Is it possible to bring a dead character back? by dead I do not mean undead. As far as I know there isn't anything like a scroll of resurrection though I could probably make one with reliquary, should I really want to.

What I'm thinking is a bit like the show Supernatural. The Winchester brothers both have this penchant for not staying dead, one way or another. Sometimes they make deals with demons, or escape purgatory, or whatever. That show thematically fits within the World of Darkness.

If a character died, and the players were so inclined to bring them back, is this possible?


The practical answer is "no." The impractical answer is "be a Mummy or an Archmage."

There are many ways to restore the dead to a semblance of life — the Death arcanum in Mage can do it, as can the post-death Embrace of the Hollow Mekhet in Requiem. And, naturally, becoming a Sin Eater in Geist is all about being a dead character that comes back to life, so there's that.

However, when it comes to restoring the truly dead to true life, the ones who can do it are the Arisen. It's the Tier 3 version of the "Gift of the Golden Ankh" Utterance (p.122, Mummy: the Curse). It costs you a point of Sekhem -- effectively, you're giving up a rank of Potency to raise this person. It's no easy deed.

The other option is to go into Imperial Mysteries for Awakening and investigate Archmastery. One interesting solution is through the use of Imperial Time. There's a Time 6 rote called "Alternate Timeline" (p.35) that will change the history of a target to manifest any reasonable change in them you can imagine -- including bringing them back to life. (You need Time 7 to bring back someone who would have died in any circumstance, such as those past the end of their natural lifespan.) You can also conceivably use Imperial Life and Death to call back the ghost of the person who died and bind them permanently in a new body indistinguishable from the one they had, but that's not exactly the same thing as bringing them back to life, and there may be consequences.

(Supernatural may fit thematically in the World of Darkness, but television shows and games have quite different needs, as you can imagine. All the things you describe fall in the category of "Storyteller fiat," which can be powerful and fickle.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ well I know they have different needs and what those two do in the show borderlines ridiculous. I was just wondering if it was possible to get that ridiculous. Also supernatural is also just a bit of an example of what I meant (to contrast D&D's you died? scroll of resurrection) \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide Oct 1 '14 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xenoterracide Gotcha. In that case, the answer is "no, not that ridiculous." The World of Darkness is still at heart a horror setting, and death is a real cost and a barrier that remains uncrossable without dear cost. Resurrection and immortality are things that are tied to monsters and monstrous outcomes; human lives are brief and easily snuffed. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 1 '14 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ it might be amusing to watch then attempt to find a way, maybe even finding a mummy to do it :P. \$\endgroup\$ – xenoterracide Oct 1 '14 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jadasc: How about the post death embrace of the Stryx? (I haven't read Blood and Smoke closely yet But i think they do that?) \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Oct 1 '14 at 23:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Cool, I wasn't sure because, as I said I haven't read much of Blood and Smoke. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Oct 1 '14 at 23:54

The easiest way to come back from the dead is to be a supernatural that does that innately. A Sin-Eater, a Promethean, a Purified, a Mummy. That isn't really what you are getting at, though.

Many powerful beings in the World of Darkness can bring back the dead.

Powerful Beings who can raise the dead:

Malleus Maleficarum Hunter

  • If you keep a Malleus Maleficarum Hunter on hand the Boon of Lazarus can bring back the dead
    • You gotta act fast, you have a number of minutes equal to the Malleus's Benediction rating (so <=5)
    • won't work on supernaturals, or people who have been chopped in half etc.
    • Costs the hunter a willpower dot, and gives the saved a major derangement
    • Page 160 of Hunter the Vigil
    • (Note: I haven't checked if this has changed in the Hunter Update)

Angels and Spirits (and Demons?)

Rank 4+ Angels and Spirits of Healing get the Resurrection Numen.

And since Angels get it as a Numen, fluffwise something very similar should be available to Demons. I wouldn't give a PC, or NPC that in a Demon campaign. But it would be fine and great in say a Hunter Campaign.

Resurrection (Page 230 GMC-RU)

This Numen — only available to Rank 4+ angels and spirits of healing — raises the dead. The Numen costs 10 Essence to use and the activation roll is penalized by one die per day that the subject has been dead. Supernatural beings that have already died as part of their transformation — vampires, mummies and Sin-Eaters — can’t be resurrected, nor can anyone who died of natural causes. Other supernatural beings lose their powers when resurrected. Mages become Sleepwalkers and werewolves, wolf-blooded.

Obligatory: The God Machine can do nearly anything.

May I present the "Resurrection Machine" Infrastructure, that is in my Demon Campaign. It is a example of some Infrastructure that could bring back the dead. It is my own work, so you won't find it in the book. But just to get you started with thinking about how Infrastructure can help:

At the back of the ICU (intensive care unit), there is one last door. Most doctors think it is cleaning cupboard, though it is unmarked. When the Hospital is really full (say after a natural disaster), it might get found and used. Normally it is used by Psychopomps or Guardians under the God Machines orders. Inside is what looks to be another fully kitted out ICU room. Anyone who can "See Through The Cogs" (such as a Demon or a Stigmatic, or someone with Unseen Sense - God Machine), however sees a darker tale. The backwall of the room is covered in cogs and valves and sprockets. The IV is connected to(/via) a pipe in the wall, and what is flowing into the patient is not IV fluids but black oil.

Anyone placed in the Resurrection Machine will be restored to life, as they were (Magic and all if they were supernatural). Including everything from the person who died while hooked into it -- beeep the heart monitor flat lines, followed by a sharp intake of breath beep, beep, beep -- though to Grandma's Ashes. However when they come back to life, someone else in the hospital dies. Further, they don't come back unchanged. Every second point of willpower they would regain, vanishes (It goes to the Machine). They gain the Destiny Merit which is referred to on page 225 of the GMC-RU: "…characters with the Destiny Merit are always subject to this [the Infrastructure] Condition." This is likely the Destiny Merit from Mage: the Awakening (p.81) or something very similar. I leave it to your imagination what the God Machine giving the Destiny Merit to a character means.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What makes you suspect the two Destiny merits aren't the same? \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 2 '14 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Page 158 GMC-RU: "It includes all of the Merits from that book[core], as well as various Merits from other World of Darkness books. If a Merit from the World of Darkness Rulebook is not reprinted here, it was deliberately omitted ... While it only says merits from Core that were not included are left out on purpose. Since so many other merits from other books were included, that merits that were not included are probably left out on purpose. Destiny is such a notable merit in mage that is is Notable it was left out. So it was probably removed on purpose. Also no page reference. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Oct 2 '14 at 4:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc: It is a interesting question. Mage destiny kind of works, (infact after relooking at it it might work really for my use). I think it probably deserves its own question, here and on the Onyx Path Forum \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Oct 2 '14 at 4:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I strongly disagree with that line of reasoning. The purpose of the GMC-RU was to bring the core book up to speed with the changes coming in the as-yet-not-called-that second edition. Including all the acceptable merits from all the relevant lines is just out of scope for a book/excerpt like that. I think it falls under Occam's Razor: either there are two merits called Destiny in play here, one of which is undefined and undescribed, or they're the same thing and it's just referencing the Awakening rules. But, as you will. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 2 '14 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, as I will. I don't think it matters much, given that this is just a example for the Asker to use to come up with his own ideas for infrastructure, and that in my game no PC would ever willingly use the resurection machine, since they know its drawbacks. It is very weird for the GMC-RU to include reference to Mage, without ever suggesting that it was doing so. But on the other hand editting a RPG is hard and mistakes are made all the time. Once we see new Mage and new core, i expect it will be clear. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Oct 2 '14 at 4:21

The Book of the Dead explores the Underworld, and one of the plot seeds it presents is the challenge of bringing someone back from the dead. In order to go the Underworld route, the character would need to have left behind a ghost. The book leaves the details of such a resurrection up to the ST.

Of course, the ST can create any number of things that would allow resurrection, especially in the God-Machine setting. There's even a plotline in the book about a town where the dead are coming back, as well as a few different time travel plots that would let the players go back in time to undo the death.

In general, in the World of Darkness, the answer to the question "Is it possible to do X?" is "Yes. At a terrible cost."


There is a mage spell called Atonement. Not only it brings dead people to life, that person also becomes awakened. But the caster must give his own life for this to happen.

Atonement ( Legacies: The Ancient -- Page 35 )

Arcana: Death 5 + Fate 2

Practice: Making

Action: Instant

Duration: Lasting

Aspect: Vulgar

Cost: None (special)

Effect: Rumors of the Awakened raising the dead are partly true. A mage with the right knowledge really can return a dead person to life. But the mage cannot cheat death without giving something in return -- himself. With this spell, the mage gives up his own life, and dies so that another might live, and more than this, so that the other might Awaken. Although the casting of the spell is described here as "instant," the time it takes a mage to prepare to cast the spell can be lengthy, as the caster will sometimes set up an appointment with the Reaper -- perhaps creating the circumstances that will allow a crazed enemy to take one final, fatal shot, perhaps subconsciously exposing himself to a disease or a poison. The corpse of the person whom the mage wants to raise must be intact, meaning that the body can't have begun to decay. Also, the subject cannot have died of old age -- the subject must have had an untimely death, from disease, violence, or an accident. If the spell succeeds, the subject returns to life with all her Health dots, Attributes, Skills, and Advantages intact. The mage who cast the spell dies. How he dies depends upon the circumstances he has created. In effect, fate takes a hand in his demise. A sniper's bullet finds his temple at the moment the other arises. A terrible car accident claims his life, seconds after the spell is complete. His heart gives way to a congenital defect and he collapses, as the subject of the spell opens her eyes. The price of this spell cannot be avoided. The Reaper can't be tricked. It's a life for a life; that's the deal. The soul of the Tamer of the Cave who cast this spell vanishes. The soul cannot be retrieved, and the Saint cannot be revived by any means. The subject of the spell, meanwhile, Awakens. She doesn't awaken immediately. It could be days, weeks, months or years down the line. But she does Awaken. It could be that this is where the mage's soul goes: it enters the body of the person the mage wanted to raise, joining with her and making her a mage. Given that this spell can only ever be cast once by any given mage, it has never been formalized as a rote.


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