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  • #91
    Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
    Ravenloft is pretty cool, but doesn’t make my favorites only because it’s so small in scope. Pretty much, if you’re running a Ravenloft campaign, chances are you’re looking for the artifacts and preparing to defeat Strahd. Which is a great premise for a campaign, don’t get me wrong. It’s just one of those settings that’s great for one specific thing, and not much else.


    Ravenloft isn't just about Strahd, it's a setting in which the monsters have won and the good people of the world now live in terror under their rule. Strahd isn't the only lord of darkness in Ravenloft, he's just one of the most well known.

    Ravenloft features a vast multitude of pocket domains who's rulers have the power of demigods at their fingertips, but they're trapped within their own realms and incapable of interacting with the outside world. It's just as much a prison for them as it is for their victims.

    It's actually a perfect setting for running an evil alignment party, because you can bring in social, psychological and existential themes to the table.

    "Congratulations, you've won. You now have everything your black heart desired... do you feel satisfied?"
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 11-28-2017, 02:20 AM.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post



      Ravenloft isn't just about Strahd, it's a setting in which the monsters have won and the good people of the world now live in terror under their rule. Strahd isn't the only lord of darkness in Ravenloft, he's just one of the most well known.

      Ravenloft features a vast multitude of pocket domains who's rulers have the power of demigods at their fingertips, but they're trapped within their own realms and incapable of interacting with the outside world. It's just as much a prison for them as it is for their victims.

      It's actually a perfect setting for running an evil alignment party, because you can bring in social, psychological and existential themes to the table.

      "Congratulations, you've won. You now have everything your black heart desired... do you feel satisfied?"
      And this is exactly why if I were to do a full on campaign crossover between CofD and DnD, it would be ujsing Ravenloft. Particularly for Requiem and Lost. That said though, I'll pretty much steal bits and pieces that I need to, like individual fiendish cults, Great Old Ones, and Pathfinder's life history of Baba Yaga.


      CofD booklists:
      Beast I Changeling | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire

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      • #93
        Fair enough. Seems I haven’t given Ravenloft as much credit as it deserves.


        Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Second Chances View Post

          And this is exactly why if I were to do a full on campaign crossover between CofD and DnD, it would be ujsing Ravenloft. Particularly for Requiem and Lost. That said though, I'll pretty much steal bits and pieces that I need to, like individual fiendish cults, Great Old Ones, and Pathfinder's life history of Baba Yaga.

          A cross over is actually perfectly doable, since the Mists have a tendency to snatch people from all over the multiverse and deposit them somewhere in Ravenloft. I suspect that's how a world ruled by monsters prevents its residents from being wiped out.
          Last edited by Nyrufa; 11-28-2017, 12:57 PM.

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          • #95
            So, let’s talk about character death, dying rules, and resurrection magic. How do you handle these things in your games?

            Personally, I have a slight problem with D&D’s dying rules, and this is a problem common to many editions and clone games. Usually, damage has no consequences until a player gets down to 0 hit points, at which point they go unconscious, and then different systems have different ways of resolving the transition from unconscious but alive to dead for real. In my experience, they usually revolve around making some kind of check or save every turn to avoid getting a bit closer to death, either via counting up successes vs. failures, or crawling towards a certain negative HP threshold. My problem is, there’s no emergency state between being a full contributing combatant and being taken out of the action and forced to play what ever death mini-game the system in question employs. That’s not a huge problem, but it does prevent certain cool moments we see in other fantasy media, like Boromir’s death. One thing I like in CofD is that having a full damage track doesn’t immediately knock you out, it just puts you at risk of falling unconscious (resolved by a roll to remain conscious every turn). So, I use a small house rule to emulate this in 5th Edition. When a character is reduced to 0 hit points, instead of immediately falling unconscious, they can remain conscious by concentrating (as if concentrating on a spell). While concentrating in this way, the character has disadvantage on attack rolls. The other rules for death and dying still apply as normal, so you’re still making Death Saving Throws every turn, and taking damage still counts as a failed death save (as well as forcing a con save to maintain concentration), but it can buy you those extra couple of turns to have your Borromir moment, or to run away, or chug a healing potion. Just gives you that emergency state while still allowing you to respond to it. And, since it’s concentration-based, you’re free to drop concentration if you’d rather just go unconscious and play out the death rules as normal, making it totally player-opt-in as a house rule.

            Then of course, there’s the question of what to do when a character does die. Do you allow resurrection spells? If so, do you house rule them in any way? And when the players re-enter play, either with a new character or the same one brought back to life, are there any lingering consequences? Loss of exp or levels, loss of max HP, gaining of new injuries, flaws, or other debuffs?

            Personally, I hate resurrection spells. But I also know that’s the out-of-touch GM in me talking. I’ve never met a player who didn’t like resurrection spells and wasn’t also a GM. So, I force myself to work with them. I’m not allowed to ban them, and I’m not allowed to house rule them to make them less likely to succeed, or carry some risk or mechanical consequence for having died and come back, because I know such rules would only be for my benefit and not the players. Instead, I look at what implications the existence of such magic has on the fictional world. For example, in 5th Edition, all resurrection spells require high gp value diamonds as material components, which are consumed with the casting. That means, in this world, diamonds are basically 1-ups. If you have a diamond, you fucking treasure it. Diamond engagement rings? That’s a gesture saying not only until death do us part, but for two lifetimes. A family might pass their precious diamond heirloom down from grandparent to parent when they have their first child, to safeguard the youngest generation. And forget about running to the local temple of Pelor and handing over some gold to have a resurrection performed. The diamond trade is fucking tightly controlled by the church of the Raven Queen, and they don’t just sell them for gold. You’ll have to go on a side quest to earn that Revivify.

            I’m also not a fan of exp penalties or similar taxes on players for character deaths. Having to give up the character you’ve invested in up until this point, or spending the side quest the rest of the party has to do if you want to be brought back playing an NPC or helping run monsters is more than penalty enough in my opinion.


            Onyx Path Forum Moderator

            My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

              Then of course, there’s the question of what to do when a character does die. Do you allow resurrection spells? If so, do you house rule them in any way? And when the players re-enter play, either with a new character or the same one brought back to life, are there any lingering consequences? Loss of exp or levels, loss of max HP, gaining of new injuries, flaws, or other debuffs?

              Personally, I hate resurrection spells. But I also know that’s the out-of-touch GM in me talking. I’ve never met a player who didn’t like resurrection spells and wasn’t also a GM. So, I force myself to work with them. I’m not allowed to ban them, and I’m not allowed to house rule them to make them less likely to succeed, or carry some risk or mechanical consequence for having died and come back, because I know such rules would only be for my benefit and not the players. Instead, I look at what implications the existence of such magic has on the fictional world. For example, in 5th Edition, all resurrection spells require high gp value diamonds as material components, which are consumed with the casting. That means, in this world, diamonds are basically 1-ups. If you have a diamond, you fucking treasure it. Diamond engagement rings? That’s a gesture saying not only until death do us part, but for two lifetimes. A family might pass their precious diamond heirloom down from grandparent to parent when they have their first child, to safeguard the youngest generation. And forget about running to the local temple of Pelor and handing over some gold to have a resurrection performed. The diamond trade is fucking tightly controlled by the church of the Raven Queen, and they don’t just sell them for gold. You’ll have to go on a side quest to earn that Revivify.

              I’m also not a fan of exp penalties or similar taxes on players for character deaths. Having to give up the character you’ve invested in up until this point, or spending the side quest the rest of the party has to do if you want to be brought back playing an NPC or helping run monsters is more than penalty enough in my opinion.


              I once found a role playing server on Neverwinter Nights that was situated in Thay. They chose to handle resurrection spells based on the deity in question, with some gods refusing to bring the dead back to life, either because they were too evil, or claimed it went against the natural order of things. Clerics and Paladins had to really consider their options when choosing which deity to pledge themselves to. Because if something went terribly wrong, their god might decide "well, tough luck!"

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              • #97
                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                I once found a role playing server on Neverwinter Nights that was situated in Thay. They chose to handle resurrection spells based on the deity in question, with some gods refusing to bring the dead back to life, either because they were too evil, or claimed it went against the natural order of things. Clerics and Paladins had to really consider their options when choosing which deity to pledge themselves to. Because if something went terribly wrong, their god might decide "well, tough luck!"
                That’s a neat approach. Would resurrection earn the ire of the gods that saw it as against the natural order? For example, if I’m a Cleric of Pelor (who I’m going to assume for the sake of argument is A-OK with resurrection, and I raise my fallen party member who’s a follower of Kelemvor (who I’m going to assume for the sake of argument is strongly opposed to resurrection), will Kelemvor’s faithful potentially have it out for me and/or my party member if they find out? What if said party member was a fellow Pelorian, would that make a difference?


                Onyx Path Forum Moderator

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                  So, let’s talk about character death, dying rules, and resurrection magic. How do you handle these things in your games?
                  I like to think about the social and even ethical implications of the existence of resurrection spells.
                  Assassination of someone important must take into account that that person can be resurrected. And thats just one implication.

                  The funny thing (i guess) is that i care far less about the mechanical implications (for my characters and the likes) of resurrection. If I die and i have access to resurrection, cool, thats nice. And if my team mates die i will go to quest level length to resurrect them. But if its impossible, meh, i can make another character.

                  Anyway, i'd probably try and create a setting where resurrection is at the center of how the society function. That sounds like something i'd do ... okay you've convinced me, i'll add an resurrection based society to my list of weird settings.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

                    That’s a neat approach. Would resurrection earn the ire of the gods that saw it as against the natural order? For example, if I’m a Cleric of Pelor (who I’m going to assume for the sake of argument is A-OK with resurrection, and I raise my fallen party member who’s a follower of Kelemvor (who I’m going to assume for the sake of argument is strongly opposed to resurrection), will Kelemvor’s faithful potentially have it out for me and/or my party member if they find out? What if said party member was a fellow Pelorian, would that make a difference?


                    I'm not entirely sure. I know that Druids and other such nature worshipers don't gain access to resurrection spells (last time I checked), but they do have a spell called Reincarnation.

                    If you cast it on somebody who's recently died, it allows them to be reborn into a new body. Unfortunately, the body is randomly selected, meaning they can come back as virtually anything.


                    Kelemvor may be the judge of the dead, but he has a reputation for being absolutely fair in his judgements. I would imagine that if the cleric had good reason for bringing his follower back to life, he might be willing to overlook such a transgression, but anybody who abused such power would definitely get themselves on some kind of list.
                    Last edited by Nyrufa; 11-28-2017, 05:55 PM.

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                    • yeah in my most recent DnD games, one of them was a ponyfinder game, and the gm allowed reincarnation if we could scrape together the 1000gp cost of the spell, but full reincarnate wasn't a thing, the other game was DnD 3.5 with a custom setting and a part that ranged from lawful neutral to chaotic evil, my first character in that game a warlock, was stored and preserved at a temple, so that one of the other characters could save up to resurrect her, but the character was gm plot material and shenanigans from that point on i genned a new character and new this going in, they got sacrificed to Umberly by accidental aoe from our CE cleric - that was a bit of an odd game

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                      • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                        So, let’s talk about character death, dying rules, and resurrection magic. How do you handle these things in your games?
                        Because I run a variety of D&D-adjacent systems that each handle things in this area significantly differently, I tend to stick with handling these things as by-the-book as possible.

                        So in D&D, characters die as outline in the rules, and can come back as outlined in the rules (I've actually even made it easier because my group is currently playing 5th edition with a house-rule that there is no such thing as an expensive material component - so rather than requiring 100s of gold pieces worth of diamonds that I as DM am irritated by because I have to make sure to hand out treasure that is specifically diamonds or have the players waste all of our time by having to shop around to buy some diamonds in order to have any, the spells just require having your spell component pouch or spellcasting focus).

                        I also don't levy any lasting penalties for having died. Even when I run older editions of D&D, I house-rule out the negative levels and/or constitution loss and/or resurrection survival roll in favor of a 5th-edition-like penalty that fades over a relatively short period of time.

                        Because when I run Dungeon Crawl Classics nearly dying drains a character's ability scores and actually dying means having to stay dead or have the rest of your party go drag you out of the underworld, and when I run HackMaster there is no such thing as returning from the dead (plus there are potential consequences to taking damage other than the maybe dying when you run out of hit points, like special critical hit results causing lasting injuries, and the threshold of pain system meaning a particularly hard hit might cause your character to writhe in pain, missing out on combat and being extremely vulnerable for a short period of time).

                        When it comes to things like level loss, I've seen that be the thing that caused a player to choose not to keep playing the campaign (because it starts a death spiral - you died, so now you are weaker and more likely to die, and it'll keep getting worse every time you do), so I avoid it unless it is specifically part of the point for playing a particular game - which is why my D&D play has completely avoided that sort of thing for decades now, but I don't mind including it in a game that is being approached differently (my group plays D&D for long-term campaigns and feeling like great-big-badasses - similar to the reasons why we play Exalted - but we play Dungeon Crawl Classics for more "lets have some drinks, throw some dice, and see if any of your poor bastard characters make it to the end" diversion, and HackMaster for long-term campaigns that are a little more "I lost an eye and three fingers to an orc" than "I'll hold off the dragon, you guys stop the ritual, and somebody fireball those fucking kobolds 'cause I'm tired of their yapping").

                        And all that said... It has been about 8 years since I've seen a player's character die during one of my campaigns. The encounters I design often don't have "kill them" as one of the goals of the monsters/npcs, and even when they do my players are very team-oriented and make sure to keep every character off their backs in combat as well as they can (which is usually well enough, because I don't do super-hard encounters much).

                        ...but when I am a player, in those wonderful rare moments that someone else decides to DM, I go for broke with how I play. So I end up with dead characters pretty regularly (I would estimate 98% of the characters I've ever played have died), and I don't do coming back from the dead - even if it's an option, I choose to play a different character because there are so many different ones I want to give a try and it is so rare I get the chance.


                        Not so noble anymore.

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                        • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          Kelemvor may be the judge of the dead, but he has a reputation for being absolutely fair in his judgements. I would imagine that if the cleric had good reason for bringing his follower back to life, he might be willing to overlook such a transgression, but anybody who abused such power would definitely get themselves on some kind of list.
                          Sure, sure. The specific deities weren’t really the point of my question; rather, in a setting where different gods have different stances on resurrection, and a divine character’s choice of deity has a significant impact on if they can be resurrected, would characters who serve dieties who are ok with resurrection make enemies of the followers of gods who aren’t for practicing resurrection.


                          Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                          My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                          • I played in a 13th Age game where resurrection as a spell HAD to exist, because it was a story detail behind one of the characters. He was general of the Blackamber Legion, the finest warriors (while being skeletons) of the Lich King, till he was defeated and resurrected by the Priestess. Since then he'd been on the run till slavers caught him and planned to sell him back to his wife, a vampire. But an lawful evil warrior cleric who wanted to be a paladin (but had been claimed by an unknown deity as their one and only cleric after her mom made an unwise wish) and chaotic neutral bard were attacked by the slavers due to mistaken identity, and proceeded to destroy the ring and free him... That character was basically set up as a level 1 warrior who lost a lot of himself in death/resurrection. Probably from being undead for hundreds of years at least.

                            We never needed to use the spell in game, but the backstory really required that at least ONE person be able to do it. Personally, I like how 13th age does it with the spell having a limit how many times you can cast it (and increasing penalties for the caster), the last time killing the caster. It gives you reason to not be stupid, but along with the rules not killing you off too easily, you just don't want to be stupid and you'll almost certainly be fine. Otherwise one or two casts probably aren't too big a deal if the dicehate is real.

                            Edit: Similarly I and the player of the cleric (since my bard was dark elf and the cleric's mother was a dark elf) came up with a lot about dark elves. Like they lived in the deepest parts of the earth where the "Miasma" lingered. Most races wouldn't go there because madness was a common result, and the dark elves considered it useful for having enough space to really spread out.

                            Their society was held together in part because every person had a rival, a relationship that sorta was like a marriage in a death do you part way. A rival was someone who challenged you, and you grew because of it. Every dark elf wanted a rival who was worthy of them, who would drive them to new heights, and they would do the same in return. When you were broken and at your worst, your rival should come and nurse your wounds and help you get back up... because they need you as much as you need them. It was antagonistic soceity, but also respectful. A dark elf who killed a rival was a rabid monster. If they could do that, what else would they be willing to do?

                            There was more, but I just wanted to talk about those things and my experiences with them.
                            Last edited by haren; 11-28-2017, 07:13 PM. Reason: Talking about dark elves



                            ​When noise turns to silence, when colors dull and pale, when reality no longer makes sense, there shall you find me. There, in the dreams of the River of Faceless Millions, do I dwell.

                            http://harenm.deviantart.com/gallery/ for my art.

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                            • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

                              Sure, sure. The specific deities weren’t really the point of my question; rather, in a setting where different gods have different stances on resurrection, and a divine character’s choice of deity has a significant impact on if they can be resurrected, would characters who serve dieties who are ok with resurrection make enemies of the followers of gods who aren’t for practicing resurrection.

                              That would be my assumption. If I'm not mistaken, a soul has to consent to resurrection for the spell to work, too. So if the soul worships a deity who's opposed to it, and yet lets themselves be brought back, that would result in a whole bunch of theological backlash.

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                              • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                                Then of course, there’s the question of what to do when a character does die. Do you allow resurrection spells? If so, do you house rule them in any way? And when the players re-enter play, either with a new character or the same one brought back to life, are there any lingering consequences? Loss of exp or levels, loss of max HP, gaining of new injuries, flaws, or other debuffs?
                                As a player and Storyteller I really like resurrection spells. They serve as an important safetynet for PCs.

                                When I run games they tend to be very much driven by the player characters. I'll do entire arcs based around one character, or introduce family members or that sort of thing. Having Jerry the Paladin suddenly get killed by ogres would put a huge damper on my campaign, especially if I had been planning on having a lot of focus on his relationship with his estranged father. When resurrection isn't possible, then I'll try to quietly fudge rolls or do something to give the players the opportunity to avoid having a character splattered and having the campaign suddenly derailed.

                                And from the player perspective, players also often find permanent character death to be annoying - I find lots of players get attached to their character (which is good and something I try to encourage with the playstyle of my games) but at the same time if a character permanently dies it can radically reduce the amount of fun a player is having in the game. One of the guys in my group, who has a background of playing with much harsher GM's who disallow resurrection, jokes about how his character has 20 identical twin brothers with the same name, and that they follow the party around at all times, so that if his character dies he already has a replacement ready.

                                I do have lethal combat in stories of course, but usually when there's a good chance of character death I prefer for it to be during specific scenes rather than any sort of "random encounter." When players do get into fights where PC death is a very real possibility, I'll generally notify them in advance that the gloves are off, and at that point I generally won't hold back. But those kind of fights are usually climactic or important to the story, and I actively try to avoid killing PC's during random fights, even if the dice go badly.

                                For the most part when it comes to resurrection type spells or effects I prefer to avoid handing out permanent penalties. At that point some players feel like it's better to just make a new character than permanently be a level under the rest of the group (or whatever). Instead I tend to go with narrative focused drawbacks or having some kind of visual scar or marker on the character to represent what happened.
                                Last edited by AnubisXy; 11-28-2017, 08:21 PM.

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