The above posts have been superseded by the below, effective immediately.DeathSouls
Each living sentient creature has a soul and this soul occupies the body. When this creature dies, the soul leaves the body.
However, the soul is still connected to the body it belongs to by one or more Soul Strands. Because of this connection, the returning of the soul to its body by resurrection magic is possible.
The stronger the soul, the more Soul Strands it has. In general, all sentient races, like humans, elves, halflings, orcs, brokanian and so on, have ten.
At the moment of death, the soul runs the risk of a Soul Strand snapping. When the last Strand snaps, the soul is no longer connected to the body it belongs to. The creature can then no longer be brought back to life by magical means and is permanently dead.The Harvester of Souls
When a creature dies, the soul leaves the body, and travels to the Binding Void. It is still connected to its body by one or more Soul Strands
In the Binding Void, the soul will be judged by a creature called the Harvester of Souls, also known as Harvester for short. This entity resides in the Binding Void. It is not a deity.
Some think the Harvester is really a god of death but others do not think he should be classified as such since he just passes souls on to their next destination.
It takes three days for the judgment by the Harvester to be made. If resurrection magic is used on the corpse within three days of a death and the soul is still attached to its body by one or more Soul Strands, the soul is pulled back and returned to the body.
If no resurrection or bindstone magic is used, what will happen then depends on the faith of the soul:
1. If the soul followed a deity, it is cast into the Heavens (which border the Binding Void) by the Harvester after the three day period. It will then move to the section of the Heavens that is the domain of the deity it followed and spend the rest of eternity there.
2. If the soul did not follow a deity, two things can happen when the three day period is up and judgment takes place:
[INDENT]a. In case a deity wants to claim the soul as one of its own, for example because the actions of the soul in life reflect what the deity stands for even though the soul did not follow the deity, the deity can mark it and the Harvester will cast the soul into the Heavens when he judges the soul when the three days are up, just like souls that did follow a deity.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]b. No deity claims the soul and it is cast into the Binding (which also borders the Binding Void) by the Harvester when the three day period is up. There the soul will then migrate through the elemental planes and the Pits of Endless Strife towards the Thread which will absorb the soul. [/INDENT]
During the three day waiting period, a bargain can be struck by somebody visiting the Harvester allowing for the reattachment of a single Soul Strand, making it possible for a soul to return to its body.
The way to the Binding Void and the Harvester is perilous though, not to mention the bargain which differs every time. Those who perish in the Harvester’s domain instantly have all their strands cut and are permanently deadNote for NWN: next to this bargain with the Harvester, there is also the option as explained here LORE: Grievance Policies under "Special note regarding the loss of a character's final Soul Strand"Souls and the Pits of Endless Strife
Souls that did not follow a deity, or were not picked by one when waiting to be judged by the Harvester, will migrate towards the Thread.
To reach the Thread however, they will need to go through the Pits of Endless Strife. The nefarious creatures of the Pits will always want to capture souls to gain more power. The more souls one has, the larger the Pit, the more powerful the creature dominating the Pit in question.
A master of a Pit always has competition from the others in that same pit so any soul passing through the Pits of Endless Strife is highly likely to be devoured.Bindstones
Bindstones are a form of resurrection magic, a very crude form and not of the same type as resurrection magic coming from the deities.
Sentient creatures can forge a link with a bindstone, which will ensure that when a creature is killed it pulls both the body and the soul back towards it and joins them together once again.
This does not protect against the snapping of a Soul Strand.
This transporting and rejoining of body and soul comes at a cost. The creature that undergoes this comes back in a weakened state; some of its life force had to be paid to the bindstone for the returning.
After a period of rest, the creature will be back to full strength/health.
Any sentient creature can try to link to a bindstone, but, when attempting to create the link, the bindstone somehow evaluates if the creature is worthy/worthwhile to link with or not.
If the creature is not deemed worthy, the bindstone pulls the creature’s lifeforce from it and creatures have been known to die of this.
This is why not everybody dares run the risk of forging a link with a bindstone. The benefits are great, yet so are the risks.Note: by default, all Player Characters have undergone the binding process.