Life and Death in the Nexus
As you know by now, Avatars are immortal as long as they stay in the Nexus (or Journey under its protection). So an Avatar cannot actually die. But tension fills the Nexus and the social structure is such that combat is inevitable. There are many ways for Avatars to harm each other and many disputes and political struggles are settled with deadly force.
At any time that an Avatar's LIFE Stat drops to 0 or below, the Avatar is considered to have temporarily "died". In exactly four minutes after the Avatar's "death" (this is established either as the end of the Action which caused the Avatar's death OR the end of the entire combat in which the Avatar was involved, whichever is later), the Avatar's body will disappear in a wisp of smoke, and the energy which usually forms the Avatar will not be able to form for a period of one additional hour. The exception to this rule is any Avatar from the Cartoon Genre; we'll get to that in a moment.
During the four minutes that the Avatar is "unconscious", the Avatar who "killed" him has the opportunity to steal one Item from the Avatar with no penalty. To do so, he declares the Class of Item he is trying to steal. The dead Avatar must pull out all of the Items he is carrying which match that Class, whether or not they are Stealable. The thief then must pick one at random (face down). If he chooses one which is NOT Special, he takes the Item, and the Avatar continues his "death". Note that the "killer" may default his steal to a second Avatar, but under no circumstances will more than one Item be taken in this fashion.
In a group combat situation (explained later), the victorious side will determine randomly who gets to take an Item from which unconscious Avatar. Remember that only one item may be selected (whether or not it is Stealable) from each unconscious Avatar before the Avatar disappears.
Also during the four minutes of unconsciousness, there is the opportunity for another Avatar who has a Power which can alter the normal effect of death to save the dead Avatar (or in some cases, to send him to a worse fate). This may happen before or after an Item has been taken. Note that if the victor wants to steal an Item at the same time that another Avatar wants to Change his status, an Initiative calculation is called for (explained later).
As noted above, if the Avatar died during a combat, the four minutes begins immediately after the combat ends; this period of time is called the "grace period". No COMBAT Action may be taken by or against any Avatar who was involved in the combat in which the Avatar died. This allows stealing, the Resurrection and Necromancy Powers to be used, and any other Items or effects which may applicable. If an Avatar who was NOT involved in the combat decides to affect the corpse(s) during the grace period, NONE of the Avatars who were IN the combat may affect him, HOWEVER, an Avatar (or group) who was NOT involved in the combat MAY initiate a combat with this new Avatar, possibly preventing him from using his Power within the four minute time frame.
Note that this grace period is invoked ONLY IF one or more Avatars died during the Combat. For the purposes of EM and LIFE replenishment for surviving Avatars, the grace period is a continuation of Combat which does NOT count towards the ten minutes of out-of-combat replenishment (see the Combat section for more details). The grace period is considered to be over at the end of four minutes or when there are no more dead bodies to affect.
There is a precedence to the three Actions which can be taken during the grace period. In a situation where more than one Avatar wants to affect the corpse, the following order MUST be used: 1) Any steal attempt is made first. Once every Avatar who has a rightful claim to steal from the body has decided not to do so, there can be no further attempt. In this case, an indecision is counted as "deciding not to". 2) Any Avatars who are attempting to cast Necromancy or Resurrection will then be free to operate. If more than one Avatar is attempting to use either Resurrection of Necromancy, an Initiative draw will determine which one will attempt it. See the actual powers for special rules on disputed corpses. Note that all of this "debate" must be accomplished within the four minute grace period.
Assuming that the Avatar is not resurrected or otherwise affected by "alternate death" Powers, he MUST turn in his CC to a Double Exposure official, who will hold it for the period of time the Avatar cannot act (the killer may want to escort the dead Avatar for the purposes of making sure that the CC is turned in). If this happens at an event where Double Exposure has NOT set up operations, it will be a matter of trust that the dead Avatar will put away his CC out of sight.
A hole must be punched in the "Death" area of the CC, and the number of deaths that his character has will be taken into account when he advances to his next Level (as previously explained).
During the time that the Avatar is in "limbo", he may not take any direct Action in the Nexus, and this includes communication. It is assumed that the ethereal form of his energy is resting and that he is unable to actually reach any other Avatar in any other way. Note that this all ties in with the fact that you cannot actively participate in the Nexus unless you are in possession of your CC, which is taken away from you when you die.
The dead Avatar IS able to Journey (and to communicate OUTSIDE of the Nexus through a Host), since his energy is able to Wander into a Host normally. He just cannot change into his normal Avatar form until the time period is over. However, the Nexus does make an exception for Skill Challenges, as long as the dead Avatar does not affect the Nexus in any other way.
As for Cartoon Avatars, they have no such concept as "death", so they don't even get temporarily put away the way other Avatars do. A Cartoon Avatar whose LIFE is reduced to 0 will still enter unconsciousness the way other Avatars do, and this will last for 4 minutes past the end of the Action or the entire combat in which he died. However, at the end of the 4 minute period (during which he IS susceptible to scavenging and other "alternate death" Powers), he will spring back to life and continue on his way. The actual effect of this "spring" is equivalent to a successful "Flee" Action (explained later), and therefore the Cartoon Avatar is subject to the normal "Flee" restrictions, including the inability to become a combatant. Note that a Cartoon Avatar NEVER loses future APs the way other Avatars can.
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