I have a world that doesn't have any personification of death. People's spirits either moved on or didn't, and restless ghosts were really common. On this side, they built up and annoyed the crap out of the spiritually sensitive living. The afterlife was a total chaotic mess, new arrivals wandering in at random, and eventually everyone there got fed up and tried to figure some kind of system. It wound up with a makeshift agency of "reapers" whose jobs are to gather the souls of the freshly dead and take them to the other side (and make them for an orderly line, damn it!). There are all sorts of people (living, dead, other) working as reapers, with varying levels of professionalism. It's a punch-clock job with all sorts of bureaucracy and red tape involved. It is actually pretty easy to become a reaper, but it's not a very glamorous job. In exchange, reapers get a basic power set required for their jobs. Everyone alive who can see them just let them do their thing, but no one knows too much about how the reapers work.
Can I second the general love for Discworld's Death (and his DISTINCTIVE SPEECH PATTERN) around here?
One of my renditions of Death is one gigantic Reaper made of billions of smaller Reapers (one for potentially every living thing), all of which look alike but may have slightly different personalities shaped by the whens, wheres and whos of their stations. Sort of a "We are legion" kind of thing going on. But the main body himself is an immovable, mostly lifeless thing (somewhere in invisible space?), a bit like a machine that processes the reaped souls back into useful cosmic energy or simple fodder to be consumed and discarded.
They're black skinned, white haired, horned, naked. But some of them will entertain that whole scythe and cloak thing.
I'm still working on it, but that's my setup so far.
It seems no matter what I write my love for Reapers will always shine through. I guess discworld's Death is to blame.lol
I always try to add a human touch to my Reapers. I currantly have a reaper whoes not quite the bony person we all know but rather heading down that route after working for the job for a few centuries. He adopted a young boy to carry on after him who inturn adopted a 15 year old girl so Death sort of looks at the pair as his son and daughter.