Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Seven Souls of Shadoom

Shadoom was the ur-Sorcerer, the greatest villain that the world has ever faced.

His schemes were limitless, and his inventions beyond categorization.  His traps and manipulations were so subtly woven that we are only now figuring out their depth, 700 years later.

He was the first to capture the spell that went on to become Power Word: Kill.  He built the first wizard tower (intending to eventually ride it to space).  He invented the cackling monologue.

And then he was hunted down (many, many times) and killed.

Ever since the Yellowcoat incident, the Church has been aware that occasionally the dead and the damned do not stay in hell, but instead return to the living world at the head of an ungodly host of demons.  And so it was decided that Shadoom would not be allowed to descend to hell, although he deserved many infinities of suffering, but would instead be kept here, where the fragments of his soul could be contained and monitored.

I: The Mineral Soul

First there is the matter of the mineral soul, what you might think of as chemistry.  This soul stays with the body after death, maintaining the concept form and ensuring adequate nutrition for decomposition.  They are quiet and hardworking engines of natural laws.  It is the ghost-in-the-corpse.

Shadoom's physical soul is not like it's kin in other rotting bodies.  It seems to have a fierce desire for continuation, although very little means to achieve it.  Attempts to communicate with it are met with blasphemy and gibbering.

The corpse is growing.  Although Shadoom was much less than 6' in life, his corpse is now more than 8' tall.  Most of the growth has occurred in the rib cage.

The only type of growth that the mineral soul permits is a fungal.  His skin is buttery with yeast, and what remains of the head is almost entirely obscured by polypores.

It's not a body anymore.  It's a lair for the mineral soul.

There are many who believe that it is not a mineral soul at all.  They claim that it is something much stranger, something invited into the body at the behest of Shadoom (or perhaps inserted as a punishment or means of control).  While attempts to study it have stalled, many are hesitant to burn it,

studies have stalled as the spirit has frustrated their attempts at investigation.  Still, Lady Stravia is hesitant to have the body destroyed, since that may release whatever is holding it together.

II: The Vegetable Soul

Think of the second soul as "the laws of biology" and you won't be far off.

Shadoom's vegetable soul exists in the body of a young man named Tappernick, who is an exact physical clone of Shadoom.

He is the assitant gardener at the Minthic Priory is Kaskala.  He is short and swarthy and tanned from the sun.  His hands are rough with callouses.

He is unaware of his heritage.  All he knows is that the paladins always seem to enjoy dining with him when they pass through.  He doesn't know why, since he doesn't consider himself to be very interesting.  Nor does he understand why the paladins are sometimes tense in his presence, or else amused.  He's just a gardener.

He always tries to send the paladins off with a magnolia blossum.  Sometimes they accept.

The whole thing was Lady Stravia's idea, of course.

III: The Animal Soul

The third soul can be thought of as the instinctual soul.

Shadoom's animal soul is possessed by a incredibly unhappy young girl by the name of Ursiline.  After her second attempt to drown herself, she was entered into the convent of St. Rashene on her 17th birthday.

It is unclear how the girl found out that she possessed one seventh of Shadoom's soul, but she now dwells on it constantly.  She has written letters to Shadoom blaming him for her unhappiness.  She has written letters to Lady Stravia assigning blame for her "imprisonment".

Lady Stravia, for her part, has expressed regret about how the whole thing was handled.  She may end up removing Ursiline from the convent entirely.

Those are the first three souls.  For most people, they are reincarnated.  They are the earthly souls.

The remaining four souls are the heavenly souls.

IV: The Purple Soul Which is Memory

The fourth soul, the purple soul, is composed of memories.

Shadoom's memories were reborn into the child of a farmer.  The boy's name was Roflund, and he was fully aware of his past life since three months before his birth.

Roflund was born on a hot summer night in the second basement of the Lustrine Cathedral in Coramont.  Lady Stravia herself helped deliver the baby.  Her hands touched him before his mother's hands.

Also in attendance were 40 paladins and a priest-wizard.  Such caution ended up being unecessary, but there were many who were convinced that the fetus would be able to work some deviltry in the womb, and were therefore prepared for *anything* to come through that dilated cervix.

The newborn was also panicking.  Nothing in Shadoom's memories had prepared him for the nightmare of being born, that offensive tumult of noise and cold and fluid-filled lungs.

The attending paladins were not put at ease by the newborn's reassurances.  A wizard's vocubulary sounds bizarre enough coming from a wizard.  It sounds even stranger coming from a newborn at his mother's breast.

Roflund spent the first six months of his life being extensively interviewed by the Church.  (Claims of torture are unsubstantiated.)  Roflund proved to be much more helpful during interrogation than his soul's predecessor.  It was through Roflund that we learned of such things as the resurrection engine and the four-chambered mountain.

Unfortunately, Shadoom anticipated his capture and removed many of his memories in the days prior, entrusting them to certain lieutenants.  Some information, such as the location of the third apocalypse maggot or the fate of the princess of air, is still lost to us.

Roflund is now a paladin of the second rank in the service of the Lustrine Bishop.

V: The White Soul Which is Morality

The fifth soul is the white soul.  It embodies goals, values, ambition, and morality.

It belongs to a woman named Jetta of Harwater.  She is awaiting trial and execution after murdering her debtholder.  It is possible that this is not her first murder, but there is scant evidence.

Her trial has been delayed indefinitely, after Lady Stravia suggested it to the magistrate.

VII: The Red Soul Which is Personality

This is the personality of a person.  It contains their mannerisms and their perspective.  It controls (and is controlled by) their moods.  It is their emotions and their intellect.

The red soul is contained in Lady Stravia, the bishopess of the East Temple of the Shackled Flame, one part of the Church in charge of ensuring that old troubles do not rise again.  They have more historians in their ranks than paladins.

The discovery of the identity of Lady Stravia's red soul occurred when she touched Roflund during his birth.  As soon as it occurred, she was imprisoned and interviewed extensively.  She was released nine months later, at the command of the Eastern Pope.

She has since been reassigned to minister the penitent's commune in Guilder.  It is said that their farms have never been so productive.

VII: The Blue Soul Which is Divine

Of Shadoom's blue soul, little is known.  The blue soul is the seat of the spirit, the divine conduit, and the magical tongue by which the mind speaks.

In theory, this is the most perilous of Shadoom's souls, since it contains all of his arcane puissance.  And yet, no recent sign of it has emerged.

It is possible that it has eluded capture by avoiding reincarnation.  If so, it has managed to trickle down the the anonymous chaos of the hells.

Or it is possible that it dwells in a simpleton, who has neither the intellect to comprehend the power the possess, nor the will to wield it.

And it is even possible that Shadoom's blue soul eventually outgrew Shadoom himself.  A man cannot dominate the world with so much power without being dominated by it in turn.  If this is the case, then Shadoom's blue soul lives on without him.  It will be mindless only until it certain arcane furcations occur (and they must occur, or else it will be eaten by the creatures of the upper air) until it becomes its own creature, seven-souled and independent.

And if that is the case, the six new souls will themselves be cast-offs, the flotsam of identity, survivors of some other personal extinction.

Nothing is destroyed, nor anything created, except by the Hand of the Authority.


  1. Nothing I love more than crazy wizards, and this one's a hoot.

  2. Fun stuff. I love your digressions into the anatomy of souls on Centerra, even though I don't fully comprehend it.
    There seems to be a typo in IV: The Red Soul Which is Memory, where you call it purple.

    1. Basically, every person's soul is divisible. A person = many people.

  3. Typo under the white soul:
    "It is possible that she has committed other EVIDENCE, but there is scant evidence."

  4. Since Personality is red, I assume Memory is, in fact, purple as the text describes it.

    This is some very interesting metaphysics, as well as background material. Keep this wonderful insanity coming.

  5. Does Shadoom have any relation to your other mad Wizard, Oshregaal creator of the Tusk Men, or do they both just happen to be power mad wizards?

    1. No. But it's easy to make another mad wizard, isn't it?


  6. This is incredible, great work. Very inspirational.

  7. This makes me think of the old artifact pages in the 1E DMG - it feels like a reference to the rod of seven parts and I envision a GM facin g bit for the powers of each soul (though I think the Red Soul has already started collecting...)and the powers they gain in concert, and efforts to meld them etc.

    I feel like a setting specific re-skin of several DMG artifacts (Machine of Lum the Mad!) would do good world building work. Same artifacts, but each bent to several different settings.

  8. Th whole bit with the seven souls makes me wonder if players would want to go full Monster Rancher and mash souls together to make new, uh entities.

  9. I note that the white souls is now morality, whereas before it was intellect. Intellect is now part of the red soul, which was personality alone.

    Do dwarves have a red soul now or are they still lacking?

  10. One thing I’m wondering: which souls are gender identity and sexuality contained in?

    1. I would imagine sexuality would be the instinctual animal soul, and gender identity would either be the red soul or blue soul, depending on if you think divine sumerian-style transfemme spirit-talkers are how your universe works.

  11. Do you have another setting apart from Centerra? You've talked about Shadoom creating goblins from fungus, but also that goblins are just starved cannibalistic halflings. Was this something you changed or are do these two goblin types exist in different settings?

    1. There is no canon. I just throw ideas into the Centerra stewpot until something tastes good.

  12. It occurs to me that just a few tweaks would make the souls match up to the D&D ability scores. THat feels like fertile ground.