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Expanding Death & Revival: An Adjusted System

Content of the article: "Expanding Death & Revival: An Adjusted System"

While on the lower levels death is a scary thing, on mid to high levels of 5e D&D death becomes but a temporary issue. With level 5 parties maybe not having the funds for 300gp worth of diamonds, the problem becomes obsolete at higher levels, and revival just becomes a part of the strategy.

The greater spells, such as Raise Dead or Resurrection have a line saying:

"Coming back from the dead is an ordeal. The target takes a −4 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks. Every time the target finishes a long rest, the penalty is reduced by 1 until it disappears."

I expanded upon that system to create something that players truly want to avoid, and want your feedback on whether it's still acceptable as a mechanic.

Support is Key

When a character is dead, a spell can be cast to revive them. Three other characters can contribute something to the ritual (or one, the caster, when the spell is being cast in the middle of combat, such as revivify can be). These contributions can come with words or actions, and the DM determines whether these are sufficient to contribute. If they are, the DM asks the contributor to make a check, such as persuasion or performance.

The DC for this check increases with each successfull check, leading us to the second feature.

Success is not Guaranteed

Whether the ritual is successfull or not is determined, like so many things, by a dice roll of a d20. The default DC for this dice roll is 5, which yes, is fairly high. That's where the contributions from the people come in. The DC for the first contribution is 14, then 16, then 20. Each successfull check decreases the DC by 1. If a check fails, the contribution is used up without effect, and the DC stays the same for the next contribution, but remember, 3 in total is the limit.

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For example, if two succeed and one fails, the last DC 20 check isn't made at all, and the DC is 3. The DM may determine advantage based on how good and meaningful the contributions are.

If all three checks are a success, the last DC 20 check decreases the DC not by one, but by two, leaving us with a DC 1 check to see if the character gets revived. Pretty good odds. The roll is made in secret by the DM, and the result narrated accordingly. (Note: The Contributions must be made by different people.)

A Taxing Return

Having your soul ripped from your body and returning it is a taxing ordeal. The revived character has a -4 to all attack rolls, ability checks and saving throws. Every passing week decreases this debuff by 1, until 4 weeks later, where the debuff disappears.

So there it is! Pretty harsh, I know, but I wanted death to be meaningful and not just some minor obstacle later on in a campaign. Any suggestions or feedback are welcome!

Source: reddit.com

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