Souls Destined for the Halls of the Gods
The gods harvest select souls and give them a second life in the high mountains of the world. Characters selected by the gods are not allowed to linger long before being taken to the halls and given a new body, which makes them no longer illegible for resurrection and, in games terms, the character is out of play.
The referee will determine whether a god has interest in a soul based on character level, character actions, and the will of the gods (for instance, the gods are interested in warriors more than sages). In general, gods are uninterested in level 5 or less characters with a roughly 10% of interest per level above 5 (about 100% at level 15) but this is a guideline, not a strict rule.
If a god does select a soul, then his minion will collect the soul in as little as 1 minute (if the god is watching a battlefield, for instance) and more typically 10 minutes to 24 hours. Before collection, any resurrection effect can work, such as raise dead, resurrect, revivify, etc.
After the god collects the soul, no spell will bring him back. It is possible to journey to the home of the gods and request that person’s return but this comes at a price: that person will leave for only one year from the date he leaves the home of the gods and is irrevocably dead after that.
Note: a person can refuse a god. In this case, the soul destined for the Underworld.
Once a soul is collected, a wish cannot affect its fate in anyway.
Souls Destined for the Underworld
The minions of the gods send any souls not claimed by a god to the underworld where they linger for a time before melding into the pool of life forces from which all new souls form.
The soul remains near where the body died for one to seven days. During that time, any resurrection magic works as normal. After that period expires, resurrection magic may work but has a declining probability of success based on the level of the spell used to attempt resurrection:
- Level 5 and under spells: chance of failure is 5% per week since death
- Level 6 to 8 spells: chance of failure is 5% per month since death
- Level 9 spells: 5% chance per year since death
Once a resurrection fails, no further resurrection attempt will succeed.
However, reincarnation is a special case (since that is the destiny of the life force in any case). Reincarnation spells will always succeed, even if a resurrect spell has previously failed.
Rarely, some souls cling to the memory of life and refuse to go with the gods or into the underworld. These souls become undead of various types. Once risen as undead, a resurrect spell will only irrevocable kill the creature and send it immediately to the underworld. However, souls on this path linger for a long time before becoming undead and during this period can be affected by resurrect spells. Typically anywhere from a month to a year will pass before the soul becomes undead.
Note: this period of time applies to souls that become undead by their own will. Creatures turned to undead by necromantic spells or undead creatures become undead immediately.
Note that proper burial rites make it nearly impossible for a soul to take the path of undeath, which is why proper burial matters in nearly all cultures.
Necromancy creates both mindless (skeleton and zombies) and intelligent undead. Mindless undead can be created from any available corpses and since they require no soul, the disposition of the corpse’s soul is irrelevant. Intelligent undead require that the soul be available and have the same restrictions as on resurrect spells.
Intelligent items bind a soul to an item and therefore require the soul to be available, just as for necromantic or resurrection magic.