This foe has placed their soul into a magical item, protecting them from Death. The only way to kill them completely is to break the item and destroy the soul within. When you destroy the soul container to try to kill the soul inside this foe is killed outright but you are caught in the vengeful backlash of Death itself, roll+CON. On a 10+ you take -1 forward to Last Breath. On a 7-9 you take -1 ongoing to Last Breath until you can break this curse. On a 6- you roll Last Breath immediately.

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

Horcux, anyone? I really wanted to write a move that involved Last Breath, but it needed to be something the players were aware of before they triggered the move. Having a player automatically roll Last Breath is the hardest of hard moves, so I wanted the player to know what they were getting into before trying to trigger the move. The potential result also needed to be worth the risk.

To address the first point, I wanted to write the trigger such that the move couldn’t be triggered by accident. If you find the crystal ball that holds the soul and you don’t know the soul is inside, it wouldn’t be fair to suddenly have the player roll this move simply because they dropped the ball into the trash and it shattered. Adding “to try to kill the soul inside” made it more explicit.

For the second point I think I’ve made the reward pretty good here: you win. The key thing will be making sure that the Soulbox is actually a viable option when fighting this enemy. No point in going on wild Harry Potter chase for a tiara or locket if you can just hit the guy in the face with a hammer and call it a day.

I’m not entirely sure about the difference between the 7-9 and 6- results. I like rolling Last Breath immediately but I’m not sure about -1 ongoing. -1 ongoing seems almost harsher, depending on how many times you end up rolling Last Breath.

1 thought on “Soulbox”

  1. Perhaps a more fiction-focused result for 10+? It always feels a bit off, to me, when a 10+ is “you’re getting screwed, but not as screwed if it wasn’t a 10+” result. After all, it’s the 7-9 that’s “you get what you want, but with a complication” result. Additionally, this doesn’t feel like a “vengeful backlash of death” – the PC is assisting delivering a soul to death that had been evading it, right?

    So how about something like: the PC has gained the benevolent attention of Death itself, which has extended its kind hand to the PC and invited him to eternal rest. On a 6-, roll Last Breath immediately. On a 7-9, -1 ongoing to Last Breath, and choose one of the following. On a 10+, just choose one of the following:

    1. The PC has the lingering blessing of Death. In the PC’s presence, plants and small insect life will wither over the course of hours, and ultimately die if the PC does not move on. Larger creatures, such as humanoids, will grow ill from extended proximity, and violently ill from extended physical contact. Intercourse is not recommended. Proximity to pregnant creatures will cause miscarriage after a short exposure.
    2. The PC has a lingering connection with Death. His dreams are haunted by the faces of those in the area soon to die. The PC may Discern Realities in this dream, regarding upcoming events surrounding the likely deaths.
    3. The PC has gained an affinity for the pathways to the Black Gates. He may act to retrieve allies in the future, at the cost of leaving something behind. The PC may aid another PC on a Last Breath roll, at the expense of taking -1 forward on the PC’s next Last Breath.
    4. The PC’s spirit is now only loosely bound to his mortal frame. The PC may, with effort and meditative concentration, release his spirit outwards to survey nearby locales. Allows player to Discern Realities in areas outside of immediate physical locale, and may take +1 on Scouting (for undertaking a perilous journey). Every time the PC does so, he accrues -1 forward to his next Last Breath roll, to a maximum of -3.
    5. The PC’s living functions have become “glitchy.” He now only intermittently requires food, drink, urination, defecation, or air; he is only intermittently capable of breathing, intercourse, lacrimation, or salivation. This character now only needs one ration per month to avoid starvation. He may be unreliably detected by sorceries intended to detect or affect the undead.
    6. Death appreciates the assistance at catching an evader. Death now reaches out regularly, replacing the faces of desired deaders with gruesome, flesh-dripping corpse visions. If the PC does not kill Death’s desired, take -1 forward on Last Breath. These -1s do not accrue. If the PC does kill the desired target, the PC may remove the -1 or, if not carrying a penalty, may mark XP.

    I’m sure these could be much better: just shooting off the cuff.

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