Erylia’s Take on Death and Resurrection – World Building Wednesday

Death – An Inevitability

Death is an unfortunate risk to most adventurers. However, in most Dungeons and Dragons settings, death is something that can be undone at the wave of a hand. When it came to building Erylia, I knew that I wanted death to be something that had meaning and made an impact. I wanted death to mean more than losing a few hundred, or a few thousand, gold. To do this, some changes had to be made to the spells that handle bringing people back.

For this World Building Wednesday, I’ll introduce some of the lore behind how resurrection works in the world, as well as the way I have changed the spell, Revivify. I haven’t gone to the higher level spells yet because none of my players even have Revivify yet, but they will follow the same themes.

An Audience With The Gods

As the soul leaves it’s body, heading for Caelistra, there is a chance for it to be saved. A particularly devote spell caster can reach out to the gods, asking for the soul to be returned. Depending on which god they are devoted to, and which gods want the soul, this task can be simple, or quite difficult. A benevolent god, sensing a strong faith in them, may return the soul unconditionally. A malevolent or selfish god, may require a trade for the soul, or place a condition on it’s return.

The souls rescuer must gather their components for the spell, as well as however much of the body is required. The base components remain standard, a hefty sum of diamonds and rare gems. However, if the caster wishes to bargain with a particular god, components specific to them may be added. As they begin casting the spell, their soul will leave their body and travel between Erylia and Caelistra. If they are deemed worthy, a god will meet their soul here. They will be judged, as well as whomever it is they are trying to bring back. If the god’s wishes are met, the soul may be returned to it’s body, potentially with it fully restored.

A journey like this is not easy on the caster or the person being revived. For the caster, it takes a physical and mental toll on them. Some, who have tried bringing back people who have been dead much too long, or deemed too unworthy, have died in the process. Others are left drained and in need of rest, even when the journey is a success. Those who are brought back remember their death vividly. They often have nightmares about their death for the rest of their lives. Some are driven mad by the things they witnessed while in the void of death.

Changing Revivify for Erylia

An interesting thing happened while I was writing this up. I’ve had the basic idea of how resurrection would work in Erylia for a while. Partially because I knew the setting I was going for, and partially because I am borrowing heavily from the way D&R Podcast handles it. However, while fleshing this out, I actually built on what I originally had for Revivify. Which is great! One of the reasons I started doing this was to get me to get more world building things filled in. Because of the changes made, I am going to post both versions of Revivify I had for Erylia. As you will see in the spells, I used D&D Beyond’s homebrew spell creator for these, and I plan to make the new version publicly available.

Revivify [Erylia] v1

LEVEL CASTING TIME RANGE/AREA COMPONENTS
3rd 1 Action Touch V, S, M *
DURATION SCHOOL ATTACK/SAVE DAMAGE/EFFECT
Instantaneous Necromancy None Healing

You touch a creature that has died within the last minute. That creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell can’t return to life a creature that has died of old age, nor can it restore any missing body parts. After 24 hours, the creature immediately dies and cannot have Revivify cast on it again. However, more powerful resurrection magic may still work.

* – (diamonds worth 300 gp, which the spell consumes)

From <https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/revivify>

Erylia’s Second Chance v3.4

LEVEL CASTING TIME RANGE/AREA COMPONENTS
3rd 1 Minute Touch V, S, M *
DURATION SCHOOL ATTACK/SAVE DAMAGE/EFFECT
Instantaneous Necromancy None Healing

You touch a creature that has died within the last day. That creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell can’t return to life a creature that has died of old age, nor can it restore any missing body parts. After 24 hours, the creature immediately dies and cannot have Second Chance cast on it again. However, more powerful resurrection magic may still work.

Upon completion of the spell, the caster takes 1 level of Exhaustion.

A creature who has been brought back to life in this way is afflicted with short-term or long-term Madness (DM’s choice based on circumstances).

* – (diamonds worth 300 gp, which the spell consumes)

From <https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/11971-erylias-second-chance>

2 thoughts on “Erylia’s Take on Death and Resurrection – World Building Wednesday

  1. Wow. While both of the new spells are infact a little more forgiving then the book vertion (in that you have a whole day to cast it) the second really brings into question weither you should even attempt it. Also this brings death to a very real consequence for early level characters.

    • Only the second one is being used. After writing down the lore I realized there was more I could do to make it fit mechanically.

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