I’d like to take the opportunity to apologize to all our Quest Givers over on Patreon. I know you guys voted to hand Thaumaturge a hefty helping of permadeath way back when. In our defense however, he is still technically dead. That’s why I feel confident that Wicked Uncle is standing just off screen like, “I told you fools the space between worlds had grown thin! It was in the hover text, but it still counts as foreshadowing for this demon portal thing!”

Any dang way, while Magus puts all her old teacher‘s dirty fighting tricks to good use, what do you say the rest of us talk about dead PCs? I don’t mean those unfortunate souls who get stricken from the records, forgotten instantaneously by the party, and replaced by a freshly-rolled dude in the next session. I’m talking about those active phantoms and lingering souls who continue to exert influence from beyond the grave. I’m talking about Poster Boy 1 and Poster Boy 2. These guys are fascinating to me as a GM. That’s because, even though resurrection magic is part of the game, characters like these dare the undiscovered country of Homebrew, bringing their own take on the afterlife. And for my money, figuring out how to make the revolving door o’ death a little extra spicy is always a fun challenge.

Case in point, a certain paladin of my acquaintance found himself in the Boneyard not so long ago. After the eldritch Things that guard the Gates shuffled their divine paperwork, it seemed that some irregularities had cropped up. A formal petition for the paladin’s soul had been filed by an agent of Chaos, claiming him as one of their own.

Meanwhile, back on the Prime Material, the party’s resurrection spells failed to work. The diamonds were gathered, the words were spoken, but it was like the soul could not be reached. As it turned out, the Powers That Be would not permit a rez while the fate of a soul lay in bureaucratic limbo. Clearly, this shit would not stand.

One short interplanar adventure later and the party were reunited in a courtroom in Axis. In his opening statement, the paladin’s bizarre interlocutor accused him of dying for selfish and ignoble reasons. Then he produced a slew dead bad guys to prove his case. This rogue’s gallery of slain villains stepped forth to slander the paladin’s good name, referencing the profit motive of dungeon delving and insisting that they’d been killed unjustly. It was obviously a farce — the cosmic equivalent of a frivolous lawsuit — but the party had good fun arguing with all their old enemies. The paladin himself even got to meet an avatar of his goddess brought in as a character witness.

But as the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow in Axis, and as the Honorable Judge Godmind deliberated deliberately, the PCs began to notice odd goings on in the court. The stenographer didn’t register as Lawful to detect alignment. The court photographer had an unusually elaborate techno-magical camera on her person. And by the time the bailiffs revealed themselves to be disguised Chaos things as well, the piecemeal artifact they’d sneaked into the courtroom had been reassembled.

“Roll initiative!” cried yours truly. For the paladin’s soul had been a red herring; an excuse to get close to the real target. Planar partisans began to hack the Godmind, trying to change its alignment from the undefended innards of its own courtroom. Chaos had well and truly ensued there at the heart of Order.

“Go get ’em,” said character-witness-goddess. And though he remained quite dead, my buddy the paladin still remembered how to smite.

So here’s to you Magus! I hope that your surprise attack buys the rest of our heroes enough time to close that hell portal. As for the rest of you guys, why don’t you share your own best postmortem hijinks? Did you ever get the chance to explore the afterlife? Tell us all about your best temporary possessions in borrowed bodies, incorporeal malingerings on the ethereal plane, and face-palmings from heaven as you watched your partymates drag your body around. See you good little souls down in the comments!


UPDATE: The Handbook is heading out for Anime Weekend Atlanta!

We’ve got our table set up and ready to go in artist’s alley! Both the writer & illustrator of this here Handbook of Heroes will be there from Friday, October 29 – Sunday, October 31 from 10 AM – 7 PM. We’re always down to talk shop in person, and we’d love to meet any and all of you guys out there in meat space.

So come on down and buy our merch! Wear our apparel! Touch our dice for a chance to win a free curse!


THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!