Death, in the worlds beyond worlds

There’s always the question of what happens when things die, isn’t there? Unfortunately, for ringwalkers and other wanderers of the planes, there doesn’t seem to be one answer to rule them all.

Some planes certainly seem to be abodes of the dead — or their place of punishment, or their final reward — but gods can be fickle, some gods are false, and the gods do not always truck with the dead remnants of mortals to begin with, even if demons and seraphs and stranger beings may. And there are many documented instances where the realms of the dead, of the not-yet-alive, and the never-material, among others, are nonetheless part of — sometimes literally, lying deep below the earth or just beyond the highest clouds or nestled in a shining network of spans across the most rarefied mountain peaks — the same core plane that their ordinary people live in.

More to the point, the further realms Out There may be reflections. Or artificial creations. Or their own strange ecosystems. Or — more common than many realize — the inhabitants of such places travel to the abodes of spirits to coax or kidnap their “charges” away, if they don’t succeed in snatching up new (and newly dead) spirits still wending their disoriented way to their new abode. That’s saying nothing, of course, of promises and pacts deemed to good to refuse.

The wise traveller keeps all this and more in mind, and minds the silver tongues that wag across the worlds.

So what happens if you die while ringwalking?

Well, death, obviously. 

This can be unfortunate!  After all, there’s the small question of what happens to your soul (or what may be left of it) afterwards — your expected afterlife is probably back home, attached to your home plane, and here you are deceased and far away.

So what might happen?  There’s limitless possibilities, really, including:

– You might just be marooned.  Oops?  You’ve been lost.  But there could be a quest attached here for someone else …
– Any deific force/notable ancestor/other pre-determined afterlife connection may reach out and claim you (meta)physically, especially if you’re important to them
– You might continue on as a spectral version of yourself, composed of soulstuff
– Someone — or, more likely, many someones — may try to snatch your soul up and render you into soulshards or other valuables
– A wandering psychopomp may guide or ferry you to where you belong, for free or for fee
– You might get to spend a period of time tucked into a spirit-pyx for safety (or “safety”, depending), either because of any of the above, or because you or your friends planned it out, or any number of other reasons

… or any number of other, more esoteric, exotic, or just plain unexpectedly (un)pleasant possibilities.

Something else for the wise traveller to keep ever in mind.

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