I am searching for a good respawn rules set that I can apply to the next Pathfinder game I have in mind. I believe someone already had this idea, but I can't find anything on the subject. So here is my version of what I think will work best.
As in games like Dark Souls, World of Warcraft, or Guild Wars, the player is not permanently punished by death if he is beaten in combat. It is a part of the game that the player accepts and uses to its advantage in some cases. In fact, some even consider death in games as a design flaw.
Respawn system notes:
- it should in no cases replace the utility of any resurrection spell
- it must not impose permanent changes to the characters (like leaving the character blind, or missing a leg, or having a permanent level drop).
- players must still be scared of dying while not making it the end of the story for that beloved companion.
- it must be applied only to a certain pool of characters: the players and some NPCs.
I've also heard of systems where a GM manages character death by making a private session with the player(s) that died, and he/they must go through the underworld/limbo to get revived for the next session.
Here's my best guess until now:
When a player character dies, they roll a d100, as though they've fumbled or received a severe critical. This indicates the intensity of the punishment the character will get, and will depend on the way the character died (overkill and the player dies from being at -35hp; falling from a cliff; dying from unstabilized blood loss at -10hp, drowning, etc.) in the form of injury, equipment loss/damage, or sickness.
Questions that I came up with
How many times can they resurrect?
- should they be able to rise an infinite number of times?
- or should they gather items that must be spent each time someone dies? (phoenix feather)
- should they need a particular item for each character, but that is not lost upon use? (lich's phylactery)
Where should they "respawn"?
- in the nearest cemetery in ghost form and they must retrieve their corpse to complete the ritual?
- directly where they died?
- on a check point that I decide on the fly?
- on a point that I clearly indicate and whose location the players are aware of?
In all cases, it must not be too far from where they died, or they will have a hard time getting back to the group. And if more than one player dies, should they spawn at the same place, or have different resurrection points?
I am seeking advice from anyone having some sort of real-use experience with this kind of system and/or rules set for Pathfinder.
I want to remove the idea that "death is final" (and no resurrection is possible in game). I'm a video game player, as are most of my players, so it is a sort of compromise between finality and save/load that I seek; very much like Dark Souls offers in its gaming experience, as its world was built around it.
Like mxyzplk said, I plan to make a respawn/revive system to go along with my world, so I expect answers that will help me decide which rules will fit best to punish, but not annoy, my players. (For example, by breaking their weapons each time, or making them spawn 200km away.)
I am aware of the existing mechanics for resurrection, but they are not what I want. These use permanent punishments like negative levels and have restrictions I'm not interested in (like requiring a level 7 cleric). I would prefer to use an existing respawn ruleset that has been proven acceptable in execution, but if none exist, then I will most likely make my own.
To place this in context, I plan to have the players be in a religious order (LG, LN, N and/or CN) and have them fight for its power/control/influence in a big city/region/continent. Inspirations may come from Assassin's Creed, the Crusades, any religious war-movies/series/stories. It must be in the Dark Ages (500-1500) so I can place the fantasy elements we all love.
I know its still vague, but I plan to work with the system that I will build (and release, if there is some interest) to make the main general plot.