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D&D 5E Getting your body back (reincarnation) ideas

Need ideas for this Saturday's game on an adventure for a reincarnated character to regain his original form.

RANGER player is fairly new to the game and our group. Unfortunately, early on, RANGER died at 2nd level when they ran afoul of a displacer beast, an unlucky day. Players are in a fey-heavy setting and through a series of adventures found a druid who reincarnated him from human to halfling. I'm not one to pull punches, and I feel when a door closes a window opens, or something like that. That's what led to the druid quest. Player has communicated to another player he's kinda bummed about it all. I let it be known if you want something, give it a whirl. If you're going on a quest to restore your form, this is a good place to do it.

So, quest ideas?
 

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There are most certainly Fey who's thing is shapes and one's true shape. Additionally thinking on an impactful part from Transformers that involved one's soul being reshaped into their true shape, or a forge burning everything away until the singular truth of their form is all that remains

Smithing style Fey but there needs to be a quest about this and a period of introspection about why was someone is who they are.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Blimey, that's a tough one. And they're only second level? Yeah, unless you want to be awfully nice to these guys I think they might have to wait awhile. :) I'm impressed they could even get a reincarnation at that level, but in a Fey-based setting it does make sense.

That said, if you do want to be nice you could have them quest for a Wish (or an item with a Wish in it; or a Djinni bottle); or have them quest for a special permanent-effect potion of polymorph, or something like that.

@Mecheon - your idea about reforging the soul is absolutely brilliant, only for something slightly different: what an excellent in-fiction means of granting/forcing/achieving a change of alignment! :)
 

MarkB

Legend
Maybe tie it into his bloodline in some fashion. Nothing as jarring as genetics, but maybe his family need to make some form of symbolic sacrifice as part of whatever ritual or procedure you come up with.
 

aco175

Legend
Magic fey pool that lets you reshape your past. This way all the PCs can change feats or something. There also needs to be a quest to reach the pool and a series of tests to determine your worthiness.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Need ideas for this Saturday's game on an adventure for a reincarnated character to regain his original form.

RANGER player is fairly new to the game and our group. Unfortunately, early on, RANGER died at 2nd level when they ran afoul of a displacer beast, an unlucky day. Players are in a fey-heavy setting and through a series of adventures found a druid who reincarnated him from human to halfling. I'm not one to pull punches, and I feel when a door closes a window opens, or something like that. That's what led to the druid quest. Player has communicated to another player he's kinda bummed about it all. I let it be known if you want something, give it a whirl. If you're going on a quest to restore your form, this is a good place to do it.

So, quest ideas?
These sorts of quests are best when strongly integrated to the PCs backstories. I know the player is new to your group/the game, but what was their backstory or background? And how did the ranger PC die - exactly - to the displacer beast? Was the displacer beast a random encounter or serving another creature? Basically, are there any interesting character details or past session details that we could use to hang a story about regaining his original form on?

Conversely, if the player hasn't really fleshed out any backstory, what about the other PCs? Why would this quest matter to them, after just meeting the guy? Is he secretly related to one of them? Does what at first seems like a "restore his original body" quest actually dovetail into the current main quest in some way? Did the manner of death really strike a chord with one or more of them?

With all of that in mind, I also recommend adding a twist for resurrection/reincarnation/restoration storylines – an unexpected cost or unanticipated side effect.
 

I'm impressed they could even get a reincarnation at that level, but in a Fey-based setting it does make sense.
I'm a sucker for low-level quests (albeit rarely!) to bring back a lost companion, especially if it was just bad dice like this time. I usually have something in mind, though this time it was all on the fly and permitted me to introduce several NPCs early, as well as foreshadow visions the druid had been having about converging kingdoms (the PCs want to settle the wilds that they are currently authorized to explore, a Paizo Kingmaker reboot). The PCs path was the only one he saw that didn't end in fire. It was darkness, an unknown, and he opted for the lesser evil. He also demanded concessions and a big IOU for the costs.

In the old days, had a low-level character killed by shadow magic, again bad dice, and let them discover this sucked his soul to a night hag storage facility on a messed up outer plane. They rescued the soul using guile before it could be sold.
 

There are most certainly Fey who's thing is shapes and one's true shape. Additionally thinking on an impactful part from Transformers that involved one's soul being reshaped into their true shape, or a forge burning everything away until the singular truth of their form is all that remains

Smithing style Fey but there needs to be a quest about this and a period of introspection about why was someone is who they are.
Interesting! The PCs are currently at a fey feast due to having "befriended" (it's hard to say how fey operate) some minor ones and have met the Queen of the Summer Court. While the fey often speak in confusing riddle-like talk, I think at least one of my players understands they exist in the "is" and "is not." For the fey, they don't die when they die. Instead, they start over, and this can make them seem cruel when they deal with creatures of the "Second World" who don't start over. The fey don't see a problem because for them death isn't real.

With that said, I could see a smith-like fey who custom molds new bodies when a fey loses their current one. And, I like the idea of introspection. It would allow the player to RP what it was about his old form (he was a ranger in his 40s who was finally beginning to find a purpose in his life that he'd previously lacked) that makes him need it so badly.

Maybe tie it into his bloodline in some fashion. Nothing as jarring as genetics, but maybe his family need to make some form of symbolic sacrifice as part of whatever ritual or procedure you come up with.
If building (hah) on the smith idea, something to recall his prior form. Gives the other PCs something to do.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The PCs have to bring a token of the old body, if they cannot bring the whole. Don't be gross ...
Clipping fingernails / toenails or cutting its hair (bring back a wig if female) or shaving off a beard / mustache (if male) would work.
Flaying off some skin to return with a tattoo / birthmark would be too icky for me but might indicate earnestness - and unique identity - to others.
 

These sorts of quests are best when strongly integrated to the PCs backstories. I know the player is new to your group/the game, but what was their backstory or background? And how did the ranger PC die - exactly - to the displacer beast? Was the displacer beast a random encounter or serving another creature? Basically, are there any interesting character details or past session details that we could use to hang a story about regaining his original form on?
Being a Kingmaker campaign, the party was tightly-knit during character creation. After all, they have ambitions to form their own barony, and that requires unity. So, losing anyone is rough at this point, and the tightness of the bonds has meant any one of them would take an arrow for the other.

The backstory is complex but involves unity behind the idea one of their own is a bastard of a duchal bloodline that mysteriously vanished about 12 years ago, leaving their country without its King and ruling duchy. It has been ruled by a regent since, and it's hard to press his claim since (1) he'd be assassinated pretty quickly, (2) he doesn't have hard proof, and (3) all other known bastards vanished as well, casting doubt on anyone who says they're a bastard. So, instead of pressing a claim, they worked up an opportunity to forge their own path. The Ranger never had a family, and now he sees a chance to leave a legacy, a place where maybe the rules can be a bit different.

The beast was a random encounter and it ripped his guts out because that's what they do. I turned it into a local legend (the "nightmare beast" because it is never where it is supposed to be), hated by the "good" fey they encountered as the creatures were so vile they had to be driven from fey realms. I have also dropped the possibility they could do something with its hide one day as a grizzled trapper they had done a big favor for skinned the thing while they were off exploring and told them he heard big wizards in the big city can do wonders with things like this.
Did the manner of death really strike a chord with one or more of them?
It sucked, really. The battle was chaotic, messy, and a close call. The player was bummed, off table. However, it's been leading to some great real-life unity. The rest of the players are genuinely concerned with getting him back. We all know he could have simply rolled up a character, jumped back into the game, and at no cost. Instead, they took a 1,000gp IOU, are in debt to a druid who demanded concessions if they settle the lands, and they're happy about it! When one of my other gamers reached out on behalf of the new guy, I said we're in the right place for something like this: a quest to find your original form.

How that happens, working on it!
 


Quickleaf

Legend
Being a Kingmaker campaign, the party was tightly-knit during character creation. After all, they have ambitions to form their own barony, and that requires unity. So, losing anyone is rough at this point, and the tightness of the bonds has meant any one of them would take an arrow for the other.

The backstory is complex but involves unity behind the idea one of their own is a bastard of a duchal bloodline that mysteriously vanished about 12 years ago, leaving their country without its King and ruling duchy. It has been ruled by a regent since, and it's hard to press his claim since (1) he'd be assassinated pretty quickly, (2) he doesn't have hard proof, and (3) all other known bastards vanished as well, casting doubt on anyone who says they're a bastard. So, instead of pressing a claim, they worked up an opportunity to forge their own path. The Ranger never had a family, and now he sees a chance to leave a legacy, a place where maybe the rules can be a bit different.

The beast was a random encounter and it ripped his guts out because that's what they do. I turned it into a local legend (the "nightmare beast" because it is never where it is supposed to be), hated by the "good" fey they encountered as the creatures were so vile they had to be driven from fey realms. I have also dropped the possibility they could do something with its hide one day as a grizzled trapper they had done a big favor for skinned the thing while they were off exploring and told them he heard big wizards in the big city can do wonders with things like this.

It sucked, really. The battle was chaotic, messy, and a close call. The player was bummed, off table. However, it's been leading to some great real-life unity. The rest of the players are genuinely concerned with getting him back. We all know he could have simply rolled up a character, jumped back into the game, and at no cost. Instead, they took a 1,000gp IOU, are in debt to a druid who demanded concessions if they settle the lands, and they're happy about it! When one of my other gamers reached out on behalf of the new guy, I said we're in the right place for something like this: a quest to find your original form.

How that happens, working on it!
This ended up being longer than expected :unsure: I felt you had a pretty sophisticated setup, so I wanted to offer a scenario to match.

The opportunity I'm seeing is a quest which addresses the following:
(a) explore what happened to one of the other bastard bloodlines 12 years ago
(b) delve deeper into the faerie lore of your setting around displacers beasts & Feywild & druids
(c) challenge the ranger player to define what they're fighting for ("leave a legacy" and "a place where rules can be different" are nebulous and invite questioning)

The druid has an old scroll describing an ancient holy site called Tir Gwydd (Land of the Loom), which lies in an enchanted valley cut off from the rest of the realm with magic cliffs that the druids used to sing the command word and cause to open. When a child was born with dangerous uncontrolled magic ability, they were sent to Tir Gwydd to train with the First Circle of Druids there. When a witch was troubled by visions of the future, she was led beyond the cliffs and initiated into the secrets of the Lake of Truth. When a trusted servant of the druids had given everything in the fight and was weary beyond measure, they were given succor by the White Ladies (order of female elf and half-elf cleric/druids) of Tir Gwydd.

It was said to be guarded by an order of female rangers called the Swanmays, who were also the ones who ensured the displacer beasts never returned to the Feywild (among other thigs). Tir Gwydd concealed the original Font of Holy Water (rename for your setting, e.g. Mielikki's Tears) which flowed continuously from a crack in the earth, dating back to a mythic event in your setting (e.g. first unicorn's burial, tears of the nymph goddess, etc). One legend tells of two souls sharing the same body – a rare "double birth" that occurred among those destined to become either wise Archdruids or cruel Archfey – and the controversial quest to separate the two souls. A body which had never had a soul but which was "destined" for the twin soul had to be found. Both bodies were anointed in the font of holy water and laid into the small pool and a ritual was performed to separate the "twinned souls" and guide the other into the body that was prepared for it.

The druid thinks this might work for the ranger PC. However, the command word has been lost to time and the Swanmays lost touch with the druids long ago. Moreover, the entire valley around the cliffs that supposedly lead to Tir Gwydd is rife with trolls.

The trolls are led by a Llygredigwr Dŵr ("Water Corruptor", type of warlock) who seeks to taint that font of holy water. There should be hints (make of weapons, sarcastic familiarity with courtly etiquette, unusual amount of treasure with royal stamp) that the trolls have ties – purely mercenary, but ties nevertheless – to someone in the ruling caste/court. The Llygredigwr Dŵr are trolls who trace their lineage back to the Feywild where they prepared the befouled "cauldrons" (lakes) of the Unseelie Court. Darker stories that druids rarely repeat hint that these "cauldrons" were used to transform goodly creatures into hideous evil "cauldron born", such as turning a race of magical cat whose name is forgotten into the displacer beasts.

Little do the PCs know that the Llygredigwr Dŵr has foreseen their coming in her scrying water bowl, and has sacrificed something precious (e.g. her ability to regenerate) to summon a Dark Rider to track and slay whoever carries the displacer beast's hide. The Dark Rider is an undead spirit (choose a tough monster that fits your setting & tastes) of those Unseelie fey who used the displacer beasts to hunt mortals for sport.

I'm imagining basic flow of this session goes...
  1. Intro: Get the info and directions from the druid. Devise way to transport ranger's original body - hopefully protected by gentle repose.
  2. Random Encounter & Dark Rider (combat): Party has a random encounter en route to the cliffs, possibly with a monster attracted by scent of dead corpse (if no gentle repose is used). During this seemingly irrelevant encounter, the Dark Rider appears and attacks. Make it clear the rider is (a) after the displacer beast hide, not necessarily killing them, and (b) a magically summoned creature.
  3. Halfling Cidery/Inn (RP): Either wounded but victorious, or fleeing and seeking shelter from the Dark Rider, the PCs find sanctuary at a halfling cidery / family inn. Good opportunity for some comic relief, new player to reflect on some of the positives of their new race they might not have considered, and group to discuss their theories about Dark Rider and Tir Gwydd. Halfling NPCs will mention their grandparents went in search of Tir Gwydd and never turned (foreshadowing) & share another potential way through the cliffs (sneaker route).
  4. (Optional) If Dark Rider wasn't destroyed, there should be traces of its recent presence as PCs continue to the cliffs.
  5. Trolls (non-linear challenge): Deal with the trolls around the cliffs. There are a bunch of them and they are equipped with human-sized halberds (back scratchers), shields (pauldrons or belt buckles), and bows with poisoned arrows. Given the PCs level (2nd or 3rd) this should be a challenge of trickery, evasion, guerilla/asymmetric tactics, or roleplaying, not pure steel. For example, stashing the displacer hide on the Llygredigwr Dŵr would cause the Dark Rider to go after her instead. Part of this will probably include disrupting the sympathetic magic miniatures of the Llygredigwr Dŵr which act as focus for the ongoing Dark Rider summoning. Also discovering link between trolls & corrupt aristocracy.
  6. (Optional) If PCs spare the Llygredigwr Dŵr's life, she can reveal another way into Tir Gwydd: The troll warlock can animate a corpse of an "heir of the Swanmays" whose soul is not among the ancestors (i.e. the ranger's body), drawing upon a rare type of shadow being to animate it as undead. These shadow beings know secret routes through the Shadowfell to bypass Druidic wards.
  7. (Optional) If Dark Rider is given the displacer beast hide and released from its involuntary summoning (without destroying it in combat), it will tell the PCs the command word to open the cliffs into Tir Gwydd.
  8. Entering Tir Gwydd (exploration): Based on the 1 to 3 options available to them, the PCs choose their method of entry into Tir Gwydd. (1) The Halfling Sneaker Route is a tight fissure (Medium creatures must squeeze, all creatures must doff Medium/Heavy armor) close to the troll camp which requires creative solutions in the face of canyoneering obstacles to avoid getting stuck (sacrifice more gear to press through). (2) The Shadow Trod involves facing a shadow manifestation of each PC's worst impulses (besides the ranger) on the way, and presents the complication of the shadow being having its own agenda once they're in Tir Gwydd. (3) The Command Word works, causing cliffs to separate, but when PCs are at halfway point the cliffs begin to close on them as if a druid spell were actively countering their attempt; they must make checks or use movement-based spells/features to escape before taking lots of damage; as they near the end, reveal that a party of men were attempting to follow them in at a distance.
  9. (Optional) Any PC with an ongoing condition, such as being poisoned from the troll's arrows, will notice that condition temporarily suspended in Tir Gwydd. This is a land outside of time.
  10. Test of the Worthy: Last of the White Ladies (elven or half-elven cleric/druid) greets the PCs, bearing a goblet of feywine which she graciously offers to them and asks why it is so important that they restore the ranger to his body. This is a test of the worthy. Genre savvy players know the "don't drink feywine" rule, yet to refuse risks offending the very guardian whose help they've come in search of. The feywine is actually secondary – it represents fear of the unknown & the potential for common sense to hold us back & the sacred bond between host and guest. The test is in her question. What is a "correct" answer? One that echoes with truth, and is left to you to decide as DM. Anyone who answers truthfully and drinks the wine finds all their wounds healed and all features/spells restored as if they had a long rest. Anyone who answers falsely and drinks the wine is cursed to never be able to leave Tir Gwydd until (insert major story event here). Anyone who refuses the wine lacks the White Lady's protection in the final scene. EDIT: As an alternate curse, you might afflict a PC with dreams of longing to return to Tir Gwydd imposing 50% chance to gain no benefit from a long rest until (insert good major story event)... with the caveat that it can be removed with remove curse, BUT doing so means that good major story event (should be something the players heartily would want) never comes to pass, so it's a dilemma...
  11. Half Soul & The Ritual (dilemma): She leads them to the font of holy water where a pair of halflings await, carrying an ornate silver flask. These are the grandparents of the halflings at the cidery/inn – Orieon and Eosira – who stole the soul of the bastard heir Wenvon (born to a distantly related halfling scullery maid) from the Warlock Regent's treasury (or whatever magical noble title fits your setting). They traveled to Tir Gwydd to restore him, but they lied about being entirely altruistic when drinking the White Lady's feywine (they were actually hoping to leverage the bastard heir for monetary gain) and so are unable to leave Tir Gwydd. However, they wish to finish their quest and atone... Almost as if destiny planned this, the reincarnated halfling body will make a perfect vessel for the bastard halfling soul in the silver flask! The PCs have a choice to make: Do they leave the old halfling body to be swallowed by the waters and just restore the ranger PC to his human body? Or do they perform the body swap, also restoring the bastard half-halfing heir (spy)? Ritual takes 8 hours, but time has no meaning in Tir Gwydd...
  12. (Optional) If the PCs went with the Shadow Trod option, then the shadow being animating the ranger's human body will put up a fight at an inopportune moment. This would make for an interesting fight where they attempt to do the least physically destructive damage to the enemy so as not to leave their friend horrifically scarred and mutilated when he gets his body back. A mingling of a shadow demon with the Ranger PC's stats might work.
  13. (Optional) If there's a druid PC in the party, the White Lady will show them the Lake of Truth alone, and the reflection of their future self bestows a supernatural gift or blessing upon the druid. Similarly, if there's a female ranger PC in the party, the White Lady whispers to her alone the location of the Swanmays in the mortal world.
  14. Timely Invaders (big combat): As PCs prepare to leave with their restored ranger PC friend (and possibly the bastard half-halfling Wenvon in a reincarnated halfling's body), the White Lady warns that other men (insert description of a banner in your campaign) tried to enter Tir Gwydd and wait for them beyond the cliffs. Because Tir Gwydd is separate from worldly time, short/long resting restores no hit points or spells, but also virtually no time will appear to have passed for the invaders. Let creative players exploit this a little if group wishes, e.g. to justify a level up or gain a bonus skill/tool proficiency or language. Then the PCs emerge to face whatever enemy faction you feel best fits. During this battle, the enemy seeks to gain entry into Tir Gwydd while the White Lady casts powerful support spells like animal shapes, greater restoration, holy weapon, mass cure wounds, or true seeing – though only those PCs who drank the feywine she offered can benefit from her spells (it's a kind of chronomancy material component allowing her magic to function in the bounded time of the mortal world & it acts as her "touch" for purpose of Touch range spells). At some point during the battle the cliffs of Tir Gwydd begin to close once more.
 
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This ended up being longer than expected :unsure: I felt you had a pretty sophisticated setup, so I wanted to offer a scenario to match....
Holy wow!

EDIT: took some time to read more closely and copying a good portion of this. Coincidentally, my players opted for a Celtic pantheon for this one, so the language fits. Working on my notes to perhaps make this the origin site of the reincarnation spell itself and the idea of reforming the body. Incorporating a few other ideas from here as well (the "forger" that gives new forms to fey that "die" in the First World, what to do given the Ranger's physical body is effectively gone). I've got till Saturday, so appreciate the awesome folks here!
 
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No way any deals with fey ever go bad... So far I'll be introducing the Witte Joffers (white woman, in another dialect the wise woman), a 3-headed maiden/crone who whispers a truth that the seeker can never divulge lest she lay claim to their soul, usually one that is uniquely destructive to the core of everything a person holds dear. She will be the molder of new forms, the original smith to fey whose bodies are destroyed, the origin of reincarnation.

The party's entire impetus for taking a charter to explore and clear these lands of dangers was to claim and found their own barony, under the belief one of them is nobility, a bastard son to a line that mysteriously vanished a decade ago. The secret will be that he's not a royal bastard, that he's the product of a whore and a liar-thief, a servant who stole from his masters and passed himself off as a noble. We'll see how that goes as the Ranger stated he's sworn himself to a new purpose in life to see this barony formed around the bastard PC's lineage.
 

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