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Who Wants To Live Forever / Tabletop Games

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  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Ravenloft sourcebook "Van Richten's Guide to the Lich" states that the majority of liches end up committing suicide when they realise they have not only condemned themselves to an eternity devoid of any physical pleasuresnote , but have also rendered themselves inherently incapable of forming bonds with mortals due to the temporal distortion lichdom involves. Because liches don't suffer from mortal frailties, they can easily lose track of time when they get involved in something, and not realise what's happened until it's too late — an example given in the book is a lich sitting down to read a book, then looking up after finishing and realising an entire generation has aged to dust in the time it spent reading and contemplating every single meaning of what it read. With such an alienating form of immortality, the only liches who survive longer than a few decades tend to be either insane, have incredibly strong wills, or are possessed of a sufficiently long-lasting goal to keep them focused on staying existent.
      "After a millenia of study, a lich has little left to learn." - Libris Mortis: The Book of Undeath
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    • While not truly immortal, it's often said that the oldest dragons often suffer from immense boredom and world-weariness by the time they reach the final, most powerful stage of their lives. This has a nasty side-effect of causing them to go on kingdom-devastating rampages in order to provoke some heroes into killing them.
    • The piratical Githyanki live on the Astral Plane, which is timeless in regards to aging and requiring food and drink, giving them an infinite amount of free time. When they aren't raiding some unsuspecting world or preparing for their next attack, their lich-queen tries to keep her people busy with various tasks and studies, and the githyanki pick up new forms of art and start projects as their whims lead them, but they quickly abandon their latest hobby as soon as the novelty wears off. Their capital is thus littered with half-finished works, discarded treasure, and captives who have been abandoned and forgotten by their former masters.
      Mordenkainen: I have been to Tu'narath. A haven for the githyanki it is not. Their apathy and frustration manifest as a visible fog, which clears only when the githyanki ready for war.
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  • Eclipse Phase has the "Immortality Blues" negative trait, for people who've lived at least a hundred years and have gotten incredibly bored with life and have trouble motivating themselves (receive half the normal XP award). Fortunately since life extension and Brain Uploading techs have been around for less than a century most transhumans still have a lot to live for.
  • Elves in Eon call themselves "The People of the Curse". Elves can live forever, and get a few other pretty nifty perks. However, as they become older, elves find it increasingly difficult to relate to people around them. This, coupled with the emotional traumas of the few friends they manage to keep dying and degradations of their innate magic inevitably leads to increasingly severe bouts of clinical depression and catatonia. Elves reaching 500 years of age without becoming complete hermits is the stuff of legend. Most open their veins long before then.
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  • In Exalted, the Great Curse wears away at your sanity as time goes on. The only known Solar to live long enough to die of old age was something around 7-10,000 years old. Add massive boredom and near-invulnerability on top of that and it's no wonder they went insane.
  • Gamma World adventure GW6 Alpha Factor. The mutant flying squirrels known as Rakees are extremely difficult to kill. They've lived so long that that they're constantly trying to end their lives, such as by attacking adventurers in the hope that they'll be killed.
  • The Soulless in the GURPS supplement GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands are an ancient culture whose members neither age nor reproduce, so their civilization has been populated by the same few thousand individuals for millennia. They reached the limits of their creativity in the distant past, got tired of every possible form of entertainment during their culture's decadent period, and now are stuck in an eternity of boredom and repeating variations of the same old pastimes in an effort to discover something that would still interest them.
  • While Palladium Books games often present immortality as largely beneficial and without negative repercussions (in Heroes Unlimited it is both a Mega-Power and a Major Super Ability), in the Palladium Fantasy supplement "Dragons & Gods" one of the deific powers is named "Curse: Immortality". While it allows someone to live forever, it does not make them immune to disease or any form of illness or aging, so that eventually someone will end up a crippled geriatric unable to die. Although the aging process is reduced to about a year per century, so it doesn't exactly become a bad thing until much much later. Some other paths to immortality (Between the Shadows' Dream Maker and Shadows of Light's Reaper in Nightbane, Library of Bletherad's Shadow Self spell in PF, Mystic Russia's necromancy spell of vampirism "Return from the Grave" in Rifts) have inherent insanity-causing attributes (Russia's is only avoided if you feed on blood, like any good ol' Master Vampire), and some (Juicer Uprising's option of becoming a Murder Wraith, Federation of Magic's description of Alistair Dunscon) require you to become an evil monster addicted to killing people on a regular basis to survive.
  • Pathfinder has this as a major risk for liches, and a big part of why these immortal super wizards don't rule the world. They may start with plans for world domination, but with no need to eat or sleep the endless passage of time gets to them. Often they start devoting most of their time to research (many liches are academics at heart or they would never have worked out how to become one) until even that bores them, and they spend countless hours lost in their own thoughts. There's even a creature type, the demilich, that liches have a 1% cumulative chance of turning into for each decade they spend doing nothing because they simply have no interest in the world.
    • See also the nation of Thurvia. Long ago, an Alchemist discovered an Elixir that restored the drinker to the prime of their youth. Regularly drinking this every time you got old effectively gave you a form of immortality. Rather than take it for themselves, however, the leaders of Thurvia said to let the alchemist take it himself, then every year they would make a small batch of the stuff and sell it to clients from all over the world for vast sums of money. Just because they were enlightened enough to not need immortality, didn't mean they couldn't make some money off those who weren't.
  • Warhammer has a Regiment of Renown based on this trope. Richter Kruegar was a particularly unscrupulous mercenary willing to fight alongside a Necromancer against his own countrymen, at least until the end of the campaign when the tide of battle began to turn. Ever the opportunist, Kruegar decided to betray his patron to curry favor with the victors, but the necromancer blasted him with a Dying Curse that reduced Kruegar to a heap of bones. The next night Kruegar rose as a free-willed undead, cursed to never know the peace of the grave, since he will reanimate no matter what tries to destroy him. He now leads a Cursed Company of skeletal warriors spawned by his dark blade, traveling the world in a grisly parody of his previous lifestyle, in search of an enemy that can kill him for good.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Dante, the Blood Angels Chapter Master, in is said to be around 1500 years old (or older) but after more than a millennium of fighting he is getting tired of his life, and the only thing that keeps him going is his suspicion that the prophesy of a warrior in golden armour standing between the darkness and the God-Emperor in the final battle wasn't about their Primarch Sanguinus during the Horus Heresy, but is about him and he aims to fulfill that goal.
    • Speaking of the Emperor, he might have a harsh word or two about his immortality. If he was able to talk, that is...
    • In a way, the Dark Eldar themselves, due to boredom. However what they get for an afterlife sucks many times more(and it's their own fault), pushing them to fight boredom by any means to keep themselves alive. Some of them realize how foolish this is and join their Craftworld brethren, who lead harsh, monastic, repressed and yet ultimately more fulfilling (though still rather futile) lives.
    • Some of the Necrons aren't particularly happy about living forever if it means living forever as a soulless robot and want to go back to being fleshy mortals.
    • The Space Marines avert this in a way: It's stated in the Horus Heresy novels that they are functionally immortal, meaning they will never die of age or infirmity. However, every Astartes has already accepted that they will die in battle. The question is raised at least once of what the marines would do with themselves if the Great Crusade ever ended, but events made the whole question academic anyway.
  • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, immortality is never considered a blessing. The foremost problem is that one spends eternity wrestling the Beast, but there's the matter of boredom as well. The Masquerade didn't really address this, as the Jyhad kept everyone busy, but it's an important issue in The Requiem: ennui is so pervasive that vampires have constructed a massive political/social framework, the Danse Macabre, almost solely to keep themselves occupied.
    • The main sourcebook for The Requiem also tries to prevent PCs from sitting around and moping about all of the things mentioned at the top of the page by pointing out that anyone who wasn't strong-willed enough to deal with all of the assorted nastinesses of vampire society or didn't have a long term goal in mind would probably have just killed themselves by staying outside during the next sunrise after they were Turned. ...except that the things capable of permanently destroying a vampire (fire and sunlight) are very likely to cause the aforementioned Beast to temporarily hijack control of their body and cause them to flee from the potential source of Final Death.
  • In Promethean: The Created, Prometheans can, provided they take care to go to the wastes often enough, theoretically endure for centuries, if not forever. Too bad their lives consist of being Walking Wastelands with everything trying to kill them.
  • In Mummy: The Resurrection, Mummies are imagined as truly immortal beings. Every time they suffer a physical death, their souls go to the Wraith underworld where they wait for their bodies to regenerate. Some choose to stay in the underworld, on the belief that if they search long and hard enough they can find a magical way to end their lives.
  • In the New World of Darkness equivalent to the above, Mummy: The Curse, mummies at least don't technically "live forever". They exist for all eternity, potentially, but they actually spend most of their time effectively dead. They just get woken up when their cult calls them, their Judge needs them, or in a once-every-thousand-years cosmic event. In fact, most mummies are more concerned with living the time they have before they sink back into torpor. Played straight with the Deceived, however, who are eternal (to the point that them coming back in the bodies of some post-human species is raised in their sourcebook) and have to share their bodies with an insane Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Vast: The Crystal Caverns, one of the characters is the Thief. He is cursed with immortality, and his goal is to break the curse. Of all the characters, the Thief is the easiest to kill, but while other characters are eliminated when killed, the Thief respawns. One of the other characters is the Cave itself, and its goal is to collapse on the other characters. This is particularly gruesome for the thief.


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