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People are souls that inhabit and animate human bodies. The lifeforce of an individual is what powers the soul and allows it to excercise control over the body. Physical and mental attributes, such as strength and intelligence, health, etc, are due to the attributes of the soul which are reflected in the body.

An ardat yakushi is a human that needs to feed off the life force of individuals by sucking out the soul and consuming it in order to survive. By this method, it increases it's own abilities, and gains the attributes of its victims. With every soul it consumes, it gets stronger and smarter, gaining the powers of the unfortunate person it had eaten.

However, there is a problem with this ability. By inheriting the positive traits of the person who's soul it had eaten, it stands to reason that it would gain all the negative traits as well. Diseases, handicaps, or other deficiencies would be transfered from the victim to the ardat yakushi, leaving it with those same defects. As all human beings are suffering from some issue, some even unknown to them, this would create problems for any opportunistic soul sucker and make feasting on other souls less than worth it.

What would allow this creature to use its powers of eating souls without suffering the negative drawbacks?

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  • $\begingroup$ The way the ability is described, there is nothing the ardat yakushi can do. Soul feeding is described as a must-do, not an option for targeted self-improvement, so it needs to do it regularly. To evaluate impact and mitigation more details on ardat yakushis are needed. Is their existance a secret to society at a whole or is it known? Frequency of feeding? In which status are their victims left, they die, fall into a coma, something else? Should they not die, which is the impact of the transfer on the victim, will they suddenly loose their intelligence/stupidity and become "average"? $\endgroup$ – Seretba May 27 '19 at 10:39
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Therapy Sessions

Negative attributes can be overcome and turned into power. For example, Courage is the ability to overcome fear ( You can't really be brave if your not scared of it ). Or Determination is the opposition of Laziness.

Your soul suckers attend a series of therapy sessions that allow them to overcome these negative attributes, increasing their mental determination to live forever and the sense of impending doom.

As for the Diseases, handicaps and physical deficiencies, those are usually associated with a physical body and not a spiritual one. So its a bit weird that you have them suck both the physical and spiritual, but only keep the negative physical aspects. ( Wouldn't they just pick healthy people or athletes who die of sudden heart attacks ).

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Anything is better than nothing

The strength of a soul in any particular attribute isn't measured as a distance from the average value, it's measured from not having that attribute at all. A weak willed person still has some willpower. A physically frail person still has some strength, even if it's not very much. All soulpower transferred is positive.

The obvious problem with this solution is it doesn't provide much incentive for the soul sucker to seek out exemplary people (If that was the goal of the system you were devising). If an ordinary human is a 0 and a genius is a 0.2, then you're only going to seek out geniuses. But if a ordinary human is a 1 and a genius is a 1.2, then if finding 6 regular people is easier than finding 5 geniuses there is little incentive to seek out geniuses.

But power transfer isn't necessarily linear. Think of it like progressive tax levels. At the lowest level you only absorb 1% of the available strength, but from a person with a higher level you can absorb 5% or 50%. The exact math doesn't really matter, as long as it is always positive, and incentivizes your soul sucker the way you want it to be.


Incidentally, I'd be very cautious when drawing connections between physical attributes (particularly transient or externally inflicted attributes, like diseases or amputations) and the soul. There are a lot of unfortunate implications that can be drawn if not handled with care.

As long as you pay attention to the potential for unintended implications you should be fine, though.

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They Choose Which Parts to Eat

When you eat a steak, you can leave the bone, grisle and the fat. Why can't they eat the bits they want and spit out the bits they don't like?

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