Writing “How Very Tempting” was among my easier articles – about 27 hours (most of that spent revising – I wrote the whole thing in about 3 hours) total. I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I’d been fooling around with a system for some time in my own campaigns (which this one was based off of), but I’d never full on codified it. There was usually no need – my PCs never were dumb enough to strike a Faustian bargain they couldn’t get out of. So when I saw the Tools of the Trade entry for “Villians” I was like “Self, you could totally write up that article about souls now. So go do it.” So I did. Oh, one thing I tend to do before I write is to put together a bunch of titles for boxes and the like that I’ll use that revolve around the theme. A few I didn’t use: “Damned Man Walking,” “Giving Up the Ghost, For a Price,” “Dealing in Unreal Estate,” “Pimp My Hide,” “Visiting an Afterlife Renegotiation Agent,” and “Soul Proprietor.”
Under the Hood: Damnation
The Damnation disadvantage wasn’t exactly created from whole cloth, in fact it’s based upon Black Penalty/Spiritual Distortion with a few things added in. Each level of Damnation is built as:
- Susceptible (all supernatural abilities of a specific entity) [-1/level].
- Spiritual Distortion [-3/level].
- One level of Reputation (those who can see auras; all the time) [3.3/level] at levels 1, 3, 6, and 9 and flattening the cost to about [-1/level]. “New people” reacting badly is essentially a feature (it’s a smaller subgroup of those who can read auras).
The Hellbound enhancement is basically a leveled quirk “Obtain new disadvantages when I damn my soul further.” The Tainted enhancement turns the Reputation into “all people” and after flattening the cost results in Damnation increasing the cost by -1/level. The Free-Willed limitation removes the Susceptible part of Damnation. Virtuous Cloak removes Reputation as a part of Damnation.
Being a Broker of Souls
Actually being able to sell or buy souls is a Unusual Background (Soul Broker) for 10 points – but you’re still going to need the various abilities to fulfill your bargains to your sellers. A (small) suggested list (expanded from GURPS Powers) might include:
- Dictating Events: Super Luck 1 (Wishing, +100%; Uses Soul Points, x1/5 pts) [40/level]. Higher levels allow you to do this more often (as suggested on p. 80 of GURPS Powers).
- Creating Objects: Probably the easiest route would be to buy Snatcher (Creation, +100%; Large Items, +50%; More Weight, 100 lbs., +40%; Permanent, +300%; Uses Soul Points, x1/5 pts) . An alternate might be Create (All Matter; Transformation, +50%) [120/level] with the feature “Uses Soul Points instead of Character Points to stabilize matter.”
- Granting Traits: Affliction (Extended Duration, Permanent, Irreversible, +300%; Malediction 1, +100%; Variable Enhancement (Accessibility, Advantages or Negated Disadvantages only, -30%), +7,000%; Costs Soul Points, x1/5 pts) . This allows the character to bestow up to 100 points of advantages or remove up to 100 points of disadvantages for the measly cost of one soul point…
Those are just the “broad strokes” other entities might have Warp, Jumper (Time or World), other forms of magic (powered by soul point bought reserves), and so on. So a “minor wishing” power might cost a PC 265 points and allow him to dictate the result of any die roll in his presence, create up to 100 lbs. of any matter, and grant up to 100 points of advantages (or remove up to -100 points of disadvantages. GMs may wish to wrap this all in a single meta-trait “Soul Broker” might therefore cost 275 character points.
Using it with GURPS Monster Hunters
The Lonely Child example provides a good idea on what might be possible for someone desperate enough to sell their soul, but a few other examples might be:
- Information: Perhaps a Crusader or Witch has access to their soul points and use them to bargain away for knowledge to eldritch beings. For example, Contact Group (Loa; Skill-21; 12 or less; Supernatural Means; Very Reliable; Costs Soul Points) for 20 points might allow the access of any knowledge…at a price.
- Resurrection: Since Extra Life is explicitly allowed in Monster Hunters, this might not seem like much of a switch…but getting back in the game with all your abilities intact and unspent character points could be a huge win for your side – until you really die.
- Raw Power: Since each soul point translates to 25 FP or Mana Reserve witches and other supernatural power users using up your soul might be well worth it…
- Reincarnation: If the GM allows, it may be possible to spend your soul points on acquiring a Inhuman racial template – even if you normally are another template entirely. Since the value multiplier for a Monster Hunters game is x2 a sufficiently “valuable” soul might be able to use both unspent character points and soul points to pay for such a thing…or acquire new disadvantages to make up the difference.
Unused Example: The Lonely Child
Unused Example: The Wizardly Dunce