Hi friends! I’m trying to hash out some custom rules or moves to reflect what I’ve got going on in my game.

Hi friends! I’m trying to hash out some custom rules or moves to reflect what I’ve got going on in my game.

Hi friends! I’m trying to hash out some custom rules or moves to reflect what I’ve got going on in my game.

Long story short, there’s a force in the campaign that can sometimes short circuit the Last Breath fiction of arriving at the Black Gates for judgment. Instead, people are brought back into the realm of the living. When this happens, people aren’t quite undead but not quite alive either. If you need a good example, think of how foes can return in Shadow of War (see link).

I’d like to have a good way to reflect that someone may have come back two, three, four times, keeping in mind that this can happen for adventurers as well as foes and other NPCs. I was thinking a modified Debility scheme where each ‘return’ would impact an attribute like a Debility does. These would stack based on how many times you’ve been dragged back. There needs to be a diminishing return here; if you’ve come back six times, you’re going to be a mess.

Anybody played with something like this at all?


16 thoughts on “Hi friends! I’m trying to hash out some custom rules or moves to reflect what I’ve got going on in my game.”

  1. Why not think fiction first and construct a list of things “left behind on Death’s doorstep.”

    “I have returned from the dead, but have left behind…

    • my senses; the world is dull and lifeless

    • my wits; my mind is addled

    • my dreams; life has lost its charms

    • my memories; moments lost like tears in the rain

    • my body; the mortal coil now shuffled off

    • my soul; damned and damned and damned

    • my self; what stands before you is no longer me”

  2. Just keep in mind the way these will interact with the moves, and I think you should get some mileage out of them.

    Stuff like:

    Someone says they’ve come back hard of hearing and unable to see colors, and you hammer on that when they want to discern realities: “So I roll?” “Oh, no way, you’ve got no idea what’s going on, and then bam the door gets kicked in by this troll.”

    Someone comes back without their wits, and maybe they can’t even resist some psychic’s mind probe without help from a party manner to strengthen their thought.

    Without their body could mean a lot of things, ask the player what’s happened: are they a ghost, a beast, some Silent Hills-style horror, and apply whatever ad hoc ruling you need.


  3. Matt Martinez That’s what I’m taking away from it. I haven’t dug into it fully yet, but if thats the general read of the game, then I’m on board. I’d like to bring the feeling evoked in that article to my table.

  4. I’m against compendium’ing it, unless the character dying really wants to explore that side of themselves and what kind of weight it has on the campaign— not only the fact that this can happen, but the fact that it happened (or might, or will) to a party member. I like Alfred Rudzki’s approach quite a lot, and I’m going to build upon it a bit. I’d make some checkboxes, rather than bulletpoints, each time you take one, you check it. Perhaps you can roll+Deathtouched, for a single, or perhaps a couple of moves, and not more. This way I think you’ll be able to seamlessly delve into what you want without making it almost an enforced line-of-exploring-and-investigating for the players, provided the moves are evocative, as always. And I think aswell that upon the fourth one, the character should be forcibly (if you will) retired. A character missing half of themselves is not proactive or fulfilling enough to play as a player on a constant basis for 3-5 hours at a time.

  5. My bulletpoints aren’t meant to be taken in order, but rather chosen as the player wishes, to preserve their engagement. At any time, they can choose the final option if they aren’t attracted to playing any other combo of traits.

  6. I’m working on a Destiny-inspired game where the players die and come back over and over. Here are the rules for dying and coming back, which might help you with yours.


    You’re definitely going to die. But that’s okay, because you know you’ll come back – but what exactly does that look like? What is the real penalty for death?

    When all six of your attributes are broken and you take more damage, you die. There is no roll to avoid it – no saving throw. You were in pretty bad shape, after all.

    (You can avoid the damage by applying a scar instead, but if you’ve run out of scars you’re just going to have to take it)

    When you die, there’s some housekeeping to take care of. Follow these steps:

    • Erase the hits and misses tracks on your attributes. You’re going to have to build them back up again.

    • Reduce three of your attributes by one. Don’t worry – through the process of reforging, you can always build them back up.

    • Forget a part of who you were: erase a goal, ideal, or memory, or a personality trait. Others will remember it, or you might retain evidence of it, but you just can’t fathom its significance anymore.

    • Lose a little of your connection to the world: erase a bond. It no longer matters to you, no matter how others feel about it.

    • Erase a scar. It doesn’t have to be recent. When you come back, you’ll be able to sustain more injury.

    Coming Back

    When you come back, you have to decide where you’ve come back from. Tell the table about what you’ve seen, felt, and heard while you were gone. Was it nice there? Or was it a hellish nightmare? Then follow these steps:

    • Gain an experience point. Whoever said dying didn’t have its benefits?

    • Learn something new. Write a new goal, ideal, or memory, or a new personality trait. It must be different than what you lost. The goal might be confusing or without context; the memory might offer valuable insight into an enemy’s plan; the trait might directly conflict with your others.

    • Choose how long you were gone. If only a few minutes, don’t repair any of your broken attributes: your body hasn’t had time to recover. If an hour, repair one. If a few hours, repair two. A day, repair three. A few days, repair four. A week, five. A few weeks, all six.

    • If you choose to remain dead for longer – months or more – erase additional scars, one for every few.

    • If you choose to remain dead longer still, write additional new goals, memories, or ideals. Your head is brimming with information that you have gleaned while away, one for every few years. The things you recall post-resurrection are always treated as true, as long as they don’t directly conflict with information already established, even if you just make things up (like the big bad having a huge weakness to cats for some reason).”

    A couple notes, for context: reforging is what happens instead of retiring a character at max level. It lets you start a new class with the same “character,” and re-earn some points. To prevent maxing all attributes, it’s harder to increase them, and they can be more easily reduced.

    Personality traits are mechanical, as well as fictional — they are like flags, which tie into Hx and Bonds.

Comments are closed.