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Death and becoming a Spirit

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Hi all, a Yelmalian player in my game was killed by a particular nasty worshiper of Thed and the party is in the process of taking his body back to a Chalana Arroy healer for a resurrection. I want this ordeal to have more weight than 'OK, you died and are now resurrected'. My question is this... what could the experience as a spirit be like for the player during this transition time, trying to stay close to his body?  Also can the assistant shaman in the part communicate with his spirit with spiritspeech or would he need to discorporate first?

Cheers - Toad

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The spirit stays around its body for around 7 days, and then starts off to the Path of the Dead, if I recall correctly. The free RuneQuest Quickstart includes a box about these details.

The shaman in the party could talk to it just by using Spirit Speech. He does not need to discorporate, since the spirit is still very close to the Mundane World. The shaman could also cast Visibility on it, so everyone else can also see it for a time. The shaman could have him talking to him in order to delay his leaving on his journey to the Halls of the Dead where Daka Fal is waiting to judge his soul. Or, if the deceased finally starts his journey, the shaman could then discorporate, find him, and try to drag him back to his body. 😮 Imagine the dead PC saying: "I hear the call now, I must depart to the Hall of the Dead..." and the shaman PC hurriedly tells him: "No, no, no, please listen to me, think of all the people here who love you, please stay here jut a bit longer, we are almost at the temple!". Maybe the shaman would need to persuade the spirit by having him recall important deeds the still need finishing. That could be quite tense and dramatic.

If the spirit finally starts off his journey to the Underworld, you could run a heroquest guided by the Chalana Arroy priestess, in which the rest of the party go down to the Underworld to find him and bring him back before he enters the Hall of the Dead. That could be very cool. 😎 The book Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes would help you in this regard, as one of the scenarios in the campaign is similar to this.

if you are worried the dead PC's player is going to get bored, give him an NPC to play in the meantime.

However, if he is finally resurrected but has spent a lot of time in the Underworld before being rescued, he might experience a kind of psychological sickness. Death sickness I think it is called. The character could be gloomy for the rest of his life, or obsessed with Death, or might even join the cult of Humakt! 😈

Edited by Runeblogger
Added some ideas, corrected punctuation.
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Doing something like this has one more advantage. If a Humakti dies, there is no resurrection.  The finality of this fact can be roleplayed out.

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3 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

Death sickness I think it is called.

yep. people tend to become either Humakti or White Priestesses (or bonesetters, for men), or sometimes shamans. It's always dramatic to be resurrected.

If you heroquest out of the Underworld, on the other hand, you can become a Hero. Famous "super" Heroes undergo amazing, challenging adventures and then just show up suddenly in someone's chicken coop, alive, no worse for wear and with no death sickness.

Assuming they succeed.

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5 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

The shaman in the party could talk to it just by using Spirit Speech.

Why wouldn't the recently deceased still have their own former life language?

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5 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

The spirit stays around its body for around 7 days, and then starts off to the Path of the Dead, if I recall correctly.

In the interim, you could have the spirit gradually perceive more and more of the Spirit World around his body, perhaps vaguely aware of the forms of his/her former comrades. 

At first, it looks largely like the real world, but the colors are stronger, bolder, and lines sharper. But things look off. The Red Moon is missing, or in the wrong place. Kero Fin looks even taller. But clouds look more and more like figures, not clouds. He/she can "see" the winds - air spirits swirling around playing, fighting, racing, etc. Earth spirits try to reach up and hold people's legs in place, but inevitably fail. And then he/she notices a Raven.  A very large, black Raven, just watching him/her.  And then it looks away towards something else. And the spirit realizes that something is coming, something snuffling along, following the party. But in the Spirit World. And it's after his/her former comrades. And he/she finds they cannot talk to them!

And each day, things are getting more ominous...

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38 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Why wouldn't the recently deceased still have their own former life language?

Spirit speech is used to speak to spirits, who are ... dead. You can't talk to the dead unless you have this ability, which like shamans and stuff have.

It's not a language, but you can understand anyone dead with it regardless of the language they spoke while alive (I think? I'm a little rusty).

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Spirit speech is used to speak to spirits, who are ... dead. You can't talk to the dead unless you have this ability, which like shamans and stuff have.

It's not a language, but you can understand anyone dead with it regardless of the language they spoke while alive (I think? I'm a little rusty).

So, it's not a language, but an ability??

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9 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

So, it's not a language, but an ability??

It might be a problrm of lacking the organs to create sound, or to perceive it, so spirit speech may be a different form of communication, using a different medium carrier.

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1 minute ago, Joerg said:

It might be a problrm of lacking the organs to create sound, or to perceive it, so spirit speech may be a different form of communication, using a different medium carrier.

P366...

"Spiritspeech is used to communicate with friendly or neu-tral discorporate spirits. Spirits with INT might also know a mortal language (particularly if they once were mortal or are worshiped by mortals). "

Although your logic makes sense... But, the idea that a recently deceased suddenly knows a new language (even in such a magical place as Glorantha) is (to me) odd.

 

Is this new ability common or rare? Or medium rare?

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

P366...

"Spiritspeech is used to communicate with friendly or neu-tral discorporate spirits. Spirits with INT might also know a mortal language (particularly if they once were mortal or are worshiped by mortals). "

Although your logic makes sense... But, the idea that a recently deceased suddenly knows a new language (even in such a magical place as Glorantha) is (to me) odd.

 

Is this new ability common or rare? Or medium rare?

I'd use Spiritspeech as more like a one-way Tradetalk. (Edit: on second thought that doesn't really make sense.) 

An adventurer with Spiritspeech can talk to spirits. A person who knows Heortling can talk to spirits that know Heortling (if they're visible and able to make themselves heard on the Middle World--like inside an Axis Mundi, or during holy day ceremonies). Spiritspeech is broad communication only specialists (i.e. shamans) tend to learn, but anyone can talk to the ghost of Grampa Bob if he shows up.

Edited by Crel
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5 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

But, the idea that a recently deceased suddenly knows a new language (even in such a magical place as Glorantha) is (to me) odd.

this is really common in mythology, though: spirits are incomprehensible except to talented individuals (i.e. mediums, shamans, priests) except in special situations, such as as possession or dream space. it's not that it's a special language, it's that you can't understand them. they're dead, they're somewhere else, the veil makes understanding them implausible. that's why we have shamans and mediums and possession in the first place.

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5 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

this is really common in mythology, though: spirits are incomprehensible except to talented individuals (i.e. mediums, shamans, priests) except in special situations, such as as possession or dream space. it's not that it's a special language, it's that you can't understand them. they're dead, they're somewhere else, the veil makes understanding them implausible. that's why we have shamans and mediums and possession in the first place.

That's fair...

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Actually, I think the 7 days delay is for the journey to the Daka Fal Hall itself. Corebook, p149:

Over the next seven days, the soul travels through the Underworld to the Court of Silence, the gateway to the afterlife. Once there, the Judge of the Dead determines the soul’s fate, and it departs for whatever afterlife it is assigned. Prior to judgment, it is possible to resurrect an adventurer with powerful magic. After judgment, only a heroquest can bring the dead back to life.

So, I think the spirit of the deceased, while being very confused, is probably feeling attracted and carried away by a kind of "current" he has no way to resist (I guess some may be able to resist for a time, specially if helped by a shaman). The resurrection spell first starts with a summoning, calling back the spirit from its journey. You can imagine this will be more and more difficult as he/she reached deeper and deeper locations.

For humakti, I see it as, first, the spirit refusing to come back and actively fighting back if any resurrection is attempted ; second, a guardian spirit sent by Humakt (or Humakt himself) escorting the soul to the Court of Silence ; finally, his Death rune affinity dragging him down. It's not that resurrecting an humakti is impossible, it's that during such an attempt you'll have to fight very powerful guardian spirits, probably one of the most powerful manifestation of a rune, probably various spirits of reprisal of increasing strength if the guardian spirit is ever defeated, and the humakti himself refusing or killing himself immediately after being resurrected anyway.

Edited by kirinyaga
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In order to arrive at the court of Daka Fal, one has to pass the Perjurers' Bridge (e.g. The Eleven Lights p.122). Does this mean that someone who has perjured might have less than the seven days to reach judgement? (Being tossed into the River of Swords is a form of judgement...)

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I think more that 7 days is really an average. That or the Perjurers' Bridge is 10min away from the Court of Silence.

More probably, since the deeper you go, the farther away you are from the material world and you enter hero plane, time is just not working the same way ...

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You could put the ghost in to a binding, so he is easily available when you resurrect him

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On 8/20/2019 at 9:37 PM, Hzark10 said:

Doing something like this has one more advantage. If a Humakti dies, there is no resurrection.  The finality of this fact can be roleplayed out.

Well, yes and no, Humakti can be brought back from the dead, but they really don't like it. They are just as likely to kill the person who resurrected them and then kill themselves, or go on a Death Rampage to kill as many undead before they are killed.

Humakti cannot be turned into Undead, as long as they have Humak's Protection, but they can be resurrected.

Edited by soltakss
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57 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Well, yes and no, Humakti can be brought back from the dead, but they really don't like it.

From the GoG, Vol 2 GenCon 2019 release, it says a cult member may not be returned from the dead in any way. If the spirit is brought back in any way, including made into Vampire or mummy, it will singlemindedly try to slay the summoner.  Essentially, they are considered to have been called by Humakt himself.

 

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2 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

From the GoG, Vol 2 GenCon 2019 release, it says a cult member may not be returned from the dead in any way. If the spirit is brought back in any way, including made into Vampire or mummy, it will singlemindedly try to slay the summoner.  Essentially, they are considered to have been called by Humakt himself.

It's Shabbes, so in honor of the rabbis I'll ask: what happens if a Humakti enters Alkoth and then leaves again?

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

what happens if a Humakti enters Alkoth and then leaves again?

He's separated Death from Hell and War. 😉 And of course we know the Truth of that as Death comes to all places.

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2 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

It's Shabbes, so in honor of the rabbis I'll ask: what happens if a Humakti enters Alkoth and then leaves again?

Same as with a Humakti who knows a backdoor from Hell - he just visits the land of the Dead. Humakti can join a Lightbringers' Quest (in a supporting role, usually as Orlanth's Sword) and return from it without having violated this.

Basically, a Humakti initiation has the same ritual pre-Death that is inflicted upon entering Alkoth, but unlike the Alkoth one it isn't reversible.

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On 8/23/2019 at 6:32 PM, soltakss said:

Well, yes and no, Humakti can be brought back from the dead, but they really don't like it...

Humakti cannot be turned into Undead, as long as they have Humak't Protection, but they can be resurrected.

Nope, Humakti can't be resurrected or raised*, we've been down that road before.

*except for when they can, e.g. Neverdead in Dorastor

Edited by PhilHibbs

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On 8/20/2019 at 6:49 PM, Blacktoad said:

Hi all, a Yelmalian player in my game was killed by a particular nasty worshiper of Thed and the party is in the process of taking his body back to a Chalana Arroy healer for a resurrection. I want this ordeal to have more weight than 'OK, you died and are now resurrected'.

HeroQuest Glorantha has a Here is what happens when you die (page 89)

Quote

Here is what happens when you die:

Your soul separates from your body. For seven days the soul lingers near the body, drifting farther apart from it and developing spirit senses. It is like a yolk for the developing soul.

When it is ready, the soul flies inward into the heart space, which is a mirror that cannot be fully penetrated until you are dead, or have acquired a heroquest initiation.

 

Quote

My question is this... what could the experience as a spirit be like for the player during this transition time, trying to stay close to his body?

The spirit lingers, I think this is effortless. Part of the process is understanding you are dead, a normal reaction. Those that don't, linger longer and can turn into ghosts. Most cultures have ways of preventing this and helping the recently departed along. Have a look at this excellent film:

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, start around 16 mins when the spirit separates from the body. This really cover what is going on in Glorantha in the seven days and after. Narrated by Leonard Cohen it mixes film and animation. 

Quote

 Also can the assistant shaman in the part communicate with his spirit with spiritspeech or would he need to discorporate first?

In the case of the dead adventurer, everyone would keep talking to the spirit, doing the opposite of the Tibetan book of the dead, not breaking their ties and allowing the dead to pass on. It would be a non-stop vigil of talking and praying. The spirit can always hear the living in those seven days, but not the other way round (it's close to the body). Spirit speech would allow anyone with the skill to communicate with the spirit and reassure the dead person. Spirit Speech is not all verbal language, but contains sounds, ritual movements and in many cases punctuation and emphasis with drums, click sticks, rattles and fans. If you want to see the spirit, you'd have to discorporate, but it's not needed here. Resurrect is a ritual and so as long as this connection is maintained and led by someone with spirit speech, I'd allow it as ritual bonus to the final rune spell casting. 

Edited by David Scott
corrected autocorrect corrections
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