Content of the article: "Spells like Revivify, Resurrection, etc. aren’t all that bad."
This is mostly in response to the post earlier today that talked about resurrection being just a generally bad spell as is. I’ve been running games for a little bit now, and for a long time I had the same opinion. Recently, however, my eyes have been open to what these spells are supposed to do, create drama.
I think anyone who’s run more than one campaign can tell you that in dnd it is DIFFICULT to kill your PC’s without deliberately trying to (which I recommend no one do btw). Partly why this is, is because there’s so much healing built into some classes. Cleric and paladin contributing mostly to that, but even classes like Druid and certain subclasses like celestial warlock are 1/2 rate healer as well. This is good for the game. And is naturally fun for some players to be supporting their allies.
But when a party member goes down, it can be one of the most memorable moments in a campaign and if a player has the ability to bring them back, then I would say it adds to the experience!
I’ll use what happened in my game as an example: one of the party members is on the run from law, and they had been evading a particularly powerful bounty hunter. Naturally they were backed into a corner and eventually were forced to fight.
All was going well in the ensuing fight until nikko, the parties monk, got into melee to buy time for the party to escape. Nikko never knew what hit him. critical divine smite hits him in all its d8 glory and he goes down.
Naturally the BH uses this as leverage. “Give yourself up to the law and your friend lives.” He hesitates just long enough for the BH to decide nikko is no longer useful and stabs into bringing him to two failed death saving throws. Nikko’s turn comes before anyone can heal and he rolls a 9…
Needless to say this was an intense moment for our group and after the won they fight they immediately went to bring nikko back from the dead. Here’s where my advice comes in. When I described our grave cleric casting revivify, I described a journey he took through an endlessly dark room. Eventually finding nikko who was in his own paradise enjoying the wife and children he never had due to his adventuring life.
Making revivify, and resurrection almost like the start of a side encounter made my players more engaged and it was incredibly fun to RP someone who was unwilling to return to the land of the living because his life was better here than there.
Eventually Nikko ended up staying in the afterlife. Our grave cleric was promptly refunded a 3rd level spell slot and at the end of the session even though most of the party was on their last leg and one of them had died permanently, it still felt satisfying while also keeping the tension of mortality.
I suppose in a very roundabout way all I’m trying to say is that, mechanically, these spells are fine and when they’re used you as a dm should take that as an opportunity to make a cool and memorable moment.
This has been my ted talk thank you for listening.
- My first ever character was killed, and I regret nothing.
- How to decide if your PC’s are evil.
- Long Term NPCs – How to make them impactful
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