You can either do a CR as you are (no gear or weapons equipped), or you can get a set of gear out of your personal or shared stash to suit up for the run. Some people keep a few key pieces as “corpse run items” stashed just for this reason — a few Resist or Absorb items and Faster Run/Walk bits can make all the difference. Just make sure you will still have room to pick up all lost items.
In Nightmare or Hell difficulty levels, you also lose a percentage of your experience when you die. Doing a CR will restore a large portion of that lost experience, so it can be very important to do CRs on those difficulty levels. The experience penalty is explained in further detail below.
Before you leave town, move all gold stored in your Personal stash to your Shared stash. That way you won’t lose any more gold if you die again trying to retrieve your corpse.
When you reach your body, click the corpse. If you have gear equipped for a corpse run set, you may need to remove those items first or you won’t re-equip properly.
The game will attempt to re-equip the gear when you click the corpse, although this might not work perfectly. If you have items that require +STR or +DEX to equip, you’ll need to re-equip any items manually that you need to be able to meet that minimum equipment threshold. Any extra items will go into your inventory.
Make sure you have enough room to pick everything up! Double check your corpse before leaving. And don’t forget to click your gold pile.
The risk with the CR is that if you die again before you retrieve your first corpse, you’ll have to do another CR to get both corpses if you want to reclaim everything you’ve lost. You may end up with several corpses to retrieve in this way on a particularly heinous run. You can have a maximum of 16 corpses; if it takes you longer than 16 tries to get your body back, you’ll lose access to the original geared corpse.
The real key is this: if you’re pretty sure you’re going to die, try to run out of range of any big bad mobs so you won’t aggro them again when you return for your corpse. Retrieving a corpse successfully when it’s under the toes of a boss is next to impossible.
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Town Portals aren’t just a great way to get back to town — they can be a proactive way to prevent a long corpse run. If you’re working in a multilevel dungeon, simply cast a Town Portal near the beginning of each level. This gives you a safe place to return that’s already clear and relatively safe.
Restarting the game is a faster alternative to the CR, but you can get only your gear off your most recent corpse this way. All gold that fell on the ground will be lost. You also won’t recover lost experience if playing in Nightmare or Hell. Since you don’t lose experience in Normal difficulty, you can use this without worrying about this penalty, though you’ll still lose gold.
If you restart your game immediately after you die the first time, your most recent corpse and everything on it (minus gold) will appear in town. However, be aware that you will only get your most recent corpse back, so this is a bad alternative if you’ve already tried and failed and have more than one corpse out there. Only your latest corpse will be saved to the new game.