Resurrection and the Afterlife
What are everyone's thoughts on this? It's a topic I've always cringed from to be honest. I hate the resurection spells in D&D, and disallow them in any campaign I've ever run. I've gone so far as to rework entire pre-published adventures I wanted to use just because at some point there's a resurection of an NPC villain. However, it is part of the rules in many fantasy games, and sometimes we come across players that want to (over)use it.
My favorite thing to do to combat the feeling that players (or NPCs, or whatever) can just plug some more quarters in and keep going is to remove those spells entirely. But, sometimes you really *want* someone to come back from the dead, so how do you have your cake and eat it too? I suppose one could rule that rising from the dead is something that only the gods can do for you...but if you want religion to play a fairly minor role in your campaign, that solution doesn't help you.
Maiming and crippleing is a good alternative to death...but after awhile your players will know that they won't die, they'll just lose limbs and eyes and all that good stuff. Same goes for the NPCs..."Oh Max Ernst? We left him back in Bogenhafen with a gaping hole in his chect. I suppose he'll be back for revenge eventually." This can be a great plot device, but if overused it becomes pure cheese.
The easiest thing I can think of is "dead is dead". Ghostwalk, for those familiar, did a good job of this by allowing the dead PCs to keep adventuring with the group as spirits. A cool idea, but not for everyone. It raises too many questions about the nature of death that some GMs may not be prepared to answer...
...which leads to the second part of this post. What do the other GMs out there do about the afterlife? Have you ever ran a campaign for entirely dead PCs (barring Vampire and Wraith of course ;)? And as for the D&D players out there...notice how there's all those planes that dead souls go to...just not the PCs? Are those planes just for commoners, NPCs, and the people the group never met?
I know someone who plays in a campaign where the PCs keep dieing over and over and going to all these different hells...wish I could explain it better, but I thought the idea sounded frustrating for the PCs, and wack at any rate ;)
I like to keep PC mortality very low in my campaigns as I love to see the characters develop over time, and my players are like that too. They don't want me sending a stream of orcs through the revolving doors, and I don't want them doing the same thing with their characters.
So...death and the afterlife...what's everyone got to say?