Soul Crafting Part 3: Soul Binding

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , , ,

Every fibre of its being tingled with darts pleasure and pain as it swirled within the ritual circle, the red mist that comprised its body slowly starting to coalesce once more into its true form.
I.. I am.. Isolde.. I am Isolde.” the mist twisted and writhed as the personality within took hold trying to avoid the oblivion it risked with each passing moment, the thing of mist now Isolde examined its surroundings through its scattered senses, unable yet to see or hear she forced her raw senses to the magic of ritual circle that encased her. It thrummed with a low steady pulse that gave rise to an aura of chilling static devoid of emotion that reeked of ancient power. A sense of familiarity twinged at her memory but she could gather no agenda or allegiance of the caster from the mana that fuelled the circle or its adjoining sister spells, only that her summoner was no mere dabbler in the arts. A large wave of energy sending a shock through her disjointed thoughts and body signalled that the ritual now nearing completion, intending to keep at least some advantage she now forced the swirling mists that comprised her to gather and begin to mould and solidify into a body of her choosing.

Opening her scarlet eyes she blinked as they adjusted to the world finally taking shape around her, realising she was laying naked upon a stone tile floor she could feel goosebumps rising in her new flesh feeling the chill of the cold stone as the magic aura that throbbed from the sapphire runic circle encrusted within it. Attempting to rise she stumbled like a newborn calf once more to the floor, her legs still not ready she shuffled into a kneeling position as instead she rose her head searching for her summoner. The low magic glow of the ritual encircling her provided the light for most of the enclosed room which much to her surprised was bare of the usual magical paraphernalia giving nothing of the owner or location of her prison, her eyes turned to focus their gaze towards the only other source of light in the room a glowing crystal upon a twisting black oak staff bright enough to prevent her gazing past it to the one holding it who was presumably her summoner.

The final method soul crafting I will be covering in this series comes from the Infernum setting created by Mongoose Publishing, this setting focuses on the war and machinations between mortals, demons and the souls of the dammed in the realm of Infernum.

Due to several differences between Infernum and regular D20 regarding magic I’ve made some minor changes to following ruleset to make it compatible for general use though I will also be highlighting Mongoose Publishing’s own D20 later.

Soulshaping and Soul Binding

Soulshaping and Soul Binding are the most powerful soul manipulation techniques available though they come with their own set of challenges and dangers and rarely available beyond gods, demons and devils.
Soulshaping lets the user alter the very fabric of a soul changing its shape into whatever the crafter desires, however even in its new form the soul is perceptive of everything around it leading devils and demons to make horrific artworks that serve to both torture the soul and entertain themselves.
To be able to Soulshape the crafter must first be on a plane where the soul has a physical form which can be interacted with, in many settings this would be the Celestial realms, the Ethereal plane or the Nine Hells and Abyss.

Craft: (SoulShaping) (Int)

Skill DC
Desired Shape
Just a Mess
Simple geometric shape
12 or DC of item to craft.
Specific Shape e.g. Building block.
Adding Bite or Claw attack to the Soul
4 per point of natural armour.
Adding Natural Armour to the Soul
Level of the Soul + 10
Soul Binding to a weapon or armour

The result of this check also determines the Will Save the Soul must pass to reshape itself to its original form or the Craft DC another character using Soulshaping has to pass to undo the change.
When creating items make soulshaping treat them as Cold Iron but they regeneration 10 hit points a round and have resistant 15 to all elements including Force and Sonic, regarding items such as walls and floors the book Dungeonscape by Wizards of the Coast has rules for specifically for these.   

Unlike Soulshaping Soul Binding does not require the user to be on any particular plane, the crafter must however have the soul available outside of a physical body through methods of Trap the Soul or Soul Bind.

Soul Binding can only be applied to a masterwork item, the ability score modifiers of the creature been bound alter the item in the following ways.

Ability Score modifier
Melee/Ranged Weapon
Add to Base Damage
Reduce Weight by 10% per point of Strength bonus
Add ½ modifier as bonus to hit.
Add to max dex modifier
Add to Hardness score
Add to Armour bonus
Critical Threat Range (Min 20)
Reduce Armour Check penalty by Charisma modifier.

Intelligence and Wisdom both grant an additional +1 modifier to the weapon per three points, for example using the soul of a creature with +3 modifier to intelligence and a +6 modifier to wisdom with give the crafter the option of adding a +3 enchantment modifier, a +2 enchantment modifier with a +1 Shocking enhancement or a +1 enchantment modifier with a +2 Shocking Burst enhancement.
Negative modifiers also apply when Soul Binding so for example if a soul been bound to armour had a dex modifier of -1 then the armour would lose 1 point of max dex modifier.

The soul bound within the item is still conscious and can (and often will) try to possess its wielder, whenever the item is drawn/donned or the wielder is disabled the wielder must make a Will save against the DC of 5 + the bound souls intelligence modifier + the bound souls wisdom modifier.
If the saving throw is failed the bound soul may possess the wielder (until the weapon is sheathed or armour removed.) or attempt a Will save to break its binding to the item.
A bound soul in possession has access to all its class skills and abilities that do not rely on its physical body, unless the soul is particular insane or outright states its freedom (which happens surprisingly often) possession is not immediately obvious.  

Epic Level SoulBinding

As mentioned at the start of the article Mongoose Publishing have created a D20 conversion of the Soul Binding rules listed in their book D20 Expert Player’s Guide Volume 3 Epic Monsters (MGP 9022), these are quite different from the ruling above and are more powerful but even less accessible requiring a epic level feat and a more complex process as stated before.

Feat: Craft Soulbound Item [Item Creation]
Prerequisite: Craft Magic Arms and Armour, Caster Level 20th.
Benefit: You can create magical arms and armour with more than one array of powers with a constant enchantment bonus.
Special: Members of House Zethu may take this feat at 10th level

Creating Soulbound items

To create Soulbound items you must have the Craft Soulbound Item feat as well as the Craft Magic Arms and Armour feat.
To create a Soulbound item, you must possess one gem into which the soul of a creature of at least 3 Hit Dice or experience levels per point of bonus modifier has been bound by the means of a Trap the Soul spell, with a minimum of 8 Hit Dice or levels per gem. Remember that for a gem to be viable for Trap the Soul the gem must have a value of at least 1,000 gold pieces per level or Hit Dice of the creature whose soul it is going to contain.
Consult the magic item creation table in the Dungeon Masters Guide to find out the total bonus modifier for the special abilities you want. For example if you wish a gem to include a an array of Unholy, Flaming Burst and Ghost Touch the modifier would be +5 so the gem would require to contain the soul of a 15 or more Hit Dice Creature. Note only weapons and armour can be soulbound items.

When creating the item item you must specify its base enchantment bonus first, this remains constant whichever array of powers is active. A Soulbound item cannot have any special abilities that are not part of a given gems array though the item can already have an enchantment modifier for example a +2 longsword would be viable but a +1 Flaming longsword would not.   
No one array can have special abilities when added to the base enchantment of the item exceed +10, again for example if the base enchantment was +2 you could only have special ability arrays to s total of +8. In addition any one item may only include five gems in total.
Activating any gem array is a free action though the wielder must know the proper command phrase and be wielding the weapon or wearing the armour. The greatest advantage of soulbound items is that they allow a user to change powers to whatever is required at the time.

Destroying Soulbound items

Although they are extremely powerful and versatile soulbound items are no harder to destroy than regular magic items, they are not considered artifacts and thus do not have specific requirements to destroy them.
Most good aligned creature would destroy such item rather than ever use them to release the trapped souls as per rules of Trap the Soul. However incorporating one of these gems into an soulbound item transforms the whole item into a vessel for containing the soul, these means the whole item has to be destroyed for the soul(s) to be released, in addition it is impossible to destroy an item without releasing all souls within. Knowing this many crafters bind the souls of powerful demon and devils into the items as well as good aligned creatures, this way any heroes attempting to free the soul of the good creature within would find themselves confronted by powerful demons they would also release. 

Bringing a petite hand to her eyes to reduce the glare of the crystal she shuffled slightly feinting confusion and disorientation, knowing that it watched her each movement chosen to display her body to her captor the ritual glow below her highlighting every curve with a play of shadows and light.
She had chosen an form that she favoured for unknown situations which was of a young woman budding into adulthood which when combined with a masquerade of innocence was deadly effective and had lead to some of her more interesting seductions. Hiding an inward smirk she let out a gasp mocking realisation her hand dropping to cover herself as her batlike wings curled around her like a cloak hiding her nubile body a mask of embarrassment, outrage and confusion slipping across her features. “Who.. Who are you? How did I get here?” her throat still new caused her soft music voice to crack slightly adding only more authenticity to her performance.

Her question hung in the silence air for a moment the figure behind the light stood unflinching and soundless as if calculating its thoughts before it replied “Put aside such petty deception for I 'know' my casting to be true Isolde Seducer of the twin kings, Consort of Pelacus the Fool, Defiler of the high priestess of the city of Blacksand, Whore of the Golden Senate.. to continue would be inefficient I have only two uses for you and neither involve your body.”
The man's emotionless cold voice reminding her of a golum each title spoken caused a strange unusual sensation to spread throughout her that seemed to slowly make her bones feel hollow, unfolding her wings with an angry flare she tried to drive away the feeling as she now glared at her summoner letting her mask drop away her reply an acidic snarl “Well then your delay wastes both our times, speak mortal and be done with it.”

A strange barking noise came from behind the light and it took a moment for Isolde to realise that it was an attempt to laugh like it was an alien action to its originator. “I have not been mortal for a long time but I shall speak. Succubus Isolde by the weave of the cosmos and turning of the planes I evoke thy true name 'Palladoxius The Soulsticher' obey my commands and be true.” Her very being shuddering as the words seemed to penetrate her very essence Isolde had a sudden realisation of the sensation that troubled her moments before, it was something she had not felt in centuries Fear.


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