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In Champions of Darkness, there is a feat called Hollow. The feat states that you are born without a soul, which means you cannot be good-aligned, and you are immune to things that trap your soul, possession, etc.

Now... What ways are there for a character such as that to obtain a soul? Not necessarily through his own merit.

The specific scenario:

In my current campaign, there is one player who is very chaotic evil. He has the aforementioned feat. Clearly, the demons of the chaotic-evil afterlife think that this powerful adventurer's soul would be a great boon to their arsenal-... But he doesn't have a soul. Is there anything they could do to give him a soul, just so they can get that soul when he dies, ending in a positive net-result of divine soul-fuel for them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The book is 3.0, not 3.5 \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Nov 4 '17 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ You realize this feat only works in Strahd's domain, and the soulless just vanish when they leave Barovia, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Nov 4 '17 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the feat has not been updated to 3.5, the 3.0 version can still be used for as far as I'm aware. As for the note about the creature vanishing when leaving Barovia: I was unaware, and can also not find that information. However, as I am working with a custom setting where Barovia does not exist, I am willing to waive that bit. Still, would you be willing to share where you found that info? It does seem interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – Arthaban Nov 4 '17 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Arthaban is correct, 3.0 material is also considered to be 3.5 material. When asking for additional material, the 3.0 tag is only appropriate if the game being played is 3.0—that is, not using any 3.5 material. That is not the case here. In general, avoid unilaterally changing questions without discussing it with the author, particular authors who are not new here—assuming you know better than they do what question they mean to ask can be seen as quite rude. And this is a different question when tagged 3.0 rather than 3.5. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 4 '17 at 15:19
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A thing you could do, but should be wary of adding to your game, is allow the demons to provide the character with a casting of the (in this case aptly fluffed) spell Embrace the Dark Chaos. This infamous spell allows you to trade out any feat for any Abyssal Heritor feat you qualify for.

This is bad because the spell's twin, Shun the Dark Chaos allows you to swap out any Abyssal Heritor feat for any feat you qualify for. Together they form the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle, which is a mainstay of theoretical optimization builds and generally upsetting when brought up in-game.

The spell does seem to thematically jive with what you want to do, though, and it certainly makes sense that demons would have access to it, and it would remove the feat granting the character not-having-a-soul cleanly and completely.

The spell is from Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss and is an 8th level Cleric, Sorcerer, and Wizard spell, so the character's demonic allies will need a 15th level spellcaster to achieve the effect. It also costs 250 XP to cast, so it's a pretty significant investment for a demon to spend on somebody other than itself. The effects of the spell, however, are instantaneous, requiring Miracle or Wish (or Shun the Dark Chaos for the DCFS) to undo.

It seems most likely that this process would be attempted by a Glabrezu, since they are capable of providing the spell to the PC via their wish SLA, are interested in corrupting and converting humanoids, and have the skills needed to find the PC and offer a compelling trade.

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Yes

The solution is actually really easy. Just be a good person, and you, like Pinocchio, will get to be a real boy. The Hollow feat has as its prerequisite, not its benefit, that you cannot be of good alignment. As long as you are of good alignment, you lose the 'benefits' of the Hollow feat, which may well include not having a soul, and certainly includes not being able to be raised from the dead.

This is only of use to the demons in question if they've got a way to convince the character to be of good alignment (maybe via Atonement?) before then returning said being to Chaotic Evil alignment after death but before judgement. Otherwise there's not a whole lot of published things they could do (but stuff involving soul gems might be worth a shot).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, darn it if that isn't a winner. Nice. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 4 '17 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cheese..... I smell cheese. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Nov 4 '17 at 23:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin It's flavoursome cheese with a strong character. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 5 '17 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aw, shucks. This may not work after all. The lack of a soul is in the feat's description not in its benefit! Thus the DM could rule that the feat's benefit's lost if the creature changes alignment to good but that as long as the feat's still on the character sheet, he still ain't got no soul. :-( (I'm not removing my upvote; it's still a great idea!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 5 '17 at 2:36
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Is there anything they could do to give him a soul, just so they can get that soul when he dies, ending in a positive net-result of divine soul-fuel for them?

I know of no feat, power, or magic listed in 3.5 or 3.0 that will "create" a soul. There are things that can transfer a soul from one vessel to another but those are out in this situation.

Apart from intervention by some deity, your best bet would be a Wish (or other Wish like magic). Some may argue that even a Wish will not create a soul. Maybe yes, maybe no. I'm not going to debate that. You can look at this as a "cure" type wish or spin it as "resurrection-ish" like wish or maybe even as "undo misfortune" in that some awful cosmic accident or joke lead to this soulless state. However you spin it, I think that within the scope of what's defined in 3.5/3.0 Wish is about the best you can do.

Outside of that, I think story driven solutions are in order. A quest! In this case "the demons of the chaotic-evil afterlife" are looking for a way to give the PC a soul so they can later take it. The irony is not lost on me. Still, the story of it all could be great fun.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Polymorph any object can turn an inanimate object into a creature that has a soul, so presumably it could turn a soulless creature into a creature that has one. There are obvious disadvantages to this method, however, not least of which is vulnerability to dispel magic. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 5 '17 at 1:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe If a soul was somehow granted that way (and I'm not ready to say it is) it would not last. PAO functions just like Polymorph. Upon death a Polymorphed being returns to their original form. In this case original soulless form. But that is assuming PAO created a soul. I don't think it would. All the same, points for being creative. \$\endgroup\$ – Leezard Nov 5 '17 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point on the creature reverting to its original form upon death, I hadn't noticed that line. My thought on the soul-granting thing was that PAO allows a formerly-inanimate object to be affected by the list of effects that the Hollow feat usually blocks, so if those things are signify the presence of a soul, then PAO must be able to grant one. That's definitely not the only possibility, however; There may be something other than a soul that those effects can interact with and that PAO grants, for example. So... consult your DM before making any assumptions, I guess. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Nov 7 '17 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Ok, I see your point. Maybe it's a simulation, maybe it borrows a "soul" from somewhere. As a DM, I'd be careful about it creating a soul, that could have some nasty blow-back for the cosmic games deities and the like play for souls. Some has-been deity on the road to fading away would exploit the heck out of that. Still, it could be fun to see that story unfold too. \$\endgroup\$ – Leezard Nov 7 '17 at 7:30
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The Champions of Darkness (Oct. 2002) feat Hollow (43) seems to assume—although neither is a prerequisite for the feat—that the creature that possesses the feat both was born to a race of creatures that normally possess a soul and will remain soulless. This, in this DM's opinion, a creature that possesses the feat Hollow and that gains a soul during play—through whatever means—loses both the Hollow feat's substantial advantages (the creature's immunity to energy drain, possession, and soul-trapping effects) and its disadvantages (the creature's inability to be brought back from the dead).

In other words, this DM thinks that a creature that possesses the feat Hollow that gains a soul just isn't hollow anymore and that the feat then simply takes up space on the player's character sheet. (This DM would point the player to the Player's Handbook II rules for Feat Retraining (139) so that the character could replace feat Hollow with something now useful.)

Also, in a traditional non campaign, living creatures without souls typically just don't exist. That is, while a living creature can totally bargain away its soul—like by making a Faustian pact (Fiendish Codex II 23-5)—, that usually means when the creature dies the creature's soul ends up where it normally wouldn't've. Not having a soul is typically one of the defining features of a creature that is not living, like a typical creature that possesses the type construct or the type undead.

In other words, the effects of the feat Hollow are effects the author believes are appropriate to a creature that lacks a soul—and, of course, actually are appropriate in a campaign—, but, so far as I'm aware, there's no general description in Wizards of the Coast material for living creatures that lack souls and, by extension, usually rules are unnecessary for grafting a soul onto a still-somehow-living creature that's lost its own or never had one (cf. magic jar, soul bind, trap the soul). In short, the presence of the feat Hollow in a campaign setting that's not Ravenloft means that the campaign's sailed into uncharted waters.

Finally, on a technical level, shedding the feat completely via the aforementioned feat retraining, the dark chaos feat shuffle, the 4th-level psion/wilder power psychic reformation [telepathy] (XPH 127), or similar means may be enough for the DM to rule the creature's soul restored… or not: in a role-playing heavy campaign, absent a decent explanation for having gained a soul, the creature still was "born without a soul" even if the feat's gone from the character's sheet. A player should definitely ask the DM instead of assuming crossing off the feat means gaining a soul!

That said, this reader can imagine one possible way to grant forevermore a previously soulless creature a soul. However, as should be expected, it's a bit of a hassle.

Get a soul by becoming a construct then incarnating

A construct that's the subject of 9th-level Sor/Wiz spell incarnate construct [trans] (Savage Species 67-8) typically sees its type changed to humanoid. Thus when such a once-construct,-now-humanoid dies, it dies like a humanoid, and, when it's brought back from the dead, it's brought back like a humanoid. In a typical campaign

When a living creature [like a construct that's become a humanoid via the spell incarnate construct] dies, its soul departs its body, leaves the Material Plane, travels through the Astral Plane, and goes to abide on the plane where the creature’s deity resides. If the creature did not worship a deity, its soul departs to the plane corresponding to its alignment. Bringing someone back from the dead means retrieving his or her soul and returning it to his or her body. (171)

Without DM intervention, this seems to happen for the incarnated construct even if, prior to being the subject of the incarnate construct spell's effect, the construct didn't possess a soul! Thus it seems to this reader that the incarnation process bestows upon a construct a soul. I mean, the spell incarnate construct, after all, is a 9th-level spell with a casting time of eight hours that also has a gruesome material component (this DM assumes—even though the game doesn't—that "[t]he heart of a humanoid that has been dead less than 8 hours" is not in your spell component pouch!), so the spell's kind of allowed to be awesome.

(Exactly where this new soul comes from is rife with speculation—see answers to this question, for example,—, but Bastion of Broken Souls and Manual of Incarnum provide some information about preincarnate souls, so that's one canonical possibility. However, keep in mind that you're trying to get a soul into a body that's taken a feat from a third-party Ravenloft campaign setting sourcebook, so you're kind of on your own here and that could totally be a crossing-the-streams kind of bad for the creature!)

Thus the creature that possesses the feat Hollow that gains the type construct (see below) and becomes the subject of the spell incarnate construct could then perhaps gain a soul. That's because a construct as an unliving creature lacks a soul, whether or not that creature even had a soul before becoming a construct, and, after it's the subject of the spell incarnate construct, the creature typically becomes a humanoid, yet not the same humanoid it was but one with the template incarnate construct (SS 116) therefore a new being with—perhaps—a fresh-from-the-oven soul. (Not inconsequentially, this, too, should also cause the resultant creature to lose the entirety of the Hollow feat's benefit.)

However, while this process could see the creature gain a soul, the creature now has the template incarnate construct, and that means the creature loses all the special attacks and special qualities of the base creature it was prior to incarnating—and the player should ask the DM well beforehand if this includes special abilities gained from class levels!

Anyway, a DM nonetheless could (even reasonably, in my opinion) rule that all this will be for naught and that the resultant creature—for whatever reason (uncharted waters, remember?)—still will have no soul. Adventurers considering this technique should research it beforehand lest the prodigious resources the technique requires be wasted.

How to do that

A creature that has attached to it an additional or replacement golem limb (Monster Manual II 209) and that fails the subsequent Will saving throw (DC 15) gains the appropriate half-golem template (209-12 et al.) that instantaneously changes the creature's type to construct. Since it's not a spell effect, the creature can't voluntarily forego the saving throw against the golem limb, but it should be trivial to round up penalties on the saving throw sufficient that there's only a 5% chance succeeding on the Will saving throw. The cheapest golem limb—a flesh golem limb—has a price of 10,000 gp. Then it's a matter of finding a level 17 wizard capable of casting the spell incarnate construct on half-golem creature… somehow. Such a service—which isn't usually available due to the price (PH 129)—costs 26,530 gp, but it's also usually impossible: the half-golem creature's extraordinary ability magic immunity typically prevents from working on it the spell incarnate construct as the spell checks the subject's SR. (How the sample incarnate construct, a former stone golem (SS 120-1), came about is a mystery.)

The other way sees the creature acquire an arcane scroll of body of war [trans] (Spell Compendium 35) (7th-level spell at caster level 13) (2,275 gp; 0 lbs.) and an arcane scroll of incarnate construct [trans] (Savage Species 67-8) (9th-level spell at caster level 17) (28,825 gp; 0 lbs.) then spend 6,100 gp and 244 XP to use Gremma's cauldron (Expedition to Undermountain 217) (5,000 gp; 0 lbs.) to turn the scrolls into potions then consume the respective potions in succession, the specific rules for the cauldron presumably overriding the general rules for potions. (Similar yet less expensive workarounds that yield like results do, I'm certain, exist, but I'm a big fan of the cauldron and its myriad possibilities.)

"Is there another way?"

Not that I've found. For instance, this DM does not feel that just changing the creature's type, suiciding, then being brought back from the dead is sufficient to ensoul a soulless creature. That is, in such a case, no effect has been employed that would seem to this DM to change the creature's soul's status and, instead, only its form. (This DM would rule that, for example, such a creature still couldn't be brought back from the dead.) So for this DM it'd be a nonstarter to use a similar process—cast, die, raise—while affected by, for example, the 1st-level Drd spell aspect of the wolf [trans] (Spell Compendium 16-17) that changes the creature's type to animal, the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell aberrate [trans] (Book of Vile Darkness 84) that changes the creature's type to aberration, or the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell essence of the dragon [trans] (Races of the Dragon 112-3) that changes the creature's type to dragon.

Even the much-vaunted and otherwise-all-purpose 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell polymorph any object [trans] (PH 263) isn't much help here: its duration is only permanent, never instantaneous, therefore rendering the effect vulnerable to dispelling, and, more importantly, the spell possesses the descriptor polymorph, which says, "If the subject of a polymorph spell is slain or rendered unconscious, the spell ends" (Player's Handbook (2012) 320). And the polymorph any object spell—with its merely permanent duration—is no exception to this.


Note: In campaigns I run, keeping someone dead is sometimes an issue, and squirreling away the creature's soul is a good way to do that. Hence getting a creature a soul without needing the original soul has been a real topic of conversation, and turning the creature from what it was into a construct then into a subtypeless humanoid that possesses the template incarnate construct has been pitched as a possible solution but never actually tried. Thank heavens.

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