Deck of Many Things: Minor Death

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Deck of Many Things: Minor Death

Post by Havard » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:13 pm

What is a Minor Death? Is it a kind of demon? Do they serve the Gods?


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Re: Deck of Many Things: Minor Death

Post by RobJN » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:46 pm

Havard wrote:What is a Minor Death? Is it a kind of demon? Do they serve the Gods?

When they kill you, you're only "mostly dead."

Also: not to be confused with "Little Death," which is something else entirely..... :shock: :oops:
Last edited by RobJN on Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deck of Many Things: Minor Death

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:06 pm

In Dragon #42, Tom Moldvay introduced (in the same article that debuted the Brotherhood of the Sun) a creature called an apollyon, "the servants of Death." These were of neutral alignment and classified as spirits. "Spirits infer a creature or category of creatures whose power base is primal, primordial, or elemental. Such beings often originate in planes other than the Prime Material Plane and would usually occur very rarely."

In the 1st edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, it's said that the god Myrkul is served by "Deaths" such as that which appears as part of the deck of many things. 2nd edition's Faiths & Avatars reiterated that Myrkul sent Deaths identical to those associated with the Skull card in the deck of many things to work his will.

In the Pathfinder RPG, lesser deaths are "the weaker cousins of grim reapers." (Bestiary 5, 133). The backstory here is that the first creature to die faced its final judgment with scorn and defiance, becoming a kind of rogue deity dedicated to the ending of all other lives. Particularly powerful creatures slain by this god become its servants; the least powerful of its servants are the lesser deaths. Some were captured and bound to decks of many things long ago, though most roam the multiverse unbound.

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Re: Deck of Many Things: Minor Death

Post by Alzrius » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:28 pm

The 2E adventure The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga (which, if they'd still been using them in 1995, would have had module code S5), says the following on page 3:
The Complete Priest's Handbook describes three different powers a priest can worship and draw magical powers from: a god, a force, or a philosophy. A force is described as a mystical power that strongly affects the world, but which probably doesn't have a mind.


One of the most powerful forces is Death, whose avatar is a hooded, skeletal figure. When in avatar form, Death rides a "pale" or greenish-yellow horse. Death does not appear in this adventure, but the DM may choose to have it make an appearance at a later point if the suggestions found in the Concluding the Adventure section are used.


The avatars that Death makes use of are known as Minor Deaths, their task is to dispatch those whom Death wants to claim permanently. Death is not all powerful, and sometimes loses a victim as a result of a raise dead, resurrection, or reincarnation spell; however, any creature slain by a Minor Death is permanently destroyed (no mortal can interfere where death itself takes an active hand).

While there can be literally thousands of Minor Deaths on any given world they are fairly weak creatures (see description page 28).
On page 28, which has their stats and combat information, it reiterates this:
Minor Deaths are the physical manifestations (on the Prime Material Plane) of the force Death. In effect, they are Death's avatars. They are most often encountered by those who have the ill fortune to draw a skull card from the deck of many things.

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