January 24, 2014

Death and Resurrection Table

Mike Mearls wrote a great history of raising the dead in D&D.  I thought it would be fun to add to it (he doesn't cover Pathfinder and 13th Age, or Original / BECMI D&D) and summarize it in a table.  Geeky, right?  Organizing information is just what I do.  I'm a GM.

Edition
Rarity
Cost to Victim
Cost to Caster
AD&D
9th level clerics
Chance that the spell fails, based on Constitution score’s Resurrection Survival percentage.  Too weak to act for 1 day per day spent dead.
One spell
Original D&D (BECMI)
10th level clerics (They gain the title “patriarchs” and “matriarchs” at 9).  With levels going up to 36, 10th level doesn’t seem as high.
Two weeks of bed rest.
One spell
AD&D 2nd Edition
9th level clerics, but now we have a lot more levels, so it’s not as rare (though note that there are level caps).
Chance that the spell fails, based on Constitution score’s Resurrection Survival percentage.  Loss of 1 point of Constitution.  Too weak to act for 1 day per day spent dead.
One spell
D&D 3rd and 3.5 editions
9th level clerics, plus several other divine caster classes; there are 20 levels plus epic levels; plus higher level versions of the spell had other benefits
Raise Dead or Resurrection: Lose one level, which cannot be restored.

True Resurrection: No level loss
One spell, 5,000gp (or 10,000gp for Resurrection, or 25,000gp for True Resurrection)

Pathfinder
9th level clerics, plus several other divine caster classes; there are 20 levels plus epic levels; plus higher level versions of the spell have other benefits
Raise Dead: 2 negative levels, which require 2 castings of Restoration to remove.  Otherwise nothing.  Resurrection only bestows one negative level.  True Resurrection bestows no negative levels. Breath of Life bestows one temporary negative level that lasts one day.
7,000gp: 5,000gp for Raise Dead (more for higher level versions), plus 1,000gp each for two castings of Restoration.  It costs 10,000gp and 1 Restoration for Resurrection; 25,000gp and no Restorations for True Resurrection. Breath of Life is free, but only works on creatures that died within 1 round.
D&D 4th Edition
8th level characters with the Ritual Caster feat, Heal skill, and the Raise Dead ritual.  It's really easy to get, because any 8th level character of any class can get those.
Resurrection Penalty (-1 to basically everything for 6 encounters)
500gp (Heroic tier), 5,000gp (Paragon tier), 50,000gp (Epic tier)
13th Age
7th level clerics (out of 10 levels) - so this brings us back to "pretty rare" like in 1st ed. AD&D
Based on number of times the cleric has ever cast it:  Nothing, some HP, days in bed, a month in bed, or a 50% chance the spell fails
Major costs! Clerics can only raise the dead 5 times in their life, and the 5th time kills them.
D&D 5th Edition
5th level clerics can Revivify.  9th level can Raise Dead.  The Basic rules Life Domain has Revivify as a 5th level domain spell, so most clerics of level 5 and over will always have it prepared.
Revivify: No penalty.

Raise Dead: -4 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws and ability checks that diminishes by 1 after each long rest (basically by 1 each day)
One spell (L3 or L5)
300gp (Revivify)
500gp (Raise Dead)

Revivify has to be used within one minute of the creature's death, so most adventuring parties will always use Revivify over Raise Dead.

I thought it was interesting how the cost to the dead character goes down as the editions progress, and the cost to the caster goes up!  It starts out as just a spell, like any other in the old 70s-80s editions, passes through a weird "expensive" phase in 3rd-4th-Pathfinder; and ends with the cleric dying with 13th age!

Meanwhile the dead guy might stay dead or loses levels in most old editions; then gets what amounts to a temporary penalty in Pathfinder and 4e, then finally just takes a while to get well in 13th Age.

Update 7/27/14:  I've added the D&D 5th edition row to the table for comparison.

Thoughts?  Corrections?  Let me know!

PS!  Happy 40th Birthday D&D