Soul Magic

July 25th, 2013

Alex Riggs

Obscure Arcana Archive

            It’s Fiend Week Part Two (revenge of the fiends) here at Necromancers of the Northwest, because we’re so excited about The Deluxe Guide to Fiend Summoning and Faustian Bargains that we just couldn’t fit it all in one week. By now I hope you’ve already gotten the sales pitch about just how great the book is, but, if not, you’ll want to click on the banner to your right and take a closer look. Believe me, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

            With that out of the way, let’s talk about souls. In The Deluxe Guide to Fiend Summoning and Faustian Bargains, you can use them to buy boons from demons. Your own, other peoples’, whatever you want. Souls equal goods and/or services. While the book itself does not actually provide any means to acquire these souls, there’s some high-level magic in the core rules that will provide interested parties with the ability to do so. Which has always led me to wonder: why isn’t there anything for players to actually do with souls that they catch with trap the soul, and similar effects? Souls as resources and barter is popular in fantasy, and, with the exception of the Book of Vile Darkness, which is now somewhat out of date and which gave souls some surprisingly underwhelming utility, I’m not aware of any way to make use of captured souls outside of our recently-released fiend summoning book, and a (admittedly slightly-overpowered) succubus racial class. So, since souls and magic tend to go hand in hand, I thought that this would be a convenient time to write up a spell or three that use souls as a costly material component.


Souls as a Material Component

            In order to cast a spell that has a soul as a material component, the caster must have that soul in his possession. Typically, such souls are stored in gemstones whose value is equal to or greater than 1,000 gp per Hit Dice of the trapped soul, but any means of storing the soul is fine, as long as it can clearly be said to be in the caster’s possession, and is no longer tied to the creature it previously belonged to. When the spell is cast, the soul is utterly destroyed, though any vessel used to contain it remains, and can be used to contain other souls in the future. A creature whose soul is destroyed in this way cannot be raised or resurrected by any means, though a wish or miracle spell can restore his soul to existence (the soul is free and unclaimed, and the creature must still be resurrected separately). If the creature the soul originally belonged to is suffering from an additional ill effect as a result of losing his soul, there is no way to end that ill effect without restoring the soul. If the soul is restored (via wish or miracle) while the creature it originally belonged to still lives, the target regains his soul as though it were never lost.

            If desired, the caster can substitute his own soul, instead. If he does, then he suffers no ill effect, except that if he dies, he cannot be resurrected by any means. If the caster sacrifices his own soul in this way, it cannot be restored by any means, including a wish or miracle spell. Such souls are gone forever. If the caster does not have a soul, or his soul has been promised to or marked by another creature, he cannot sacrifice his soul in this way.

            Even though a soul technically has no cost in gold pieces, a material component requiring a soul cannot be avoided with Eschew Materials or similar abilities. Because destroying a soul is such a heinously destructive act, casting a spell that has a soul as a material component is always an evil action, and all such spells have the evil descriptor. Even destroying one’s own soul, or a freely given soul, is anathema to the universe, and is considered evil.

            Several of the spells below refer to the number of Hit Dice that the expended soul possesses. This amount is equal to the number of Hit Dice that the original owner of that soul had at the time that the soul was trapped, stolen, or otherwise separated from its original owner.


School necromancy [evil]; Level cleric 6, witch 7
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (one soul)
Range touch
Target living creature touched
Duration 1 min./level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

            You dissolve the soul used to cast the spell, using its energy to promote rapid healing in the target. The target gains an amount of fast healing equal to the number of Hit Dice the soul used to cast the spell possessed. Additionally, for each Hit Dice that the soul possessed, the target may heal 1 point of ability damage or one temporary negative level. Alternatively, he can remove 1 point of ability drain or one permanent negative level for every two Hit Dice the soul possessed. You decide how this effect is applied, and can mix and match between the two (for example, a soul with six Hit Dice could be used to remove 6 temporary negative levels, or one permanent negative level and four points of Dexterity damage, or three points of Dexterity drain).

School necromancy [evil]; Level sorcerer/wizard 7, witch 7
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (one soul)
Range personal
Target you
Duration instantaneous

            You reduce the soul used to power the spell into magical energy, which you then use to instantly prepare one or more spells. You can prepare a total number of spell levels’ worth of spells equal to the Hit Dice of the soul expended to cast the spell, divided as you choose among different spells, though you cannot prepare spells of 7th level or higher with Sorvithal’s soul devourer. Each spell that you prepare must be one that you have already prepared and used in the past 24 hours. The spell must have been actually cast during that period. The chosen spells are stored in your mind as though prepared in the normal fashion. If the recalled spells require material components, you must provide them.


School necromancy [evil]; Level cleric 8, sorcerer/wizard 8, witch 8
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (one soul)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target one living creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Fortitude partial; Spell Resistance yes

            A bolt of black, coruscating energy extends from your fingertip, striking the target unerringly and causing him to wither and rot with extreme rapidity. The target gains one permanent negative level per two Hit Dice of the soul used to cast the spell. If the target succeeds on a Fortitude save, then half of these negative levels are temporary negative levels, instead. Negative levels imposed by this spell cannot be removed by spells that are normally able to remove negative levels, such as restoration. A wish or miracle spell can remove all negative levels imposed by this spell, provided that the caster succeed on a caster level check (DC 10 + the Hit Dice of the soul used to cast the spell).




            Of course, if you’re going to go through all the trouble of collecting souls anyway, why not put them to their full use? After all, there are plenty of fiends in The Deluxe Guide to Fiend Summoning and Faustian Bargains who are happy to take captured souls as payment for all kinds of goods, services, and magical effects. Want to know more? Pick up your copy today.