Soul Crafting Part 2: Soul Burning

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , ,

Fingertips dancing across her bare porcelain skin a relaxed sigh escaped the demoness lips as reclined across her throne holding the crystal to her breast, its crimson glow throbbing like a still beating heart each pulse signified yet another fragment of a mortals soul dedicated to her.
The throbbing quicken as did the demoness matching its pace until a surge of pure energy brought the moment to its climax, the final beat no mere fragment but the entire soul of one who had pledged themselves to the succubus.

Isolde slowly slipped to her feet cradling the crystal gingerly, a finger slowly caressing the rune that otherwise marred its smooth surface as she now strode towards her private chambers. she could have been enraged by the loss of the cult drawing the souls forth to inflict extricating torments upon them like her sire had done in the past but in honesty to herself she found the process to be wasteful at best and tedious at worst. The mayor had been loyal and reasonably successful to a point, while her colleagues would of shunned the animal sacrifices and most likely even the soul fragments of her worshippers as worthless they lacked her foresight and ingenuity.

Even now each fragment gave her a link to the souls as they entered their planes of afterlife, a dozen unwitting spies a number that would only grow with her collection and the animal fragments while not as valuable gave her the material to experiment. A self satisfied smile crossed her lips as she remember her first creation, an amalgamation of fragments the ghostly cockerel had acted and appeared not unlike its mortal counterpart a seeming whole creature to a casual onlooker who could not see the pure chaos and conflict as the fragments fought for control. It had been an exciting experiment to see just what made up the very essence of a creature and a step towards creating a new kind of creature whose creation would blaspheme towards the celestials and gods themselves.

This second method of soul crafting focuses on the use of an already captured soul that has come into the possession of the spell caster, the most common occurrence of how this could happen would be a casting of Trap the Soul or Soul Bind though rare materials such as Thinuan from Complete Warrior may also contain souls. In regards to the last article the Soul Gem created by Ritual Sacrifice is not suitable for the Soul Burning technique below as it only captures part of a soul.

Below is a formula I’ve used in some of my past games regarding the worth of a soul in crafting through a method I’ve called soul burning, the aim was to create a simple and balanced ruleset and so far it has worked well in play.

Soul Burning

Soul Burning is the method of transmuting the very soul into raw magic, due to the methods necromantic nature any item infused in this manner gains a necromantic aura of caster level equal to the creature whose soul is been used hit dice. On items with an existing necromantic aura this stacks with the magic aura in place.
As stated in the first article obtaining knowledge of this method should be difficult (DC30 Knowledge Arcane to discover through conventional means) and using this is an inherently evil act, it does hold the advantage that it can be used on items like a Lich phylactery with a contested Will save between the caster and Lich.

Determining the experience points value of a soul:
Base value: 100xp.
Level Adjustment:+10xp to base value per point of level adjustment.
Unique Bloodline: + 10xp to base value.
Arcane spellcaster: +30xp to base value.
Divine spellcaster: + 40xp to base value.
Final value: Base value X character level.

A unique bloodline bonus is applied to creatures with bloodline feats such as sorcerers or are descended from creatures such as outsiders or dragons, however this does not stack with the bonus for level adjustment. For example a tiefling would be considered to have a unique bloodline but already receives a bonus due to its level adjustment.   

So for an example:

For a gem contains the soul of a Level 10 Half Dragon Sorcerer the value of crafting experience would be:
100 + 30 (Level adjustment) + 30 (Arcane spellcaster) = Base value 160xp
160 x 10 (character level) for a final total of 1600 crafting experience.

To use this crafting experience to create items that do not normally require xp cost, the traditional exchange is 5GP per 1XP meaning that in the above example the Half Dragon Sorcerer soul would be worth 8000 gold pieces.
It goes without saying if the experience points are spent as crafting experience points the soul is destroyed and cannot be restored short of a wish or miracle spell. This particular rule set is still expanding so if anyone has any further ideas for determining the value of a soul feel free to leave comments.

Reluctantly releasing her grip upon the crystal she slotted it into the special grove she had prepared, a centrepiece to the small collection she already possessed she intended to fill many more over the next century. As her fingertips ran across its runic surface one last time she briefly lamented the loss of the Mayor of Pryham as a pawn, a strange sympathy for he would not be the first or last of her lovers to be failed by the incompetence of those who followed him. However it would be only a mere decade or two before another would call her either for a pact or her more physical properties giving her another foothold on the material plane. Or perhaps sooner it seemed as she felt a familiar pull upon her essence her, a sly smile crossing her lips as she recognised the ritual. It seemed the Mayor had passed his secrets onto another who was even now drawing her away from her sanctum towards the material plane, her surroundings fading she allowed herself one further moment of self satisfaction before nothing but hot ash remained where she once stood.


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