Pillar of Souls

Most creatures, when they die, simply pass on. Their spirit may linger near the mortal world for a short time, and may even be called back by the right magics (such as raise dead and the like), but even this is uncommon. Less frequently, a dying creature with unfinished business may find his soul trapped near the mortal world until his ghost is laid to rest or destroyed. The ghost that is created may be bound to either the place he dies or another place of great importance to him as a mortal and usually tied to his unfinished business.

What few mortals realize is that the soul, once released from the body, does not pass directly to the outer planes, or face final dissolution, or whatever else they believe ultimately happens to souls of the dead. When a soul becomes untethered from the body, it is drawn to the Pillar of Souls for a time, in preparation for its final determination and departure from the mortal world.

Geography

The Pillar of Souls is perhaps 300 feet across at the base and about a quarter mile high. The faces of the spire are pitted and cracked, and easily climbed, for those who would dare. The air is damp and chill, but while it is less than comfortable, it is not dangerously cold.

Within many of the holes and gaps are small, curiously-shaped stones. These are soul stones, physical representation of the souls of the dead. When one first appears it is about the size of a man’s fist and shaped very much like the head of the person whose soul is bound to it. As time passes, the features soften and stone shrinks, becoming smaller and smoother until finally the stone is much like a child’s marble, then the stone disappears and the soul is no longer connected to the mortal world.

If the correct stone can be found, it may be possible to return the person to life.

Game Mechanics

  • The Pillar of Souls is constantly shrouded in mist. Vision is more or less normal within 30 feet, creatures from 30 feet to 50 feet away have concealment (20% miss chance), and creatures outside that have full concealment (50% miss chance).
  • The rock faces are easily climbed (DC10), though the cost of falling can be great (if you’re a quarter mile in the air and slip, you may soon have your own soul stone here).
  • Many detection magics fail here because of the spiritual density. Alignment-detection spells such as detect evil/good/chaos/law will indicate a moderate aura of the relevant alignment everywhere, and detect spirit will return an overwhelming aura throughout the region.
  • Finding a particular soul stone can be hard. Anyone who touches a soul stone and knows the creature bound to it recognizes the soul within it. The difficulty lies in finding the right soul stone. In all cases I think the soul stone calls to those seeking it, or there’d be almost no chance whatsoever of finding it. I have not decided how I want to handle this.
    • DC25 (30?) Search check, once per day, to find the sought-after soul stone.
    • DC20 (25?) Wisdom check, once per day, to find the sought-after soul stone.
    • 3d10 days, minus one day per point of Wisdom modifier, to find the sought-after soul stone.
  • If a desired soul stone can be found, the creature whose soul it is can be revivified more easily than normal. The soul stone may be used in place of the normal material component of diamonds. Raise dead, resurrection, and true resurrection work with normal effects. In all cases, however, the spirit does not need to be willing — you have the soul stone, the spirit cannot deny the revivification.

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