The death of a PC is always a shocking moment, but even more so when the PC in question has been the only constant of the campaign from day one, and, indeed, the self-styled "boss" of the party.
Really the death was an un/lucky fluke. I rolled three natural 20s against him, giving whatever armour or precautions he'd taken no chance of helping him.
But whatever the cause, we now find ourselves in a very interesting position -- the first time in the history of the campaign where raise dead is seriously being discussed. 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.
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.
This has presented a very interesting situation to the party, as they don't have 5,000gp between them, so cannot simply pay the lump sum. They could probably just about scrape it together if they sacrificed all the wealth they have, and sold Slippy's magic sword. This would leave them penniless, a state which they are not at all keen on.
The live sacrifices option has been discussed, either by buying slaves for the purpose (which is past the edge of taste & morality for some of the PCs), or venturing underground and capturing several dozen kobolds whom they encountered recently and have taken a (completely unwarranted, it must be said) disliking to. It sounds like this would be a rather amusing exercise in bad taste.
Interestingly, the least favourite option (apart from zombification, which only the necromancer is keen on) is the quest. As DM I am rather keen on this option, as it would give a nice excuse for some fun missions, but I suppose they don't trust the lord of the dead :)
It'll be fascinating to see what they end up deciding on. Slippy's player Yves is hoping they'll be overcome with loyalty to their "bold" "leader".