The most widely practiced magical way to fend off death is the IQ 14 spell Reverse Death (Magi Carta, pg 129), but that is a rough'n'ready technique that essentially involves the mage almost immediately grabbing the soul back before it can slip away.
However, there are two more powerful spells: the Ritual Of Reincarnation (IQ 16), which we will look at tomorrow, and the Ritual Of Resurrection (see below).
Unlike Reverse Death, these don't need to be cast immediately after the character's death - although there is still a limit on how much time can be allowed to pass before the death becomes irreversible.
RITUAL OF RESURRECTION
(P, IQ 18, EN: 12, R: Touch)
Bringing the dead back to life is not a "service" that mainstream religion in Cidri offers, and should the player-characters seek to resurrect a fallen comrade they will need to track down a willing black magician or powerful witch willing to risk calling on the dark forces necessary to perform such an act.
It isn't a question of simply saying a few words and waving their hands over a dead body either, but a lengthy ritual with great cost - and not something to be entered into lightly.
The rare resurrection ritual counts as an IQ16 spell.
Once an agreeable sorcerer has been found, the player-characters must ensure that the deceased has been dead for less than (24 minus the sum of the dead character's Skill Levels; if character was a mage count Spell Levels as well) days for the ritual to even stand a chance of working.
A living sacrifice is required of a beast or beasts (or servants, hireling etc if the player-characters are feeling particularly amoral) with a particular connection to the deceased (e.g. his horse, his hunting dogs etc) with a total ST equal to half the character's ST + EN (while he was alive). If there are no 'willing' sacrifices with an actual connection to the character then any large animal/monster may be substituted as long it reaches the ST requirements.
The ritual may then begin.
It lasts 2d6 hours (per attempt). A failure doesn't forfeit the spell, just means he must try again next round. As per the normal HOW rules, a failure to make the spell check normally means the wizard can simply try again (unless she fumbles).
The DM needs to keep note of how many 'attempts' are required to complete the ritual.
At completion of the successful ritual, the formerly dead character is restored to life with a reduction in both his EN and IQ of a permanent minus one (-1 to EN and IQ).
However, the resurrected character must immediately make a STAT check of 3d6 against his new IQ (with IQ temporarily reduced by an additional minus one per attempt after the first that the ritual took to complete).
A failed check means the character has come back "not quite right" and must roll 2d6 against the chart below:
2. Character is a vegetable, with zero IQ, unable to move, think, communicate etc for himself. If unaided will eventually die (again) after 2d6 days.
3. The resurrection was not complete and the character is now a member of the undead (and can be turned as a creature with hit dice equal to his level). He no longer requires sustenance or sleep, does not breathe etc but his skin will take on a greyish pallor and he exudes an the unnatural aura that makes young people and animals skittish around him. His ST rises by two points and he is also immune to mind-affecting magic, sleep spells, illusions, charms, paralysis, poison, death magic etc Over time his skin will contract over his bones and begin to flake off.
4. For the rest of his "new" life, the character is plagued by nightmares and paranoia. Halve his normal healing rate (e.g. One hour of rest/sleep to regain a point of EN, two days of rest to restore a ST point etc) and reduce IQ by a further two points.
5. Character has no recollection of his life after adolescence - no idea who all these people are hovering around his bed, how he died, who he has met, where he has been etc Starts again with zero experience points (all skill increases gained through experience are gone).
6. The character returns with a long-lasting depression due to fleeting memories of being in a place of comfort that conforms to his vision of the afterlife (be it a warrior's mead hall, a sumptuous palace filled with virgin servants etc) For a year and a day, the character will make all die rolls, skill and statistic checks at -2, will never exhibit enthusiasm, will shun the company of his peers (especially those he discovers were responsible for his return) etc
7. Character's features become sunken and 'haunted' and she has an aura of 'death' about him that makes people uncomfortable around her.
8. Character is possessed of an excessive joie de vivre and feels the urge to live life to the full; indulging in all that is best in life - as much food, drink, sex and violence he can get involved in. For the first (1d6/2)+1 months after his return he will enter all combat as a berserker (+2DX for attacks, but -2DX for defensive actions).
9.The lack of oxygen to the character's brain during the resurrection process has left him with severe brain damage, halved his IQ score and caused him to lose a total of 1d3 levels from random skills.
10. The character has come back as a ghoul (Tome Of Terrors & Treasures, pg 355) - over the next 1d3 weeks he will notice that his taste in food has changed to just raw meat, in another 1d3 weeks he will be craving human flesh and he will find himself becoming sensitive to daylight, 1d3 weeks later he will be unable to operate in daylight (being totally blind in normal sunlight and finding his skin incredibly irritable), however his finger nails have started to lengthen. After another 1d3 weeks, his fingernails will be like talons, able to scratch for 1d6 damage. Despite his cannibalistic food habits and light-sensitivity, the character retains his intelligence and awareness.
11. The character has returned to life, but his soul has remained in the afterlife. He is thus without a soul to temper his actions (see below).
12. The character did not come back from "the other side" alone, but has brought with him a malign, non-corporeal, supernatural entity. The exact nature of this is determined by the DM as suits his current campaign standing, story ideas etc
A CHARACTER WITHOUT A SOUL:
- Becomes "evil" in alignment (as well a shift in attitude this will also play out in what magical items he can use, and depending on what class he is it could also strip him of some powers and abilities).
- Loses all empathy and emotional attachment to others - be they family, friends, cute puppies or mewling children. His only interest is in himself and will only act to further his own cause and fill the 'emptiness' they have inside (which is usually through self-gratification, sex, schadenfreude, power etc). Although soulless, he is not stupid and will stick with his team-mates as long as it serves his best interest. However, he will think nothing of selling them out if a better offer comes along.
- Devoid of conscience, a person without a soul is cruel, mean and vicious without concern for others' feelings, taking what he wants when wants it.
- Gives off an air of cold, detachment, that makes people uncomfortable around him. Animals will sense the lack of a soul and be particularly skittish in his presence.
- Gains +1 to hit in combat as there's no longer a sub-conscious concern about hitting the wrong person, getting in the way of colleagues etc
- Also gains a +3 IQ bonus on any skill checks that involve telling lies or any saving rolls against fear.
- Immune to supernatural attempts at draining life, causing fear, mind control, sleep, charm, or possession. Or any other magic that specifically or implicitly targets the soul.