Content of the article: "Soul Removal"
So, while researching how souls work in D&D I saw a few posts from people inspired by popular culture (the show Supernatural came up a few times), in which soul removal meant some dramatic change to ones personality, such as loss of emotions.
Basically the posts I found were of people struggling to make this work with the limited soul mechanics we know from the game, and often had them saying that they just outright changed how souls function.
Here is my attempt to mesh classic D&D soul removal, with this pop-culture inspired element.
The soul is the 'true self' of a being, and is a fundamental aspect of the mind; this is why when a soul is removed (for example, by the Void card from the Deck of Many Things), the being becomes completely comatose.
However, a soul is not like an organ you can just 'cut out', it is a well of energy that requires extreme magical prowess to remove effectively.
As a result, a much more common result for an attempted soul removal is that the soul breaks apart into 'fragments', with some fragments being removed and others remaining within the being.
At this stage, removing the remaining fragments would require surgical precision with magic, to a level that likely beyond any person who had failed to remove the soul safely in the first place.
As such, many that go through an attempted soul removal are instead left with fragments of their souls, and by extension their mind, instead of a complete loss of both.
Usually, these fragments are somewhat random, as they would be if you shattered most things.
This means that the effect of a failed soul removal can have numerous effects, depending on which part of a beings mind and soul have been removed.
For example, it could result a loss of emotion, memory, or certain elements of ones personality (fear, moderation, self control, sex drive, confidence etc).
Optional Addition – Intentional Soul Fragmentation
It is potentially feasible that an extremely skilled and powerful mage could intentional fragment a soul, warping a beings mind as they see fit.
In my setting this is the secret behind a false utopia; criminals have their soul shattered, removing any fragments associated with malice, greed and other such aspects that might lead one to commit crimes.
Optional Addition – Recovering A Fragment Souls
Recovering a fragmented soul is much more difficult than restoring one that was removed in its entirety.
The fragments themselves can begin to 'heal' in a sense, their 'edges' (for lack of a better term) slowly become less able to meld back together.
If a soul is fragmented long enough, it almost acts as a set of individual sudo-souls.
Once restored in to a body, a person might find that these fragments do not reform and exist within them as entirely separate entities.
How this effects a being will vary, they may act effectively as if they have multiple personalities, they may get flashes from each fragment at different times, or they might be unaware of these other fragments all together.
An internal pilgrimage would be needed for one to reunite their fragmented souls, and depending on the aspects contained within the fragments, this could be anything from a peaceful reunion, to a full scale battle.
Anyway, just thought I'd share the idea.
Naturally if you want to use it in any way, you're more than welcome to, and I'd of course love to hear any constructive criticisms, or ideas for expanding this.
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