View Full Version : [Template] "I wouldn't know. I've forgotten what it is to miss feeling."

2008-07-09, 07:13 PM

"It's like...imagine someone asking, 'what is it like to be you?' and the only answer you can give them is, 'I don't know. I'm not me anymore.' It isn't like a hollow feeling - it's like no feeling at all. It's like the thing that makes you you is gone, scattered to dust, but it isn't even like that, because you can't feel its absence or anything else. It's like everything dries up but two things - a single, overwhelming purpose, and the need - the cold, emotionless need - to reclaim yourself." - Marla Vain, former Soulless

Though an evil baron torments the villagers and starve them with taxes, they don't call him soulless. No, they have seen soulless - soulless is their mayor, who was dragged away by the baron's wizards. He came back to them a week later, not a broken man, but not a man at all. He didn't smile, nor did he frown. He never raised his voice. He never got sad or angry or happy. When the priest spoke to him, he came back to the villagers muttering that there was no justice left in the world. And now all he cares about are the laws, and nothing - not pleading, not bribes, not threats - can stop him from enforcing them.

Creating a Soulless

Soulless is an aquired template which may be applied to any corporeal creature with Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma of at least three that has an alignment, hereafter referred to as the base creature.

Size and Type: The creature loses any alignment-based subtypes and gains the Augmented subtype. Size is unchanged. However, most people who look at the soulless get a feeling that they are smaller - like they aren't quite there somehow. This has no mechanical effect.

Speed: Speed is unchanged, but, again, there is a perception that the soulless isn't really there. Thus, most people don't really percieve them as moving so much as they believe them to manifest from one place to another. Looking twice always corrects the delusion - for the moment. This has no mechanical effect.

Armor Class: Unchanged.

Alignment: Soulless actually have alignments, but these are less attributes of the soul for them than they are patterns of behavior. Soulless retain any divine casting levels and any divinely granted supernatural abilities as long as they continue to act in accordance to their alignment. A soulless barely detects as their alignment, to the point where those trying to determine their alignment doubt its existence.

Special Attacks: Empty Stare (Ex): Those meeting the soulless's eyes are unnerved by the sheer emptiness they find within them. The brighter and hotter their own souls are, the harder it is not to be unnerved. Any creature looking the soulless in the eyes (treat this as a gaze attack) must succeed at a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the soulless's hit dice + victim's Charisma modifier) or take a -2 penalty to all attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws and ability checks for the duration of the encounter. Those who succeed gain a cumulative +1 bonus on their next save vs. the effect which dissapears at the end of the encounter. This is a mind-affecting ability.

Special Qualities: Soulless (Ex): A soulless is immune to all mind-affecting abilities - they find no purchase upon him. Furthermore, he is immune to charisma damage and drain.

One True Purpose (Ex): A soulless has only one drive left. This might be to uphold the tenants of their faith, save children from disaster, or murder anyone who says a certain word, but they cling to one part of their former life and it defines them. They get a +2 bonus on all die rolls involved in fufilling this purpose, or against anything that tries to prevent them from fufilling it. This bonus persists even if they lose this template - they remember the strength that purpose gave them, and feel that strength even after they regain themselves.

Abilities: Adjust from base creature as follows: Intelligence +4, Wisdom +2, Charisma -6. These adjustments override any bonuses to those three statistics from other templates - that is, they take the place of them. If the soulless ever loses this template, the adjustments stay, but they stack with (instead of override) other adjustments.

L.A.: +1

2008-07-09, 10:17 PM
Ooh, I like this alot. Very nice and fluffy, with wiggle for DMs to place into their own campaigns. However, this template is missing two glaring aspects: A way to acquire it, and a way to lose it. Maybe a homebrew spell structured much like Soul Bind but targeting living people, or some demonic ritual that draws the soul from a living creature, or perhaps some ties to the magic of Incarnum.

Also, a +2 for One True Purpose seems a bit low by the fluff given. I'd give it a +4 at least, though I see the potential for abuse (Paladin: "My one true purpose is to destroy everything with an Evil alignment!"). Maybe give a -2 to all rolls when not seeking out its one true purpose. That could be pretty interesting. But it's your homebrew, I'm just tossing out suggestions.

2008-07-10, 12:26 AM
A Soulless Paladin is a scary thought indeed. Like Kore. The very thought makes me shudder.

2008-07-10, 05:10 PM
Oh yeah...getting it and losing it.

Aquiring the Template: Soulless is a template applied to any creature whose soul, but not conciousness, were taken from their body, whether by arcane or divine means. Beings that are souls (such as ghosts) cannot have this template.

Losing the Template: A Soulless loses this template when they regain a soul - not necessarily their own.

Baron Corm
2008-07-10, 06:34 PM
If you're using Charisma as the ability score which dictates the "brightness and hotness" of a soul, shouldn't soulless have no Charisma scores? I'm just imagining someone with 18 Charisma losing his soul and just becoming a person with average Charisma, instead of becoming a dried-out shell of a human being.

On a similar note, what is your justification for increasing Intelligence and Wisdom? Wisdom I can sort of see, because pain breeds wisdom (though even this reasoning is a little too... I don't know, melodramatic, for my tastes), but I can't see the Intelligence thing at all.

2008-07-10, 07:06 PM
Someone with no charisma score is spineless, incapable of taking independant action. The Soulless get a hit to Charisma because, while they lose what makes them themselves, they don't lose their will.

Intelligence and Wisdom are increased for the same reason, actually. Losing the ability to percieve the world in teh sense of emotions, feelings, and their selves, the Soulless have only logic left for them. Because it is their only way to judge anything anymore (including right and wrong), they naturally develop a proficiency with it. Intelligence increases more because Soulless tend to be methodical - however, Wisdom (thinking on your feet) still goes up a bit.

2008-07-10, 07:22 PM
I like this template. Especially the fluff.

2008-07-10, 09:27 PM
Losing the Template: A Soulless loses this template when they regain a soul - not necessarily their own.
"You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
-C.S. Lewis

Just something that was brought to mind. I'm wondering what would happen if a Soulless were to acquire the soul that did not originally inhabit it. Like, would the soul have all the stored knowledge and memories of the original person? I'm thinking out loud, but it sounds like such a fun RP concept.

2008-07-10, 09:58 PM
Good Stuff, I also like, both fluff and mechanics.

Aquiring the Template: Soulless is a template applied to any creature whose soul, but not conciousness, were taken from their body, whether by arcane or divine means. Beings that are souls (such as ghosts) cannot have this template.

Losing the Template: A Soulless loses this template when they regain a soul - not necessarily their own.
This is essentially saying that it can only happen when the DM says so and the DM needs to figure out how it happened. I guess that's the only way it would really work.
Also the +2 bonus for the purpose is definitely left to DM discretion.
That's cool though, I think it should be.

Ability Scores:
I agree that the Charisma score should just be changed to "-" or it could be 10 Charisma Damage that can only be healed after the Soulless gets a new soul.

As to the bonuses... I think there should either be none or it should be a flat +2 all around including to Charisma because having no soul would heighten what they do have left basically the way you described their logic improving and when they ever got a soul back they would be even more "hot and bright" because they know what it's like to be without so they really use it while they can.

Empty Stare: I would change the effects to 1d4 Ability Damage to all abilities and a Victim becomes immune for 24 hours after being effected by it (only become immune if you fail your Save) and thereafter has a +1 (stacks each time) to resist the effect (from any Soulless).

Then, I would probably change the LA to +2 since you get:
1. Generally increased Ability Scores
2. Some nice Immunities
3. +2 bonus on a lot of rolls (DM's discretion) for whatever their Purpose is
4. And a fairly decent Special Attack that wont really ever stop being a little useful.

Finally, Eighth_Seraph, I'd say no, in the context of what a soul is to this Template it does not include memories and knowledge.
I'd say when a Soulless regains a soul (no matter where that soul came from) they lose their Empty Gaze and they regain their Charisma (or start healing the Charisma Damage). Although the new soul's Alignment may affect them. Perhaps the Alignment could change if there is an extreme difference between the old and new. A difference of two degree could yield a change of one.
(old soul + new soul = final outcome)
LG + NE = LN
NG + CN = NG
CE + LE = NE

2008-07-11, 02:49 AM
My gut instinct is that the original version is better that Rowanomicon's suggestions on most if not all points... I WOULD put a "(to a minimum of 1)" clause on the Charisma loss... if nothing else than because coming into a town where even the CATS and DOGS have the "Thousand Yard Stare" sounds like a nice spooky touch and you can't do that nearly so well if half of them are catatonic.

There is no precedent for a "-0" in Charisma I believe... even undead and constructs have at least a 1...

Not so sure about retaining divine spellcasting abilities... and Sorcerers and Bards seem even more questionable...

What about Psions? Probably just leaving this as it is is fine, but it is an interesting point to ponder.

Maybe Will saves to avoid problems (just minor ability damage?) for anyone reading their mind who doesn't have this template? Same effect each round as meeting their Gaze?