Discovering the Death Clause
When in the Underworld, a changeling (and only a changeling) can discover that the Death Clause exists in one of two ways.
Option 1: There are libraries in the Underworld (such as the Athenaeum), and beings who have seen a lot and done even more. A PrP (which must be preapproved) can be done where a player comes across the information though, of course, no information comes without a price, which must be part of the PrP, whether they're visiting a library or sweet-talking some deathly creature into giving them the info.
Option 2: Clarity is rolled upon entering the Underworld, using the modifiers listed below. These rolls MUST be done during a PrP, and MUST be done in the Underworld. You can't just say "I'm in the Underworld, I'm rolling."
- Dramatic failure: The changeling remains ignorant of the Death Clause and cannot roll to notice it for a week after the initial roll. Rolls after the initial must still be done while in the Underworld.
- Failure: They don't notice it, but can roll again after 24 hours from the initial roll to sense it. Rolls after the initial must still be done while in the Underworld.
- Success: They're aware that there is a contract between the Underworld and the Wyrd. I.E., that it exists. There is no benefit for rolling exceptional.
- Character is a Darkling (+2)
- Character is a Gravewight Darkling (+3)
- Character is a non-Darkling Gravewight (+1)
- Character is a Bright One (-1)
- Character has Clarity 7+ (-1)
- Without doing either of these, even if someone explains the Death Clause to you, it doesn't quite connect, like the difference between telling someone about skydiving and actually experiencing it, or being told something you don't quite believe, like alien abduction. There is no understanding or connection that will allow you to obtain it. Being in the Underworld is NECESSARY, the act of entering the underworld and making your clarity roll is what cements the knowledge and true understanding..
Obtaining the Death Clause
After a character is aware that the Death Clause exists, they need to actually make the deal so it will actually benefit them. Or even learn more about it. At this point they know there’s a contract between the Wyrd and Death, but it’s just knowledge, nothing more.
However, knowing that the Clause exists gives an instinctive knowledge that a certain place in the Underworld must be reached. A Dominion called the Hedgebound Fragment. You know the general direction of where to go, and what you can tell a Ferryman to get there, but not what other obstacles lie between you and the dominion. Still, there are a couple of ways to get there.
Accepting the clause isn’t immediate upon arriving in the Hedgebound Fragment though. A character must prove themselves worthy and/or connected to death, or negotiate with the Deathlord who lurks there. The most common way to prove worthy is to come close to death and survive (i.e., but getting into Aggravated Damage). The bargaining can come either face to face, or in whispers/visions inside the character’s head. Either way, at the end of this, the character is allowed to make a pledge which gives them the benefits of the Death Clause.
All of this requires a preapproved PrP.
Using the Death Clause
When a character finishes the required scenes and learns the Death Clause, they both spend a DOT of Willpower (or 8xp to keep from losing it) and get a pledge. This is a True Name Oath (either sort) with Death and does take up a pledge slot. The pledge is fixed and the only boon is being able to come back to life.
If you have already sworn an Oath on your True Name, you’re unable to learn the Death Clause until you can make the pledge, and you will need to do a PrP to obtain it again.
While the pledge is in effect, they are forbidden from healing anyone who has taken Aggravated damage, not including yourself. If they do heal someone who has aggravated damage, they will die, though the Death Clause will bring them back to life, though it fulfills the pledge, just as though they had died from any other means. The only way to get around this is if after healing the person, they kill someone else. This has to be done within Wyrd days of the healing. (So if you heal someone at 4pm who has aggravated damage, and have Wyrd 4, you must kill another person by 8pm, or the Death Clause will kill you and consume the pledge.) Essentially, balance must be kept. The first person should have died, so Death requires that someone die in their place.
When a character dies, no matter the cause, they’re resurrected in the Underworld as per the book, and have to navigate their way out. They are not resurrected in the Hedgebound Fragment, but in a chamber closer to the world of the living. Upon resurrection, they 'lose' the memory of the Death Clause and the connection to the Underworld. The pledge disappears as well.
After this, a character cannot relearn the Clause for a month from the moment they awake in the Underworld, and after that month, if they want to regain the Death Clause, they MUST go through all the steps to discover and obtain it (and get a new instance of the pledge as the old one breaks upon their death/rebirth). No part of this process can begin until a month has passed from the time they awoke in the Underworld. More, each time the Death Clause is learned it gets progressively more expensive. The second time is 2 Willpower, the third 3 Willpower and so on.
- Type: Oath - True Name (whichever is appropriate -- Unsullied if you have no Fetch, Obscured if your Fetch is still out there)
- Task: Forbiddance, Greater (-3): Cannot save anyone who is in Aggravated damage, aside from yourself, though healing those with lethal or bashing is okay
- Boons: Favor (+3): Get a free 'death' and resurrect in the Underworld in a special chamber.
- Sanction: Death (-3) (Note: If the Changeling has saved someone from dying, like healing aggravated damage for example, they now owe Death a 'life'. What this means is the Changeling must take another sentient life within a number of days equal to their Wyrd score. So killing a stray dog will not do. If they do not meet this, then the Changeling themselves die at the end of the final hour.)
- Duration: Lifelong (+3): Until death
Obtaining the Death Clause does require venturing into a Dominion in the Underworld which seems to exist primarily for changelings. For information on this dominion (which is necessary for this), please see: Hedgebound Fragment