My Skyrim-themed campaign’s homebrew rules for the use of Soul Gems, including new feats for exciting new uses!
A soul gem is a gemstone that has been specially imbued to hold life energy. Soul Gems have a variety of uses for spellcasters, but are most often associated with Daedra worshippers.
Clerics and Soul Gems
Clerics of the Nine Divines in general consider black soul gems an abomination and will not use them unless there are extreme circumstances. Even then, the cleric will feel the need to atone for the sin of using a mortal soul. Clerics of the Nine Divine believe that mortal souls consumed by soul gems are destroyed and thus denied the afterlife. Clerics, however, have no problem using normal soul gems as they do not believe animals or creatures have souls in the same way that mortals do.
Daedric Followers and Soul Gems
Daedric Followers with the Soul Tap innate ability, or clerics that follow Daedric entities, see the use of soul gems as their birthright. They have no qualms about crafting soul gems of any type for their own use, though each will follow the general protocols of his or her favored Daedra. Followers of Hircine, for example, may make it a point to Soul Tap powerful game animals and monsters, believing that doing so will transfer the creature’s soul to Hircine’s hunting grounds in Oblivion to provide more game for the hunters. Followers of Namira and Peyrite, on the other hand, will use the ability on skeevers and other loathsome creatures to satisfy the corrupt needs of their patrons.
Daedric followers generally assume that mortals use are Soul Tapped end up in their patron Daedra’s domain after the gem is used. Most consider this an offering to their particular Daedra, though followers of Azura, Merinda, and Sanguine consider this a “gift” to the mortal, who gets to spend eternity enjoying the realm. (Azura and Merinda, as the two “good” daedra, are believed to release unwilling souls back to their divine patrons. Sanguine is considered chaotic neutral, and his followers assume the mortal is invited to party.)
Druids and Soul Gems
Druids do not generally believe that Soul Gems hold actual souls, but instead store the life energies of a creature that has died. Druids consider the use of soul gems a sort of “recycling” of life energies and will routinely use Soul Tap on a creature that they intend to kill anyway for legitimate cause. Druids frown upon the practice of killing creatures solely to collect their souls, a wasteful practice they condemn like trophy hunting. Because Druids don’t believe that soul gems hold actual souls, they don’t condemn the practice of creating black soul gems in the course of a legitimate combat.
Other Spellcasters and Soul Gems
Bards, sorcerers, paladins, rangers, and wizards will use soul gems as per the belief system they follow (Nine Divines or Daedra)
Craft Normal Soul Gem [Item Creation Feat]
You know how to craft a Soul Gem from a gemstone. Crafting a Soul Gem takes 1d4 hours per category: Petty (1), Lesser (2), Common (3), Greater (4), Grand (5). Crafting a soul gem requires a normal gemstone of sufficient value (based on the category) and very specific reagents. Imbuing the gemstone requires casting a level-appropriate spell into the gem. Normal Soul Gems cannot hold the souls of humanoid races, such as humans, elves, orcs, etc. only a Black Soul Gem can hold such souls.
For petty and lesser gems, any combination of the required reagent will do, and the creator should be able to find these in the wild without paying for them. Apothecaries in capital cities will always have at least a small quantity of these reagents.
A Soul Gem can only hold a soul up to a certain size, depending on its type. A larger soul gem can be used to store a smaller soul. For example, a Common Gem could be used to store the soul of a 1 HD creature. When used in this manner, the soul gem is only as effective as the size of the soul inside of it. Even if the creator spent the time and resources to craft a Grand Soul Gem, if it is used for a 2 HD creature it will only function as a Lesser Soul Gem.
|Soul Gem||Soul Size||Gem Value||Reagents||Spell Level|
|Petty||1 HD||1-10 gp||Three types of Wildflowers (1 gp total value)||1|
|Lesser||1-2 HD||11-25 gp||Three types of Mushrooms(1 gp total value)||1|
|Common||3-4 HD||26-50 gp||Butterfly wing (any), Spider Egg, Slaughterfish Scales (5 gp)||2|
|Greater||5-8 HD||51-100 gp||glowing mushroom, mudcrab chitin, ice wraith teeth or hargraven claw (50 gp)||3|
|Grand||9 HD or more||101-200 gp||Nimroot, Fire or Frost Salts (100 gp)||4|
Craft Black Soul Gem [Item Creation Feat]
Prerequisite: Craft Normal Soul Gem, ability to cast 5th level necromancy spells
You can craft Black Soul Gems, which can be used to hold human souls. Crafting a Black Soul gem requires 1d4 days of undisturbed work. A Black soul gem requires a gem of at least 1000 gp value and the following reagents: Three of the following: Daedra Heart, Ectoplasm, Glow Dust, Spriggan Sap, Taproot, Vampire Dust, Void Salts, Wisp Wrappings. Apothecaries in cities have only a 25% chance of having any given reagent on this list. The College of Winterhold has a 50% chance of having any given reagent. Crafting a Black Soul Gem requires casting a 5th level or better necromantic spell into the gem.
Soul Tap (Spell)
Level: Clr 1, Drd 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, M
Casting Time: One Standard Action
Range: Short (10 ft + 5 ft per level)
Target: One Living Creature
Duration: one round per level (maximum ten rounds)
Saving Throw: Will (Negates)
Spell Resistance: No
You attempt to capture a creature’s life force into a soul gem. If the creature dies while the spell is active, part of its essence is captured in the gem. If you do not have a soul gem of the appropriate size, the spell automatically fails. Dragons, undead, unintelligent plants, and automations cannot be affected by this spell.
Material Component: A Soul Gem of the appropriate size.
Using Soul Gems
Filled soul Gems can be used for a variety of purposes, however not everyone can use Soul Gems for every purpose. How a person can employ a soul gem depends on their level of understanding of the nature of soul gems and their spellcasting ability. Note, an empty soul gem grants no benefits. The gem must be filled with a soul to use.
Non-Spellcasters (Followers of the Divines)
Prerequisite: Knowledge: Arcana 2 ranks or Knowledge: Religion 2 ranks
A non-spellcaster who follows one of the Divines can use a soul gem for the following:
*Follower of the Divine Perk Boost: Use a soul gem at an altar to one of the Divines to boost the healing granted to the equivalent of a Cure Serious Wounds spell cast by a 15th level cleric. Black Soul Gems cannot be used at Divine Altars.
*Request Blessing: You can use a soul gem at an altar to one of the Divines to request a Blessing. The nature of the blessing depends on the size of the soul gem. Only one blessing can be active at a time. Black Soul Gems cannot be used at Divine Altars.
Petty: +1 Divine Bonus to a designated skill for one day
Lesser: +2 Divine Bonus to designated skill for one day
Common: +1 Divine Bonus to all Knowledge checks for one day or +1 Divine Bonus to one Saving Throw for one day
Greater: +2 bonus to all Knowledge checks for one day or +1 Divine Bonus to all Saving Throws for one day or +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls for one day
Grand: +2 Divine Bonus to Saving Throws and attack and damage rolls for one day or a +4 bonus to all trained skill checks for one day.
Non-Spellcaster (Follower of Oblivion Perk)
*Daedric Healing: As a standard action, you can destroy a soul gem to heal yourself, depending on the level of the soul gem.
Petty: Heals 1 HP and stops bleeding or wounding affects.
Lesser: 1d4 HP and tops bleeding or wounding affects.
Common: 1d8 + 2 HP and stops bleeding or wounding affects.
Greater: Heals 2d8+5 HP and stops bleeding or wounding affects or restores one loss attribute point or restores one lost level.
Grand: Heals 3d8+5 HP and stops bleeding, wounding, and over time elemental damage or restores two lost attribute points or restores two lost levels
Black: Restores all lost health, attribute points, and levels and stops bleeding, wounding, and over time elemental damage
*Daedric Blessing: You can offer a soul gem at the shrine of any Daedra to request a blessing. This ability works exactly like the Request Blessing ability, except as follows:
Petty to grand gems: if the blessing is requested at a shrine to your specific patron, the granted benefit increases by +1.
Black: Preemptive Resurrection. A “Get Out of Death Free” card, if your character is reduced to -10 hp and officially dies, you are resurrected the following round as per the Resurrection spell. You can offer a second Black Soul Gem to negative the level loss of the Resurrection. This blessing lasts for one day if requested at a shrine to a Daedra other than your patron and three days if requested at a shrine to your patron. The protection ends at the end of that time period or upon use.
*Summon Daedra: You can offer a Black Soul Gem at the shrine of your patron to request an audience with a representative of your patron. This summons a Daedra to the shrine. While the Daedra will not immediately attack you, it is not under your control in any way. You can converse with the Daedra and request information, aid, or that it serve as your advocate to your patron. The type of Daedra that appears will be representative of both the nature of your patron and how highly (or lowly) your patron thinks of you. You need to negotiate separately with the Daedra to convince it to offer any sort of aid, and it is free to refuse to help you. Depending on the nature of your patron and the reason for your summoning, the Daedra may agree to offer aid in exchange for a small offering, or require you to perform a quest first to earn its help. Once the daedra agrees to the terms, it is bound to abide by them, but note that it will often follow the LETTER or the agreement. Not the spirit. Tread carefully.
Spellcasters (Soul Gem Feats)
Besides the associated abilities available to non-spellcasters of either the Divines or the Daedra, spellcasters can select from the following feats to use soul gems for other purposes.
Craft Automation [Item Creation Feat]
Prerequisite: Craft (Any): 8 ranks, Knowledge: Arcana 8 ranks, Craft Wondrous Item
You can craft automations, such as centurion spiders, to serve as guardians. Blueprints for automations can often be found in Dwemer ruins and are sometimes available from other spellcasters. You can also reverse engineer automation by studying a destroyed one (Knowledge: Arcana check DC 25). Studying a destroyed automation requires one week of uninterrupted research. Each type of automation has its own material requirements and requires various soul gems depending on size and abilities.
Recharge Wand [Item Creation Feat]
Prerequisite: Knowledge: Arcana 8 ranks, Craft Wand
You can use a soul gem to recharge a wand as a standard action. So long as the wand has at least one charge in it, you can use a soul gem to recharge it.
Petty: 1d4 charges
Lesser: 2d4 charges
Common: 3d4 charges
Greater: 4d4+2 charges
Grand: 5d4+5 charges
Black: Full recharge
Substitute Spell Component [General]
Prerequisite: Knowledge: Arcana 8 ranks, Eschew Materials
You can use a soul gem instead of a rare or expensive ingredient as a spell component.
Petty: up to 5 gp
Lesser: up to 10 gp
Common: up to 50 gp
Greater: up to 100 gp
Grand: up to 200 gp
Black: any value
Special: You cannot use a soul gem as a substitute for materials when creating empty soul gems.
Temporary Enchantment [Item Creation Feat]
Prerequisite: Knowledge: Arcana 8 ranks, Craft Magic Arms and Armor
You can temporarily enchant any normal sword. Enchanting an item is a full round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. You can replicate any weapon or armor enchantment available on the minor magic tables for weapons or armor. The length of time the enchantment remains active depends on the type of soul gem used:
Petty: 1d4 rounds
Lesser: 1d4 minutes
Common: Ten Minutes
Greater: One Hour
Grand: 1d4 + 1 Hours
Black: One Day
Only one temporary enchantment can be on a weapon at a time. Weapons that are already enchanted normally cannot benefit from this feat. Masterwork items so enchanted return to normal at the end of the enchantment’s duration. Mundane weapons and armor crumble to dust at the conclusion of the enchantment. This feat is often useful for explorers who find themselves confronted by creatures that are only vulnerable to specific types of damage (for example, wanting a Frost enchantment to fight a fire elemental, or a fire enchantment to combat a troll).