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Soul Children:

by Carl Quaif

These items resemble attractive dolls, of the sort beloved by children in civilised countries, with ceramic heads, arms and legs and soft, padded bodies; they are frequently dressed in pretty clothes in the latest styles. A close examination, however, reveals that the dolls are not as innocent as they first seem. The heads and limbs are not made of china, but of bone; the bodies are not cloth, but cleverly-preserved human skin. The hair used both for stuffing the body and decorating the head is that of a human being; while that fact is not disturbing in itself, the traces of dried blood and scalp on the hair show that it was not cut, but ripped brutally from the head.

A Soul Child is constructed from the dead body of a human being (or Elf, Dwarf, etc) for the purpose of trapping a portion of the soul within it. Certain spellcasters through the ages, such as Wokani, Necromancers and Witches - and even, in some cases, Entropic Clerics - have used this technique on both unwilling souls and on each other (in some traditions, the heir to a dying mage uses his master's body to make a Soul Child on the master's own order). If the victim is unwilling, a Save vs. Death Ray is permitted to resist this foul enchantment; success renders the doll powerless, allowing the soul to journey onward to Limbo.

Those who know the secret of the Soul Children - who need not be spellcasters themselves - can use them to summon forth the captive soul in the form of a Wraith, Spectre, or some form of Haunt, depending on the level and power of the living being the doll was made from. Somewhat like a genie, this Undead creature must serve the holder of the doll by performing some task or providing advice when asked, fading back into its prison when the task is over. A doll may be used by hundreds of people over the years, but no single being may summon the denizen of a particular Soul Child more than twice; a third attempt will cause the spirit to attack the summoner, fighting brutally until either spirit or summoner is dead. Each time a Soul Child is used, there is a flat 7% chance that the doll will explode, causing 5d6 damage to all within 15' and sending the spirit howling to its final reward.

The creation of a Soul Child is almost always considered an Evil act, although the powers of the doll can easily be turned to a Good purpose; Clerics of many Lawful Immortals, however, consider them profane, and will absolutely refuse even to handle one.