Imprisoning Souls via Turning Them Into Tattoos?


Homebrew and House Rules


Ok. So. There's an ability I'm looking for help on creating wording wise. The idea is that the creature takes a being's soul and imprisons them by turning them into a tattoo or encapsulating them in a tattoo on their body.

I was thinking perhaps a tweaked version of Death Knell, just a bit stronger perhaps. Like, Death Knell with a longer duration and the things it takes the souls of can't be resurrected. Any suggestions? Does this work?

EDIT: Perhaps just use Greater Death Knell Aura and add in the thing about not being able to resurrect while they're soul is a tattoo.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

That is possibly the most epic and potentially horrifying idea. Your enemy knows how many lives they have taken, their skin a history of their long carrier of violence, death and sin. Each design a soul trapped. Even my chaotic evil characters would never do that. To them, a simple death is enough. And besides, killing them nets some serious possible glory, having killed a foe with that much of a reputation. Kill a man, you are a murder. Kill a murderer of many, any you might just become more feared than he was.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The old Ghostwalk book had a spell that did this. It was a punishment for errant ghosts.

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Bonus points if the tattoos are transferred from the creature when it is slain to whomever defeated it. Which GM doesn't want to see their player's character's being haunted by restless souls affixed to their own skin?


Third Mind wrote:

Ok. So. There's an ability I'm looking for help on creating wording wise. The idea is that the creature takes a being's soul and imprisons them by turning them into a tattoo or encapsulating them in a tattoo on their body.

I was thinking perhaps a tweaked version of Death Knell, just a bit stronger perhaps. Like, Death Knell with a longer duration and the things it takes the souls of can't be resurrected. Any suggestions? Does this work?

So, kind of like soul bind?


Reminds me of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Reflavoring create soul gem could work.


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Yeah, an altered create soul gem would work. Instead of putting a soul into a gem, it creates a tattoo on the caster's body. I wanted to make a similar spell that did the same with a harrow card.

Man, this thread is giving me great villain ideas.


Cyrad wrote:

Yeah, an altered create soul gem would work. Instead of putting a soul into a gem, it creates a tattoo on the caster's body. I wanted to make a similar spell that did the same with a harrow card.

Man, this thread is giving me great villain ideas.

I was invited to play in an evil campaign and encouraged to play an arcane caster. Had no real thoughts on any, but now I've got an idea for a necromantic Witch that decorates her body with the souls of her foes.


. . . I love this idea. Sadly, I doubt the DM would be willing to run an evil campaign so I could have such a character.

For some reason, all those goodly types would probably complain about my trophies.

I do agree, reflavoring Create Soul Gem is probably the best idea.


It probably will be something like Create Soul Gem. Thanks everyone!

That said, the person I'm brainstorming this with and I are contemplating making the creature a bit more neutral in that they were imprison only evil souls on their person. Not a good thing to do obviously, but not necessarily evil. Could easily see this on a bunch of evil characters though haha.


Third Mind wrote:

It probably will be something like Create Soul Gem. Thanks everyone!

That said, the person I'm brainstorming this with and I are contemplating making the creature a bit more neutral in that they were imprison only evil souls on their person. Not a good thing to do obviously, but not necessarily evil. Could easily see this on a bunch of evil characters though haha.

Comitting Evil doesn't become less evil because you're using it on an Evil being. Just like starting a backfire to help contain a wildfire doesn't change the fact I started a fire.


Tels wrote:
Comitting Evil doesn't become less evil because you're using it on an Evil being. Just like starting a backfire to help contain a wildfire doesn't change the fact I started a fire.

Fair enough. But what makes it an evil act besides the spell descriptor? Keeping a soul from moving on? If the soul was evil, then it may have been punished in the after life anyways, or at the very least not comfortable. Seems like one kind of hell for another they were going to get anyways. Except this hell (the imprisonment of souls on ones person) makes it a bit harder for the evil jerks to be resurrected by their minions / followers.

Doesn't really matter either way. Just thoughts, concepts and ideas.

Silver Crusade

I love this idea, I would be interested in what you come up with


Third Mind wrote:
Tels wrote:
Comitting Evil doesn't become less evil because you're using it on an Evil being. Just like starting a backfire to help contain a wildfire doesn't change the fact I started a fire.

Fair enough. But what makes it an evil act besides the spell descriptor? Keeping a soul from moving on? If the soul was evil, then it may have been punished in the after life anyways, or at the very least not comfortable. Seems like one kind of hell for another they were going to get anyways. Except this hell (the imprisonment of souls on ones person) makes it a bit harder for the evil jerks to be resurrected by their minions / followers.

Doesn't really matter either way. Just thoughts, concepts and ideas.

Imprisoning a soul is forcing it to act against the natural order. Once you've turned it into a soul gem, you can actually utterly destroy the soul so that it doesn't exist. There is no coming back from this short of a Gods intervention (and sometimes, not even then). Sure, you've reflavored it into a tattoo, but part of reflavoring is that it is still, mechanically, identical to the original spell.

Think of a soul gem not unlike a battery used to power things, except when the battery runs out, the soul is depleted/destroyed. Evil or not, you have taken a soul out of the naturel order of it's life cycle, twisted and destroyed it. This is Evil. Just taking the soul out of it's natural cycle is considered an evil act in most campaign settings as it's an act against the natural order of the universe.

If your GM says it's not an evil act in your campaign, more power to you, but most campaign settings play it as being an evil act.


Tels wrote:

Imprisoning a soul is forcing it to act against the natural order. Once you've turned it into a soul gem, you can actually utterly destroy the soul so that it doesn't exist. There is no coming back from this short of a Gods intervention (and sometimes, not even then). Sure, you've reflavored it into a tattoo, but part of reflavoring is that it is still, mechanically, identical to the original spell.

Think of a soul gem not unlike a battery used to power things, except when the battery runs out, the soul is depleted/destroyed. Evil or not, you have taken a soul out of the naturel order of it's life cycle, twisted and destroyed it. This is Evil. Just taking the soul out of it's natural cycle is considered an evil act in most campaign settings as it's an act against the natural order of the universe.

If your GM says it's not an evil act in your campaign, more power to you, but most campaign settings play it as being an evil act.

Understandable and a good point. It wouldn't take much re-flavoring for the new ability to eliminate some of the evil aspects as you suggest though. According to the rulings on the spell itself, all it takes is a solid resurrect spell. As far as the battery idea goes, the soul in the neutral monsters case could just be imprisoned. Not fueling anything, just simply trapped until the creature is killed, in which case it's released back into the afterlife. No destroying involved... unless that's the flavoring one wishes to go for.

As you said though, it's up to the DM like anything else. And since it's just a concept, it's easy to make it what one wants and reflavor it as needed. Maybe I'll try to write out some of the creatures in various alignment forms and their differences for fun later. But probably not... as time is not my friend.


Probably something like this for the spell:

Create Soul Tattoo
School: Necromancy [Death, Evil]; cleric/oracle 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3

Casting Time: 1 Round
Material Components: V, S, M (Ink made of blood worth at least 25 GP)

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one dying or recently dead creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Description:
You draw forth the ebbing life force of a dying creature or one that has died in the past round, forcing it into a soul tattoo upon your body made with the ink. If the creature is alive and fails its saving throw, it dies and you capture its soul in the ink. If the creature is dead, you automatically capture the soul.

If you are a souldrinker, you may cast this spell and expend 5 soul points to create a soul tattoo with the equivalent of one basic soul.

Only one soul tattoo can be created from a particular dying creature. Any attempt to resurrect a body whose soul is trapped in a soul tattoo requires a caster check against a DC of 11 + your caster level at the time you cast this spell. Failure results in the spell having no effect, while success erases the target’s soul tattoo and returns the creature to life as normal. If you are in an unholy location, such as that created by the unhallow spell, the DC of this check increases by +2.


I can imagine this from a couple of other angles as well. Like a True Primitive Barbarian with a slightly reworked Fetish Trophy ability, perhaps changed to (Su) and acting as a tattoo instead of being added to gear. Or a Tattooed Sorcerer whose spell tattoos all come from killing sentients and adding tattoos from their blood. "Oh, my fireball spell? Used to be some ifrit chick until I bound her! Still tries to struggle sometime, like when I used her to burn down her elf friend and use 'em to power Cat's Grace!"

*Edit: spelling


If it can be used like in Naruto, I'm in.

Binding a major outsider in someone with a seal tattoo is still evil.
Every use of the tattoo allows them an attempt to posses, the level of the spell or power adds to the spirits will score. It's still evil, but an inquisitor is allowed to do what's necessary.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
RogueMortal wrote:

I can imagine this from a couple of other angles as well. Like a True Primitive Barbarian with a slightly reworked Fetish Trophy ability, perhaps changed to (Su) and acting as a tattoo instead of being added to gear. Or a Tattooed Sorcerer whose spell tattoos all come from killing sentients and adding tattoos from their blood. "Oh, my fireball spell? Used to be some ifrit chick until I bound her! Still tries to struggle sometime, like when I used her to burn down her elf friend and use 'em to power Cat's Grace!"

*Edit: spelling

My antipaladin would not care about the fundimentals of good and evil, of self gain, corruption, any of that. What happens when your foe has reached that point is you are no longer considered a human of the divine plane of things.

they are just another monster to be slain, and there are probably a billion demons that want to take a bite out of a soul like that.

It doesn't matter is it ends up being a good act or not. if people love you for what you did to spare them, its just another debt they have to pay back at some point. and that comes later, when you are not at risk of losing your life and getting stuck in a sodding tattoo.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Goth Guru wrote:

If it can be used like in Naruto, I'm in.

Binding a major outsider in someone with a seal tattoo is still evil.
Every use of the tattoo allows them an attempt to posses, the level of the spell or power adds to the spirits will score. It's still evil, but an inquisitor is allowed to do what's necessary.

Then expect some paladins to come for you, because there are some that might disagree with you on that. that and one very, very vicious anti-paladin, who does not stand for that kind of thing.

and every cult that deals with the undead, death and afterlife thing. the thing is not just about evil, its also about peoples SOULS... And some might say your trying to help, that you do what is necessary, but many are wondering "what if the next one is an innocent, or just trying to feed their family and ends up crossing the line?" they see you as a monster that takes souls, good or bad and locks them away. and what if after, the inquisitor falls, goes corrupt and falls down the dark path... who has to stop them then?


ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
Goth Guru wrote:

If it can be used like in Naruto, I'm in.

Binding a major outsider in someone with a seal tattoo is still evil.
Every use of the tattoo allows them an attempt to posses, the level of the spell or power adds to the spirits will score. It's still evil, but an inquisitor is allowed to do what's necessary.

Then expect some paladins to come for you, because there are some that might disagree with you on that. that and one very, very vicious anti-paladin, who does not stand for that kind of thing.

and every cult that deals with the undead, death and afterlife thing. the thing is not just about evil, its also about peoples SOULS... And some might say your trying to help, that you do what is necessary, but many are wondering "what if the next one is an innocent, or just trying to feed their family and ends up crossing the line?" they see you as a monster that takes souls, good or bad and locks them away. and what if after, the inquisitor falls, goes corrupt and falls down the dark path... who has to stop them then?

As a GM, I would place other inquisitors to deal with them if they go from an asset to a menace. I was thinking of allowing this to players. You cannot always get 4 or more players who want to play non evil. A spy campaign has idiot NPCs who think suicide pills will prevent interrogation. That's another situation where a character will do the unthinkable. I will have to buy the book with the Inquisitor in it, very hard with all these bookstores closing lately.

This is the homebrew section of Pazio, so if you want to mess with the rules of the class, that's fine at your table.


If you end up doing this, and I do like the idea, perhaps have some negative consequence. The more souls you have trapped in tattoo form the harder it is to ignore their cries for release. Perhaps even having to make the occasional save vs madness. Or even possibly the tattoos cause you to do something reckless so you get killed and they can find release. Some instances could be attacking a group of guards, walking off a cliff, to stop fighting mid combat. Just a thought is all.


I am only for this if I can then consume the souls for power. But otherwise this is amazing.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Consuming souls would be an inherently evil act, and you would likely suffer a save against madness, but otherwise i don't see why not. after all, a villain could easily be made more terrifying and threatening if they simply consumed a few souls to keep them selves in the fight. it then becomes a case of killing the monster before the party lose any chance of saving any of the trapped souls. or in the case of evil characters, before the massive amount of free power is lost to the bastard you are fighting. What good is killing the guy that had all those souls (which could be crucial in bartering with that Demon you want on your side) if there is the a@*&#@@ uses them all to murder you and your posse. At the end you have one measly soul, where there was maybe 50 or 100 before.

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