Objects containing minds

In Dark Sun there’s virtually no mention of souls (perhaps in fact none), but in Denning and Abbey there’s essence, that which goes to the Gray upon death.

Obsidian spheres in Mind Lords of the Last Sea, aka guardians, as well as the crystals in The Darkness Before the Dawn, show how minds can continue existing inside objects, after body death.

I assume essence isn’t transferred. A guardian isn’t a ring of mind shielding or a gem of Amara; you can’t be resurrected by an outside party. I assume it’s like it is for the undead - their mind is intact despite their essence having moved on to the Gray or having been consumed in the process of turning.

Sounds like a guardian contains…a copy of a mind.

For the sake of storytelling it is safer to consider the copying process as destroying the original mind, meaning a living person cannot be copied more than once, and by extension undead cannot be copied.

Now can this copied mind…be copied? Out of one guardian, can you make many?


Probably. Something like mind seed. Actually, I suspect that it is mind seed that powered these orbs. Take a criminal. A powerful telepath mind seeds him. The seed takes, then the consciousness is transferred into the orb (I’ll refrain from speculating whether the soul goes in there too or not).

Remember the novel, The Darkness before the Dawn?

Remember The Darkness Before the Dawn, which I mention in paragraph #2 ?

How is a mind seed forced to obey, when obeying is a sphere’s sole purpose?

The mind seed is to first generate a mind capable of being transferred to a sphere. Harvesting criminals is all well and good, but most of them won’t have the kind of useful psionic abilities that are in demand. Therefore, mind seed them to give them useful psionic abilities, then transfer into an orb.

Mind seed gives them psionic abilities??

Yes.. It implants the personality and abilities of the manifesting psion in a victim. The resulting copy is 8 levels lower. Once the seed has taken hold, then the process of transference can take place.

Creating a duplicate of your mind in another person’s body, solely for the purpose of scooping that mind back out and into a guardian orb to be enslave for all time is super hardcore - i can’t see lots of folks doing that willingly to their own mind-clones.

And, why not just skip the criminal and just schism yourself and implant that?


Schism ends when the duration ends is why. Even if the implantation was instant, after the end of schism the orb is empty.

It would be rare due to the XP costs of mind seed if nothing else. If you really needed a high level orb and there weren’t any high level psions among the criminals (hard to take alive too), then as they say, “if you want a job done well, implant your mind in some sucker and make him do the job”.

BTW - welcome to hardcore. Dark Sun is badass this way.

Nope. If you made a Belt of Strength +4 using Animal Affinity, the effect would last past the spell’s duration. While its also a creature, a worker orb is an psionic item and therefore subject to similar effects/rules. Schism being on the prerequisites list for orb creation would resolve that, similar to the list of spells, etc necessary to make a golem.

Yeah…there’s “murder your best friend for the last drink of water” hardcore and then there’s “create a perfect mental copy of myself to enslave and torture for all time because i can’t be bothered to hitch an animal to my wagon” hardcore.

IMO, DS is DnD in hard mode, not “even the good guys would make Vecna shudder in revulsion” mode. But salt & papper to taste, i suppose.


We are talking past each other. You are talking about creating an intelligent psionic item. I am talking about putting someone’s mind (and likely their soul along with it) into an orb.

The former is going to be far more expensive and difficult to accomplish than the latter, else the ancients would not have done it. Also note that the ancients were from a more enlightened age. If it were as simple as just crafting an item with the powers of an great psion with no victims, they would have done so. As it stands in DS reality, the wastelands are replete with orbs containing lunatic intelligences of humans and other beings too.

People are pretty good at rationalization. Just look at Agis, the “good slave owner” that genuinely thought that he was doing his slaves a favour. In terms of the criminal victim, the psion performing the mind seed is probably not even thinking in terms of the copy suffering in the orb, and probably does not even believe that it is capable of suffering once ensconced. Rather, the mind seeding psion sees the mind seeding as an opportunity for the criminal to experience what it is to be in possession of a truly enlightened mind, and to serve the community instead of harming it.

I don’t believe we are; you may THINK that is what i mean, but it is not. Golems are creatures, created through the use of spells/psionics/rituals, like worker orbs. A worker orb would be a similar, but more complicated, process to golem creation (intelligent item < golem < worker orb < warforged, if you like).

In my experience, there are 2 reasons that the process for the creation of worker orbs isn’t detailed in ToA:

  1. Its a “lost” technique, irreproducible in the Athas of today (aka, so players can’t try and do it).
  2. The writers/designers could not or chose not to determine the necessary powers.
    Not because the process is is wildely different from golem creation.

THIS is us talking past eachother. I couldn’t care less about the brutality of the treatment of the criminal - mental death by Mind Seed and actual death by capital punishment is meh to me, conceptually.

Rationalization usually appiles to other people. The treatment of your own CLONE in this way is a bit more…dark, i guess?

All I know is that they contain the minds of criminals or at least the minds of something. If you are talking about a highly refined form of golem, you are talking about something else. Not saying it’s impossible, but creating a golem-like creature (albeit stationary) with the abilities of say a 12th level psion would be very impressive (and costly).

It’s still another person. It’s not a clone, merely a mental pattern that diverges from the original once in the other body. It’s not like a clone at all.

Golems and worker orbs are crumch-wise nearly identical in creation, being Constructs in 3.5e terms. Compare them to Chanths in ToA, if you prefer.

I believe the real issue is you’re confusing/mixing setting lore with mechanics in a way that I’m not or that i am doing so differently (which is fine), leading to us having 2 completely different discussions at the same time.

Umm, no. Mind Seed :: d20srd.org

“You impress the totality of your psyche into a subject’s subconscious…
…When integration is complete (after one week), the subject becomes you in mind as you were when you manifested the power…
…While the subject is initially your mental duplicate, the two personalities diverge over time. Although…”

The end result is literally your mental duplicate (clone) the second the transformation is complete, RAW.

In case this is somehow a language problem :man_shrugging:, i mean clone as the informal definition: copy/duplicate/etc, not as a reference to the dnd spell clone or real world cell biology.

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I am thinking in setting of the values of the psion that performs these tasks. In relation to mind seeding a criminal -

The psion in this instance doesn’t view the mind seeded person as in anyway himself, just possessing the mental characteristics, preferences and beliefs of the psion himself. The criminal is still the criminal. His mind has just been replaced with the enlightened mind of the psion. The diseased criminal mind purged, the criminal is now in the privileged position of being allowed to serve the community.

Where you assume sympathy, perhaps even horror at this, I do not. Since forcibly putting people’s minds (probably along with their souls as the animating force) was apparently widespread, there would have been all kinds of rationalization and justification for it.

The idea of man being turned into a psionic machine, then going insane has pathos. An intelligent magical item like a higher order golem, much less so.

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I imagine that none of these objects made it fully into the rules or mechanics? I think I recall the obsidian orbs being mentioned in 2e somewhere…

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Mindlords of the Last Sea. I believe Mindlord orbs appear in Legends of Athas as well.

Majorly in Mind Lords, in a minor way in Giustenal.

Sort of marginal perhaps, but one thing that was not mentioned in this discussion is the Orbs of Kalid-Ma, found in the Psionic Artifacts of Athas book. According to that book these orbs each contained a fraction of Kalid-Ma’s personality and if they were used by a nascent dragon to perform the transformation ritual, they would result in the resurrection of Kalid-Ma as a full level 30 dragon with his sanity restored. Kind of wacky and over the top, but certainly relevant to the subject.


27th level/Stage VII Dragon. Kalid-Ma planned a 5 stage jump from 22nd level/Stage II. Kalak built on that to do his ‘all at once’ metamorphosis from 21st level /Stage I to 30th level/ Stage X Dragon.

EDIT I’m aware the 4th Ed Kalidnay article refers to Kalid-Ma returning as a 30th level shadow dragon but frankly 4th Ed was a mess when it came to advanced beings and that article is at odds with every other reference we have to Kalid-Ma’s accelerated metamorphosis


In “Harry Potter” Lord Voldemort could divide own soul to create few horcruxes. Every part of of soul had separate knowadle, therefore in Chamber of Secret Tom hadn’t infos about prophecy with HP - recreating being LV know and had knowadle and skills only in moment creating this part of horcruxes. De facto this would be making many items with separate minds and, in theory, in this same time live can few recreating beings LV.

Similar function had place with Acererak. He have few phylacteries and was period, that in multiverum were (minimum) two Acereraks. And current Acererak from 5ed isn’t created from original soul.

So… Soul, or mind, isn’t limited material. Maybe new mind, soul, living energy, mana or other energy, need some time to regenerate full own potential. But IMO this should be possible.