The Trouble with Evil Souls


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


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Since evil souls (that are beyond redemption) go to evil planes to be punished, tortured, and/or consumed, and all that soul energy is used to create more fiends, and it is a good thing to destroy fiends, WHY THEN is it an evil act to destroy an evil soul if that soul would only eventually empower the forces of evil?

Furthermore, why not try to use these evil souls create good magic items?

Is it not a good thing to convert the soul of a chaotic evil pirate into a +1 Blessed Bolt rather than letting it become part of a newborn Balor?


all your conclusions make complete sense.
However all your assumptions are wrong in my opinion/to my knowledge.

The afterlife for an evil person is not necessarily an evil aligned plane. There he won't get punished.
His "soul energy" (what's that?) won't become a fiend.
How can you destroy an evil soul? (not the body it lives in)
how can you use a soul to create a magic item? (intelligent one? then it would be evil I assume)

so, if you have those assumptions in your campaign, then your conclusions are correct, but make sure you destroy the soul, not just kill someone.


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Arcanemuses wrote:
Since evil souls (that are beyond redemption) go to evil planes to be punished, tortured, and/or consumed, and all that soul energy is used to create more fiends, and it is a good thing to destroy fiends, WHY THEN is it an evil act to destroy an evil soul if that soul would only eventually empower the forces of evil?

Basically, Hubris. There are deities involved in the transmigration of souls. They don't care if you kill the bad guys, but you're stepping on their turf if you're messing with the souls.

Also, how exactly are you going to destroy a soul? As you mention, a lot of forces convert souls one way or another, but that 'energy' persists.

As for turning them into magic items, that's pretty much slavery (or worse, turning people into furniture).


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Magic jar em en masse and seal them away. Never let them go onto the planes to become larvae, demons, puppets, tortured playthings.

It is the humane thing to do. Necromancy... for good!

Silver Crusade

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If there's one unforgivable sin in fantasyland, one ultimate evil act, it's destroying a soul.

Soul destruction is the daemons' thing. And those are the guys that make the devils and demons uncomfortable. Those are the guys that cause demons and devils to team up with each other and celestials to stop their predations.

Why is it more evil than anything else?

Because it destroys hope.

For even the most traumatized and tormented of souls, there is still the chance they may heal with time and care. For even the lowest of the damned in the Abyss and Hell, there is still, no matter how small, a glimmer of hope that somehow things will get better. For even the most lost and tainted there is still the chance that they could become something more. For even those devils, demons, and evil petitioners slain and absorbed directly into their plane, there is still the chance of being incarnated once more.

A bit like Origen's model of the universe, all things have the potential to be saved. As long as they exist, that hope remains alive.

To betray that is to betray Good itself.

For neutrality, to destroy a soul is to wound the cosmos. It is to spit in the eye of the natural order. It endangers reality itself.

For evil, it's generally bad for business, and sets a very bad precedent. Devils want their tools. Demons want their toys.

That's why daemons are the most hated beings in the multiverse.


Mikaze wrote:

If there's one unforgivable sin in fantasyland, one ultimate evil act, it's destroying a soul.

Soul destruction is the daemons' thing. And those are the guys that make the devils and demons uncomfortable. Those are the guys that cause demons and devils to team up with each other and celestials to stop their predations.

Why is it more evil than anything else?

Because it destroys hope.

For even the most traumatized and tormented of souls, there is still the chance they may heal with time and care. For even the lowest of the damned in the Abyss and Hell, there is still, no matter how small, a glimmer of hope that somehow things will get better. For even the most lost and tainted there is still the chance that they could become something more. For even those devils, demons, and evil petitioners slain and absorbed directly into their plane, there is still the chance of being incarnated once more.

Right on then. If in fact an evil damned soul and/or demons and devils can still find redemption in some possible way, then this matter is concluded and destroying souls is evil no matter what.


Basically its mutually assured destruction. You start destroying evil souls, the bad guys start destroying good souls and everyone loses.

Shadow Lodge

Ran into this in a 4E campaign. Some misguided extremists were using soul larvae to power a golem army. Their argument was that it was better for the souls to be used to defend their city than for them to be eaten by a fiend (also destroying the soul). The party shut them down pretty hard. The moral argument was a combination of Helic and Mikaze's points. First, the party didn't want the Raven Queen getting ticked at the city for dealing in souls. Second, they felt that sentencing a soul to oblivion was an unjustifiable action no matter what the circumstances.

I can see your pragmatic argument, especially if souls are very commonly destroyed by fiends, and not just a small subset. However, in that case it would be far preferable to simply remove damned souls from fiendish control and/or attempt to redeem them.


One way to look at it is in golarion at least only pharasma has the right to judge a soul. What place is it for a mortal to do so.


Pharasma be damned! Says the chaotic.

Shadow Lodge

A lot of what the guys above me said but here's my 2 cp. One of the key arguments one could make is that we as mortals who have the capacity to sin, change our fate, and live our short mortal lives are incapable of rendering that decision as we are not infused with the immortal long view of outsiders nor the raw forces of law/chaos/evil/or good which would give us the clarity to make that decision. Also have to ring in with what mikaze has said as look at who does destroy souls on a regular basis. The daemons are probably one of the most reviled things in the multiverse with at least one of their iconics being referred to as something like a great white shark hunting the schools of souls heading off to the boneyard. The way it's made out phrasma herself can barely tolerate them as is and only does so due to some cosmic revelation even she is remiss to admit to be true.
As for stowing them in items you again run into the same issue helic brought up where at best what you're doing is crafting evil items that you now must keep from the people at large lest they continue to wreak havoc.
Best option is what loyalist said where you just seal them away in something and keep them safe from prying eyes. This is seen a lot in japanese mythology where a priest would try to seal an evil spirit into some form of prison so as to prevent it from causing harm to the people. These prisons usually had shrines built around them to protect this new prison from intruders. Good ways to represent this in game are with items like iron flasks and spells like imprsionment though I would love to see them come out with new spells or items that would allow people to do this. Other good source would be khyber dragon shards from eberron which can do that as well.
That being said though it may not be lawful, I would love to see somewhere in the outer planes where you see good outsiders capturing and containing evil souls in an effort to cleanse them of evil before they are sentenced and become petitioners to the evil planes.


Not arguing the point of IF it is evil, but is it written anywhere. One of my players wish to dispute this point.

Silver Crusade

1) This thread is over 6 years old.

2) Most likely in Book of the Damned 3 or the Hardcover compilation, or possibly in Horror Adventures. There's an article on the River of Souls in one of the Mummy's Mask AP issues.

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