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Drow society is broken down into houses, each with its own family. There are several royal houses which represent the political and religious power of the drow. Each house is headed by a matron, who controls and leads the interests of her family. At the bottom are the slaves, which are owned by a house and have no rights other than what it gives to them. However, drow society is a ruthless climb to the top, and treachery is expected, even from family members.

Their is a former of magic that allows one to cheat death, called reincarnation magic. After a person dies, their soul jumps into a magical item called a soul stone. The soul is then transported and absorbed into the host body, giving the person possession over it. The result is that the body now contains two souls within it that continue to remain separate, with the original soul remaining trapped and the dominant soul of the witch retaining control. The witch now has access to the person's memories, knowledge and spells to use. They can also access the person's mana for an extra boost in spellcasting if needed.

For reincarnation to work, a number of requirements must be met:

  1. The spell requires the victim to be living, so these hosts are placed in a coma-like sleep and kept in magical stasis to prevent them from aging. They are stored in this way until needed for further use.

  2. Mana resides in the soul, and its amount is determined at birth. For reincarnation to work, the potential host must have an equal amount, more or less, to that of the witch. In essence, individuals both weak and strong should only reincarnate themselves into others of their caliber. If the host's soul has more, it will overpower that of the stored soul, trapping them in the host body forever. However, if the stored soul has more mana, it will leak out of the body, burning and destroying it from the inside, killing both individuals.

  3. The spell requires a long ritual involving some rare and expensive ingredients. A blood offering is also necessary, with another individual being killed in the process as a sacrifice.

Clearly the reincarnation spell is extensive, as well as costly. It is also likely that the individual's family members, hungry and ambitious, would covet their position and power, and would not want this person resurrected. They would either forbid it from taking place, or take steps to prevent it from happening through sinister means. even worse, some may even attempt to capture her soul for their own ends, such as ingredients to power a spell, or to torture for information.

A witch needs to safegaurd her soul from her enemies and also ensure that it gets resurrected under these conditions, how can this be made possible?

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  • $\begingroup$ Does the jump to the soul stone happen automatically? To everyone? Or do you have to set up the soul stone to catch you in advance? Also if my body is rated for n amount mana, and then dead witch moves in, even if she also has n mana my body now contains 2n mana - mana overpressure, no? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 1 '19 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk the soul mana is separated from each other. And the jump happens automatically. $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Sep 1 '19 at 17:21
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The drow also have slaves, whose life is tied to that of their master. Should the master die, the slave's painful death follows, a week later...unless, they are reincarnated.

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  • $\begingroup$ The slaves would not be punished for not carrying out the reincarnation. Who is there to punish them? They would be rewarded! Slaves responsible for overseeing reincarnation would quickly be coopted by family members opposed to reincarnation, and those who cannot be coopted killed before they do the reincarnation. The slaves responsible for this need to have a good thing going with their boss and the death needs to be kept secret long enough for the slaves to do the ritual. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 1 '19 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Willk: From me answer above: ...slaves, whose life is tied to that of their master. Should the master die, the slave's painful death follows, a week later... That was literally the entire answer. $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Sep 1 '19 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ I get it. Magic ties. I thought it was something that would have to be enforced by survivors. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Sep 1 '19 at 17:49
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I agree with the above, though this is my own take. If someone is wealthy and powerful enough to be able to preform the ritual, it makes logical sense that they would have one if not more “backup” bodies hidden throughout whatever land they have. They would be reincarnated into this. Possibly have something that only the soul of the person reincarnated could open. A possibility for the backup bodies could be leaving baby your using some sort of clone spell or alchemy, which you would go to in case of death. After that, assuming you had the skills you did in your previous life, proceed to the special somewhere only you can ope, take claim of your possessions, and continue as before. This could also be used as immortality.

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Well ignoring slaves for the moment I'd think that getting your family to perform the ritual isn't impossible it's just hard. The key to it is being worth more alive than dead to them. Even sociopaths can cooperate if it's in their best interest.

If they know that your alliance with a rival house is only held together by your efforts and they'll all get murdered if it lapses thats motive. Or if they know that you need to be alive to get them the antidote to the poison you gave them. Or if your talents at crafting have made the family rich and they want you to keep crafting. Or if only you know the spell that protects the riches in the treasure vault.

Just make yourself actually useful and needed.

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  • $\begingroup$ The most difficult part is avoiding the outcome of being captured by a host whose magic is much stronger than yours, meaning the host can access your memories (including the antidote to the poison and the key to the treasure vault), and your mana supply, but doesn't actually have to give you any control. Not impossible, though, if what you were giving them was something that required your active co-operation (like the alliance negotiations). And of course if you are the strongest witch in your family, you're sitting pretty. $\endgroup$
    – A. B.
    May 9 at 11:27
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There are three ways I can see to successfully accomplish reincarnation:

  1. Ritually bind your family members to not impede your reincarnation. What nzaman suggested would do the trick; if they don't want to die a week later, and you being reincarnated after death is the only way to keep living, not only will they not stop you, but they'll be remarkably helpful!

  2. Since family members likely covet their relative's position and power, they likely covet possessions too, no? What if one of these possessions is a soul stone? In that case, from the outside, it'll look like the relative's takeover was successful, when in reality they played right into their dead relative's hands!

  3. Just have the chosen host holding the soul stone in something, like a necklace or a bracelet, and ensure it will be passed down through the generations. (Alternatively, have it be a status symbol for a high-ranked slave. I presume slaves are basically furniture to Drow, and who could tell if your slave was promoted based on their mana instead of loyalty, or literally any other reason? If the slave dies, just give the soul stone-bearing object to the next candidate).

PROS: Near-instant reincarnation, the host can technically be anywhere or anyone (safely out of sight, or just beneath notice)

CON: Mana levels must remain constant through the generations (ie. from parent to child). The soul stone-holding item may escape your watchful gaze and then you'll have no idea who your host will be, if there's still someone holding the object at all.

Just think: a female Paladin with an ornate sword, clearly old but well-kept, tells her fellow adventurers she inherited it from her father, a high-ranking (Drow slave) soldier who escaped from the Underdark with it. Later on, the Drow who gave it to her father dies, and she ends up possessed. The gamble paid off; Princess Sarova has been reborn in the one place no one would ever think to look....a Paladin's body!

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