Gravedancer (Unusual Starts: Heroes of the Tomb)

Bloodborn Clear

Sometimes it is hard to reconcile the desires of various character classes and genre interests between the players in a GM’s group. People want to play races, archetypes or prestige classes that don’t easily make sense in the campaign you have designed. And while jumping to a planar adventure setting can take care of it, that isn’t always what you want to run. This Unusual Start can help get a game going that can keep your players happy and maintain relatively classic feel to even the most diverse of parties… Today we look at: Heroes of the Tomb!

Unusual Start: Heroes of the Tomb

Resurrection and similar spells have a range of ten years per caster level. Given the levels of the spells relative to class lists that means they default to around 130 years of time. The basic premise of this unusual start is that over the last century the bodies of fallen heroes have been interred in a single location. A store of resurrection magic (scrolls, a staff, etc) was laid up with the bodies and kept ready for a time of need.

Utilizing this Unusual Start can help a GM pull from various stages of his campaigns history allowing actions that both flesh out character backgrounds and flesh out the lore of the world. Perhaps that gunslinger is from an Empire that was wiped out over a century ago by the shaman’s barbarian tribes. Those tribes in turn were out maneuvered fifty years  back by the cavaliers crusade…. Not only can it provide interesting historical information about setting and player characters, it could also set up interesting roleplaying between characters who were rivals from different eras of a conflict or settling of the same area.

From here the premise diverges as to the needs of your game but consider using the following:

  • The characters’ corpses have been gathered from around the world, kept in trust by the God of Heroes church and his priests. This allows the party to have been from vastly different places and significantly differing time periods. They are likely to be resurrected during the darkest hour.
  • Having passed into obscurity, the tomb is discovered by a curious child and she in turn awakens the heroes from Death’s embrace. The world has left them all behind and nothing is quite as it was. This game would focus more on discovery and exploration than most of the other uses of this Unusual Start.
  • The Tomb of Heroes is forgotten, buried beneath the expansion of a conquering empire. Unearthed years later the party is resurrected by a different society entirely than the one or ones they knew. The strangers in a strange land have to discover the truth of to people the brought them back and decide whether this new empire is better or worse than what once was.
  • The Tomb of Heroes is forgotten, buried beneath the expansion of a conquering empire. A thief exiled into the dungeons below the empire, finds the chamber and brings back the heroes to face the darkness (his enemies) and save the kingdom (his interests). With this variant the characters have no idea what lies above their resting place and with decent Bluff the rogue NPC “priest” could maintain the charade for some time.
  • The Tomb of Heroes is forgotten, buried beneath the expansion of a conquering empire. The Church of the Great Evil has found the tomb and resurrects the heroes attempting to harness their powers for their Dark God. The party must defy/escape/hinder from within the evil priests.

Starting the game off with a resurrection sets a very specific tone for the heroes of a new campaign. Death both already faced and already conquered the optimistic returned can still feel its shadow against their backs. Making good of a second chance can be a fun and flavorful beginning for a new game!

Looking to reincarnate your rules systems? Try some of our options! You can check out the Book of Beyond WIP subcription or see our other products at:, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

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