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Optional Magical Pathway: Drawing upon the Soul

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mikeb's picture

There are multiple pathways to utilize magic depending on the flavor that a GM would like a campaign in the Dark Golden Age to have. Drawing upon the Soul is one of those pathways.

From the Self

It is possible to draw upon the self in order to fuel the magical power of one's self. It requires more regular maintenance in order to accomplish magic this way, but the morale predicaments of such are less difficult to accept. The first thing that must be done in order to utilize magic this way is to craft a blood vessel. A blood vessel is a highly personalized container made from mithril, often with inlaid gemstones to focus the magical power. It does not have to be personalized though to be used by a given caster. It must be worth at least 100gp for the highest spell level that a caster possesses, but it weighs 1 pound regardless of its strength. A blood vessel can be made using either Craft: Jewelry or Craft: Metalworking.

Once crafted, the caster must put his own blood into the blood vessel. When the caster normally regains spells - whether to prepare them or to regain slots - he must concentrate one round per level of the highest level spell that he wishes to be able to cast or prepare. As he concentrates, his life force is drawn from himself into the blood vessel. The caster takes one non-lethal damage per level of the highest spell that he wishes to be able to cast or prepare. If the caster loses concentration or is otherwise interrupted, he only regains access to spells for however many rounds he successfully concentrated. For those that must prepare spells, the blood vessel is imbued before the spell preparation is done. The blood vessel reduces the highest level of spell available by one each day until it is imbued again, but it must always be re-imbued when a caster wishes to prepare spells or regain spell slots previously cast.

Example: Willem is a 5th level Wizard with access to 3rd level spells. His blood vessel must be worth at least 300gp. Whenever he needs to study his spellbook - prepare his spells, he must spend three rounds in concentration and takes one non-lethal damage each round. He ends up not casting any spells that day, but he loses access to his 3rd level spells the second day unless he imbues his blood vessel once again.

It is recommended that new characters not be forced to buy their blood vessel from starting funds unless the GM wishes to focus a campaign around their existence.

From Another

Instead of drawing upon one's own life force, it is possible to draw upon the life force of another by entrapping the soul. As the means by which a soul can be trapped are most common among necromancers, the School of Eternity has significant power in Sascria.

These spells can be utilized to capture a soul to be used to fuel a caster's power: Magic JarTrap the Soul, and Soul Bind.

A caster can prepare or utilize a spell of any level up to the HD of the soul trapped. Only humanoid souls may be used this way. The soul will fuel the caster's power for a number of days equal to the HD of the soul trapped but without diminishing in potency - there are benefits to being evil.


Blood vessels

I am curious about the gold cost of the blood vessels (the name keeps making me think of veins, admittedly). I believe you were saying they cost 100gp per highest spell level (the wording is vague in the beginning but the example clarifies). I'm wondering what makes the blood vessel that specific a cost and what changes that a progressing user of such an item would require an upgrade to a more expensive vessel. Or is this to promote economic awareness and contribution?

mikeb's picture

Definitely needs some updating, clarification

You are correct about the cost. The reason for it going up is because the vessel has to be more ornate in order to channel more powerful spells. Blood vessel is obviously a bad name, too, I was having a slow brain day when I wrote it or it might have occurred to me what I was thinking. Some other possibilities could be blood stone, blood charm or blood talisman.

I actually kind of like Blood

I actually kind of like Blood Vessel, since it is sort of a double-entendre, and implies the 'vampiric' nature of your magic being drained from other people. It's also a term for an idea that exists in a lot of other games and settings (repositories of stolen/stored magical energy) but I think it would be an original term.

mikeb's picture

I just discovered that

I just discovered that ability score damage was changed to 1 point healed per day in Pathfinder from 1 point her hour. This means the damage will have to be reduced or otherwise adjusted.

Healing ability damage - Feat?

How about if it is possible to make sacrifices in order to more quickly heal ability damage? Say through a feat or magic item or both - the feat could replace metamagic feats in most casters' arsenals, and still encourages the 'evil' of making all these living sacrifices for power.

Feat: Sacrificial Restoration
Prerequisite: spellcasting class
The caster sacrifices one living creature in order to heal 1 point of ability damage caused by spellcasting per HD of the creature sacrificed. The creature cannot be incapacitated, but must be awake and aware (so you can't just coup-de-grace downed foes after battle). Creatures with partial HD provide no benefit.


Alternately, you can just coup-de-grace downed foes after combat, making casters into carrion animals in the eyes of their companions.

Either way, this is a way to bring sacrifice back in while still leaving ability damage as a BAD thing, which is clearly Paizo's intent with changing the rule.

mikeb's picture


I like that last image - casters go around the battlefield capturing the dying gasp of their fallen foes. I'll run it by some of my playtesters to see what they think of it. The important thing is to keep it as distinctive from the necromantic approaches.

Raemann's picture

Respectfully, as a n00b

I offer this thought with respect to all of the work which precedes me.

In the world of men there exist those which value the concepts of morality and those which do not. However, it is never so simple to the wicked that there is such a thing as good or evil so to be more honest with ourselves very few are completely bound to a code of ethics. For the greater populous it is necessary to, at times of need, step outside of the realms of accepted decency and take that which is necessary for survival. While conversely a much smaller group of individuals would not only refuse to debase themselves in the fashion of the aforementioned "Wicked" they would seek to destroy them with a vigor and a fury that reached to the very foundations of their souls. They would rise up clothed in blind righteousness and within then focus their tormented character, unwittingly pulling the energies of their souls to the magical foci of the mind. Once there they would fuel their arcane powers with the burning internal desire to obliterate the wicked and all that ever they embraced from the face of the planet.

So long as there remains a single beast capable of taking the essence of life by force from those innocent victims of that savage culture then there shall be an unending supply of raw, unstoppable arcane power to rebuke them as focused through the "Righteous".

As for renewal of energies the "Righteous" gain power as they destroy the "wicked". The "Wicked" gain their power from those victims which they might use to renew their life forces. And the "Wicked" are not particular from whom they renew their powers.

As is the case with zealots, the question is not if they believe rather if they are faithful.

mikeb's picture

I like what you said, and it

I like what you said, and it goes in line well with some of my thinking regarding alignment. That is that good vs evil is more than angel vs demon but rather altruism vs egoism.

That's similar to my rule of

That's similar to my rule of thumb for alignment on the Good-Evil axis

Good: all things being equal, I seek the best for those around me

Neutral: all things being equal, I seek the best for myself and those I have close relationships with (the 'average' person)

Evil: all things being equal, I seek the best for myself