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Death with a Cosmic Background

D&D Ideas: Capital “D” Death

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Welcome back to our weekly newsletter! This week, we wander through the topic of “Capital “D” Death during our live chat. Join us every Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy’s YouTube channel as we discuss D&D, RPGs, gaming, life, and an array of other nerdy topics. Nerdarchy is working on our latest project and it is just around the corner. Stay tuned for “Zoo Mafia RPG” relaunch— Nerdarchy’s first original role-playing game, designed by nerds for nerds. It will be launching on Kickstarter soon!

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Delving Dave’s Dungeon

Statting Out Death in D&D

Few forces in the multiverse are as universal and unyielding as Death. A commonality across all realms, cultures, and beings is acknowledging the end—often personified as a spectral figure, a reaper of souls, wielding a scythe with unwavering resolve. This eternal entity is not merely a metaphor or a grim fairytale but a presence many claim to have encountered at the brink of life and beyond.

While Death with a lowercase ‘d’ is a natural occurrence, a cessation of life, Capital “D” Death is an entity—a force personified. Tales of mortal encounters with this entity vary: some describe a serene, almost comforting presence guiding souls to the afterlife, while others recall a relentless hunter, ensuring that those trying to cheat their fate meet their timely end.

In our latest delve into the mythic and mysterious, we present an exclusive look into the mechanics and manifestation of Death. For adventurers brave enough to confront or converse, or for Dungeon Masters aiming to instill a profound sense of respect (or fear) in their players, we offer a comprehensive stat block for Death. Though we caution: understanding Death and confronting it are vastly different endeavors.

Death’s Avatar

Medium fiend (neutral), neutral

Armor Class 20 (natural armor)

Hit Points 275 (30d8 + 120)

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)


18 (+4) 22 (+6) 18 (+4) 20 (+5) 22 (+6) 24 (+7)

Saving Throws Dex +12, Int +11, Wis +12, Cha +13

Skills Perception +12, Stealth +12

Damage Immunities necrotic, psychic, poison, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 22

Languages all, telepathy 120 ft.

Challenge 20 (25,000 XP)


Aura of Finality

All creatures within 30 feet of Death have disadvantage on death saving throws.


Death can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. He takes 5 (1d10) force damage if he ends his turn inside an object.

Immutable Form

Death is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reaper’s Sight

Death knows when a creature within 1 mile of him is at 0 hit points and can pinpoint its location.

Magic Resistance

Death has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Eternal Return

If Death is reduced to 0 hit points, it disappears, only to reform in its lair or another suitable location after 1d4 days. Death cannot be permanently destroyed by any known means.

Unusual Nature. The Death doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.



Death makes three Grim Harvest attacks.

Grim Harvest

Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (3d4+6) slashing damage and 21 (4d8 + 6) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 19 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion.

Summon Spirits (Recharge 5-6)

Death summons 1d4+1 wraiths or 3d4 shadows to aid him. Summoned creatures act immediately and remain until destroyed or dismissed by Death.


Death can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Death regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Chill of the Grave (Costs 1 Action)

All creatures within a 20-foot radius of Death must succeed on a DC 19 Constitution saving throw or take 10 (3d6) cold damage.

Fade (Costs 2 Actions)

Death becomes ethereal until the end of its next turn.

Reap (Costs 3 Actions)

Death makes one Grim Harvest attack.


On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Death can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects:

  1. Death causes an eerie silence to settle in a 60-foot radius centered on a point he can see. No sound can be produced within or pass through this area until the next initiative count 20. Casting a spell that includes a verbal component is impossible there.
  2. One creature Death can see within the lair must succeed on a DC 19 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of Death until the next initiative count 20.
  3. The temperature within the lair drops suddenly. All creatures within the lair take 10 (3d6) cold damage unless they succeed on a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, in which case they take half damage.


The region containing Death’s lair is warped by his presence, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  1. Plants within 1 mile of the lair wither and die overnight.
  2. Animals within 1 mile of the lair are uneasy and prone to panic. They won’t willingly approach the lair and become aggressive if forced to enter.
  3. Shadows within 1 mile of the lair move on their own, often mimicking the movements of those casting them.

If Death is slain or driven off, these effects fade over the course of 1d10 days.

Death is the inevitable end that all beings must face, a constant and unyielding force in the universe. Even those who manage to momentarily defeat Death find that it always returns, continuing its eternal duty.


From Ted’s Head

Rendezvous with Death: An Encounter with the Inevitable End

In the vast realm of D&D, Death is a whisper, often lurking in the shadows but rarely given its proper gravitas. While the mechanics and lore reference Death in various ways, such as deities of Death, death cults, the death domain, and the ominous Avatar of Death from the Deck of Many Things, it remains a rather understated aspect of the game.

Today, we breathe life into this shadowy concept, offering a unique role-playing experience for your characters. It is an extraordinary encounter that emphasizes the weight of mortality and showcases the exceptional nature of heroes.

1. Meeting the Avatar of Death

Imagine your character, after three failed Death saving throws, meets the Avatar of Death. This is not just a setback for a character but a poignant moment, possibly the final moment for that character. In this encounter, the player gets the opportunity to relive cherished moments, express regrets, and confront the unfinished business of their character’s life.

Should no ties bind the character to the mortal realm, they move on, narrating their vision of the afterlife. But if there are tasks left undone or vengeance unclaimed, Death offers a choice:

Accept the natural cycle and embrace the afterlife.


Become a Vassal of Death. By accepting this pact, the character is resurrected with a renewed purpose— to hunt down those who defy Death. This deal enables the character a second shot at life and weaves a new chapter into their tale. The terms of this pact can be tailored, introducing challenges like a specific target or a ticking clock.

2. Bartering with Death for Resurrection

Reviving a fallen comrade is no small feat. This new mechanic makes resurrection a momentous event. When casting resurrection magic, the spellcaster must negotiate with Death. A soul’s return isn’t free. The cleric or caster must make a compelling offer, whether it’s precious information, a future service, or something even more sinister. This bargain adds a dramatic depth to the resurrection process, making each life saved a consequential decision reserved for those truly special.

Final Thoughts

By integrating these encounters, DMs can make Death more than just a game mechanic. It becomes a profound experience, prompting reflection, creating emotional depth, and fostering character development. It makes every life in the game matter and every Death a significant event.

So, in your next campaign, let your players meet Death, not as an enemy but as an intricate part of their journey. In the words of a wise sage, “In the face of death, heroes reveal their true selves.”

Happy Adventuring!

Nerdarchy staff

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