Death (mechanic)

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A player dying and Death coming to reap their soul.
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Dying

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Dying in Daemonheim

Death occurs when a character's life points reach zero. It can occur when travelling Gielinor, fighting monsters, fighting other players, during quests, in minigames, and more. A message in the chat box informs the player: Oh dear, you are dead!

Once dead, the player will either be placed at Death's office if there was wealth risked upon death or the nearest respawn hub if no wealth was risked. In Death's office, Death will return the player's items for a fee. If a player exits Death's office without reclaiming their items, a gravestone also appears on, or near the square where the player died and the player can get their items without paying the fee if they reach their grave before the time limit runs out. If the player dies in an instance, then the gravestone is typically placed outside the entrance to the boss, or for other bosses, in a "graveyard" area. If the player had an active familiar, it will disappear and any carried items will be dropped on the floor in Death's office. If the timer runs out and the gravestone collapses, Death still holds the player's items to reclaim.

Dying in the Wilderness while being opted into PvP (skulled) will cause all of the player's carried items and worn equipment to drop to the ground where they died and the player will respawn in Edgeville instead of Death's office.

Minigames are either considered safe (for example, Fishing Trawler) or dangerous (for example, Pyramid Plunder). If a player dies whilst participating in a safe minigame, the player will retain all items and respawn at a location specific to the minigame. If a player dies whilst participating in a dangerous minigame, the player will go through the usual death process.

Influencing or circumventing the death process[edit | edit source]

There are several ways to influence or circumvent the death process should the player's life points deplete.

  • If a player has a sign of life, sign of death or Defence cape equipped, or have a portent of life or portent of death in their inventory, they will instead be resurrected with a fraction of their life points after taking a fatal hit. However, they will not be able to benefit from this effect for 1 hour after activation unless a life refresh is used. Signs/portents vanish after a single use.
  • If a soul phylactery is carried in the inventory upon death, the item will be consumed and the player will be revived with their life points completely replenished.
  • If a player has a ring of death equipped when they die, they will be revived at full health and get the Ring of Death status, a damage over time effect that lasts for 3 minutes. The benefit from this effect has a 6 minute cooldown.
  • If a player dies while under the effects of the Immortality ability, they will be promptly resurrected with 40% of their maximum life points and the effect will end early, taking priority over any of the aforementioned items.

None of these methods of averting death will work in PvP, with the exception of the Immortality ability. In addition, the Defence cape as well as signs and portents of life or death will work in Deathmatch, but they will not work in any other PvP activity.

Respawning[edit | edit source]

Depending on if there was any wealth risked or not, the player will respawn at one of two places: either Death's office or the closest respawn hub.

Death's office[edit | edit source]

If a player risked any wealth when they died they will respawn at Death's office with full life points and restored stats. Players will keep all items that are always kept on death and those that are kept unless in the Wilderness.

Players can leave Death's office through Death's hourglass where they can choose to be spawned at specific locations. These potential spawn locations through the hourglass are Camelot, Falador, Lumbridge, Soul Wars, and Prifddinas in addition to exiting through the hourglass itself to Draynor Village.

Respawn hub[edit | edit source]

If the player died with no wealth risked, they will spawn at the last hub they have visited. The only basic respawn point every player unlocks automatically upon account creation is in Burthorpe.

Death (the NPC)[edit | edit source]

Death's office is where players respawn

Death's realm is accessed when new players die for the first time. Death will explain the death process, item losses, and gravestones. The player may exit at any time through Death's hourglass.

During Missing, Presumed Death, due to Death's kidnapping, Frank can instead be found in the office, and will act as a substitute for Death to reclaim items.

Reclaim costs[edit | edit source]

From Death[edit | edit source]

Returning to Death's office near Draynor Village

Reclaiming items from Death after dying costs 0.1% of their value, with a minimum cost of 100 coins per stack of items. The player's three most valuable items are free to retrieve. This can be increased to five items by active effects (sign of item protection, portent of item protection, powder of item protection, Protect Item prayer or curse, Hoarding perk, and the effect of a fury shark).

If a player dies again while Death still has reclaimable items, they will be moved into overflow storage where they will cost 1% of their value to reclaim instead. The overflow storage can hold up to 50 items. If the overflow storage becomes full, cheaper items will be permanently destroyed in priority to make room for the more expensive ones.

The value of an item can be determined with the following priority:

  • Its Grand Exchange price, if it is available on the Grand Exchange
    • Some items use the price of one or more other items, commonly degraded items using the price of their tradeable, non-degraded counterparts
  • For untradeable items: the item's value or a custom death value which applies to death mechanics only (e.g. seasinger kiba)

Several gravestones can reduce the cost of reclaiming items by 1% and up to 5%. The visible gravestone will not affect the deduction provided by the base gravestone purchased. Any items that would generally have degraded upon death will not do so if reclaimed from Death or Frank.

If a player has been disconnected due to server side issues, they will be able to reclaim their items should they die at no cost.

Gravestone[edit | edit source]

If players do not want to spend coins to reclaim their items, they are free to attempt to reach their gravestone within the allotted amount of time. This is anywhere between 1 minute and 45 seconds with the Memorial plaque up to 3 minutes with the Royal dwarven gravestone. The player's gravestone timer will silently count down while in Death's office for up to five minutes, then the player gets a message stating that they have spent too long in his office. If the player leaves Death's office before the message, the visible timer will begin at the initial duration of the gravestone.

The time gravestones last can be extended up to five minutes with the use of a Sign of respite I for 12 seconds, a Sign of respite II for 21 seconds, Sign of respite III for 30 seconds or another player blessing their grave. Any items that would degrade upon death will do so, when retrieving the item via the gravestone.

Any degradable items retrieved from gravestones without being protected will degrade by a set amount, 10% for level 90 equipment and 20% for lesser level equipment, while any augmented items not protected will drain two hours' worth of divine charge. Death's deal reduces the amount of degradation by 50% on the next death. Retrieving degradable or augmented equipment from Death will result in no degradation or divine charge drained.

If a player fails to reach their gravestone in time, they can return to Death's office and reclaim their items for the usual fee.

Analysis[edit | edit source]

If the player is not carrying any unprotected degradable or augmented equipment, retrieving items from a grave is free. However, degradable and augmented equipment have repair and recharge costs, which can make it cheaper to pay Death instead.

Generally, Death's fee is better if the player is carrying many degradable or augmented items, and the gravestone is better if the player is carrying many expensive items that are not degradable or augmented. To choose between them, the player can use the retrieval interface in Death's office. Death's reclaim cost is calculated automatically, and you can check which unprotected items are degradable or augmented, then estimate the gravestone cost.

Gravestone cost can be reduced if a degradable item or the player's charge pack is almost out of charge. For example, an item with 3% charge will only lose 3% instead of 20%.

Augmented items[edit | edit source]

An augmented item that uses 1 charge/second will be drained by 7,200 charges when retrieved from a gravestone, costing 161,184 coins. If the player had no other costs from the gravestone, they would have to be carrying unprotected items worth more than 161,184,000 coins (including the augmented item) for visiting the gravestone to be cheaper. If the augmented item is worth more on its own, the gravestone will always be cheaper, unless the gravestone cost is increased by other degradable or augmented items.

Degradable items[edit | edit source]

The cost of retrieving degradable items from a gravestone depends on the cost of repair. For example, an unprotected Verac's helm costs between 13,800 coins and 27,324 coins to repair by 20% using an armour stand. However, Death's fee is 639 coins.

In some cases, the repair costs for a single item can be more than almost any amount of reclaim costs from Death. For example, repairing an elite sirenic mask by 10% costs 1,815,224 coins and Death's fee is 162,536 coins. If the player had no other costs from the gravestone, they would have to be carrying unprotected items worth more than 1,815,224,400 coins (including the mask) for visiting the gravestone to be cheaper.

Items Kept on Death[edit | edit source]

When a player dies, they will lose all items they were carrying at the time of their death except in the case of:

  • All items in worn equipment and inventory that are always kept on death.
  • All items in worn equipment and inventory that are always kept on death unless in the Wilderness.
  • Combination of the above and only three to five items (if a sign of item protection is used along with Protect Item prayer or curse) and fewer items are held by the player.

A few notable exceptions are:

  • Bonds. They are always kept on death, regardless of whether or not the player was in the Wilderness.
  • Coins in the money pouch are always kept on death, regardless of whether or not the player was in the Wilderness.
  • Dying in the Wilderness while being opted into PvP will also cause untradeable items to either disappear, or be replaced by a set amount of coins based on the item.
  • Tradeable items that degrade, will fully break upon being dropped.

When in the Wilderness, players who die while opted into PvP (skulled) will have all items and worn equipment dropped on the ground where they died. The player has the option to retain up to three of their items by activating the Protect Item prayer or curse, scattering powder of item protection, and eating a fury shark. Sign of item protection does not work in PvP scenarios or in the Wilderness even if not opted into PvP.

Item anomalies[edit | edit source]

Items in gravestones and in Death's reclaim interface are based on their Grand Exchange values, although players can also select what they want to protect if they died outside the Wilderness. Prior to the Items Kept on Death Changes update on 19 April 2011, the precedence for retaining an item depended on its store or alchemy value, which can often be at considerable variance with the value to players. Discontinued rare items, such as partyhats, tend to have an alchemy value of 1 coin, which made them particularly vulnerable to this problem.

Because lent items are kept above all other items on hand, some players borrow an item in return for lending the same item to another player so that it may be kept upon death. It is possible to be scammed by this. A player may ask you to trade your item instead of lending it, and in return lend their item, essentially leading to them obtaining a copy of virtually any item they have. The most popular items for this scam are rares such as partyhats and Santa hats.

Animations[edit | edit source]

There are various death animations which can occur during player death. By default the death animation is based on the damage type of the killing blow, however this can be overridden by cosmetic settings or, in PvP, by the killing player's PvP Victim Death Animation. The cosmetic settings for the death animation can be changed by visiting Death, right-clicking him and selecting "Death Event".

Animation Details
Magic death.gif Default death animation when killed by magic damage.
Ranged death.gif Default death animation when killed by ranged, melee, or dragonfire damage.
Melee death.gif Death animation when killed by melee damage from certain sources, including Giant mole, Outlaw, and player killing.
Death animation (Death).gif A player having Death reap their soul after death, a reward from Missing, Presumed Death.
Death animation (Icthlarin).gif A player having Icthlarin guide their soul after death, a reward from Missing, Presumed Death.
Death animation (Amascut).gif A player having Amascut's Soul Devourer reap their soul after death, a reward which was able to be unlocked from the Avatar of Amascut during the 2015 Halloween event.

PvP Victim Death Animations[edit | edit source]

Animation Details
Death by Air.gif Death by Air
Death by Water
Death by Earth.gif Death by Earth
Death by Fire

Historical reclaim fees[edit | edit source]

Hitpoints historical.png
Reclaim fees were significantly altered after an update.
This article is retained to provide information on past elements of RuneScape.

Before the update of 9 January 2023, the cost to reclaim items from Death were significantly higher. It was also possible to sacrifice items to lower the total reclaim cost.

Reclaiming items after dying from Death would present a return fee depending on several factors. Values were split between saved value, total cost to save and sacrificed item value. Saved item value and sacrificed item value were generally small percentages of the total value of a given item which was reduced the more the item is worth. However some items had fixed items values like the Dragon Rider amulet and Asylum surgeon ring where they had no sacrifice value and cost the same to replace through Death or their original source.

Items worth up to 10,000 coins cost 15% to save and had a 60% sacrifice value. Items worth more than 10,000 coins had a decreasing percentage to save ending at 0.5% at an item worth upwards of 10,000,000 coins. All costs were rounded down. The minimum value reclaim could be was 1 coin. Sacrifice was always four times the cost of reclaim's final value. It was not possible to separate stacks of items to be kept or sacrificed as the whole stack must be kept or sacrificed.

Where is:

  • The Grand Exchange price of the item, if it is available on the Grand Exchange
    • Some items use the price of one or more other items, commonly degraded items using the price of their tradeable, non-degraded counterparts
  • For untradeable items: the item's value or a custom death value which applies to death mechanics only (e.g. seasinger kiba)

Sacrificing items would reduce the cost of reclaiming items and several gravestones could further reduce the cost to save by 1% and up to 5%. Some items had a custom sacrifice value, usually 0, which did not follow the above formula.

Update history[edit | edit source]

This information has been compiled as part of the update history project. Some updates may not be included - see here for how to help out!
  • patch 23 January 2023 (Update):
    • Corrected Death reclaim values for Erethdor's Grimoire, Ascension Fragments and Fragment Arrows and Bolts.
    • Corrected a calculation issue that would occur when switching between tabs in the Death Preview. This was a UI issue and did not effect the cost of Death itself.
    • Dyed Fractured Staff of Armadyl variants have been updated to now correctly display the intended cost/item value and death cost.
    • Fixed a small issue with Member only items in Death Overflow being claimable in free-to-play worlds.
    • Fixed an issue where items stored with Death weren't refreshing when claiming them via the Gravestone.
  • patch 16 January 2023 (Update):
    • Hardcore Ironman players will once again retain their protected items on death
  • update 9 January 2023 (Update):
    • Death fees were significantly reduced, and the option to sacrifice items to reduce death fees was removed.
  • patch 25 July 2022 (Update):
    • Fixed an issue where some versions of the Augmented Dark Sliver of Leng had different costs on death.
  • patch 13 June 2022 (Update):
    • Dying in War's Retreat is now a Safe Death and will revive the player automatically.
  • patch 11 April 2022 (Update):
    • Needle Shards are now protected on death.
    • The Pastkeeper Amulet is now protected on death.
  • patch 27 September 2021 (Update):
    • Feathers of Ma'at are no longer destroyed on player death.
  • patch 10 February 2020 (Update):
    • Fixed an issue which led to players being unable to access their inventory after dying.
  • ninja 8 May 2017 (Update):.
    • Death will now correctly sort items to be reclaimed based on their reclaim cost instead of their base value.
  • patch 1 June 2015 (Update):
    • The warning message when Death will keep items for less than an hour is now red.
  • patch 5 January 2015 (Update):
    • Death will once again automatically initiate the death tutorial conversation after dying for the first time.
  • patch 21 August 2012 (Update):
    • The Ring of visibility now protects on death.
  • patch 11 January 2010 (Update):
    • Improved the timing of the sound played when you die to start and finish earlier.
  • patch 22 June 2009 (Update):
    • Resolved an issue where the items kept upon death would randomly swap two items with the same price around.
  • update 27 January 2001 (Update):
    • You now keep your 3 most valueable items when you die.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • If a player dies while they have the Retribution prayer or Wrath curse active, all enemies that are in a 3x3 (Retribution) or 5x5 grid (Wrath) centred on the dying player are dealt damage based on that player's Prayer level.
  • When a player died in RuneScape Classic, the message in their chatbox read, You have been granted another life. Be more careful this time! You retain your skills. Your objects land where you died.
  • During The Fremennik Trials quest, being killed by Koschei the Deathless after killing him 3 times will give you a message saying: Oh dear, you are...still alive somehow?
  • Before it was removed, during the quest Romeo & Juliet, if the player were to drink the Cadava potion, they would have performed the death animation and the chatbox will say: Oh dear, you are nearly dead! The player would then wake up at the Apothecary.
  • From 1 February 2011 to 26 May 2015, the timers on all gravestones were doubled, with the exception of the Royal Dwarven gravestone - the timer for this grave has been increased by a factor of 2.5.
  • Previously, in the 16 October 2007 update, players who dropped items on death would have one minute within which no one could see or loot their dropped items. After that, they would become visible to other players. Once two minutes had passed from time of death, the dropped items would despawn. The gravestone update on 10 December 2007 rendered the previous update obsolete.
  • In the past, items carried by a familiar would disappear if the player died in an instance.
  • It used to be possible for players to lose all their items if they "double grave" when attempting to return to their graves. Double graving means that while one grave for the player is up, they die again causing all items from the previous death to be lost from both the grave and Death. This mechanic was replaced by Death's overflow storage.
  • It is impossible to die while in Death's office or at War's Retreat. Death and War will prevent the player from dying.