Gaming with Souldancers

My good friend and prolific gaming blogger Ian Hagan has done a fabulous job of putting together a Souldancer template for OSR/AD&D:

Gaming with the souldancer of fire
 Through the darkness of future's past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds...
"Fire... walk with me."
- David Lynch
They are the hollow ones, heads filled screams of elemental force. They are the unfortunate ones, their souls containing a piece of a goddess. They are the powerful ones, bodies made into conductors for unrelenting power. They are the lonely ones, minds and souls made unrecognizable by pain.
Souldancers are the victims of a cult looking to reconstruct their goddess, and began as people unfortunate enough to be born with a piece of a Void goddess embedded in their souls. They were stolen off the street, leaving loved ones to spend the rest of their lives wondering what had happened. Each person was a solution and an experiment, having a divine part removed from the soul, the cult sought what could be put in its place. Gates, metaphysical ties to the elemental stratum and places far stranger, were used to plug the holes created by divine excision. The bodies of the soon to be Souldancers were altered, pieces removed and replaced with metals that could conduct forces, rather than be destroyed by them. Each person was different, no set rules for what was to be replaced and what was kept. Teeth, limbs, digits, and eyes were just a few of the pieces that were, or were not, replaced, with one even having her entire body replaced. These surgeries were brutal, only enough numbing given to ensure the experiments survived the shock of pain and dismemberment.
Upon activation of the spiritual gates, their souls and minds were twisted and broken, while their bodies thrummed with the power of barely checked elemental force. Those that survived the process often wished they had died, those that died were counted as lucky by the survivors. Some were used as weapons, their will broken by the surgeries, their souls no longer sang the common song of life lived. Others kept their will, despite madness and grief, and were sealed away to be used as power sources. They were no longer people, to the cult they were merely a means to an end, some even having their names stolen to be replaced by puns or project names.
That's quite a write-up if I do say so myself. For those of you who are interested in the nuts and bolts, here's a taste of the game mechanics that Ian came up with:
Game MechanicsThese folks are an incredibly powerful 'race', to help mitigate the level of power it is recommended that GM's require 1.5 – 2 times the normally required experience in order to level up (e.g for a rogue to reach level 2 in AD&D 2nd edition they would need 1,250 experience. A Souldancer rogue would require 1,875 – 2,500). While race as a class is a staple of the old-school style, each Souldancer in the series is so unique that creating a single Souldancer class would water down the concept from the books.
Adjustments+5 to Strength (Max 20)
Constitution is reduced to 0, they never receive bonus hit-points (Their flesh is even less natural than undead flesh).
BonusesFire Souldancers are completely immune to all Poisons and Diseases.
Fire Souldancers do not need to eat or drink, though they still require sleep.
Fire Souldancers receive a +/- 7 bonus to AC.
Fire Souldancers receive Acid and Electricity Resistance 10 + Level.
Fire Souldancers receive Magic Resistance 15 + Level%.
Fire Souldancers are healed by fire damage on a 2 to 1 ratio. (e.g. 8 fire damage would heal 4 HP)
See the full set of Souldancer gaming rules at Ian's blog. And don't forget to check out the source material:


  1. I'm not a D&D player, but this does look rather interesting.

    1. Glad you like it. Compared to the books, this template is actually tamed down a bit for game balance.

    2. Glad you like it. Compared to the books, this template is actually tamed down a bit for game balance.

      I see. One can't always get what they want, but it's good that you have it anyway.

  2. I'm curious. How does it match up with your own stats for the homebrew setup you did to flesh out the setting?

    1. My Soul Cycle RPG uses a d% engine instead of the d20 system, so it's kind of comparing apples to oranges, but here goes :)

      The main difference is that Ian took my standalone creature and made a racial template that can be applied to base characters. So, the template has been nerfed for game balance.

      Here's an approximation of some original Fire Souldancer stat modifiers & abilities: STR +10, 360 HP with Hardness 18, healed by elemental/magical fire at a 1:1 ratio, Fire Cascade isn't limited to once per day, Thermal vision.