Soulbound Doll

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.32 (22 Votes)
Soulbound Dolls are normally a simple construct NPC, offered up in the Bestiary 2, but I felt that in exceptional cases they could make for very interesting - if difficult to use - player characters. Be warned, this race would require a lot of "GM discretion" in places.

Of the many varieties of construct that can be crafted by mortal hands, the Soulbound Doll may perhaps be the most disturbing and potentially twisted. Whilst the appearances can vary wildly from sinister voodou dolls to the seemingly innocent little toy dolls of a young girl, all Soulbound Dolls share a key similarity; a soul focus that gives them their "life", their power and their sentience, and houses the fragment of a mortal soul.

More often than not, the creation of these dolls is considered an evil act, since it is common for the soul fragment used in its creation to be taken from an unwilling victim, murdered during the process. However this is not always the case, and whilst the practice will always been viewed as morally grey, some dolls are created from fragments willing given. Regardless of the circumstances of creation, a Doll's soul fragment develops into its own individual existence, a mostly clean slate retaining perhaps only the vaguest of trace memories from the original being.

Most Dolls are created as servants or companions for their mentors, and are kept under control with magic. However, the Dolls are sentient and have a will of their own, and if uncontrolled or abandoned, could venture forth into the world to become their own individual. They may be met with fear and loathing, and their diminutive size and potential frailty may stack odds against them, but a Doll is not without its tricks and advantages...

Physical Description: Varies wildly, but all are tiny and have a soul focus somewhere on or in their body, mostly commonly as an eye, necklace (attached to the body and not normally removable), or perhaps hidden away inside. Any Doll that goes completely motionless could be mistaken for an inanimate toy or decoration.

Alignment: A Soulbound Doll must be neutral on at least one alignment axis at creation. Whilst it is possible that their alignment might shift as the soul fragment develops further and further into a fully-fledged soul in its own right, its origins confine it to an at least partially neutral origin.

Religion: Dolls may adopt a religion, faith or philosophy as readily as any mortal being; some perhaps question their continued existance and seek answers or justification in a higher power, whilst others might look to a deity to guide them towards some purpose. Whilst a Doll can technically follow any religion or deity, a Divine spellcasting Doll may not select Pharasma as their patron; whilst others may come to tolerate the Doll's existence, the Lady of Graves won't accept even a fragment of the soul trying to escape judgement in the Boneyard.

Class Restrictions: A Soulbound Doll may never take levels in Sorceror or Dragon Disciple due to lacking blood and thus the bloodlines necessary. A Doll may be an Alchemist, but may not use extracts and mutagens on themselves, and by extension can never become a Master Chymist. The Doll's alignment restrictions also prevent it becoming classes that are of a completely

Soulbound Doll Racial Traits

-4 Strength, +2 Dexterity: Soulbound Dolls are tiny and weak, but their small size makes them more nimble.

Construct Contitution: Due to being a construct, Dolls have no Constitution score or modifier; list it on their character sheet as "-" (without the speech marks). They may never point attribute points into Constitution, and any sources of increased or decreased constitution from spells, effects, gear or class abilities will not affect them (although other elements of these effects will still work); this also means that their hitpoint totals and Fortitude saves are not changed by any purely Constitution-modifying effects. Each time they level up, they only gain the rolled number of hit points bestowed by the class, plus favoured class bonus if they so choose. Any effects that add temporary or permanent hit points completely unrelated to constitution are still allowed (note that the Doll may not gain temporary hitpoints from the Barbarian's Rage class ability as these are related to Constitution), as are effects that directly change Fortitude saves.

Tiny: Due to their tiny size, a Doll gains a +2 size bonus to AC and attack rolls, plus a +8 size bonus to Stealth checks (note: see Stealth below), whilst taking a -2 size penalty to CMB and CMD. Equipment and items for Tiny creatures weights 1/4 of the equivalent for a Medium creature, but weapons, armour and other such gear costs the same (whilst the material cost decreases, the workmanship requirement increases).

Tiny Combatatant: Tiny creatures only take up 2.5ft space, and thus only a quarter of a square. Furthermore, they have 0ft reach and cannot threaten or flank adjacent squares. In order to attack in melee, they must move into the target's square, provoking an attack of opportunity.

Stealth: In addition to the +8 size bonus to Stealth for being tiny, a Doll's nature allows it to easily pass for an inanimate object if they so desire; by remaining completely still before coming under observation and remaining so whilst being observed in any situation where their inanimate equivalent wouldn't be entirely out of place, they may add their Bluff value to their stealth roll to go unnoticed/undetected. This cannot work on anyone that has already seen them move, that is aware of them, or that has Detect Magic in effect. Hiding among toys or other objects sufficiently similar to them grants further bonuses at the GM's discretion.

Speed: A Doll has a base land speed of 20 feet.

Low-Light Vision: A Soulbound Doll can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.

Darkvision: A Soulbound Doll can see in the dark up to 60 feet.

Construct Properties: Due to being a construct, the Doll is immune to the following; bleeds, diseases, death effects, necromancy effects, paralysis, poisons, sleep effects and stunning. They are not at risk of massive damage, and are immune to any effects that require a fortitude save unless they are harmless or can affect objects. A Doll does not need to breathe, eat or sleep. Unlike most constructs, however, a Doll is subject to mind-affecting effects.

Ageless: Being a construct, a Doll does not age, nor does it have a limited lifespan; it is immune to the physical effects of aging, but can still accrue the mental bonuses, using 50-year age increments for each stage of life (a Doll is considered an "adult" upon creation, with an age of zero, not gaining its first mental bonuses for fifty years).

Breaking: If a Doll reaches 0HP, it immediately breaks, and does not go into negative hitpoints like a normal living character would. A broken Doll is not dead, however, so long as the Soul Focus is intact. If the Doll is broken and the Focus survives, it can be retrieved and put into a new Doll body, which does not have to be the same as or even similar to the previous body, so long as it is Tiny in size. Putting the Soul Focus into a new body functions as creating a new Soulbound Doll (see Bestiary 2, page 255), minus soul requirement. Losing a body and being put into a new one has no negative effects on the doll; nothing is lost, save the time spent waiting for the new body.

Soul Focus: The Soul Focus is the Doll's true source of life, and a Doll character only truly dies if this Focus is destroyed. The Focus cannot be damaged while the Doll body is intact, but once exposed, it has hardness 8, 12 hit points and a break DC of 20. At 5th level and every five levels thereafter, the Focus gains 1 hardness, 2 hit points and the break DC increases by 2. If the Focus is destroyed, the character is dead and cannot be returned by normal resurrection methods; at the GM's discretion, other methods may be used to bring the soul back and place it into a new Focus. Also at the GM's discretion, Reincarnate may be permitted to work, but the soul cannot be brought back as a Doll by this method.

Healing: A Doll, being a construct, cannot be healed in the same way as other beings; Cure spells and spells that take hitpoints from a target and award them to the caster cannot heal a Soulbound Doll. However, any spells that can mend objects will function as healing spells on the Doll (for example, Mending restores 1D4 hitpoints). Heal cannot be used on the Doll, but an applicable Craft or Profession skill could be used in the same manner as Heal instead. Finally, since the Doll cannot imbibe potions or other such consumables, they cannot be used to heal the Doll.

Spell-like Abilities: A Soulbound Doll with an Intelligence or Charisma score of 11 or more may cast the following abilities 3/day: light, mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation. A Doll with the same stat at 13 or more may cast 1/day Levitate, plus one of the following spells, based on their original alignment 1/day: Rage (Chaotic Neutral), Suggestion (Lawful Neutral), Deep Slumber (Neutral), Inflict Serious Wounds (Neutral Evil), Heroism (Neutral Good). The stat that gives the spells must be chosen at character creation; if the Doll's first level is in a spellcasting class that uses Intelligence or Charisma, then that must be the stat used. The caster level for the spells is equal to the Doll's total level, and the DC for the spells is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the Doll's Intelligence/Charisma modifier (whichever stat was chosen to earn the spells).

Author's Note: Rather a large entry for a race, but I felt it necessary to elaborate and try to avoid anything that might cause confusion; if I've left anything unclear or managed to contradict myself, feedback would be appreciated.

This will by no means be that easy of a race to play as; a bit more calculation and scribbling will likely be necessary as there are few played races at the Tiny size, and it adjusts rather a lot of things. However, I believe that the Soulbound Doll can present a fantastic opportunity for roleplay, and the mechanics of play might interest some.

I've been tweaking these rules back and forth a fair bit to try and get them to feel balanced enough to be used alongside normal races without need for level adjustments; the inherent spellcasting capability and immunity to many effects are countered by the inherent fragility and physical weakness. For all the benefits it has, it sure has a fair few drawbacks, and I hope that it balances out as well as I think it does.

This is a relatively early version; I've played back and forth with it a fair few times, but this is the first version I feel confident in showing to others; advice and feedback would be greatly appreciated, as I'm considering using one of these as a special NPC in a campaign soon, and possibly to offer as a playable class further down the line.

As a final note, I was inspired into making this by the Soulbound Doll entry in the Bestiary 2; the idea of a doll character like this is one I've had before, but nothing fired my imagination for it quite like that entry on page 255 of Bestiary 2 (thanks, Paizo!)

Additional Ratings
Balance:
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.09 (35 Votes)
Utility:
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.67 (33 Votes)
Clarity:
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.88 (32 Votes)