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I am gonna to start DMing the D&D 5e adventure Tomb of Annihilation for a group of 5th-level PCs who just finished the Lost Mine of Phandelver Starter Set adventure.

One of the PCs is undead. By his backstory, he was killed in the gnome civil war and resurrected by the Velsharoon himself as an undead gnome with his soul inside of his dead body.

Now I understand that it means that he is affected by the Death Curse; he should have only 9 HP max, and after 9 days this PC would die.

It would be very stupid and unexpected death because it is mostly my mistake (as GM) that I didn't warn this player about that and allow him to use this PC.

Is there is a possibility to invent some solution or change the Death Curse effect to save him from it?


A description of the Death Curse:

While the death curse was in effect, humanoids on Toril that had been brought back from the dead began to waste away and eventually to die. Traveling to another plane or world did nothing to halt the wasting effect once it began.

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The death curse only affects players that have been resurrected via Raise Dead or some other magic. Undeath does not count.

The description of the Death Curse on Tomb of Annihilation page 6 states, in part:

Any humanoid on the planet that has been brought back from the dead begins to waste away. Its hit point maximum is reduced by 20 (1 for each day the Soulmonger has been active) and decreases by 1 every midnight until the Soulmonger is destroyed. If a humanoid’s hit point maximum drops to 0, it dies. Traveling to another world or plane does nothing to halt the wasting effect once it has begun.

While this in itself might seem ambiguous as to the effect on Undead, There are several Undead creature in the module that are notably unnaffected by the Death Curse. For instance,

Valindra Shadowmantle, a lich, is not described as being affected at all.

Also, if Undead were affected, every zombie in Chult would be destroyed already!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ >Also, if Undead were affected, every zombie in Chult would be destroyed already! Nope, zombie has no his soul inside. He is similar to an Animated object. \$\endgroup\$ – Ohar Apr 27 at 11:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ may be helpful to cover humanoid vs undead creature types. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Apr 27 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The section on the Rite of Stolen Life also gives rules for playing an undead character, and describes how their bodies deteriorate naturally over time (at least in the jungles of Chult) rather than as a result of the Death Curse. Might be worth adding that in too. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 27 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is not ambiguous as to the effect of Undead to be honest, because undead were never brought back from the dead. Undead are generally assumed to be the walking dead, they are not 'alive' in the traditional sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Nov 1 at 15:11
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It looks like that such a type of resurrection is not available at all. As I understand, there are 3 types of being animated after your death in D&D:

  1. Your broken dead body is repaired and your soul is returned into your body. You are an alive individual. The Death Curse affects on you.
  2. Your broken dead body was animated with magic. You have no soul inside; you are not a person anymore, but just a puppet, like a skeleton or zombie. The Death Curse doesn't affect you.
  3. Your soul was trapped into your phylactery and it has magic bound with your body. You are a lich now. The Death Curse doesn't affect you.

In this particular case only the 3rd option looks OK, but this PC doesn't know he is a lich. It could be useful as a future plot hook.

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