Author Topic: Death and resurrection in the jungle  (Read 572 times)

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Offline Jengada

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Death and resurrection in the jungle
« on: February 12, 2024, 12:28:11 PM »
At yesterday's session, my players came a hair's breadth from a killing crit - on the party healer. As we talked through the what-ifs, I was flipping through Spell Law and the rules on death and life-giving there and in Character Law. The party is at least 2 weeks from any temples or healers, and without a Preservation spell a dead body is going to be quite a mess by then, rotting, bloated, fly-blown. Restoring it to a viable state to use in Life Giving would be beyond any of the healing spells I could come up with. Every muscle, organ, tendon, artery, etc. is damaged or gone at that point.
On the one hand, I feel like reviving someone whose body is that far gone should be nearly impossible. On the other hand, there's magic, and if you're powerful enough, one hair from the head of the deceased might be enough.
Am I missing some healing spells or restoration spells that would allow resurrecting someone this decomposed?
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Offline B Hanson

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2024, 01:51:35 PM »
Preservation Herbs to keep the body until you can get back to civilization?
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Offline Jengada

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2024, 02:00:03 PM »
Preservation Herbs to keep the body until you can get back to civilization?
I definitely expect the party to stock up on these - and lots of scrolls! - when they get back to the city!
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Offline B Hanson

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2024, 02:45:25 PM »
Can one of the group forage for a lifekeeping herb? It doesn't look like any are coded for Jungle but you can always change that.
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Offline Jengada

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2024, 04:24:43 PM »
Can one of the group forage for a lifekeeping herb? It doesn't look like any are coded for Jungle but you can always change that.
The one party member with foraging/herb lore skill is the cleric/healer that came a hair's breadth from dying. Ironically, the NPC who nailed her is a ranger, so if the party didn't actually kill him, he could've told them.
I've actually been struggling for a plot device to move them to a particular area of the jungle, and looking for preservation herbs is a really good one. I'll just make up an herb for this ecosystem and let them find a little bit in the city, then need to go off into the jungle to get more.
I will probably make a few herbs that cover different aspects of "they died in the jungle" issues. Preservation is one, another would be something that will preserve severed body parts, if the first herb requires ingestion or anything like that.
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Offline OLF, i.e. Olf Le Fol

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2024, 08:16:42 PM »
Am I missing some healing spells or restoration spells that would allow resurrecting someone this decomposed?
…well… RoCo.I has the level 75 spell, "Body wish" that works even if only what remains is a lock of hair… Otherwise, you may use the level 50 Arcane spell from "Arcane Healing", Regeneration that allows to regenerate all damage, even brain damage…
Or even cheat and use spells from the "Mana Molding" list…
So, yes, such spells exist. How available they are to "normal" people, OTOH…
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Offline Cory Magel

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2024, 11:28:24 PM »
This is why we played with a very limited number of Fate Points (and the only time you can use them is on a role that would result in death).
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Offline Jengada

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2024, 10:22:59 AM »
Am I missing some healing spells or restoration spells that would allow resurrecting someone this decomposed?
…well… RoCo.I has the level 75 spell, "Body wish" that works even if only what remains is a lock of hair… Otherwise, you may use the level 50 Arcane spell from "Arcane Healing", Regeneration that allows to regenerate all damage, even brain damage…
Or even cheat and use spells from the "Mana Molding" list…
So, yes, such spells exist. How available they are to "normal" people, OTOH…
Thanks for pointing those out. I hadn't gone to the Companions yet. I will have to put someone, somewhere in my world that has those spells. It could be a major quest to find them and get someone resurrected. That sort of scenario would involve having the dead character's player run a different character during that quest, though, or else sit out for months/years of play time.
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Offline rsarres

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2024, 06:19:29 AM »
I would let her die. As a player, most of the fun comes from how dangerous Rolemaster is. As a GM, I let my players die. Resurrection is possible, but very expensive and difficult to find..
If they do not have the body preservation herbs/magic and are far away from civilization, too bad. I would not come up with a miracle herb in the jungle to save the PC.
The idea of a quest for resurrection is, of course possible, but the player would need a new PC and may even prefer the new character at the end of the quest.



Offline jdale

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2024, 12:08:10 PM »
That really depends on your players. One of my two groups, I regret giving them fate points at all and it would clearly have been better to let more of them die. It would keep them better focused and they would be ok with new characters. The other group I would be more hesitant, their character relationships are more important. You as GM have to decide that based on your judgment.
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2024, 01:32:56 PM »
You as GM have to decide that based on your judgment.
I would discuss the point with the players - after all, the lethality of the game, and the expectations of the players, are part of the social contract. I often discuss specifics with the players - I know one who doesn't want their character's family to come to harm, while another likes to be the target of misfortune to a significant degree. I don't want to step on any psychological toe, and I do want them to enjoy the game. They usually accept death when it is significant, or the outcome of their own foolhardiness, but far less so when it is the product of randomness or of some danger they could not foresee. I don't tend to kill PCs (I think I killed only four in my whole career as a RM GM), but I tend to hit them where they live to regret it.

As for Fate points specifically, I used them in my previous campaign. Each player had one, and the GM (I) had none at the start. A Fate point could alter the story at any time - ensure a crippling blow, prevent the death of one character, prevent the death of an NPC, whatever - if the player could explain how the "new outcome" came to be. And then, their Fate point was mine, and I could do the same thing - decide the fate of an NPC, ensure a crippling blow, save a villain from certain death because "no one could have survived that"... at which point, I gave the Fate point back.

It saw some limited use. Players, being heavily invested in their characters (I ran solo and duo sessions for almost a full year before the campaign proper began), were less risk-averse when they knew that they could cancel truly bad luck or bad fate... once. As soon as I got one fate point, they were wondering who among the villains was going to be saved.

Most of the time, they did not use them. I think, overall, they used two, and I used two as well. In the end, when the final battle took place, they had one each, and I had none, and their nemeses met their fate.

Long story short, I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. It's a group thing.

As for raising the dead, that's when that kind of substance hits the fan that you can see how many friends in interesting places they have. And you can have alternatives to long and, in my opinion, fairly straightjacket quest-like adventures to find some recluse who perform flawless resurrection. After all, priests may lack power, but gods do not - but gods seldom act without purpose. The character is raised. But the favour they now owe the god might make them wish they had not been. Or the character is not raised, but reincarnated - in a different body (different race ? different gender ? different skin colour ?) because the god granting the new life had a goal in mind, or favours one race or one gender, or whatever.
In one of the campaigns I ran, a character who had died was brought back into the body of a construct that had been built for that purpose. The mages who did that had foreseen that the character was needed to fight a great demon, but did not have the power to bring him back into his original body, so they used the best substitute they could find... and ensured that the artificial body would be at an advantage in the fight against the demon. The character slew the demon, but died a second time in the fight as well.
You can take that kind of idea and run with it: let's say a mage is interested in getting a favour from them and they are not too hung up on appearances: maybe the mage can animate the body as an undead and have the spirit of the character inhabit the corpse for their trip to the place where they could resurrect him truly with a ritual (and the mage certainly expects to get something from that).

But stocking up on preservation and lifekeeping props is always a good thing :) Especially since those spells are low-level enough and should thus be readily available as runes at the proper temple (for a reasonable price, of course). If the world is weird enough to support such things as adventurers' guilds, then the guilds might also offer such items - adventuring is a hazardous occupation.

Offline rsarres

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2024, 03:11:41 PM »
My players know me. The rules are the rules, that´s the fun of the game for me and for the party. I personally love the tension at every combat. My friends know that every arrow shot has a chance to meet an eye, so they should take care.

I have had my share of dead players in my GM career. I do not regret a bit because I see my job as just an impartial judge. They usually deserve it for being careless, but a few are just bad luck.

From the top of my head, I clearly remember one that started climbing down a 30ft cliff with an archer in at the ground below. The outcome was previsible: an arrow in his back with a huge offensive bonus plus a 25ft+ fall. RIP.

Another one was more complex. The party found an enchanted chest in a small cellar that cast a demonic possession spell on anyone that fails to open the box (i.e. force the cover or fail the pick lock attempt). The thief tried and failed the pick lock maneuver, failed the RR against the possession spell, lost control and attacked his party in a frenzy state. Fortunately the mage of the party cast a sleep spell on him. But, after this close call, the mage asked the warrior to leave the cellar and lock the hatch door because he was going to try opening the chest. After a brief discussion, the warrior said "Fine, suit yourself" and locked the sleeping thief and the mage inside the cellar. It didn´t go well. The mage failed the picklock, failed the RR and got possessed. He attacked and killed the sleeping thief.
The aftermatch was great:
- "You open your eyes, you fell dizzy and thisty (a day had passed). You are layind down and you see the cellar roof."
- "I look around..."
-"You see Arraskaetrik (thief) lying down beside you."
-"I wake him up..."
-"He does not wake up."
-"I-I check his vitals..." (voice failing)
-"He is not breathing, his lips are blue, one eye is half open and his throat has purple bruises."
-"Oh my god.... I ...... killed him...."
I personally think this is the fabric of great roleplaying.

The thief player moved on, created a new pc, the mage is still alive. And even today, on heated discussions, this story comes up... "I still remember when you killed me!!!!"

I will end with an unforgettable session a couple of months ago. This same mage convinced the same player (the one that got killed in the cellar), now controlling a AC20 Lv5 fighter that he raised from lv1 to invade a bandit hideout by themselves without prior knowledge about what was inside. The other party members were severely wounded and (wisely) headed straight to the tavern.
The two invaded the permises and were quickly outnumbered by lv1 bandits. Just like in real life, numerical disadvantage can be fatal in Rolemaster.
The lv5 fighter took an arrow on the neck and got permanently paralised from the neck down, but was still alive.
The mage saw the scene (arrow thought the neck, the fighter dropping down like a rag puppet) and leaped thought the window. The fighter kept quiet and the remaining bandits failed the perception check to see that he was still breathing (lots of penalties, after all, the poor fighter was lying face down with an arrow stuck at the back of his neck.
The enraged mage slipped an evil ring that he avoided until this time and fireballed the entire premises.
What a great session. I was playing on skype with the party, and when they got separated, I alternated the call between them. You should have seen the fighter player face struggling with the situation, he was silent watching his left leg burn (fireball crit result) in a collapsing house and could not warn the mage that he was still alive because there was still enemies in the house thinking that he was dead. And all the tension was possible because he was sure that I would not hesitate for a second to apply the rules blindly and kill him.
Spoiler alert: he survived.

Offline Jengada

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Re: Death and resurrection in the jungle
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2024, 12:29:55 PM »
In this case, the E crit was not killing, it was a 67. The attacker could normally modify +/-1 with a combat style, but I ruled that wasn't appropriate because the cleric was covered with Plant Facade.
On the bigger question of rules, death, fate points, etc. I do ask players periodically if, should a killing crit arise, they want me to nerf it or play it out. If I nerf it, I only do so slightly and they pay the rest of the cost in another way, like broken magic item while parrying, or the like. It's our balance between the grit of the rules and the attachment they have to their characters. We play long arc games, and they've had these characters since 2017. The player with the cleric is over 80 years old and has commented this may be the last character she gets to play. Ouch.
(Amusingly, her son plays the party tank and was a no-show for this session, where the tank was supposed to guard the cleric. Mama's having words with the boy.)
We ask the hard questions here, because they keep us too busy to worry about the hard questions in the real world, and we can go with the answers we like the best.