The Reaper, the closest thing that modern culture has to an actual god of death. Nothing invokes the idea of death in our modern culture more so than the Reaper himself. In D&D you also have the reaper, although he is usually the lieutenant of some larger death god. This is not to say that you cant use this nightmarish and instantly recognizable character to make your characters shit their pants. Below are some ideas on how to bring this iconic rider of the apocalypse into your game:
1. When a player dies, don’t just kill off their character. Have them challenge you in a game of chance before you ultimately kill the character. This will add a new level to the game and should be a kick for your players as well. Your not the dusty old DM that plays everything by the book, your the guy who wants to give the players a fighting chance. For this to work, you must have a bevy of games to choose from in advance. This will give them the idea that they can even get an edge and lets be honest, they should since they are choosing the game.
2. Don’t just have Death be someone that goes after the players like an animal. He is not just another monster. This guy has personality, albeit a twisted and sick one. I personally love the idea of a “know it all” Death, since he most likely is wise above all others. Also, if they confront death in the physical world, he should be virtually immune to anything the players can throw at him. Consider instead, The Reaper have some sort of offer for the players, like the resurrection of someone in exchange for a game or particular magical item of great necromantic power.
3. In the deck of many things, there is always the chance that the player will draw the card to fight a powerful undead. Always have them choose to fight death. Its such a great and grandiose opportunity that you should never pass on.(Unless you have a Dracolich planned! 😀 ) Also, if your calling me evil for saying this, that is the entire point of the deck, to have such great chances for wonderful delights and at the same time have the same opportunity for such great misfortune.
4. The Reaper should always be treated as a Demigod. Sure, he may not be so powerful to just kill indiscriminately, but he should be as lethal as any demigod is treated in your world.
5. Perhaps their is some sort of holiday, like Halloween in your game where the actual physical personification of death manifests itself to kill anyone caught in its wake. Think of something like, the smearing of lambs blood on doors to keep people safe. Give the holiday some sort of quarky angle like the majority of real world holidays. (Why do we hand out candy? Why does it have a connection with this holiday?) Make sure that you throw in some of these little quarks. It shows that your world has life.
6. Perhaps the Reaper in your game could be some sort of misunderstood powerful vampire, where he awakens every few hundred years to bring with him a plague that kills millions, like the black death. This would give your players a long story arc and quite an opponent indeed.
7. Perhaps you could incorporate the biblical apocalypse into your game somehow. Yes, I know that Christianity is not technically in the game, however its certainly fantastic enough to be in a game of high fantasy.
Thats all that I have for now! I will be sure to pop in and add to this list if I ever do get any more ideas. Anyhow, keep gaming and keep those dice rolling! Until next time, stay groovy!
Post On: January 5, 2021 By William Settle