level adventuring party isn't going to even get far enough to attempt negotiations.

tl;dr: You pretty much need house rules or a low-magic world to avoid everyone and their mother being resurrected willy-nilly, provided they're sufficiently wealthy. Alternately, you can just handwave it or explore the social implications.

Mark Hall
2011-11-12, 01:13 AM
While I think the religion issue someone brought up was a good one, I sort of find it... a bit unrealistic to assume that, even in a world with obviously existent deities, religions wouldn't be willing to bend the rules in the face of sufficient bribery.

Forget sufficient bribery... some religions will do it just because. I'm thinking, in the case of the Realms, of Waukeen, the deity of trade. "Oh, you want to purchase my rare and valuable services? Certainly, I am willing to charge you fair market value for this thing that only a few people are willing to do for your friend, that carries with it very expensive material costs, which of course are, themselves, subject to a reasonable mark-up."

Connington
2011-11-12, 03:03 AM
I've never had any problem with justifying assassinations "sticking". Even in a high level setting where kings really do have level 17 clerics on call, there's always an obscure rulebook or piece of home brew that nullify resurrection.

That's generally the key. People with access to [Level X Resurrection-Type Spell] are usually assassinated by people who have the magic/skills to take appropriate countermeasures. All that resurrection spells mean for a campaign as far as assassinations go is that noblemen don't worry about Lee Harvey Oswald and François Ravaillac knockoffs. Assassins are professionals, not crazed crossbowmen. It also creates a handy justification for those otherwise unrealistic assassins guilds.

kieza
2011-11-12, 03:13 AM
Here is the problem with that legal notion. Its totally unrealistic If your a King you get to make the laws. Why would you keep a law on the books that would let a potential assassin(or the guy who hired the assassin) profit from your demise? Unless the gods themselves are enforcing that law it wouldn't exist. Because the people it most negatively effects are the ones responsible for making the laws.

It's not the kings who want to come back who enforce it, it's their neighbors. Enough nasty, warmongering kings came back from the dead, some repeatedly, that eventually the majority of the major houses got fed up and refused to recognize the right to rule of anyone who returned from the dead. Not to mention, it prevents lots and lots of civil wars when dad comes back from the dead and won't hand over the crown his son has been waiting for his whole life. Their basic attitude is that living a single lifetime in relative peace is better than living forever if you're going to be conquered by a nastier immortal tyrant or offed by your offspring. Plus, nobody says they can't come back from the dead--they just aren't the same legal entity and thus can't retake their old position. I imagine plenty of rulers come back, pass on their crown, and live very long lives as advisors to their successor.

(This legal precedent is, incidentally, something I copied for my own setting.)

Coidzor
2011-11-12, 05:29 AM
That's... dependent on a lot of factors going just so for that setup to work, seems much more likely they'd settle for something like real world history before going so far as to shoot themselves in the foot.

And then once you've got that, you're moving more towards Early Modern-equivalent governments than pseudo-Medeival, which would have the attendant changes from that...

Mark Hall
2011-11-12, 12:18 PM
In some early Pathfinder stuff (might still be there, haven't looked), there was an interesting item that some assassins used: several long, very fine, steel pins. If you had a few minutes after you killed someone, you put these long steel pins in your target in several major organs. If they got raised without being carefully "cleaned", suddenly, they've got a number of steel pins in their major organs, and they die again, in agony.

Really quite vicious.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-12, 05:02 PM
Quieting Needles, they still exist (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/goods-and-services#TOC-Quieting-Needles). I agree, vicious exactly the word for them. Not many clerics check to debone the fish before resurrecting it, though if they exist in your game world many will depending on circumstances of death.

GungHo
2011-11-12, 06:18 PM
That said, a major point in my current D&D4 Paragon-Tier campaign was when one of the PCs agreed to be killed and interrogated via Speak With Dead to prove to the hostile opposition that what he said was true. He was told by the NPC Noble that he wasn't sure that he had 5K GP to spare to raise the PC after he was done, but he appreciated the sacrifice all the same.
Put down my beer. Get out of my house.

Anyway... I make it risky. You can bring someone back. But, most people don't think of doing it.

To steal from a famous book/movie... If they're "all dead", they're gone. You spend your resources and the body decomposes within a few minutes. Now all their stuff is really gross. Items that were in contact with the body never get the smell of death off of them. An all-dead state is reached if you were dismembered, died with a specific curse on your head, died of poison, died of disease, or otherwise were rendered a poor vessel. Your only possible way back is undeath, and in that case, your mortal soul is instantly and irrevocably damned. Given that a "mortal soul" is a very real thing in the game world, that's not something any sane person gives up.

If they're "mostly dead", you can bring them back and they'll be quite useless for a time... once they've recovered, I make a blind roll/judgement call to determine if everything is normal. There's a good possibility that you won't be "right"... either a piece of your soul is scarred, missing, or something else entirely took a ride. It may take some time for anyone to figure out that something went wrong. Sometimes it's something innocuous... you're now left handed, or you've stopped using contractions, or your skin lightens/darkens significantly, or maybe you don't like chocolate any more. However, several kingdoms have been crippled when their beloved regents/heroes were brought back twisted (like Event Horizon-level crazy).

As such, resurrection magic is generally taboo and people are watched carefully. Inquisitors will likely follow them, and will send assassins reclaim souls suspected of being misaligned. Note: Inquisitors are people too and have been known to claim people that came back "just right".

To make up for this headache, I make it very easy to pull PCs away from the brink of death and make it easy to replace fallen PCs if one does actually die. I also try not to put them in situations where they're definitely going to lose their characters to one bad roll. It can happen, but it's rare. If they really want to hold on to their PC after that, though, there's a way to keep going, but it isn't drama free and no one's going to get multiple shots at it.

Coidzor
2011-11-12, 09:05 PM
Quieting Needles, they still exist (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final/goods-and-services#TOC-Quieting-Needles). I agree, vicious exactly the word for them. Not many clerics check to debone the fish before resurrecting it, though if they exist in your game world many will depending on circumstances of death.

Completely pointless after the first time you ever use them, and then only if you're able to keep them a secret up till then.

thereaper
2011-11-12, 10:40 PM
Add a material Cost: 1 willing uncoerced soul.

The god of death must have his due. You want to bring someone back, you have to find someone willing to trade places with the departed.

I consider this to be the best solution. It allows resurrection to exist without cheapening death in any way.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-13, 04:56 AM
I consider this to be the best solution. It allows resurrection to exist without cheapening death in any way.
To which the player asks "Can I use Gather Information to find someone suitably suicidal?"
This only really works if your players have very little divide conceptually between NPC and PC, in which case you got some good role players on hand who won't 'cheapen' death anyway.

Completely pointless after the first time you ever use them, and then only if you're able to keep them a secret up till then.
True, but a good enough SoH check means that they are forced to use alternate means of reanimation, which could be too expensive, even if they 'know' the needles are there.
Still, I feel it is bad GMing to not reveal something about the world they should know, or at least giving the opportunity to find out, and then acting like you did something special when they 'fall for the trap'.

Shadowknight12
2011-11-13, 08:24 AM
I'll just copypaste from my "Undead As Victims" thread.


The afterlife is very much like Eberron's. The gods give no sign of their presence, and it's debatable whether divine magic really comes from the gods or whether it's faith alone that gives them power, or whether they are tapping on another, still-undiscovered source. However, I go one step further: there's no Dollurh. You cannot planeshift to where souls come from, or go when they die. Death is the Great Unknown.

Resurrection still exists and it's affordable by the wealthier classes. Poorer classes might just save up enough for one, or find a charitable priest willing to cast it for free. However, a very large percentage of souls do not answer the call to return. Those who do, regardless of past deeds or moral outlook, report having no memory of the afterlife except for a sensation of perfect happiness (that's why most souls don't return, because they prefer to remain in such a state/place/condition than return to a life that will never measure up to it). Needless to say, it takes a very powerful reason or an exceedingly selfless individual to accept resurrection.

Religions vary on what they preach. Some preach the typical "reward and punishment" affair and try to either portray "evil" people who were resurrected as either worthy of paradise or as liars and heretics (whatever is easier), while others preach something I'm shamelessly cribbing from the Egyptian mythology where the soul has many parts and some remain behind, so while some part of you might be in perfect happiness, another might suffer if you don't follow the tenets of the faith. Others don't focus too much on the afterlife and focus more on either what happens while you live or what happens after True Resurrection's time limit passes (reincarnation? absorption into their divinity? transformation into outsider? varies from religion to religion).

Outsiders support the dogma of whatever religion they serve, and it's unclear whether they do so to fool mortals (it's impossible to discern, magically or not, when an outsider is lying) or because their dogma is indeed true. They cannot (or will not) reveal anything that you cannot find in a religious text, so interrogating outsiders sheds no light into the workings of the afterlife.

I have a bit more on outsiders and how they work (they're basically trapped in a state of non-sensation and non-existence unless someone summons them), but that's not really the purpose of this thread.

Calanon
2011-11-13, 10:38 PM
1.Religion Each Religion has quite a bit of control over bringing back the dead, as it's all divine magic. So you would need to be a member in good standing with the church, plus have made plenty of donations, plus be faithful. In general, few people meet the requirements.

Also, most church and clerics will refuse to raise a worshiper of another god, or no god, seeing that as not their 'place'. There are exceptions, but most follow this.

And most churches respect the whole 'circle of life and death' and will generally refuse to bring back someone who died of natural causes.

Personally I believe this is a little much, a Clergymen of any church will most likely perform a Resurrection on those who match his/her Alignment so you would need to first find that and depending on previous dids for the chuch the Cleric may or may note charge the petitioner. The Opposite church section is completely justified, the Cleric WILL not no matter how much you pay them raise a Cleric or Ur-Priest of another god (Or lack their of). Unless the Cleric is a Cleric of a god of nature or death then this is also justified.


2.Politics Even if you can find a cleric to cast the spell, someone might have gotten to him first. And simply payed him more not to bring back the person in question. They can also use all sorts of other methods to stop the church.

You also get church politics too. Such as a treaty/agreement between two or more churches about bring back the dead(Such as two lawful churches each agreeing not to raise the dead on their warriors fighting each other to 'let the holy war play out').

This is also an obstacle that I use quite often (Or the old fashion Soul Jar method :smallbiggrin:) or the fact that the person was so vile, so infamous, so evil that nobody short of an extremely Chaotic Evil Cleric (Or Ur-Priest) would want to bring them back. Unless its Faerun (and with me it usually is :smallwink:) then Church Politics usually do not come into question. However I will say this: A Cleric of Gruumsh, will NEVER bring an Elf Back to life... Nothing short of a love interest or a great and true friendship between characters will allow me to perform this and even then the Cleric will break his code of Conduct and become an Ex-Cleric (The spell will still work though). Deities of rival gods thats main worshipers are enemies to another deities worshipers divine magic does not yield positive effects against them. (For example a Cleric of Tiamat cannot use Resurrection on a good dragon).


3.Greed Sure the book says you'd pay a cleric a couple gold to cast a spell. But stop and think about it, to bring someone back to life is BIG. Why would not a cleric charge more..much, much more. It's a matter of life and death, after all. In short a cleric could get just about anything they wanted, if the others wanted to pay...they might just drop the idea.

This also has the mix of plenty of people want to see a person dead as they benefit from it. So you can't really 'trust' anyone to raise your body after death. They might just take your money and run. And that would be your 'friends', enemies will do much worse.

If the Cleric is of a good aligned deity then they will charge the standard and to be expected price for casting the spell I restrict a lot on Religious politics and the such (I.e. Clerics cannot raise rival Clerics). If the Cleric is evil than I flip a coin (Heads they do it, tails they walk off and leave with the money) :smallcool:


4.Personality A lot of times most people would not want to bring someone back. Unless the person was the nicest and kindest person in the world, someone won't like them. And that can lead to a general 'don't bring him back'.

This would be especially true with rich and/or powerful folk. No one would want to bring back Mayor McCheese who just tore down and orphanage to build a parking lot. Who would think it's a good idea to bring Boss Hog back, for example?

See my response to Religious Politics. Nothing short of a Cleric of Chaos would want to bring back a sociopath to instil political anarchy (Use true Resurrection on an assassinated king and have him confront his usurper, I lol'd)


5.Burn Out Even if a person gets raised, most places will place a limit on the number of times it can be done.

No cleric wants to raise dead on Kenny every single week.

I give a limit of 3 resurrections per Character, unless the person becomes Undead as to where I give them 3 Revive Undeads per campaign :smallsmile:

Anyway, these are my ideals when dealing with bringing the dead back to the land of the living... either that or I offer them the chance to play a sentient Undead with the LA being subtracted from there current level (at time of death)

Coidzor
2011-11-14, 06:44 AM
True, but a good enough SoH check means that they are forced to use alternate means of reanimation, which could be too expensive, even if they 'know' the needles are there.

Ah, yes, the arbitrarily high NPC skill check version of fiat. :smalltongue: That couldn't possibly have repercussions beyond encouraging your players to optimize the wazoo out of their skill checks and then call you on it when you're still beating them without them having a chance.

At it's best and most fair, it's still only one additional layer of stop-gap solution.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-14, 07:35 AM
No, not fiat, don't be crass, merely a sufficiently optimized build.
Personally though, I don't see Resurrection magic as cheapening death, though it does create certain consequences culturally that are actually interesting to ponder and extrapolate. Of course, I have always approached Fantasy from a Science Fiction perspective. At lower levels, as simple an expedient as stealing the head is enough to make resurrection sufficiently difficult. At higher levels one must be more creative, but it is not impossible as higher levels mean more resources for NPC and PC alike. Can't resurrect the king if he was Cloned and then that clone killed and turned into an undead. But who would he trust enough to come back to, yet be willing betray him?
Who among them has the resources to do so?
By looking at consequences, you can move the plot beyond the generic.

Mark Hall
2011-11-15, 04:44 PM
Completely pointless after the first time you ever use them, and then only if you're able to keep them a secret up till then.

Not necessarily. First of all, not everyone is going to think to check for them, especially if the death is an "accident". Secondly, you can use them as cover for other things... like poisoning the needles (sure, you took the needles out, but did you neutralize the poison?).

eulmanis12
2011-11-15, 05:20 PM
coming back from the dead is very difficult in our games but technicaly possible.
It involves a step by step process

You must have a patron diety. (Pick one if you don't)
You must have done something of enough importance to that said diety that they will take time to hear you out (dm's call)
You must then make a deal with said diety, (It WILL have harsh terms of some kind and the dm gets to "play god" for this situation)
Meanwhile, your party must aquire the folowing
Your body, (more than 50% and must have the head)
an NPC of exact opposite alignment of equal or greater level (Class does not matter, must be alive)
all other components for raise dead/reserection spell

the spell itself: Once you have made your unbreakable pact with the diety and your team has the components the spell can be cast. While the cleric casts the spell another party member must kill the NPC.
Then you get raised. It can only be done once.

Once alive you must fulfill all feasible terms of the deal you made