I’ve been excited about how today’s letter mapped out since the A-Z Challenge started. Yesterday was Easter, a day that for my faith is specifically focused on celebrating Jesus’s return from the dead, proving His claims to deity and defeating both sin and death through His sacrifice. For my particular faith, the resurrection is a huge deal. There is a reason I named this blog and my twitter handle Raise Dead.
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-26 NIV)
In games, people coming back from the dead is a mechanic designed to embrace some of the mystery of death while also helping players have some kind of way to continue with a beloved character after they lose them. It helps us keep the role going in a roleplaying game. With resurrection, there is an extra life. The safety net of coming back from the grave enables us to live in confidence and be heroic, which is what a good roleplaying game does. In my life, the same is true. Because of the hope that comes from the resurrection of Jesus and His promise that there is hope beyond simple existence. There is something freeing when you know the way the story ends. Resurrection means another chance. Resurrection means that whatever the world brings and throws against me, there is a chance for hope and life because death is merely an end.
It can be abused and give permission for players to take death too lightly (though some may like that kind of gameplay) and on the other side, not having access to this type of game can make you extremely cautious about how you play your character because the finality of death can mean the end of a beloved character. In some games I’ve seen, having a respawn or constant resurrection effect can create a particular feel of gameplay where death may be an inconvenience and instead makes you question the value of the death your giving up. Death almost becomes a tool for the player at that point. Other games, like 13th Age, make the magics for dodging death very rare and increasingly challenging so that the player has to be careful up to a point, but perhaps the major players within a campaign are also being just as cautious with their own lives and maybe seeking to abuse the player characters resources when it comes to resurrection as well. Either type creates some very interesting possibilities for gameplay. I’ve imagined a game setting where resurrection is the point by which the game really begins. Kingdoms of Amalur used this as the introduction of their game. What if returning from the dead with no memory of a previous life except for vague inklings of what came sets the stage for the beginning of a campaign? Or even if you have full recollection of why you came back, but you came back different. Having died brings an insight or a new perspective that was missing before, perhaps a new sense of purpose that drives your characters and leads them in new directions that they never anticipated. What could the death of death mean in your game? What does a second chance at life bring to the table? Is it a menial chore, or perhaps something deep and inspiring? That’s entirely up to you, but resurrection is a powerful image and a powerful hope that I plan to play with in some game in the future.