Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Skew Of Society

Wickedmurph requested last week that I convey my "... thoughts on the role of church/clerics in a society where magical healing is a common/effective tool. My thought is that it would significantly change the sociological structure of a medieval society."

And Maroon added that he was interested in how I handled magic healing in my game. "If 6 points of damage is just a scratch to one but a deep wound to another, what does 6 points of healing do? How does hit point recovery in general play out?"

So we'll tackle both in this post, and a little more besides.

Maroon first, as it's the easier question. I realize that some of my comments on this post does create a sort of double-standard where it comes to healing spells, vis-a-vis their being more 'effective' on a lower level ... effective in this case being that they are able to heal a greater percentage of the individual's total hit points. That's Maroon's quoted question, above.

I would say that I'm not that niggling in my concerns about the game. My previous arguments were about zero-levels having enough hit points to be a challenge, not a forensic discussion on what sorts of wounds exactly were experienced by lower levels vs. higher levels. My exact words were, "I don't see severe damage occurring until getting down to the last few hit points that a character has." I was being deliberately vague about what was meant by 'severe.' Specifically, you could say, a blow that would have an actual chance of knocking an individual unconscious, or debilitating their combat effectiveness. This would certainly happen much more easily to a rookie than an experienced veteran. A few arrows landing around a rookie, and one glancing off his forehead and causing a light flesh wound, would be enough to cause them to faint or crawl away in terror, or even panic stupidly when they're not hurt that badly. At the same time, someone who's been hit before, and often, will snap off the arrow in his chest and go on fighting.

But you know, that's all just apologetic crap. Truth is, I don't think about it much. Hit points are a convenient battle abstract, and I like it recognized that even the lowest level characters have enough of the abstract to at least get hit a few times (on average) before caving like fluff. Sure, two sword blows should be enough to put a peasant down (average 9 damage), but there ought to be a better than 1 in 64 chance that they won't.

And I hate to disappoint, but the application of a healing spell in my world is grossly unrealistic - but eminently playable. A cleric casts the spell, whacks a player with the healing, and that player can jump up the next round and get back to swinging. That sort of thing wouldn't fly in a novel and it wouldn't play well in a movie - and I wouldn't have it that way in either - but it kicks ass in a combat game.

As I said once before, I'm not opposed to D&D being a game ... for me, that means as complicated as possible, with the rules being clear-cut. Here are my rules regarding casting a cure light wounds spell, if you're interested. I only have somatic components for spells, so the cleric doesn't need to pull things out, they can just start casting during their combat move. They can't move more than five feet while casting. If they are nudged, knocked, hit or otherwise thrown off-kilter, the spell is ruined (why? who knows, force lines maybe). If the party to be healed is more than 5 feet away, the cleric can move 5' per round and cast the spell the next round or the round after that, provided they don't get knocked. Cure light wounds heals 5-8 damage, not 1-8. They can distribute the healing to more than one person, but they can bestow healing to only one person per round. The cleric needs to apply only the lightest touch, and any part of the body will do. Therefore, players in combat can be healed while fighting.
My players are used to it and they like it. I don't think it reduces the challenge of the game, so its fine the way it is.

ickedmurph's question about churches and clerics is more ticklish. It should be noted (and so rarely is) that the power of a magical cleric to weild power in a medieval setting should be at least fifty times greater than in actual reality ... which was itself extensive. Consider a village where every accident, every childhood illness, every momentary lapse in judgement regarding the loss of a finger or appendage can be instantly fixed and cured. Consider that the loss of a finger, if the finger is retained, can be easily made better if the finger is held up to the rest of the body and an ordinary cure spell is used (restoration wouldn't be necessary).

And now consider how the people of that village would feel about the cleric (or druid, it applies to them, also) in question ... about the safety of their children, about the certainty of their immortal souls (now existing with observable proof), and about the possibility of extended or even immortal life (reincarnation). Those people will be violently loyal to the cleric who has promised, and proved, his or her community investment. They will not couch persons of other faith, they will not hesitate to kill a threat to the cleric or temple, and they will certainly not listen to the liberal or otherwise blasphemous babblings of strangers blowing through towns.

Proof positive that religious beliefs are real would substantially increase the power of the church - which is hard to imagine, since the church wielded immense power in our history without that proof.
I tend to play my world out to be more liberal than that, since it makes for a highly repressed culture and therefore a world that players are afraid to move in. But I can play certain regions/kingdoms as harsh as I want, as adventure fodder.

As an aside, about my decision, two decades ago, to stop playing with material components for spells. Mostly, I hated them, and the players hated them. They felt like a punishment for getting to be higher level, being just another cheap way to strain money out of the player's pocket. It was particularly resented since the cleric, for instance, struggled to get up to 55,000 or 220,000 X.P. only to have those great spells stigmatized by extra costs. After all, it would take literally years of campaigning to reach 7th or 9th level in my world - upwards of 50-60 runnings. So I threw out the extra restraints on using those spells in favor of a more friendly perspective.

Having added spells to my trade tables, however, I find myself in a quandry. It is much rarer to find a 9th level cleric than a 1st level cleric, so it is only natural that 5th level spells be much less available than 1st level spells. So naturally, it a party wants to have a dead character raised, they should expect to pay through the nose ... say, 5,000 g.p., at least. Anything less would hardly be a penalty for dying.
However ... what happens when the cleric character reaches 9th level, and now possesses raise dead? And can cast that spell every day? I run a world that is rather thickly populated, such that there are typically 200,000 people or more living within a 60 mile radius. That's enough that if someone's just died (and we're talking 77+ people dying per week), the cleric can easily be sent for and be expected to arrive within the 9-day max. And while most individuals wouldn't have 5,000 in cash, there are a lot of fixed houses around that are worth thousands each - and what individual wouldn't give up their house if they could have their husband or wife back?

It seems all well and good to say that this is fair, but since the spell can be cast daily, do you really want to give your cleric character 260,000 g.p. per year for doing nothing but sit on their ass? (that's assuming they cast the spell only once a week - everyday would be 1.825 million g.p.).

In the wider view, there's just no way that the cost of raise dead can be as much as 5,000 g.p. Given the steady condition of dying people, everything would be owned by the church in short order ... and there would be no more money to give over to the church to raise one's loved ones. (Note that this problem wouldn't be improved by reinstating material components ... it would just put all the money in the hands of the apothecaries, who sell the components - which they could conjure from off-plane, further distorting the system until it was broken).

Giving the gentle reader three options:

A) The cost of raise dead is fairly trivial, and therefore not a punishment at all for the party. This is fine for play, but sociologically it would make people much more willing to take risks, wouldn't it? How would that affect ordinary community behavior? Entertainments? Are we talking naked jousting? Widespread masochism? Could you burn a witch and still keep her from killing your cows next week? If it gets so even the common people can afford to pay the cleric, where goes the fear with which the upper crusts rule? If everyone in the household from the cook to the dressmaker did not fear death at the master's hands, is there anyone a cleric couldn't have assassinated?

But of course, whatever you charge down at the church, a cleric can always give the spell away for free, right?

B) Introduce a non-fiscal penalty, such as draining the strength of the cleric for some period upon casting the spell. But which spells would you choose for this penalty? And aren't we again talking about punishing a player for success?

C) Create a disinterest in raising the dead. "Yes, mom's dead, but we'd rather keep the house." What are the sociological implications of a world where people would casually choose to leave people in the grave? Would love die in favor of materialism? I mean, more than it does right now?

The phrase, "I'll love you forever," would have to be changed to, "I'd raise you" ... since it just wasn't done. Followed by the ever popular, "I wouldn't give two cents to raise my father." I see a rather cold, insidious world there, where familial ties were conveniently dispensed with as everyone hardened themselves against considering any kindness to be a weakness. How long is it before the five grand you won't give for raising dead becomes the two hundred you wouldn't pay for removing paralysis?

D) Create a refusal to offer aid. The clerics can, but they won't. Nevermind that it would remove a huge opportunity for them to influence the social fabric, they're just stubbornly opposed to helping anyone.
Resentment, anyone?

Overall, I see problems. Mostly because I don't want to hand over heaps of money to the players for no effort. Sitting on their laurels is one thing ... funnelling the coin of the world into their pockets is something else.

Of course, there's always the possibility of creating clerical wars, between clerics working their 'territory' in a gangland fashion, rubbing out the competition and so on - not for beliefs, but to cultivate the dying to make coin. That undoubtedly sounds interesting to some, but I myself have no interest in running a campaign based on the Roaring Twenties.

Whatever the case, it all seems contrary to the usual perception of D&D. I'm not sure what I'll do about it ... make rules about who can, or cannot, be paid for their spells (and who's allowed to pay), based on social hierarchy and such. Best thing I can think of to retain the status quo.

20 comments:

johnarendt said...

This is a tough one - if clerical magic is ubiquitous, I don't see how loyalty to one's parish priest couldn't help but be the driving force in society, and a D&D world should be much different than the quasi-medieval implied setting of AD&D. You mentioned the loyalty of the underclasses to those clerics that took care of them; now imagine the inordinate power and influence churches would wield over the upper classes as well. Or the upper classes would completely control the clergy as a critical resource...

However - if clerical magic is this commonplace, perhaps a model more like modern medicine and modern hospitals is warranted? Certainly in America, there are health care options unavailable to the poor because they can't pay. This leads to that cold, mercenary atmosphere you indicated - where people make hard decisions about leaving the dead "dead" - like weighing treatment options in the American pay-for-health system.

An alternate approach is to make clerical magic rare and follow the 'real world' model more closely - where prophets and seers and holy men are extremely rare, and when they arise they are typically distrusted, shunned or martyred by the established religious institutions and power structures. Miracles are questioned or disbelieved. A PC cleric would be an outsider, could possibly become a cult-leader whether they liked it or not, and would have enemies amongst the mundane clergy everywhere.

Another alternate approach is to just limit the extreme healing spells... LOTFP WFRP removes raise and resurrection from the collection. Or perhaps there is a dearth of high level clerics in the world capable of performing them... such things only happened in the past, when the prophets lived or folks had stronger faith (ie, reached higher levels). Thus one can find Raise Dead on a scroll, but not at the Archbishopric in the nearby city.

My concern with the latter two options is that it is drifting into 'the rules that cover the PC's don't necessarily apply to the rest of the world'. This breaks down the simulation.

One issue you didn't address is the source of the cleric's power. What is the bar to pass muster as a follower and be granted spells? What percent of the population musters the appropriate faith and belief? In real world myths, the bar is very high indeed. If it's more like what it takes to be a pastor, priest, reverend et al in the real world, then maybe clericalism is fairly mundane and the analogy to medical school and modern doctors is more applicable when it comes to healing.

I tend to think rare clerical magic can still work in a quasi-medieval setting, but ubiquitous clerical magic breaks the analogy too much.

Oddbit said...

Some common limitations to the whole area of resurrection magic are like a series of gates.

Your clerics most likely get their powers from gods. Gods should probably get veto rights on the spell.

Also clerics as well as gods probably have a higher wisdom score, which I would hope would equate to some wisdom based knowledge about the long term effects of a resurrection happy clergy.

Also honestly, unless it's happening in the background, it's probably boring. Running town to town zapping people to life sounds more like an MMORPG gather quest than a real fun Role Playing experience. Not that you couldn't do it, but it would get old.

Also, every time you make a friend, you can equally be making a powerful enemy. Maybe if you run around resurrecting people there are people who want them to stay dead, and if you're stopping this, they may stop you. Obviously this would including killing you and stealing the body. Success or failure a good side tracking adventure.

Just some thoughts.

Alexis said...

Johnarendt,

You get nowhere with me quoting LotFP.

But addressed to both gentlemen,

The bar can't be that high, simply because the character can make a cleric as long as they have a 9 wisdom. That's it. That's the only limitation. In any system it is far easier to be a cleric than, say, a paladin. So if you make it hard for NPC clerics to exist, you have to either deny cleric to the players or make it absurdly difficult to be one (compared to the playable value of the class) ... and you'd have to bestow untoward respect and groveling every time the cleric entered the town.

It's easy for Jim and his universe to eliminate the raise dead/resurrect from his canon, as he is a self-described believer in non-campaign-driven D&D. But those of us who are playing the same characters for years would think it ridiculous that there's all this magic (and alternate planes of existence) but no raise dead. Raise dead is a staple of the fantasy milieu, beginning with Conan and going everywhere.

There are benefits to making raise dead/resurrect difficult, but I see no benefits to making it impossible.

Anthony said...

If you want to make it more or less impossible, take the actual Resurrection as your model. Only God-incarnate gets the "raise dead" treatment. Though, that is sort of just a lore excuse to cover over a "no raise dead" rule.

I agree that it's "ridiculous that there's all this magic (and alternate planes of existence) but no raise dead." It would seem that it comes as a package. So to be logically consistent and avoid fiat, no raise dead means no plane travel.

So the only compromise (assuming you don't want to just utilize a monetary/EXP/etc disincentive) seems to be that only the beatific can be raised from the dead. Or those equally dedicated to evil/chaos/etc.

That could actually be a fun requirement. If you have to be good/evil/law/chaos incarnate your whole life for the chance at a raise dead from the appropriate deity, that might make for some interesting role playing. No bedside conversions allowed either :D

Wickedmurph said...

I knew this would be interesting. My thoughts zipped down pretty much the same channels.
"Imagine if priests really could work miracles..." then, "holy crap - they ran the show when they COULDN'T work miracles..."

I was just thinking about healing, initially - but raise dead does open another can of worms.

My thought on this is to consider how much Agency the gods give their priests. Agency is a concept that you see these days applying to realtors and lawyers - these people are given certain authority to act on your behalf, with the assumption that they have an obligation to do right by you.

What degree of agency is granted by a god to his clerics? Does he give them the power to raise people from the dead, and they can do what they want? Or do the clerics pray to the god to raise people from the dead, and the god does the heavy lifting?

Alexis, I'm sure you can see the difference here - if it's the first option, then all the things that are concerning about raise dead apply. But if it's the second, then the God decides whether to raise the person or not. And my rule of thumb would be - if you ain't a serious worshipper of god A, you ain't coming back.

That allows you to mostly retain the status quo, with the caveat that the players may become more interested in religion.

I've got a bunch of other thoughts on how this would effect the sociodynamics of a society, but I think I'll post em over at my own house, rather than crowd up yours.

Alexis said...

Anthony,

It's a good idea, but I don't play with alignment, not for three decades. I just wouldn't resurrect it (haha) just for this.

Wicked,

By the rules of the game, the gods grant agency once per day for anyone of 9th level or better. And the gods keep those who fail their resurrection survival roll (not very many).

I get your point. But I wonder if my party - or any party - would be happy with any limitations to their using (or having others use) this particular spell. I myself would seriously question playing in anyone's world who tried to curtail it.

runjikol said...

I'm on a similar page to Wickedmurph: Clerics whill assess the soul of the person they've been requested to resurrect. If the soul is closely enough aligned with the tenets of their religion they will do so for the fee. It only takes a simple divination.

The socio-political power of churches who provide healing can be incredibly extensive. However, if the pursuit of political power is against the religion then they are instantly restricted. If the clergy pursue political power the fall from grace and lose their religious magic. This is my take for Khara Thel, my fantasy world.

Ian said...

While this isn't something I believe you would interested in implementing, I'll post it here on the off chance that it may be helpful. In my campaign I require a great sacrifice to be made by a clerics who raises the dead--some sort of vow that the cleric is willing to make or physical sacrifice. And I don't means monitory either; I mean flesh or soul. If the sacrifice isn't good enough or not of the god's portfolio, the raising doesn't happen. If the cleric ever goes back on a sacrifice, anyone raised by that cleric dies and the cleric looses the ability to cast spells until having atoned for his/her sins. Likewise, when the cleric dies, those that have been risen die as well (although, they may be rises again by a different cleric).

Here are some sacrifices I would accept:

1. Lose of level by the cleric. If the level is restored by magic or other unnatural means, the sacrifice is lost.

2. The cleric can sacrifice a limb or other body part. If the limb or body part is restored, the sacrifice is lost.

3. The cleric can make some sort of strict vow--non-violence, poverty, blindness, will pray daily at a holy site, etc. If the cleric breaks the vow, the sacrifice is void (even if broken unwillingly).

Of course, clerics can be creative with their sacrifices. I'm always open to new ideas, such as leading a holy crusade for the next year.

The Rubberduck said...

I think the best course might be a range of reasons, rather than one overarching one.

For instance, does raise from dead allow the raising of people who died from old age? If not, that cuts into the amount of people that can be raised.

Then there's the cultural side. It can come from both sides of the fence. It has already been mentioned that some clerics might not want to raise people, unless they think them worthy (whether by being the right faith, having enough faith, being worthy, etc).

The nobility might have a Girl Genius approach. Raising nobles isn't allowed because it messes up the line of heritage. Especially if you raise the king five years into the new king's reign.

Then there's the fact that an afterlife is a fact. A lot of people might object to raising people who have gone to their well deserved afterlife, especially if they've gone to the good one. The widow doesn't want to pull her husband out of heaven.

Finding a priest that wants to pull people from Hell might be hard, since they probably deserve that afterlife. And maybe it has been found that people who get raised from Hell gets "special treatment" when they sooner or later return.

All this doesn't keep priests from raising the dead, but it does cut into the amount that can be raised, the amount that want to be raised, and the amount that a priest wishes to raise.

Skydyr said...

Following The Rubberduck's line of thinking, it may also be that being raised from the dead creates an obligation on the part of the raised party.
"Congratulations and welcome back to the land of the living. We trust that you'll be using your stay here to further the aims of St. Bob and live life as a paragon of his virtues, lest he become wroth and cast you from his sight into the nine hells of eternal pain."
Perhaps raising a dead person involves allowing their soul to barter with the god for the privilege, in exchange for something, similar to the sacrifices Ian mentions above, but for the raised party instead.
This may solve a lot of the problems, as many people, noble and poor alike, would not be willing to change their lives so drastically in exchange for the opportunity to return. Especially if they've got it good where they are. Some thieving, murderous adventurer, however, may see it as a bargain to escape whatever torment he is in.

Alexis said...

These are fine ideas, except ... why should this spell, and no other, be limited in its fair use by the player?

I've never heard of any limitation on spells which are designed to take life ... why should a spell that gives life require blood, limbs, quests and other railroading propositions?

Wickedmurph said...

Well, who's to say that no other spells are limited in their fair use, when cast by a caster other than a PC?

The DM is - that's the short answer. All the powers, spells and skills in D&D are presented in purely mechanistic terms - this is what they are, this is what they do. And that's as it should be, we're talking about game rules here.

But it's always been the responsibility of the DM to contextualize all the mechanical elements of the game, and for most things, we do it automatically.

If a PC uses Slay Living on a city watchman, there are consequences, correct? So why would we not ascribe consequences and context to casting Raise Dead on a city watchman (or anybody else, for that matter)?

Besides, I categorically reject that giving motivations and desires (and consequences) to NPC's and their actions is a "railroading proposition".

If PC's want access to something that is, by any measurement, a rare and powerful magic, they need to be able to pay the piper, whether that be in blood, sweat or tears.

Alexis said...

If an NPC wants to insist upon a specific payment, that is correct, and I am on board.

But when a rule is made that NPC's will ALWAYS insist upon a quest, or forcing the player to give up their own plans to wage a crusade for a year, then you are giving Hobson's choice to the player, and that's not cricket.

Ian said...

Railroading is what I'm trying to avoid. Note that I make the cleric sacrifice, not the player. It's a matter of convincing the cleric that the character is worth resurrecting. If a PC cleric wants to raise someone, it is up to the player to decide the sacrifice. I see no railroading in that. It could be something as simple as a cleric tells the god of fire that he ensure a beacon remains alit. Who keeps the beacon aflame is not important, but it must be organized by the cleric.

I also disagree about other spells have restrictions. Some of the druid's spells have environmental prerequisites, such as Call Lightning which requires there to be come sort of storm in the area.

Wickedmurph said...

No, no rule about it, I agree on that. But costs, likely over and above 5000 gold. And the costs should be tied into both the god granting the power and the cleric performing the raise dead (or healing, at that). We ARE talking about organized religion, here.

-C said...

It wouldn't all fit, so I made the whole post on my blog. . .

First, it must be understood that it's necessary for the game. In every edition, by the time you reach a level where encounters have a regular chance of killing you raise dead appears. In Pathfinder, the spell appears as soon as the math shows you start losing party members from average distribution of damage. In earlier editions, it's when players regularly start running up against things that have multiple save or die attacks.It's necessary to have the spell, because without it campaigns would end at higher levels from the death of everyone involved.


To this point, the general thrust of the discussion seems to be ways to make the cleric 'pay' to 'balance' raise dead. I think what the post and responses (which are clearly designed to encourage discussion) are missing is actually looking at what the spell does, and realizing that we can do it today.


The spell returns life to a dead body. It doesn't fix anything, heal wounds (beyond a few points of damage), or resolve any current social conflicts and it has a failure chance and a limited time frame in which to be cast. Specifically this means there has to be a body in reasonable condition, it can't die from natural causes (because they would just kill it again if it were raised), it has to be fresh and not around anyone who, say, would just murder it all over again.

I think what many people fail to recognize about our medial system is that when a person is in a hospital, we basically have the option of keeping their body living indefinitely. (Anyone who's ever called a 'slow code' just so you don't have to deal with the resurrection (sic) of the body can relate to how frustrating this can be). Certainly there's an issue with it not always working (System shock/Resurrection survival), and it gets harder as they get sicker (-1 constitution every time it happens), and it's very, very, very, very, expensive.


The change it makes in society aren't an enigma, because they are ours. Longer life span, control of diseases, antitoxins/antiserums, the changes are the ones that we are familiar with. It makes a society look like our society.

continued here.

Menace 3 Society said...

I've actually run into this problem a lot, since I like building complex, interesting worlds that players can feel a part of... that also are fairly realistic. Characters die a lot, and I've tried several ways to deal with this, with varying levels of success.

1. No raising. This requires a certain degree of tinkering since, as someone mentioned, it's kind of hard to justify not being allowed to raise the dead when there's all this other magical and planar activity. My way out was to say that gods derived power from the number of souls in their afterlife domain, so raising someone from the dead weakened their power. This, however, doesn't solve the mechanical problem, that is, people sometime die frequently enough that they can't get into their characters.

2. Raise dead restores life but not missing limbs or badly damaged tissue (e.g. burns). A decapitated character could be raised if his head were held onto his neck when the spell was cast, and completely charged bodies or those missing vital organs had to be brought back with resurrection, a rarer and more powerful spell. Disadvantage: easy to circumvent with regenerate or heal.

3. Enforce the written rules about losing constitution and resurrection survival. This didn't work as well as planned, since the survival chance for even average characters is 77.5%.

4. Every raise dead or resurrection comes with an automatic quest on the caster, which can be transferred to a volunteer (usually the recipient or his friends). So, clerics are unlikely to raise dead peasants or other insignificant people, since they are generally unwilling or unable to go abroad on quests--which limits recipients to pious nobility and adventurers, who were probably going to go off and do something stupid anyway.

5. Require that the priest and the recipient both be of the same religion and maybe devoted to the same god, that they both be in good standing with the deity, etc. The problem here is just that it's either easily circumvented or really annoying, depending on the constraints of your world.

I think I like 4 the most, but in general trying to justify clerical magic in-game always bothers me. There's nothing in the rules about piety or devotion beyond alignment, which never sat well with me. Is Thor really going to intervene to regrow the arm of a half-orc assassin? But then I realize no one but me cares and the game goes on.

-C said...

@meance

Don't underestimate that survival chance. It's usually more than 80% for PC's, but I've had PC's straight up fail it before.

It's their life, and a 5% or 10% of that being gone forever happens often enough.

Barad the Gnome said...

I suggest the flavor of the campaign is important in deciding which path to follow in the healing raising continuum: easy and cheap, to expensive, to limited by the gods. Once you have the flavor you wish to achieve then undertake the game balance question.

You can certainly make it expensive to raise the dead without making the players wealthy by instituting expensive material components. Different churches could offer these services at a wide variety of overall costs. Those with a bias to raising funds could simply charge a significant premium over the material costs. Those with a bias towards goal achievement (aka quests) could offer the service at material cost plus quest. Already wealthy churches could provide the service in return for other services they value, power agreements, or towards individuals that further their aims. An experienced DM can easily fit any of these methods to a given church.

I have found it a real story obstacle if the wealthy and powerful can easily be raised. So in my campaign I instituted the the gods must allow, and the person must be interested barriers. This allows me as the DM to control who can get brought back to their miserable existence. Yes, I know that could make the players feel I am meddling too much but it allows my greater story arcs to work. In practice, I try not to limit their actions too much, but make bringing back the dead successfully a rare event.

A good topic for my own blog some day soon.

Anthony said...

I've been thinking about this issue as well, and have decided to go the following route (as if anyone is interested in what I am doing!):

There is simply no Raise Dead or similar spells. I am also creating a campaign based on "Earth," so the only person ever raised from the dead is Jesus. Otherwise, Christianity doesn't really make sense.

It does bring up an interesting question that I have yet to answer. This position on Raise Dead sets up the monotheistic God of Abraham as the supreme power in the universe. But I also want to have vestiges of pagan religions who can cast spells as well as Druids and other beliefs ranging from Animism to Eastern religions. Can they coexist? Is it that only the mortal followers of God who insist all other beliefs are false? Or maybe all other divine powers are actually derived from Satan, channeled through and disguised so as to lead souls away from the path to God?

Just a wrinkle to work out I suppose, or just leave as a mystery...