Murder in D&D...


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For a normal peasant, 500gp is more money than he, his wife, and his 10 children and their spouses will earn their entire lives. The price is very much so an issue. For a merchant, 500gp is probably a couple of years of gross income. For a baron, 500gp is probably equal to his yearly obligation to his king. Doubling your peasants' taxes so you can raise your dead mistress from the dead isn't going to make your peasants happy.

D&D economics are skewed toward the adventuring party. There hundreds of forum posts where anyone who has tried to make sense of it ends up committed to an asylum.

How does the state benefit by giving out 500 gp loans? 500 gp could be the entire tax base for a large barony. If 20 people die in an orc raid, is the local baron going to cough up 10,000 gp to raise them all by raising his taxes 1900%?

In 3.5, 500 gp is not some absurdly large amount no one will ever get, it's about the average yearly wage of a skilled labourer(+9,+10 in profession, easily available at first level). Yes, many people won't be making that much, and yes it's a different system, but the prices of most mundane items don't seem to have changed much, so I don't see why wages would have changed.

The point is that 500 gp is equivalent to around thirty or fourty thousand dollars in today's standards. To much for most families to come up with on the spot, but not so much that many (although not all) middle class families would be willing to go into that much debt for a loved one.

It should also be pointed out that as far I can tell, if the person can't be brought back, then the components aren't used up (since rituals can be interrupted at any point without losing the components), meaning there's not a huge risk of losing the money and not getting the family member back.
 

mmu1

First Post
Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series actually deals with this directly.

More or less, there are three kinds of assassinations.

The first is really just a dramatic equivalent of roughing someone up really bad. No precautions are taken to ensure they can't be raised. It's like a really severe kneecap-breaking.

The second, you do something like behead your victim. That prevents raising.

The third basically rips out their soul, too.

So yeah. It makes the world subtly different, and it's an interesting avenue to think down.

-O

Not to be picky, but those are some of my favorite novels, so... ;)

In Vlad's world resurrection (along with most magic) is a highly technical - scientific, even - matter.

There's no such thing as raising someone dead 1/day per caster level - you have hours, tops. (after that, the tissues are too far gone) On top of that, a brain injury or a severed spinal cord are something that can't be fixed. (hence the "dagger in the eye" method of killing for "real" assassinations)

However, even under the best circumstances (fresh body, no damage to head or spine) things can always fail. It has more in common with modern resuscitation than D&D resurrection spells. (so while it is sometimes used as a warning, it's only done when you don't mind the possibility you'll kill them in the process)

Finally, the ultimate method doesn't "rip out" someone's soul, it destroys it. Completely. (there might be some wiggle room when it comes to things like gods and god-like beings, and others able to play at that level, but not much) Anyone who becomes aware that they've been targeted in this way probably at the very least considers suicide - it actually improves your chances of continuing to exist.
 

WalterKovacs

First Post
I know that some 3.5 settings basically pick a level and draw a line between "common" and "rare" magic, and actually have a lot of lower level magic around. I think that Eberon works like that. In that system, there are penalties to bringing people back (unless you go with true resurection). Also, the person has to be willing to come back.

All the talk of criminal organizations reminds me of the stories of cayotes, the people who help bring people into a foreign country illegally. They'll often charge their family a ton of money, and then put the person they brought over into indentured servitude for the rest of their lives, more or less, eternally paying off a huge debt. I could definitely see some power families ending up as slaves to some unscrupulous masters.

Then again, someone with the power to raise the dead, may have another way of creating slave labour from a corpse ...
 

Toben the Many

First Post
When I ran a Forgotten Realms game way back, the way we treated stuff like Raise Dead was very similar to getting treatment for a deadly disease like cancer.

Just like getting special treatment for a disease, it costs a lot of money. And in a "medieval" society as exists in D&D, many people don't have enough money for that treatment.

However, I always ruled that good-aligned churches would resurrect or raise a certain number of people a year, just out of charity. It only made sense to me. So, at every good-aligned church, you'd have people lining up to see if their son/daughter/relative would "make the cut" that year. As you might suspect, most people are turned away, with many tears and much sorrow.

And even then, the 3.x version of Raise Dead has that great caveat of "you have to want to come back". So often times, in our campaign, the spell just wouldn't work. So you'd have the whole "waiting room" scene where family and friends gathered 'round to see if their loved one made it back or not.

For us, this sort of returned the gravitas of death back into the setting. Because getting raised was a big deal, and if you got raised then that meant that someone else in line, perhaps even a little baby who died in the crib didn't get raised that day or even that year.

Again, this is sort of like the dilemma that we have to today with deadly diseases. There are only so many people you can treat and only so many experts to go around and try to cure these diseases. And even then, there's no telling if there can be anything done.
 

Loonook

First Post
In 3.x we always just took the heart, burned the body, etc. to prevent raising... and even in cases where such didn't occur death wasn't so easy to come back from in any of the games I was part of... but ehh, perhaps in a place where the revolving door is more common...

When it comes to costs of raising, there are plenty of ways to get around that. I love Supernatural and the concept of using bargaining with higher/lower powers for coming back. We had a character in one of the campaigns I ran dragged back from the brink by a shadow demon back around... 6 years ago? Paladin claimed as a blackguard, given a spot of shadow to his abilities, and marked with the handprints of being dragged back from the Heavens by the Pit. Provided for a goodly amount of redemption, though due to parting of the adventuring party the poor paladin was left in the sands of perdition for years before a completely different party, in a completely different game came across him and pulled him back through the deserts to the land of the living a half century after he left his world.

My favorite way of seeing it made it into one of my games after a few hours of discussion on death and dying. Talented families of tombtouched individuals serve as suicidal retrievers. Take deadly nightshade, or a similar poison, and kill yourself . . . then drag the other soul back with you. Family upon family of poor wretches hire Grandpa, Uncle Bob, or Great Aunt Gertrude to be retrievers... from birth they know that this will be their path to the Afterlife, and they know the pathways well.

Murder and Death have a lot of ethical quandries. But personally I just don't think that Raise Dead should be available without additional barriers for even adventurers, much less the common folk.

Slainte,

-Loonook.
 

Rechan

Adventurer
When it comes to costs of raising, there are plenty of ways to get around that. I love Supernatural and the concept of using bargaining with higher/lower powers for coming back. We had a character in one of the campaigns I ran dragged back from the brink by a shadow demon back around... 6 years ago?
This is another favorite thing that I have yet had the opportunity to use, but oh I plan to.

The PC dies. After the encounter, I take that player aside, and tell him:

You wake up in a small boat, at the edge of a raging river. On a dock stands a lone, dark figure, holding a rope attached to your boat. The way down river looks dark and a treacherous journey. The figure is all that is keeping you adrift. He says to you, "I can offer you a return. But you shall owe me. Or I can let you go."

And offer no further explanation, for at least a whole adventure or two.
 

Krensky

First Post
Reminds me of a sci-fi novel called "Hard Carbon".

It takes place in the future where a body is merely a meat puppet. Your mind, memory, everything is on basically a chip that is plugged into a body's brain stem.

Jail consists of "We put you on ice, then plug you into a new body". Rich people can rent bodies (especially if you're say, telecommuting, you could just "telecomute" to a planet and get plugged into a body. In one instance, a woman who was in jail had a businessperson riding around in their old body).

The very, very rich? They lived forever because they always bought new bodies/had clones that grew in little vats.

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. First book in the Takashi Kovacs series (Broken Angels and Woken Furies are the others).

Things also were not that simple, but things are a little skewed since most of the characters make their living doing things in bodies that aren't their own. Also, a lot of people with some effort and planning could manage to be resheathed (if only in a crappy synthetic sheath). Life insurance, savings, and heath insurance covered it.
 

glass

(he, him)
Reminds me of a sci-fi novel called "Hard Carbon".

It takes place in the future where a body is merely a meat puppet. Your mind, memory, everything is on basically a chip that is plugged into a body's brain stem.

Jail consists of "We put you on ice, then plug you into a new body". Rich people can rent bodies (especially if you're say, telecommuting, you could just "telecomute" to a planet and get plugged into a body. In one instance, a woman who was in jail had a businessperson riding around in their old body).

The very, very rich? They lived forever because they always bought new bodies/had clones that grew in little vats.
As I understand it, that is how things work in the GURPS Transhuman Space game/setting.


glass.
 

There are limits on Raise Dead, plus some basic assumptions of the world throw off your idea. For PCs, you would be correct.
Raise Dead- The ritual mentions that only someone with a destiny could still be raised. Most people don't have a destiny.

Actually the ritual text say nothing about destiny or lacking of. the nearest thing is "the gods can intervene to prevent a soul from journeying back to the realm of the living." but the way it is stated it sound more like an exception rather than the rule.
 

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