“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”
In Deadhaus Sonata, gamers take on the role of the undead and this role changes many of the common tropes of typical role-playing games, and in some cases, turns them on their head. Not only are the classes in Deadhaus Sonata different from typical RPG games but death is also handled very differently as they are already dead.
Death as the Undead
The death system in Deadhaus Sonata was designed to be consistent and philosophically aligned with occult literature. One cannot simply kill a spirit without going through the proper rituals of exorcising that spirit. Examples of this philosophy can be seen in excellent shows like Supernatural, where the remains of a ghost need to be burned or destroyed to completely remove the entity from the realm of the living, or Dungeons and Dragons, where the phylactery of a Liche needs to be destroyed before it can truly be put to rest, and echoed throughout occult literature. A long tradition of necromancy (the magick for raising and communicating with the dead) posits that death and life are not binary states, but rather a smooth and permeable continuum along which many beings can wander. A recent revival of interest in the magick of St. Cyprian, patron Saint of Necromancers, as well as a long-standing preoccupation with the family of the dead in vodoun tradition (such as the Ghuede loa, like Baron Samedi) confirms a continuing occult fascination with the liminal states in between life and death. These principles are applied consistently for all classes of undead in Deadhaus Sonata.
States of Existence
The Undead of Deadhaus have three resources, one for each of their three major powers: Vitality, Mana, and Essence. Each of these resources has a corresponding state of existence: Physical, Ethereal, and Contained. The state of the Undead is determined through player choices, or by a forced change resulting from significant combat events. Each class of Undead has their own strengths and weaknesses in each state, and while using the corresponding resource – some classes prefer to always exist in one state, some classes switch between several states as they desire, and some classes cannot typically access some states and use the corresponding resource to cast abilities.