Saturday, October 16, 2010

Souls and Resurrection

A recent discussion in the comments of this Grognardia post has gotten me to think about Resurrection in my game.  I don't hate the spell, as some Old Schoolers do, and I find it a welcome alternative to a litany of similar characters.  My old group bordered on "Knuckles IV" syndrome a la Knights of the Dinner Table.

In my recent discussion of LotF-- Raggi's Game, I discussed how I preferred human characters.  I've decided one way to encourage this without "nerfing" (to use the common parlance) Demi-humans is to not allow them to be Resurrected.  For the purposes of my setting Demi-humans do not have souls which can be retrieved from the afterlife using this spell.  The Church takes is to mean they have no souls whatsoever, though this is up for debate.  It could be simply that Dwarves, Elves, Froglings (?), and Halflings (?) have their own afterlife or a litany of other possibilities.


  1. So does Raise Dead work on a human who's been reincarnated in an elf body? If the elf body now houses a human spirit, what about the offspring of a union between the souled elf and an unsouled elf?

    I enjoy it greatly when things like that come up in play. That's why I never understood Sage Advice ... why would you want someone else to tell you the answer to that?

  2. Agreed completely, and you will forgive me if I don't answer your questions :D

  3. The old reasoning went that only Dwarf Clerics could raise Dwarves from the dead and only Elf clerics could raise eElves from the dead.

    The poor Halflings were SOL.

  4. I think resurrection is fine as long as it has a place in the setting. If resurrection is possible in a game I'm running, it's invariably going to be monopolized by a priesthood (like in Zelazny's Lord of Light). Whether it's resurrection or reincarnation is up to the religious traditions of the priesthood.

    These (human) priests are unwilling--and most likely incapable--to adapt their resurrection-methods to inhuman beings. But it's also possible there are yet living gods of these other species that are willing to resurrect their chosen people.

    The deceased that are so far gone that they cannot be resurrected are then said to have died the true death (with corresponding myths of a true resurrection). What the consequences are of not being resurrected or being truly dead is up for debate in such settings.