One of my players (who runs Mo, El Murik, Al Murik) suggested allowing a cut-rate version of Resurrection. I'm not sure I'll use it, but even so, they'd fit well in my games. If someone dies and the players want to go for this, I might allow it.
I'd want players to state ahead of time their preferences for their characters, since "Don't use Cut-Rate on me because I'll make a new guy worth 250 and my current guy is below 276" is a valid meta-game argument but totally lame when someone does it after they die.
You don't need to go to a real cleric to come back to life. If you don't mind some downsides, you can go to a somewhat cheaper option . . .
Cut-Rate Resurrection - This spell doesn't so much restore you to life fully as it does get you mostly alive, albeit in dire need of rehab and further adventuring to get back into form. 100 to cast (so, $5000) but only allows the PC to purchase the Extra Option perk (Extra Life) and Extra Life retroactively. Both the perk and the extra life are expended completely, immediately.
The cost of the perk and Extra Life (total 26 points) is paid in the following priority:
- any saved points are automatically spent.
- if you still need points, choose 1 or more of the disadvantages on the list below.
- if you still need 10 or more points, HT is reduced by 1.
- if you still need 10 or more points after that, ST is reduced by 1.
- if you still need points after that, reduce FP and/or HP.
- if the character ends up owing 1 point, put it back in the pool of saved points but it may only be used to buy back lost secondary characteristics or stats.
If HP and/or FP go below base ST or HT, they must be raised back to equal their base stat before points are spent on anything else.
Choose up to -26 points worth of:
Bad Back, Bad Grip, Bad Sight, Chronic Pain, Deafness, Disturbing Voice, Easy to Kill, Lame, Missing Digit, Neurological Disorder, One Arm, One Eye, One Hand, Unfit (or sell off Fit/Very Fit), or Wounded.
Disads chosen must reflect the injuries suffered - Bad Grip or Missing Digit for a hand injury, Disturbing Voice for being throat-slit or decapitated, etc. Any missing digits or limbs can only be fixed via magic after saving up enough points to pay off the disadvantage!
For example: Rufus the unlucky is slain and half-eaten by trolls. He is 280 points and has 4 points saved. His cheap friends spring for Cut-Rate Resurrection. Rufus has ST 17, HT 13, HP 20, FP 13, and Fit. He first spends his 3 saved points, leaving him with 26 - 4 = 22 points left to lose. He doesn't want to lose his base 3d-1 swing damage (or x2 healing for HP 20+), so he elects to go for disadvantages and HT loss. He chooses Easy to Kill 1 (-2), Wounded (-5), -1 HT (-10). That leaves him -5 more to go. He still doesn't want to lose HP, so after some deliberation he decides to lose 2 FP (-6) and net back 1 saved point. Rufus is now ST 17, HP 20, HT 12, FP 10, and has Easy to Kill 1 and Wounded plus 1 saved point. He must spend his next 6 points (1 saved and 5 more) raising FP back to 12 before doing anything else with his earned experience points!
I should also mention, this is cash on purchase, results not guaranteed!
Another option might be a 1-point perk:
The Church Owes Me 1-3 - You did some big favors for the Church of the Good God - volunteer work, donated a lot of money, spent your downtime helping the nuns clean the classroom, whatever. if you die, you will be revived with Resurrection a discount of 1/3 per level (2/3 for two, free for 3 levels). You may buy up to 3 levels. If you can't afford it, the church will front you the money you are short. After that, the entire perk is gone - no trading in partial levels! You may not take another iteration of this perk until you are fully in the clear from any debt incurred the first time around - and the GM may require some in-game action favorable to the church to justify the purchase.
Example: Rufus has The Church Owes Me 2, for that time he cleaned the chalkboards for a week and that time he banished the devil himself from the mortal plane. He gets half-eaten by trolls and dies. His friends drag him back and the church casts Resurrection at a cost of 15,000 x 1/3 = 5,000. Rufus has 3,250 saved, so the church takes that. Rufus is back, and the Church owes him nothing . . . but he owes it 1,750 before they'll do any healing for him again!
If Rufus had the full 15,000 saved up, he would be able to pay for it out-of-pocket and not use his perk . . . but he can't split the levels and get a partial discount.
The idea of the first is a cost-based penalty for retroactively buying Extra Life. The second is making Trading Character Points for Money a one-shot, 10x value deal for focusing all of the money on a single spell casting. Since you can't access this except in town, assuming the town is large enough, and it still requires you to be a) dead, b) above -10xHP, and c) dragged back to town, it seems fair to make it so much more cost-effective. A more rules-literal version would accept the -80% cost limitation and be 2/level, but you can only use this while dead, it's one shot, and it's very limited, so -90% seems fairer.