Thursday 14 November 2013

Death and Resurrection in a Weird World

So here's the deal.

There's this city called Fate run by this immortal guy called the Fated King.
This place is what happens when a guy who's seen a high fantasy city tries to build a high fantasy city using low fantasy magic.

No Create Food and Water, no wise and benevolent wizards with safe and socially acceptable magic, the clergy is made up of pedophile-charlatans, and the clerics might be drawing power from gods that don't even fucking exist.

Worst of all there's no Raise Dead. What's a wizard king to do?

Clone, baby. Beneath the city under several layers of awful dungeon are the clone-vats. Endlessly brewing and bubbling and tended by the cancer mage, each and every person who pays the baroque and convoluted taxes of Fate is down there, either bubbling away or flash-frozen and stored until they need to be reborn.
They're good at it by now. Half the system is automated and the other half is overseen by a small army of  scientist-magi with lab coats and clipboards, assisted by the malformed mutants known as the Gone Wrong.
The scientist-magi are well paid. They have to be. Not only for their silence, but because it is well documented that those who see their clone are overcome with the all-consuming urge to destroy it. Somewhat ironically, the scientist-magi who oversee the resurrection vats are the only people in the city who can truly die.

More on them later, for now let's talk Resurrection.
Clive you moron, you took him out too early.

Every clone is inhabited by their soul from an alternate timeline, one where they didn't die.
For the normal man unnatural death is so uncommon that there are countless timelines to spare. The average butcher, baker or candlestick maker is guaranteed an enormous number of timelines where they died peacefully of old age surrounded by their loving family. Clone simply has to slip a couple of timelines across and hook them back into this new body.
Hell, the timelines are so similar that the reborn commoner (and more importantly, the timeline itself) barely notices the difference. 

Not so for the adventurer. These absolute fucking idiots think that it is a good idea to go tromping off into dungeons, fighting hideous unnatural beasts and risking life and limb in the hopes of finding valuable knickknacks and handfuls of shiny junk.
Dragging an adventurer's soul into our timeline is a complete travesty. Clone just latches onto the closest reality in four-dimensional psuedospace, no matter how far away, and in most of the neighbouring timelines they died in the first fucking dungeon they stumbled into. 
So Clone has to drag their souls across from further away, and that means that time itself sometimes catches on and tries to snap back to how things are meant to be.

I guess what I'm saying is - no refunds.

What's gone wrong with my resurrection?

First get your dice out, higher level characters have more variation because they're dead in more timelines.

Level  --- Get this die out
   0                     d2
   1                     d4
   2                     d6
   3                     d8
   4                     d10
   5                     d12
   6                     d20
   7+                   d100

Then, roll on this table. Since higher numbers mean more timeline fuckery, these things apply.
On a 4+, always reroll max HP.
On a 6+, always lose a level.
On an 8+, always worsen your saves by 1d4.
On a 10+, always reroll your ability scores.
1.       We can rebuild him. Exactly the same!
2.       I feel… different. 1% chance that people you know find something about you deeply unsettling.
3.       Foreign memories. You seem to have got someone else’s memories mixed in with your own.
4.       Not like before. Reroll maximum HP.
5.       I’ve seen this... You get a one-time take-back for a decision you just made.
6.       Who are you people? Your memories are all fucked up and contradictory. Lose a level.
7.       I saw you die! Memories of random party member dying instead of you.
8.       The timeline is righting itself. All of your saves get d4 points worse.
9.       Trousers of Time. Scrying directed at you shows the wrong thing.
10.   Epigenetics. Reroll ability scores.
11.   Fionna and Cake. Vivid memories of a genderswapped reality.
12-19. Butterfly effect – humans get a new class, elves reroll their heartspell, dwarves gain random new lorebonds, other demihumans gain a random mutation instead.

20. Ontological Paradox. You remember something which never happened, a thing of importance about any one thing in the future. It can be anything from the solution of a puzzle to the exact nature of a magical item to the true nature of reality. One use only, use it at any time.
21-35. Borrowed time. Roll twice on every roll from now on and take the worst result.
36-50. Orcs never killed your family. Whatever it was that made you the murderhobo you are today… never happened. You have the skills of a level 0 commoner with a random profession.
51-60. It was Earth all along! You have memories from a very different dimension where the planet was ruled by bunnies or everybody was a tomato or something. As a coping mechanism you go dramatically and irreparably insane.
61-70. Hitler from another timeline. You escape at the first opportunity to become an NPC villain who’s not going to make the same mistakes this time around.
71-80. Shadow out of Time. Something came back… but it’s not you. In 2d10 days you split open like a chrysalis, and a Thing unfurls itself from within you. Roll as if it was Summoned, or possibly roll up an Esoteric Creature.
81-90. Slow Fade. People forget your name and misattribute your deeds as you fade from the timeline. Old foes yet live. Strangers look around confused when you talk to them then forget you were there. Friends stop inviting you to parties and forget your in-jokes and most treasured moments together. Only those who were closest to you will remember you, but even then only as “oh yea what happened to that guy anyway? Didn’t he used to come round here a lot? … man what was his name…”
91-99. Null. You no longer ever existed in any timeline. If someone mentions this character by name at any point in the future (in or out of game), their own character suffers this fate.
100. The One. Every other you is dead. You are the One and have absorbed the power of all your former lives! You get +2 levels instead of -1, pick your class, and roll new attributes on 4d6 drop lowest arranged to taste. If you die again, treat as Null.


  1. This is excellent! I really like Fiona and Cake, Orcs Never Killed Your Family, Null, and the One. I'm helling using this.

    Losing 1d4 from your stats permanently seems harsh. I might softball it to just -1 to all stats.

    1. Ah, it's saves rather than stats!

      Meant to represent a kind of Final Destination thing going on, like fate starts getting stacked against you.
      You would have dodged the dragon breath, but that rock just happened to be right where you put your foot... or your helmet strap just happened to slip in time to distract you from that blade trap.

    2. I meant saves, even though I said stats. It was 1 am.

      Have you had a chance to use this yet? In a way, it'd be kind of cool to come back as a level 0 florist after getting torn apart by boar demons. It might even provoke the players to be all like, "Wow, our lives are really messed up. Maybe we should just quit and go be florists."

    3. Ah I see, yea I'll see how the saves thing goes in play. I feel like I don't make people roll enough saves anyway.

      The main idea of this thing is give them a choice between definitely coming back as their two-levels-lower henchman or risk rolling up a one-level-lower new character with weird stats and bad luck. Resurrection is meant to be a bad time that they should really avoid, especially at higher levels.

      I also like the idea of a TPK leading to a bunch of yam farmers and mustard smugglers who don't know each other trying to get back to their normal lives by finding out what killed them in this timeline.
      Plus they're famous heroes and everybody expects them to be someone they're not. It'd be like the Hangover but with temporal paradoxes!

      As for using it in play, no I haven't! I cooked this up because I've got no internet after moving countries which is my excuse for everything lately.

    4. I think Null will be a bit too harsh if you can't even mention the char out of game. In-game... nah, I still don't see how that could work. I like the idea, I might use it/make a similar version on my own somewhere down the line.

    5. Ah but see, he never existed in any timeline. Including our own.
      That character was never in your game.

      Real world either your players stop mentioning the character and hopefully eventually forget that he existed, or they only talk about him in hushed whispers out of earshot from you.

      Both possibilities are equally excellent!

  2. Total Awesomesauce! Well Done, Sir!

    Waaaayyyy better than that revolving door afterlife nonsense. I like this particular nonsense much better.

  3. "No Create Food and Water, no wise and benevolent wizards with safe and socially acceptable magic, the clergy is made up of pedophile-charlatans, and the clerics might be drawing power from gods that don't even fucking exist."

    Oh right...France.

  4. I don't do resurrection but if I did this is how I'd do it.

    1. I'm hoping that if they do get down that far into the dungeon they'll find the clone vats and smash them under the assumption that it's a sinister plot.

  5. This is amazing. A nice step away from "McResurrection"!