Guess what? You went on an adventure and you got killed. Hand in your character sheet and shed a tear.
But you don't have to stop playing.
Either get yourself raised from the dead, or roll 2d6/d66 to see how a new character can be introduced mid-session, seamlessly or with a great thump of deus ex machina.
There's no particular reason why the surviving adventurers would hand over their late comrade's equipment for you to use, so maybe roll on some other tables to kit yourself out.
This leans into the old school dungeon adventure type of game, but is system agnostic and should easily adapt to other settings and systems. These are narrative prompts to get you going when you don't have the luxury or will to research, hone and carefully edit a 30-page backstory.
- Roll d6:
- Solo Adventurer. A Solo Adventurer (sword, leather armour, backpack, rations, 1 potion, 3 random not necessarily useful/not necessarily useless items) approaches the party after the fatality.
- Survivor. The party stumble on the aftermath of what looks like mutually assured destruction, but someone was knocked out and hidden under the blood and bodies. You're in need of some healing, but otherwise functional.
- Bounty Hunter. Roll d3: 1. Hunting one of the party members, 2. Hunting the dead character, 3. Hunting an NPC in the dungeon.
- Assassin. Roll d3: 1. Contracted to kill a party member, 2. Contracted to kill the dead character, 3. Contracted by an NPC in the dungeon (odds/evens, on their way to/from receiving orders/collection payment)
- Messenger. Roll d3: 1. Delivering a message to the party, 2. Delivering a message to an NPC in the dungeon, 3. Bringing a ransom for a prisoner in the dungeon.
- Spider Victim. Caught in a web or wrapped up in silk. Spider(s) present, 1 on d6.; Spider(s) nearby on a 2.
- Roll d6:
- Ghoul Victim. You're paralysed, but it will wear off in a few rounds. The Ghouls themselves have been driven off or are waiting in ambush (odds/evens).
- Swallowed Whole. You're either in the next appropriate monster (vomited up, shat out or cut from belly during the battle) or the beast is already dead and you struggle free as the party arrive.
- Prisoner. Locked or tied up in the nearest appropriate location. If a rogue-type, you may already have escaped.
- Sacrifice. If you're not being dragged to the altar/ edge of the pit, you're either a prisoner or being prepared (odds/evens, you're drugged, hypnotised or otherwise subdued).
- Black Ichor Addict. A twitchy, hollow-eyed, compulsive dungeoneer.
- Amnesiac. Not necessarily equipped to have made it this far. Baffled, but you know your name and adventurer type.
- Roll d6:
- Sleeping Beauty. Roll d3: 1. A sleep spell is expiring, 2. Can be woken with a kiss, 3. Naked and looted, your last memory is setting off a gas trap at a dead-end.
- Friendly Doppelganger. "Their life's work was not done - I shall take their form and make sure this death is not for nothing."
- Unfriendly Doppelganger. "No, I wasn't really dead - you just left me behind."
- You were the Doppelganger. "Thank goodness, my evil twin has been slain and I can take my life back."
- Activated Clone. You arrive on the scene with a convenient gap in your memory and a debt of 24,000 standard wealth units + 100 per Ability Score point (or adjust to reflect cloning procedures in your campaign/setting), but you're otherwise the same character.
- Vengeful Revenant. Doesn't have to be the dead character. Dies a true death when avenged.
- Roll d6:
- Stone-to-Flesh. You transform as the party happen by. You may be from the distant past if you were petrified by magic or monster. If you were originally a statue, you will either be like the sculptor's subject (which might be a famous historical figure, allegory or deity) or an amnesiac. Or you could be a Living Statue.
- Lovecraftian Resurrection. Someone said the right words and you have risen from your essential saltes. You are vulnerable to effects which can reverse this and blast you back to dust.
- Mercenary/ Hireling. You were part of another adventuring party, but they couldn't pay/cheated you out of your share. It's possible you are just lost.
- Treasure Hunter. You know the whereabouts in the dungeon of a significant hoard or object, and see the wisdom in teaming up.
- Pilgrim. You are visiting the sacred sites. It's possible you are lost.
- Sent by Fate. A righteous quest, the needs of cosmic balance or a karmic debt have driven you to seek out the party and fight alongside them.
- Roll d6:
- Vampire Victim. You are free of the Vampire's clutches now. Or are you? Obviously.
- On the Run/ In Hiding
- Berserker. When the red-mist cleared, here you were.
- Summoned Monster. Plucked out of time and space by a spell, you completed your task and find yourself stuck here rather than back there.
- Trapped by Lava. You seem to have got yourself stuck on the wrong side of the lava and would be ever so grateful for some help.
- Trapped by Monster. "Such good luck that you turned up when you did - LOOK OUT!"
- Roll d6:
- Binding Circle. You were trying to keep something out or something was trying to keep you in. In any case, someone else needs to break the circle to set you free.
- Forlorn Encystment. Your sentence is over and the enchantment wears off - you are unceremoniously expelled from the earth, and you don't remember a dungeon being here. Your sorcerous incarcerator could be long dead by now.
- Monster Hunter. You're after a specific monster (or type of monster) found in the dungeon. You know its habits and weaknesses, but it turned out to be more than you can manage on your own.
- Sorcerer's Apprentice. Someone has to collect the rare, raw leavings of the dungeon denizens so some tower-wizard can do their experiments. You're that someone, you're not necessarily magically gifted or even interested.
- Outcast. You have been rejected, hounded out of the mainstream, and you walk the liminal spaces of the world, seeking solitude or rare companionship.
- Doom Seeker. You can be found in the dark and dangerous places seeking the deadliest monsters and/or the most destructive artefacts - you fully intend to die trying.