Keywords: death, design, lore, mud, myth
Few things are certain in life. Yet one thing that is certain is that game devs often have very different ideas on handling death in an ORPG environment. After considering it carefully, here is my plan for Myth.

When a character dies, the spirit leaves the lifeless body. All items remain in or around the corpse. Players in the same group may freely take them (as they must be voluntarily added to your party- just because someone groups you doesn't mean you have to group them ;-)) to help recover possessions and the body. Scavengers may also loot the remains at a loss of reputation. The slayer (if any) may claim objects without such loss.

The now disembodied spirit can still look and move around, and even manifest to communicate (though spirits are normally invisible, so it may be tough to identify the ghostly voice). However, this drains energy, which replenishes slowly. OTOH, spirits can avoid most doors and obstacles and are pretty much invulnerable. However, the spirit can be driven away by various means and methods exist to seal areas against spiritual entities.

If exorcised, or the spirit just decides to move on, the spirit will enter the lands of the dead. Here, it will remain until one of several things happen. It may be summoned back to the material world as a spirit. This is useful because certain rare magics exist that can rejoin a spirit with it's body or even possess a new one! Second, it may seek release from the dread lady Hel, keeper of the Dead. Of course, it should probably figure out a way to get a body, or they may be returning shortly. It may seek rebirth by drinking from the river Oblivion. This is dangerous as it involves a test of karma and risks eternal destruction. Of course, the deceased could just resign itself to its fate and hang around Hel's abode. Sometimes, greater powers intervene. If, for example, a character was an accomplished agent of Chaos, it is quite possible that the Lords of Entropy aren't going to let something as minor as death release their servant- no matter how much the agent may wish it!
I like it.
This will be totally awesome. I can imagine groups of neophyte adventurers summoning the spirit of their ancient ancestors seeking guidance!

Will this be featured in Myth, or are you just posting random thoughts?
This is the current plan for Myth.
What an excellent way to say a whole lot of nothing with a whole lot of words.

DivineO'peanut wrote:
This will be totally awesome. I can imagine groups of neophyte adventurers summoning the spirit of their ancient ancestors seeking guidance!

Please explain to me why you think people will be hanging around for hours and days on end after they're dead and can't play the game any more?

I'd honestly stop playing this game if I had to jump through fifty damn hoops just to continue playing the game after I've died.
I'm not as put off as Garthor, but I'm not sold either.

Overall I think you've made too much out of death. In my mind death should be something that gives you a little slap, maybe a timeout and then puts you back into what ever you were doing. Anything more and you're just punishing a player for playing. Which is tough, because it really deserves more than that. I think it's an area where you just have to suck it up, admit that killing/reviving people in-character isn't fun, then pave over it with some plot hole covering BS like you use when you have to explain why the ancient cave dragon speaks English.
From that point you expand with optional stuff. To take your Chaos example, you'd make it so that depending on their worth to the Lords of Entropy they can instantly be resurrected and receive a buff (which, providing there is no conflict with allegiances can extend to group members). This also gives you a useful role for your Chaotic Deathmage in group play. Sort of like a healer, except instead of healing life he fights death.
You could make it an option to stay in spirit form and perform some of the stuff you mentioned. Having it so that I could wander the afterlife in search of the previous wielder of an awesomely powerful sword (and in turn the location of their corpse) would be great. Having players who could slip between death and life would be cool as well.

A few things like that will allow you to create a death experience that has purpose but wont have players logging off every time they misjudge their opponent and die.

As for players looting players, I'm firmly against it. Unless your gear is consumable (ie, you renew it most times you go into town) it's a massive pain to work for something then have some jerk just take it. It flat out sucks to have someone steal your stuff (especially when it's someone you don't know, so you have no hope of getting it back).
What I'd recommend is some sort of PvP loot system. You loot PvP type items from other players. They don't actually come from the player you're looting, but from their PvP reputation. The better PvP ranking/reputation the fallen player has, the better the loot that will come from them. The advantage here is that it makes weaker, non-PvP inclined characters pointless targets while making stronger, PvP inclined characters valuable targets.

Anyway, that's my two cents on the subject.

Witty(?) one liners aside, it helps to read the post. It is not about punishment at all. Players can still play after the death: the whole point is that they have options. They can play around as a ghost. They can have somebody revive them by rejoining their body and spirit. If they have strong allegiances, a supernatural being may do it for them. They can go on to the Underworld and play there (think of it like a game within the game- new areas to explore, etc.). If they get bored there, they can ask Hel to to let them go (who will since everybody inevitably comes back) or try the Oblivion test if they want to risk it (not a big risk really, unless the player has been naughty- and then they will simply recoil from the grabby evil spirits). Even players who choose to remain indefinitely among the dead can later be summoned, temporarily come to the world of the living as a ghost, or petition Hel for release (see above), so it's not like they are gone forever- far from it.

DarkView: There is currently no PKing in Myth, so players would never be able to loot a dead player unless they were in the deceased party (meaning the deceased has given them permission to recover gear. To assist with this, I am considering a party feedback system whereby players can rate party members and post comments ala Ebay. So, when you consider grouping someone, you can review their rep.) If the corpse decays, the gear may be freely taken, but also decays over time. So most of the info on looting applies to NPCs- bandits may take the slain player's obvious valuable, for example.

Most gear is fairly mundane, though, and combat gear frequently needs repair or replacement. For example, the armor of a slain warrior probably wouldn't be very desirable as it is likely pretty torn up. More arcane items may be bound to the owner and resist attempts by others to take or use them. And often powerful items are very "double edged". So, even if you can take that daemonsword, do you really want to? I mean, it gets hungry when it gets hungry...

It is also worth mentioning that death is largely avoidable. You can run from fights. Most NPCs are not aggressive and will only fight when attacked. Many professions would never have a need to fight (craftsmen for example). You can hire NPC guards and pets for additional protection.

Again, the goal is to give players meaningful choices and options for play. If I wanted to somehow punish death, I would just use permadeath!

Oh, and dragons in Myth don't speak anything but fiery death :-)