Negative consequences for resurrection:

Total posts: [15]
Hard mode: ... that aren't Came Back Wrong.

I'm trying to make a short horror Interactive Fiction game in which the player character is going around helping a man collect/do various things for the purpose of a ritual which is eventually revealed to be meant to resurrect a dead loved one. After this revelation, the player will get the choice to either give the guy the last thing he needs or refuse to help him anymore.

What I want is for neither of the endings to really seem "good". I already have some ideas for how to do this with the "refuse" ending, but for the "help" ending, I'm having trouble thinking of negative consequences for completing the ritual. Or rather, I can think of some, but none of them really seem to work well here. Came Back Wrong seems boring and predictable, "resurrection causes a rip in the fabric of reality that awful monsters come through" is out of keeping with the more personal scale of the rest of the piece, and "nothing happens, dead lady stays dead" makes the player's choice feel meaningless.

Which is why I'm turning to you guys. Any ideas?
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
You have been dead. If you have any memory of being dead at all, you might come back traumatized.

Unless you were thoroughly patched up, the very same illnesses and wounds that sent you on a dirt nap the very first time could screw you over again.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
3 chihuahua015th Oct 2011 03:12:09 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Hmm...maybe the resurrected loved one rejects the man and leaves, or she is going to die in a short time anyways?

4 nrjxll15th Oct 2011 03:19:58 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
You have been dead. If you have any memory of being dead at all, you might come back traumatized.

5 Night15th Oct 2011 03:24:08 PM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
The concept of having memory while you are insensate seems troublesome.

The manner of death may have an impact though; how painful it was, what happened, etc.
Nous restons ici.
6 ohsointocats15th Oct 2011 03:34:42 PM from The Sand Wastes , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Well, I mean, if the guy is actually successful, think of what would happen — everyone would be asking him to do it for everyone's loved ones, the resurrected person themselves might end up victim to They Would Cut You Up... etc. If the things to resurrect someone are really that hard to find, we might end up with a whole different class issue — people who are rich can afford to get resurrected, and people who aren't cannot.

Or, if you want to go a mundane route, you would have to consider that the body of the resurrected person would have been decomposing while they were waiting, which wouldn't have been nice for them, and it wouldn't be nice if they had been embalmed or anything like that, either.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I really appreciate them.

[up] The class issue angle is a really interesting idea; those consequences would definitely be a cool thing to explore in a story with a somewhat wider scope, although it wouldn't really work in mine.

The resurrectee being traumatized or otherwise not happy to be back could work, and the idea of her rejecting the guy and leaving after being resurrected is interesting for giving The Lost Lenore a bit more agency than usual. The idea that she'll die again shortly is also a good one, and could probably be combined with her not wanting to be alive again (because at least before she was out of her misery, but now she's got to go through all that pain and suffering again).
Shadowed Philosopher
What if they're stuffed in the same, injured, damaged, possibly rotted body? There's some potent potential for And I Must Scream.

Edit: Just noticed that's actually a variant of Came Back Wrong. It seems, though, that Came Back Wrong is pretty much the trope for "bad consequences from a resurrection"; trying to exclude it here might not be productive, especially since it's so broad.

edited 15th Oct '11 4:47:20 PM by alethiophile

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
You don't have to be traumatized by the memories of your afterlife. In fact, there's no need to be any.

You can be traumatized because of your memory of dying. Y'know, the major organ failure, the agonizing pain, the horrifying certainty of knowing that you are dying, the disorientation at being yanked back from nothingness. I'm assuming that awakening in your recently dead body, (even assuming it's perfectly healed, disinfected and patched up) would be more than a bit awkward and painful, as the organs (and nervous system) started working again from an unusual state of standby.

PTSD is a serious possibility to consider.

edited 15th Oct '11 5:16:38 PM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
10 MarkerMage15th Oct 2011 06:58:28 PM from My own little world
World Ends Oct 21, 2011
The last thing needed for the resurrection wouldn't happen to be a life to trade, would it? That has plenty of potential for negative consequences. If that makes the morality involved seem a bit too black and white, maybe have the quality of the sacrificed life not matter. A guy who's old and sick and only has 3 days left to live could do just as well for the sacrifice as someone who's young and healthy and many years of living to look forward to. It might be possible to find someone willing to die 3-5 days earlier if it means giving their grandchildren a bigger inheritance or having a last request fulfilled. And to put new negative consequences in, imagine if the person to be sacrificed only thinks that they only have a few days left to live?
Thinking of ideas to use with a literary work that is meant to be WikiWalked through.
11 Merlo15th Oct 2011 07:46:49 PM from the masochist chamber
If the afterlife was really nice, I'd be immensely pissed off at whoever brings me back from there.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am...
Sorry, I guess Came Back Wrong is kind of a broad catch-all. Alas, as tempting as it is to describe what you want or don't want in your writing via tropes, it can also be sloppy. I guess what I meant by that is that (a) I don't want to use "the resurrectee is now a monster who wants to kill you" or "the resurrectee is now a mindless mangled animated corpse, Monkey's Paw style" because I feel they're overdone, and (b) I want something that's a bit more subtle/nuanced and not a clear black-and-white "You did a bad thing, this is the Bad End" (while also not being a Good End).

Anyway, this thread has given me a lot of things to think about in this regard, and I think I now have a better idea of where I'm going with this. Thanks!
Are you looking for something that follows from resurrection itself, rather than a fantastical side-effect?

edited 15th Oct '11 11:00:21 PM by ManInGray

14 Enthryn16th Oct 2011 10:01:02 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Maybe it'd work best to have a combination of factors. For example, the resurrected person could come back not only traumatized by the experience, but also with long-term health problems, a significantly shortened lifespan, and some damage to long-term memory. Put all those together and the characters (as well as the readers, hopefully) will be questioning whether they did the right thing.
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15 Earnest18th Oct 2011 01:26:45 PM from Monterrey, Mexico , Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
Happy puppy
Supernaturally: the resurectee suffers Merlins Disease and will, at the moment of their "unbirth", cease to exist as a soul.

The person is completely fine, but is akin to a living ghost, they can never change personality wise and may have trouble forming long term memories.

The normal Equivalent Exchange exacts no punishment. In fact, it starts being excessively generous and makes the resurectee and resurecters immortal with all the good and bad that brings.

True resurrection is impopssible, instead you get something closer to reincarnation with blank slate in an old body.

Non-supernatural: Like has been said, an incredible fear of death can result, since the resurectee knows with horrifying certainty they WILL die again and it will be a repeat. Inversely, it causes an amazing apreciation of life that leads to a radical personality change as the resurectee becomes akin to an ‹bermensch or The Unfettered and discards petty "mortal" morality.
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Total posts: 15