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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Original immortality

    I'm running a pathfinder campaign where I want one of the players to be immortal. This requires some explanation.

    There is a player, let's call him M, who has a mission of universal importance to be carried out that he is unaware of. There are some godly beings that are very interested on this mission succeeding and some very interested on it failing.
    To keep things civil, neither power group can touch M, and instead are choosing to employ avatars to do influence M's fate. (Typical godly modus-operandis).

    In the case of the good gods, the avatar is another player, let´s call him P, who is charged by the good goods (GG from now on) to protect M, and as the GG's power can't touch M, instead is channeled on P. This power is made obvious in the fact that P can't die (or mostly can't die).

    So far so good, and gameplay is absolutely broken.

    So here's the deal, I'm looking for an original way for P to be immortal, where immortality is not a "get out of jail free" card, rather something that takes effort, that cost's P something, in order to balance things out.

    To put an example from a book I recently read, in this book the main character, whenever he died, he was brought back to life but one of his loved ones died instead (he did not initially know both events where connected). That is a clear case of the player being immortal, but paying a heavy price for it. I can't use this example because it's more a roleplay negative than a gameplay negative effect.

    So, ideas on how to keep my player immortal... for a price?

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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Could do it Dr. Who style with a char/class rebuild each time the char dies.

    Could try an ingame Downtime between death and alive again. And it could be fun to watch him claw his way out of a crypt. Especially if death is handled by authorities who are strict in how the dead are treated.

    You could make it so his spirit hops from body to body....not sure how the other players would take that.

    Although if you wanted to have fun, You could make it so he is on some other plane were he might be hunted while he waits to pop back alive. Let him risk some class levels or perhaps when he dies he makes a weakening in the area that has a cumulative effect. Perhaps when he dies that thinning of barriors lets loose something that could effect him and the party...as well as cause some collateral damage that he might have to deal with.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    I like the idea of running through a plane until you can pop back out again, but lets take it another level.

    It is ridiculously easy at lower levels, but each time he dies, he has to contend not only with that plane of being, but also with the spirits of himself from every other time he died.

    This makes his death a real and tangible thing, with the consequences of having to remember how, when, and where each one of his existences ended and began again. Combine that with the fact that every time a new him popped in, everyone one of his past instances tries to stop him to have a new chance at life for themselves... well, now we are just getting crazy.

    But if the player is willing to rp it?

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    Morithias's Avatar

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    This is probably going to sound really bad. But do something similar to tempus thales. He has to keep M's approval or else his immortality is lost. Similar to how Tempus needs to keep the goddess's approval (the fact that she is the goddess of bloodshed, rape, and war does not help matters).

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Maybe something luck/probability related. Each time P SHOULD have died he somehow survives by the skin of his teeth. In return, for each "death" he gets a karmatic curse (bad luck, stat-loss, whatever). He can only rid himself of a curse by some kind of extra efford on his part while he is alive. That way he may even rack up his debt until it reaches a point where he absolutely needs to take the time and efford to "atone" unless he wants his life to become impossibly difficult. Of course this thing would have to remain somewhat balanced so that neither the player of P nor the other players feel that they are being treated unfairly. Incidentally, this could also serve to introduce plot-hooks to the players by means of offering them quests to remove karmatic curses from P. In terms of gameplay this could be a nice way to prevent P from being used as the uber-meatshield for M simply because the game will only keep getting harder each time they make use of this trait. You get your immortal bodyguard and they get a very good reason to keep him alive as best as they can.


    Planescape Torment had an "immortal" protagonist, didn't it? Now I'm not sure but didn't that one keep losing bits of himself/his identity? Maybe even his skills and powers after a while. You could do something like this, too. The problem is that if P doesn't get a chance to regain what he lost like this, sooner or later he may be way behind the other players and be more of a burden than an asset. That is why I'd generally argue that whatever he loses, he should be able to regain it. With some efford, of course. If he doesn't lose something tangible it becomes a matter of RPing his "loss" and yet the "deaths" don't really cost anything beyond a need to RP some arbitrary change. If the loss IS however game-relevant there needs to be a way for P to regain whatever he ends up losing or he'll end up being utterly useless.


    The luck/karma/curse thing I described would also help to explain what the evil gods are doing. If the good gods give the protagonist an immortal bodyguard of all things, why don't the evil ones do something similar? or simply increase the threat to balance things out? The bad luck thing compensates for that. The more the good gods must intervene to keep P alive, the more the evil gods are allowed to do to balance things out (e.g. more monsters, stronger villains, outright bad luck, etc.).

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    @scurv:
    Could do it Dr. Who style with a char/class rebuild each time the char dies.
    Not applicable in the current background, but cool idea.

    Could try an ingame Downtime between death and alive again. And it could be fun to watch him claw his way out of a crypt. Especially if death is handled by authorities who are strict in how the dead are treated.
    One of my favorite so far. Can provide a LOT of fun, specially the first time.

    Although if you wanted to have fun, You could make it so he is on some other plane were he might be hunted while he waits to pop back alive. Let him risk some class levels or perhaps when he dies he makes a weakening in the area that has a cumulative effect. Perhaps when he dies that thinning of barriors lets loose something that could effect him and the party...as well as cause some collateral damage that he might have to deal with.
    Hum, something along this lines, but need to be careful on two fronts. One, too many permanent negative levels can render a character useless and a drag for the rest of the team. Adding a opposing force to the players when they already are in a situation where one of them has died can turn it from bad to impossible really quickly. Also, it feels like I'm penalizing the other players instead of P.

    @Lentrax
    It is ridiculously easy at lower levels, but each time he dies, he has to contend not only with that plane of being, but also with the spirits of himself from every other time he died.
    Close, close, but not quite. If any of the previous deaths can come back, there is the change a lvl 5 version comes out, when the rest of the party is lvl 9, and this is efectively the same as having the character die.

    @Morithias
    This is probably going to sound really bad. But do something similar to tempus thales. He has to keep M's approval or else his immortality is lost. Similar to how Tempus needs to keep the goddess's approval (the fact that she is the goddess of bloodshed, rape, and war does not help matters).
    Because of the relation of the characters (and players), P is always going to have M's approval. Also M is not supposed to know what is going on in the beginning, but thanks for the idea. :)

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    You could just give him an auto Raise Dead.
    So he still loses the xp etc., but he saves on convenience and 5,000 gp.
    Except that raising him immediately could just get him dead again, if the situation is still dangerous, so there is this cost. Maybe you could wait d6 rounds or something, but still.

    Or you could go for an auto re-incarnate, again by the book. Do the gods care about his exact body being the same ?
    Again the cost is the randomness of the new body.
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    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' — Actually it's worse than that.


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    Morithias's Avatar

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkying View Post
    Because of the relation of the characters (and players), P is always going to have M's approval. Also M is not supposed to know what is going on in the beginning, but thanks for the idea. :)
    I misread the whole thing to a degree. How about he has to keep GG's approval least they remove his powers instead? Would that work?

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    His resurrection could cause a disruption in the local life energies, causing him to leave miles wide blights, droughts, or plagues upon his death. So while he would never suffer any negative consequences directly, his presence would be associated with pain and suffering, gradually causing more and more of the world to ally with his enemies and unknowingly pushing the world towards chaos and desolation.

    One of the reasons that this would work is because nobody ever sees him actually die. They see him get knocked out, a sense of dread or a discharge of energy and he comes back into his body. It would look like something he did out of spite, or in "self-defense" that got carried away.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Hrrm. Perhaps each death gives him a slightly different personality then? He won't change level/feat-wise, but instead be slightly/greatly different people?

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    How about this, while the gods themselves can't try to influence the character directly, there are other powers in the outer-realms that may have a stake in how things turn out.

    Have death leave him open to possession. Give him a random respawn period something along the line of 1d6 days, during which outsiders with the possession or channeling abilities can inhabit his body and do things with it. Upon his return the channeling spirits depart immediately but the possessors may have to be driven out. Having to sit out for several game days and deal with the consequences of actions he's apparently taken but knows nothing about should make him leary of getting below -9.
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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkying View Post
    @scurv:

    Not applicable in the current background, but cool idea.



    One of my favorite so far. Can provide a LOT of fun, specially the first time.



    Hum, something along this lines, but need to be careful on two fronts. One, too many permanent negative levels can render a character useless and a drag for the rest of the team. Adding a opposing force to the players when they already are in a situation where one of them has died can turn it from bad to impossible really quickly. Also, it feels like I'm penalizing the other players instead of P.

    @Lentrax


    Close, close, but not quite. If any of the previous deaths can come back, there is the change a lvl 5 version comes out, when the rest of the party is lvl 9, and this is efectively the same as having the character die.

    @Morithias


    Because of the relation of the characters (and players), P is always going to have M's approval. Also M is not supposed to know what is going on in the beginning, but thanks for the idea. :)
    If he has died like three times, is he just being reckless cause he knows he is immortal? Do your PCs typically die three times a campaign?
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Maybe you can have him die normally, but be brought back, as if via raise dead, level loss included, in an hour? Losing a level always sucks, but he should never fall too far behind, since lower levels gain more xp.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Also, everyone else should get something cool.
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    How about this: every time he dies, whichever of the gods is "winning" in their struggles on a higher plane gets to send back the mind of a hero from their afterlife. This makes him easy to bring back (no component cost) but when he comes back, he loses the earliest level he took (as opposed to the latest, which is the norm), and gains a level in a class that you determine. This is from having some of the memories of whatever hero got sent back; he also has a new voice in his head giving advice and trying to sway his decisions. After several deaths, he'll have single levels in several probably-unrelated classes, assuming he doesn't decide to build on one of those classes, and several schizoprenic voices in his head.

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Thank you so much guys. :) All the input has been very helpful shaping the special power. Here is the final version I'm going to use:


    Apsu's Gift
    Your fate is bound to one that must not die, and this makes you immortal.

    Prerequisites: Special.

    Benefit: The might Apsu has granted you immortality, in exchange for watching over a special person with a misterious fate. Where that person to die, this power would immediately vanish, and Apsu's favor as well.

    You are immortal. Anything except the total destruction of your body results in your wounds healing and your limbs restoring 1d6 rounds. The gift, however, comes with a cost, and when you come back to life you take one of the curses he reserves for his most devout followers. This curse stays for 1d6 days, or until you do some grand, selfless gesture that gives the one you are supposed to protect safety from a dangerous situation (DM's discretion).

    Whenever you are brought to life, roll on this table and take the appropriate effect. If you happen to die before a previous curse wears off, the new curse stacks with all the previous ones you may have, each fading away when the time comes, or when you save your protegee (though each save only removes one curse).

    Curses:

    1 - Blackened: You take a –4 penalty on weapon attack rolls.
    2 - Clouded Vision: You cannot see anything beyond 30 feet.
    3 - Consumed: Whenever you take lethal hit point damage, you take an additional number of points of nonlethal damage equal to 1/2 the lethal damage you took.
    4 - Deaf: You cannot hear and suffer all of the usual penalties for being deafened.
    5 - Haunted: Retrieving any stored item from your gear requires a standard action, unless it would normally take longer.
    6 - Lame: One of your legs is permanently wounded, reducing your base land speed by 10 feet if your base speed is 30 feet or more. If your base speed is less than 30 feet, your speed is reduced by 5 feet.
    7 - Legalistic: Whenever you break your word (either purposefully or unintentionally), you become sickened for 24 hours or until you meet your obligation, whichever comes first.
    8 - Tonges: Pick one of the following languages: Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Auran, Celestial, Ignan, Infernal, or Terran. Whenever you are in combat, you can only speak and understand the selected language.
    9 - Wasting: You take a –4 penalty on Charisma-based skill checks, except for Intimidate.
    10 - Wolfscarred Face: You have a severe speech impediment, and any spells you cast with a verbal component have a 20% chance of failing, wasting your action but not expending the spell.
    11 - Wrecker: Held objects gain the broken condition when you use or equip them but regain their actual condition if employed by anyone else. If a held item is restored to unbroken condition, it becomes broken again the following round.
    12 - Double curse: Roll twice and add the two curses at the same time. Any other double curse in the second roll gets ignored.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Here's an idea: what if the god who the good gods are letting handle the whole "Immortality" dealie is very bizarre and eldritch abomination-y, but still good. So, whenever the guy dies, to try and ensure his success, he ressurects him with a horrifying-looking, but very useful mutation.

    Now this is a double edged sword because, on one hand he gets all this neat, free stuff, on the other hand he'll eventually look like a hideous monster that most townsfolk will want to burn at the stake. This'd work even better if the guy had a love interest beforehand, so that you can milk his deformity for even more drama! Though it would be hilarious if it ended up as "But your horrible yonic tentacles are beautiful!"

    :EDIT: Ah, dernit, Ninja'd
    Last edited by tbok1992; 2012-10-15 at 11:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Take a page from planescape: torment.

    When your guy dies, a random sould takes his place and he is revived a short time later. Said souls will eventually come back to haunt him in ever increasing numbers the more he dies.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Or you could take an idea from the Matrix:

    When the immortal PC dies, his body transforms into the last one, and some random (the nearest ?) NPC gets transformed into him as he is reborn.

    The cost is that some random NPC will be killed. This may garner him a reputation amongst the ordinary plebs.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' — Actually it's worse than that.


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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Original immortality

    So, the important thing is giving the player a reason not to die?

    If he knows the rules, he might decide that death is an option. So whatever you do, make it slightly random, slightly different often enough. And add stuff like horrible dreams, shivers, waking up one day to find his hand is white and cold and dead and not working until he gets some healing spells...

    Alternatively, reward him for not dying. For example, Smite or Lay On Hands-like abilities might be available to him as long as he hasn't died in a while. Or perhaps an aura, something his friends like, so the whole group gets mechanical reward for keeping him alive. The whole group heals at an increased rate when he's well? Something like that.

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    Default Re: Original immortality

    Is the rest of the group getting something cool? One guy has some ultimate power inside him that makes him important, another can't die, the rest of the party will probably want something so they don't feel like side kicks.
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    Default Re: Original immortality

    You could also amke it so that people recognize his strangeness. He is not part of the natural order of life and death, and that ticks people off. The more he dies, the more this strangess becomes apparent. Initially, people would just be a little reluctant to talk to him, but after a while, they would avoid him actively, or even fear him, to the point of evacuating the rooms he enters and only talking to him under the threat of violence.
    Also, he could start showing signs of death every time he dies. Maybe his mortal wound doesn't fully heal, or he becomes pale and bony, and so on.

    But maybe this would look too much like evil gods.
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