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The Resurrection Spell

February 5, 2012

In the game I’m working on, I have a number of commentary ‘boxes’ that explain why I’ve changed a d20 rule or why I’ve omitted something from the Fate system. One of these commentaries talks about the Resurrection spell, a spell I’ve always hated. Back in the 1980s, I hated it because I thought it encouraged power gaming, cheapened the game as a whole, and interfered with player immersion. Today, I hate it for the same reasons, plus the use of this spell makes a tabletop rpg seem more like a video game, imo. As my friend and long time gaming associate Bruce has oft stated. “Death should always be on the table”. I couldn’t agree more. Anyway, here’s my write-up on why I don’t have the Resurrection spell in ‘Aspects of Fantasy’. Let me know what you think or if you have anything to add:

Where’s the Resurrection spell?
The cleric spell, Resurrection, does not exist in Aspects of Fantasy. While Resurrection Points replace the spell in many ways, they are a limited resource. If you have no Resurrection Points and you die, you stay dead. In the end, a character’s death or the threat death should always be on the table. It is an occupational hazard that is cheapened by being reversed by a spell.
In fact, in my 30 years of gaming, the most memorable moments were those in which a player character was killed, usually in heroic fashion. Such stories are barely recalled if dead characters can be hauled to the local church for a quick rebirth.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2012 10:42 am

    Well, you know how I feel.

    I know the reverse argument is that players won’t try anything risky if it could result in perma-death. Good, I say!

  2. Mike Mossbarger permalink
    February 6, 2012 2:07 pm

    The only thing I never liked was being able to raise someone without the whole body. I don’t mind allowing the character to be brought back, but to do so with a single strand of their hair? This also allows for premanent death: good luck finding a body when the character died from a Red Dragon’s breath or fell into the heart of a volcano……

  3. February 8, 2012 12:12 am

    The only issue I had with this idea was that the player would inevitably feel like they were picked on or you set up things to kill off their player so they couldn’t be resurrected. Otoh, I have softened on the idea of ‘resurrection’ a bit. A person has a couple of bad rolls or a bit of bad luck and, through no fault of his own, his character winds up dead. That’s why I now have “Resurrection Points” which are basically “Avoid Death” points. Characters almost always have just one and once it is spent it is gone. This helps mitigate the ‘accidental’ death while still leaving death on the table.

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