Truly tough cusses don't really die. Well they do, but they don't stay dead. Player characters that die can choose to become one of the lingerin' dead, or Lingered as they are known. These undead cowpokes are corpses possessed and powered by demons (looking to escape hell and maybe cause a bit of it while they're at it).
There are some definite drawbacks to being one of the Lingered. If the Lingered commits an evil or particularly bloodthirsty act, they must make a save or lose control to the demon for 1d6 hours (or more if the act is truly heinous). Lingered cannot enter holy ground. In addition, while the demon slows decomposition, they're still dead and rotting. Finally animals are always hostile (at best) or frightened (at worst) by their presence.
There are some benefits though. Being undead makes them tougher than normal folks. They take half damage (rounded up) from non magical sources (other than elemental effects). If reduced to 0 HP they become inert for 1d6 hours, at which point they will regain 1d6 hit points. The only way to kill a lingered is to completely destroy the body (via burning) or destroy the brains specifically.
The lingered don't heal the same way normal folks do. They don't have to sleep as such and gain no HP from doing so. In addition they gain no benefit from doctorin'. These undead cowpokes can only be healed by eatin' raw flesh (human or animal). They regain 1d6 HP for every Hit Dice of raw flesh they consume.
The demons that inhabit the bodies are quite greedy and absorb the arcane essence of other slain monsters. They gain various abilities from killin' unnatural critters. These abilities will be mentioned in the monster's stats.
Though they keep their former abilities, the lingered no longer gain levels. Instead they can improve in a system similar to the perk/credit system. For each successful adventure the lingered completes they gain a Dead Point. Dead points can be spent as follows.
- 3 Dead Points - Lower Saving Throw by 1 point. This can be bought a maximum of 5 times.
- 5 Dead Points - +1 to BHB. This can be taken a maximum of 5 times.
- 5 Dead Points - Add 1 HP to their HP total. Note, these are not HD and a Constitution bonus does not apply. This can be purchased any number of times.
- 10 Dead Points - Add 1 HD to their total. This can only be bought twice.
Idle Hands (5 Dead Points) - By taking a round the lingered can detach its hand (which temporarily grows an eye), gaining the following stats:
AC 7  HD:1 Attacks: Scratch (1+Strength Bonus) Move: 9
The Lingered must concentrate to control its hand (losing its attack that round). They can see through the eye and always know roughly in the direction the eye is. Any damage done to the hand is also taken by the Lingered. Should the hand be destroyed the hand will regrow, but the process is taxing and caused the Lingered to take 1d6 damage.
Lesser Hellfire (5 Dead Points) - Once per day, the Lingered can use the demon powering it to spit a gout of flame. Target creature within 10' make a save or take 1d6 fire damage.
Freshen Up (10 Dead Points) - In addition to healing by eating raw flesh, the Lingered can reverse decomposition, appearing almost life-like. However, no matter how much flesh they eat they will still show signs of their death wound, be cold to the touch, and smell of slight decay.