OED Reincarnate

I've been working on a compact collection of spells for Original D&D-style games. Here's one example -- actually the very last one I completed, the longest, and possibly the one that caused the most difficulty to find the proper balance.

Keep in mind that in my games, there are no clerics. That might seem to preclude raising dead characters, but recall that our wizards fortunately still have the 6th-level reincarnate spell:

Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous

With this spell, the character brings back a dead creature in another body, provided death occurred no more than 1 week before the casting of the spell and the subject’s soul is free to return. The magic of the spell creates an entirely new young adult body for the soul to inhabit from the natural elements at hand. This process requires 1 hour to complete. When the body is ready, the subject is reincarnated.

The recipient of the spell must make a saving throw to return in the same body type as before (same race and abilities, appearance may change). If failed, the DM should instead choose a random humanoid race of the same alignment for the new body type (re-roll abilities, up to ogre size). It's quite possible for the change in the character's ability scores to make it difficult for the character to pursue his or her previous character class. The character’s level is reduced by 1.

A few comments. You'll see that the standard "stat block" elements are just range & duration; nothing else is really necessary for the majority of old-school spells. The first paragraph is just copied directly from the 3E SRD as provided by the OGL.

The second paragraph is text written by myself. Since this is our only raise-dead type spell, I wanted to have some chance that the character returned fundamentally unchanged and still playable. Is the saving throw the proper mechanic? I think so. On the other hand, I wanted to retain the chance that the character is lost in the process, and returning as a random humanoid makes it likely to be the effective case (perhaps socially speaking) -- although restricting it to humanoids makes it easier to run in play if the DM so wishes. The probability is generally similar to 1E "system shock" rolls for Constitution, but folds into the standard save mechanic. The character-level loss is retained from the SRD to make sure this doesn't become a routine (or cyclical) procedure. Other than that, there's quite a bit of flexibility for the DM to adjudicate this spell in the best fashion for his or her campaign.

The spell text above is designated open game content under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0.

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