|These vultures surely do not represent players!|
I'm a fan of communicating information before-hand, because I never want to have a conversation that a player starts by saying "Well, my character would have known beforehand. . ." because they are likely right.
Who likes to lose an argument? Not this guy!
However, the players won't have the information about the below, they will have only information about the effects.
In addition, I'm not submitting the following article for perusal because I have any sort of moral platform against the desecration of the dead. I mean, if the players want to loot their dead companion and leave his body in the dungeon, that's ok!
I think it is a pretty fantastic fantasy world that we are imagining here, and that it might be made better if we stopped thinking so scientifically about it.
What happens at death?
At the moment of death, the soul of the player is immediately trapped within their body. They are trapped within their body, for the many, many, hours it takes their body to truly, fully, die. However, they are separated from all the influences that have made them who they were in life. They remain in their corpse in their most pure and ideal form, consisting of nothing but oceans of emotion and thought.
Of course they are exposed to the endless winds of the far realm.
No longer feeling the bond they once felt with their companions, they remain aware of all that transpires around them. If this activity is heinous enough, it will reinvigorate their bond with the prime, and they will not be able to pass on, eventually becoming undead. Certain awkward passions, such as hungering for human flesh, or the torture and molestations of innocents will also cause this bond to be strengthened. So will being forced ahead of the party at sword-point
The only way to insure the passage of the soul from the material, is to expose it to comfort. A funeral, wake, ceremony of some kind comforts the raw spirit, and it passes on, knowing that nothing is left for it to do.
What happens when we loot the body?
1. The body or spirit rises as an undead. The undead that is created has no relation to the hit die of the deceased. The abuser of more than one low level henchmen has been surprised by a vengeful specter.
2. The deceased opens a passage from the far realms into the prime. Those who have treated it poorly are blasted with this energy and lose 1-4 life levels.
3. A haunting occurs. The deceased becomes focused on a specific being and begins to affect their life. This can involve the character saying things he did not mean to say, randomly attacking the wrong person, or simply having a variable penalty on attack rolls.
4. You become a target of the dead. Undead rise up and hunt you no matter where you go for your offenses against the dead.
5. Curse of the bounty. Any loot or items taken from a dead person who has not bequeathed them to you, result in a curse. A stolen sword will strike a friend. A magical protection will fail. A wand will backfire.
6. The dead spirit possesses the body, producing sores, boils, and eventually killing the victim creating more undead horrors.
7. The clock curse. The items you stole and the corpse you left have had no downside so far as you can see. But it is not long till you will have to pay that debt with your life.
8. An undead will rise that will haunt the victim, harassing him, chasing him, getting him run out of town. However if this undead were slain, a doom would befall the victim.
Note that these curses affect those who loot the recently dead. The long dead have passed on, but they have other protections.
Hack & Slash