D&D 3.5 – Elves don’t have souls!
Posted by Ronny
on April 2, 2013
Even after all of the years that I have been a Dungeon Master I am still being surprised by how much I never knew about this game. For instance, I recently learned that in AD&D a raise dead spell wouldn’t work on elves (and half-orcs) because they didn’t have souls. In the games I ran I either overlooked this rule or simply missed it entirely.
From AD&D Deities and Demigods:
AD&D assumes that the anima, that force which gives life and distinct existence to thinking beings, is one of two sorts: soul or spirit. Humans, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves (those beings which can have a raise dead or resurrection spell cast on them) all have souls; all other beings that worship deities have spirits. This latter group includes (but is not limited to) elves, orcs, half-orcs, and the other creatures specifically mentioned in the NON-HUMANS’ DEITIES section of this work.
This all changed with 3.5 which treats races all the same in regards to souls.
Here is a great “What Happens After Your Character Dies” article from the 3.5 Book “The Complete Divine”. [Link]
I think that in my house-rules I would add to this by saying that there is one exception. After the soul travels to an outer plane affiliated with the alignment or deity of the deceased, if that deity is displeased with the deceased he may be cast out. Anyone that has so displeased or angered his deity that his soul is barred from his plane will find his soul transported to Avernus, the first layer of ‘The Nine Hells’ of Baator.
Wow. We never played that rule. I’m sort of glad they changed it, that would be the ultimate in permadeath.
Neather did we. That is what house rules are for!
I always ran it as some races have “Souls”, some have “Spirits.” Raise Dead for souls and Reincarnation for spirits.
Raise Dead for souls and Reincarnation for spirits isn’t RAW but It works for me if you are playing a 2nd edition game.
elf souls actually are real, but when an elf dies, if it believes in this one god or set of gods, their souls are put into the bodies or the newborn elves.
and half elves have souls too, but nobody knows if its a human soul, elf soul, or half of an elf soul