The Bed of Life
Prerequisites: Wyrd 4, Composure 3, Occult 2, Investigation 2, plus a period of education and testing designed to help the Changeling overcome her fears.
The Soultakers use embalming and mummification rituals to transform themselves in to ghost-like beings that can traverse the Hedge with a great deal of stealth and subterfuge. Their dirges bid the Hedge open for them, and when they slip through the briars they leave nothing behind. They steal useful spells from Changelings and Gentry alike and deal in the darkest goblin markets, collecting an eclectic mix of magics so they can overcome the many obstacles and challenges the Hedge imposes.
The Soultakers devote themselves to forbidden knowledge because their task is so great: they seek the lost souls that suffer in the Hedge, ripped from those who come through in to the mundane world missing their vital spark. The Soultakers of the Bed of Life therefore are masters of fear and sorrow, and can sometimes manipulate these emotions to coax a soul back in to its mortal container.
Their greatest mastery is over their own terror. By divorcing themselves from their emotions and their mundane ties, the most powerful members of The Bed of Life are able to withstand horrors that would undo lesser Changelings. Only by becoming monstrous can they truly appreciate the humanity they have sacrificed, the true worth of a soul.
The price for these services often seems innocuous or nonsensical. A supplicant might be asked to disrupt a stranger's morning routine, or sell a worthless item at the Fallen Fair. Many are willing to complete these tasks, since they rarely cost the Changeling much beyond time and a modicum of effort. Only later do some realize the overarching effects of their actions, understanding then that nothing the Bed of Life does can truly be called random. Soultakers sow the seeds of change by controlling even the smallest instances of cause and effect.
While any kith may join this entitlement, it is quite attractive to Darklings. The entitlement is primarily affiliated with the Autumn Court, but both Autumn Court and Winter Court Changelings may join. Together they form a strong Unseelie alliance, with Winter Court members using their ability to blend in to mortal society while Autumn Court members navigate the Hedge. They draw the eye of the Gentry but use that to their advantage when possible, doing their best to manipulate loopholes in the bargains they make.
Some perceptive Changelings point out that the soul is not a tangible thing, that it can't be quantified or controlled and therefore can't be coaxed in to making a Soulless Changeling whole. Perhaps the Entitlement is therefore made up of Loyalists trying to undermine Changeling society. Still others suspect they seek to control Wyrd itself. The Soultakers, of course, aren't telling.
Soultaker Privileges and Contracts
The Canopic Sun
Appearance: A lapel or brooch pin in the shape of an iridescent scarab beetle.
The Canopic Sun helps replace the reliance on the mortal world a normal Changeling requires to fend off Integrity loss. If a Breaking Point arises that is related to the Hedge or the Gentry, the Soultaker enjoys a +1 modifier to overcome it in addition to the modifier assigned by his Integrity rating. The Canopic Sun also serves as a vessel for storing captured souls.
Drawback: If the Soultaker fails at storing the soul within the Canopic Sun (Manipulation + Intimidation or Persuasion. Modifiers: intimate knowledge of the Soulless person +2) the soul is still captured, but The Soultaker and the entrapped soul become entwined and suffer a shared derangement for the duration of the scene. This derangement is at random (dice roll) or at the Storyteller's discretion.
The Soultaker starts to take on the characteristics of the captured soul as it cannibalizes her personality. This process can be all-consuming, unless the Changeling is savvy enough to counter it.
Dealing in Souls
The Soultakers can detect Condition: Soulless, Condition: Enervated, and Condition: Thrall. Regaining the soul should be a cinematic event, but when mechanics are appropriate coaxing the soul in to its proper container is considered an extended action.
Dice pool: Composure + Occult to begin the hunt. The process from then on can use whatever dice pool is appropriate to the task at hand. The Storyteller is encouraged to craft tasks specific to the type of soul the Soultaker is trying to control; the soul of an anxious person is unlikely to respond to a Composure + Intimidation roll, but a Composure + Persuasion roll might have the desired effect.
Successes required: Twenty.
Time: Detecting, manipulating, and reinstalling a soul is a complex process that should take at least a week of dedicated work.
Failure: The Soultaker reinstalls the wrong soul, altering the Changeling's personality and sense of self. The Changeling suffers a Breaking Point, and is assigned a new Virtue and Vice at random.
Modifiers: Knowing the proper Entitlement specific Contract +1
Contract of Life After Death
If the Hedge is the place where the God Machine and Arcadia meet, the Soultakers are its jury riggers and its gardeners, able to understand thorn and gear alike. In an environment where the Machine and the Wyrd constantly intersect and struggle against one another the Soultakers navigate the twisted corridors therein to hunt their prey. Their Entitlement specific Contract reflects these abilities:
Take Your Heart, Collect Your Bones (Rank 1) allows the Changeling to enter the Hedge without suffering a Breaking Point, as long as a funerary ritual is performed. Many Soultakers favor dirges, but it need not be a song. Smearing ashes on their faces, cutting a lock of hair, or reciting a eulogy for their lost human lives will suffice.
Dice pool: Composure + Occult
Failure: the Changeling clings to their sense of humanity and suffers a Breaking Point just as a Changeling outside of the Entitlement would.
Catch: the Changeling destroys a tie to his former mundane life.
YOU ARE READING
This is a write up I did for Onyx Path Publishing. Since they chose not to purchase it, I am sharing it here for use in home brew games. Inside, find the Soultaker Entitlement. Enjoy!