Laws of Inheritance

It is normal that when an individual dies, his possessions are distributed to his heirs, assigns, legatees, et cetera, or, in the worst possible scenario, they escheat to the state--that is, the government which presumes to have an interest in all that is within its borders claims full possession of anything, especially land, which is or appears to be unowned.  However, characters resurrected or reincarnated normally expect to reclaim all possessions.  The potential right to return to one's own possessions after death must be clarified.

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It is necessary that a person who is dead be confirmed dead.  Such confirmation may be made in one of two ways.  If a body is presented and identified, the deceased is declared dead if not returned alive in one week.  Thereafter, final distribution of all possessions may be made.  Alternatively, if the body is not recovered but is reported dead or believed dead, possessions remain protected for one year, at which time he is presumed dead if he has not proven his survival (return, signed letter, other verifiable communication).  Finally, a character who disappears for ten years without communication may be declared presumed dead by the state on its own initiative or that of any interested party.  If a longer period is initiated and then conditions for a shorter period are met, the shorter period is initiated at that time, even if it extends the time beyond the initial period.  That is, a character who has been missing for seven years when someone announces that they saw him die seven years before still has one year to appear and disprove his death.  This gives a lost or deceased character time to return.

Thus, in the eyes of the law, a character resurrected within the time frame allotted is assumed not to have died.

Reincarnation poses a separate set of problems.  The reincarnated character, under MyWorld rules, begins life in a new form as an infant.  It must be said that claimants to his possessions can easily pretend to be the deceased.  Therefore, no reincarnate can prove a claim to be who he was.

However, in games permitting attorneys, wills, and other means of controlling disposition of property, it may be possible to pass property to oneself.  The simplest means would be to give everything to someone who will give it back when satisfied that the deceased has returned; this has the obvious drawback that the individual holding the property is not obligated legally to return it, and can deny recognition of the previous owner, but assuming this objection is overcome, this is the simplest solution.

A more complex solution would be to create a trust which would place the property in care of the trustee until certain proofs of claim are presented.  The character would then hide those proofs as carefully as he could so that upon reincarnation he could grow to maturity, recover the proofs, and claim his inheritance.  It is obvious that such a system must have a limited duration.  The referee should determine whether such trusts have a maximum life of 20, 50, 100, or 200 years, depending on maturation rates of the likely reincarnate bodies.  Alternatively, in the MyWorld campaign, the duration of the trust will be 10 years per level of the attorney at the time the documents are created (or last updated).  If the trust expires before claim is made, possessions are distributed as otherwise provided.

Note:  a superseding will (written later) eliminates a previously established trust system.

Note:  reincarnate characters have only partial memory, and must surrender all maps and notes.  The referee should also feel free to make any changes which will create the effect of imperfect memory, such as renaming landmarks or moving proofs to a similar and nearby location (you remembered wrong).  The proof itself similarly may be altered.

Note:  proofs must be carefully considered.  Valuable ones may be found and taken by other explorers, even by friends who do not know their significance.  Worthless ones may deteriorate or be discarded.  Altering proofs to obscure memory must be minor, so that they have similar value and durability.

In the MyWorld campaign, the entire proofs/memory problem is solved by taking it out of the player's hands.  The player is permitted to specify the number of proofs required and the size of the area in which they are spread; he may make suggestions as to items his character would consider appropriate proofs.  The referee then gives the player limited information as time develops (you are now 15 years old, and remember that you use to be an elf).  Information increases as the character "recognizes" things.  In this way, the referee controls "memory", and can set up the adventure however he chooses.

Players should be aware that MyWorld adventuring groups tend to use time efficiently, and to burn up the calendar very slowly.  If your character is the subject of a reincarnate spell, create a new one.  It may be some time before the other one returns to play.

Regarding equipment and magic items, such things are included in the estate of the deceased.  Other characters who remove such things for their own use are violating the laws.  If a party wishes to keep magic items from fallen comrades for the continued use of the party, the exact rights of the user and the party should be defined at the time items are distributed.  The Lothias party regarded all items the property of the individuals who claimed them as share.  The Anthrax party regarded all items as property of Anthrax until gifted to the individual.  The Kramzar party regarded all magic items recovered by the party as party property on loan to individuals; such items were to be returned to the party if the character withdrew, except that they usually gifted one (possibly two) such items to departing characters as a token of good will.  The Tiras party regarded all items designated by Tiras as treasure items (excluding, for example, maps made by the party) as jointly owned according to the share assigned to each until purchased at the party auction, with the proceeds being distributed to each according to his share.  The Kanin party considered all magic items the property of the one to whom Kanin assigned them.  Parties are free to make any arrangements concerning such distributions as are consistent with the alignments of those making the decision (especially the party leader).

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Here's a great game in which when you die, you get to take it all with you.

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