Dolls are creepy. Period. (That’s why I played with action figures.) There’s a reason Chucky is terrifying, and there’s a reason we hate the uncanny valley in robotics. So an animate, dagger-wielding doll is a perfect low-level monster.
Of course, soulbound dolls don’t have to be creepy—their various alignments actually fit them to any number of uses and roles, as the Bestiary 2 indicates: “companions, surrogate children, servants, guards, and sentries.” But the point remains: These are constructs created from soul fragments. So what happened to the rest of the soul…?
Sabian Gullwing, a vain spellslinger and privateer, was only too happy to donate slivers of his soul—“I can grow it back, and I started with more than most!”—to a series of soulbound dolls. A run-in with a powerful huecuva laid him low, and the (Advanced) monstrosity’s more powerful filth fever defies normal treatment. Gullwing needs to recover in spirit as well as body, and to do that he needs the shards of his soul. But the current owners of the dolls—and the manikins themselves—may not be willing to oblige him…
The koldunov who attend Czar Yezdov make frequent use of soulbound dolls as spies and servants. Often the constructs resemble the traditional Zemblish nesting dolls, both in form and function. If the lawful neutral outer doll is threatened or destroyed, the inner doll (typically neutral or neutral evil in alignment) will tidy things up—with a blade or inflict serious wounds as necessary.
The isolated halfling community of Harshem is ruled by a tyrannical dictator and his secret police. Dissidents disappear to “work in the Wood”—and when they return, they are literally shells of their former selves. What comes back is a soulbound doll made to look like the vanished halfling and who—for better or for much, much worse—seems to have a glimmer of the halfling’s soul as well. These docile dolls insert themselves into the dissidents’ previous lives as stiff reminders of the price of disobedience.
—Pathfinder #7 84–85 & Pathfinder Bestiary 2 255
Note that we ignore spaces here at The Daily Bestiary, so “Soulbound Doll” comes before “Soul Eater” in our Monster Parade Countdown.
Also, Pale Fire reference anyone?
As I’ve mentioned many, many times before, I’m only two books into the Reign of Winter, but so far that Adventure Path’s use of soulbound dolls has not disappointed. I do not envy the PCs who have to spar with dolls made from the children of the bereft NPCs who hosted them only a few nights or even hours before.
Oh! Two days in a row I’ve forgotten to mention that I’m finally back on the air! For realsies! It’s a new semester—in fact, look for some start-of-the-new-season songs and a classic John Safran bit—but the show is in the same time slot and is still committed to delivering you joy. Download it.