There are so many parts to creating a fictional afterlife that works for your world and it’s different for every person. You really have to work for believability, consistency, and impact if you want to include this. To be honest, you might not even use the entire mythos because some things simply wouldn’t be know to the mortal characters. Still, it pays to have an idea of what happens afterwards in case you want to work with ghosts, introduce priests later, or do anything that delves into the dead. Here are some tips to consider for your afterlife.
- Try not to focus entirely on one side of the coin. We tend to enjoy characters who are staring hell in the face while ignoring those that are obviously going to heaven. This is not a reason to give only a passing mention of heaven. If there is the possibility for a character to go to a dark afterlife because of past actions then you should be clear about the alternative.
- You might be able to get away with a character returning from the dead once, but you need to set a precedent for it. Hint that it’s possible or that it’s never been done. Fans don’t always enjoy this, so you have to be careful and make it count. Don’t go the Jean Grey/Kratos route where the afterlife is simply a vacation from their day job.
- Even if you don’t use them, write down a description of heaven and hell. Characters can talk about what they think awaits them or priests can have visions of it. Giving the afterlife locations some details can give them more weight within the eyes of the reader and minds of the characters.
- Figure out if there’s a process to the afterlife. Does a character get judged or sent immediately to their location? Can they earn a chance to redeem themselves as ghosts or get reincarnated? Yes, you can do the ‘death and the end’, but it doesn’t hurt to create a process.
- Remember that Death God does not always equal evil. People are naturally scared of death, so these guys and girls tend to fall into the role of ‘Big Evil’. Try to keep them neutral because they reap the good and the bad. If you want to go for an evil Death God then design a two or three god system. Make them a council or opposing forces, but this makes the afterlife a little more interesting and competitive.