If character life is ever reduced to zero, the character and any mercenary or pets die, and a gold text message in the top left corner of the screen informs players what they were slain by.
- In a Hardcore game, death is final and players are informed that their deeds of valor will be remembered. Press the Esc(ape) key to continue, exiting the game: however, since doing so removes the corpse from the game, do not do this if a party member in the same game can loot it to recover equipped items.
- Otherwise, pressing the Esc key resurrects the character in town in the Act in which death occurred, with maximum stamina, life and mana, and any items in inventory. However, all equipped items remain on a corpse left at place of death, with the possible exception of belt contents (which are moved to inventory if there is sufficient space; otherwise, excess is dropped by corpse).
- All buffs (and debuffs) active prior to death have expired. This includes +10% All Resistances from each Scroll of Resistance given as a reward by Malah for rescuing Anya from the Prison of Ice in each difficulty level: however, each bonus will be restored upon exiting and rejoining or starting a new game.
Death takes its toll
- Death takes its toll in gold, with the character losing a percentage of total gold carried in inventory and stashed in town: this equals character level for clvl 20 or less, and 20% thereafter. Any remaining gold in inventory is dropped by corpse, awaiting retrieval. In Multiplayer games, if this toll exceeds gold in inventory then it is deducted from stashed gold; in Single Player games, gold is not deducted from stashed gold, and 500 * clvl gold in inventory is also exempt (so if a level 20 SP character dies with 10,000 gold in inventory, the toll cannot be taken since 500*20 = 10,000).
- Character will have lost experience upon death in Nightmare and Hell difficulty levels, based on a percentage of the total experience required to gain the next level: 5% is lost in Nightmare and 10% in Hell, although levels already gained cannot be lost. For example, 20,126,064 total experience is required for a level 67 character to gain level 68: a death in Nightmare would result in 1,006,303 experience loss, while one in Hell would result in 2,012,606 experience loss.
- 75% of this lost experience can be recovered if the character is able to recover the corpse without saving and exiting.
- If a player is unwilling or unable to recover the corpse and its equipped items from its resting place, then upon saving, exiting and rejoining or starting a new game, the corpse will be at starting point in town, allowing safe recovery. However, lost experience or any gold or other items dropped on the ground can no longer be recovered.
- If a character dies multiple times without recovering corpse, another corpse is created each time with any equipped items added since the previous death, and gold and experience are lost each time. A character can have up to sixteen corpses, after which any equipped items are dropped as well. After saving, exiting and rejoining or starting a new game, the only corpse at the starting point in town will be that whose equipped items had the most gold value: all other corpses will disappear, but any equipped items are dropped where they laid.
died a second time before recovering her first corpse, resulting in a second. Both corpses are labelled and indicated on the automap with pink crosses. Since there was not sufficient space in her inventory to store the contents of her belt
, the remainder were dropped by her first corpse.
- Charms in inventory remain equipped then, upon clicking on the corpse, the game attempts to equip remaining items in the following order:
- Finally, any swap weapons (II) on the right then left arm will be equipped in Expansion games. If item requirements cannot be met without Strength or Dexterity bonuses from items equipped later, then items normally equipped before will now be equipped after those later items. This changed order can affect casting order of Chance to Cast modifiers, and which weapon is primary for an Assassin or Barbarian equipping two weapons.
- An item's own Strength and Dexterity bonuses can be used to meet its requirements after removing items with equivalent bonuses which allowed it to be equipped. However, if an item cannot be equipped without its own bonuses upon recovery, it (and any later item(s) which cannot be equipped without it) will be placed in inventory or remain on the corpse if there isn't sufficient space.
- Character corpses do not disappear until every item on them has been equipped or placed in inventory, or until the player saves and exits the game.