|Illustration by Harry Clarke for Goethe's Faust|
Of all the ways people report handling raise read, my favorite response came from Gavin over at The City of Iron:
Courtesy of your friendly local Temple of Orcus.Following that link (and continuing to quote Gavin):
As luck would have it, following a recent suggestion from Alex, I'd decided several days previously that Orcus is the main cosmic power to whom adventurers may turn when seeking to raise a dead companion.I really like the feeling of dark gods being accepted as part of the world, though still feared. There is a danger here of domesticating the darkness, so setting details like this should be handled carefully. Perhaps cultists of Orcus could be major campaign antagonists as well. Perhaps being raised brands one as an untouchable or immune to normal curative magic.
So, on the spur of the moment I was presented with the task of deciding how that works. Visiting the temple of Orcus in S'raka, here are the choices the PCs were presented:
- Pay 5,000gp for the ritual.
- Pay 2,000gp and provide a bunch of live sacrifices to "butter up" the lord of the dead. A total of 17 humans or 32 "little people" were the figures recommended.
- Accept a group quest to return the favour.
The monotheistic tradition has to some degree done away with the ambiguity of scary-but-cosmically-necessary (present, for example, in the Greek fates or the fickleness of Poseidon). Monotheism does, however, has an analogue that could potentially be leveraged, which is a deal with the devil (see the Faust legend for some inspiration, though it does not involve the desire for a second chance).