Three Black Skulls (Vesning, Usking, and Torwarkel):
There are three enchanted skulls. Each is made from a different material. One is made from black quartz crystal and is called “Vesning.” Another is made from black onyx and is called “Usking.” The third is made from black jade and is called “Torwarkel.” Even with careful examination, nobody has ever seen any evidence of tool marks. The skulls are more of less human in style but are not perfect and are more artistic representations in their style. Each has minor stylistic differences as well. They are each about four inches tall and weight about six pounds each.
Most believe that these items were created by one of the gods of the dead with various suggestions who that might be. It is has also been argued that these items might have been made by a demon lord as well. Due to the way these items tend to wander, there have been a few suggestions as well that a trickster god or demon made these items for his own entertainment.
Many a necromancer or dark priest has tried to acquire all three of the skulls with mixed levels of success. Been stories where one is able to acquire all three to soon lose them and then fight to try to acquire them one more. It does seem like though that they rarely stay together for very long.
Reason why many try to get all three is that while the skulls have powerful enchantments in their own right, the enchantment is multiplied many fold when they are combined. On their own, the possessor can animate the dead as well as being able to often command the dead from the hands of another who animated them. In the hands of a necromancer, dark priest, or demon thrall (witch), the numbers which can be animated are boosted. They much be held in one’s hand in order to use the enchantment. In general, otherwise the animated dead are similar to normal animated dead. They can be turned as normal animated dead for example.
If one is able to possess all three however, they can command an army of the dead. They can animate an entire battlefield or graveyard easily. All three much be held together in one’s hands in front of them. The duration is also multiplied and the ability to seize command of the animated dead from one already controlling them is also boosted. There are stories of whole cities being taken over by a necromancer possessing these skulls and slaughtering virtually the entire population. While one might be able to fight dozens of animated dead, fighting hundreds is virtually impossible. Trying to turn that many animated dead is also usually futile. There are no bonuses for having two of the skulls, only all three.
Often historically, a temple of good has tried to hide one or more of these powerful enchanted skulls. They have also often been scattered all over the Palladium continent. Often though, not matter how well protected or hidden they are, somehow they end up back in the hands of those who have malevolent ideas. There is even a story where they were loaded on a ship which the plan was to ditch the skulls in the ocean. Somehow though, the ship just disappeared and the skulls soon were used.
Some have suggested that there are different supernatural forces acting on these skulls. Some fight to keep the skulls separate while other forces fight to keep them from being hidden or lost. Rarely are the skulls ever together for very long but at the same time, rarely will a skull be hidden or kept protected for very long. The items seems to drift, never staying in one single place for more than a few years.
There is the suggestion that there is a compulsion on the skulls that once one is acquired, they will be compelled to try to acquire the other two of the skulls. This compulsion does not seem to effect one who just possesses the skulls to hide or protect them but only seems to effect those who use them. Of course, some scholars suggest that it is not the skulls but just the nature of those who own them.
Animate & Control Dead: The possessor of the skull can animate up to 6D6 animated dead. Can be used up to four times per day and has a duration of four hours each time activated. All abilities are otherwise identical to the animate dead spell. The possessor of the skull can also command animated dead controlled by another. Simple commands such as “Stay back,” “Move away,” or “Stop,” can be made without need to roll against the animator. To seize full command of the animated dead, the possessor of the skull must roll 1D20 and roll a number one above animator's spell strength. For example, if a wizard with a spell strength of 12 animates the dead, the possessor of the skull can usurp control by rolling 13 or higher and announcing his conquest by bellowing something like “You are mine to command. Obey me!” followed by an order. The stolen animated dead will remain under his control for the maxim duration of the original spell and serve in addition to those raised by own magic. Double the number of animated dead when used by a Necromancer, Witch, or Dark Priest.
Animate & Control Dead “Dead Horde”: The possessor of all three of the skull can animate up to 3D6x100 animated dead. If there are not enough dead in the area, more can be animated as time goes on. Can be used up to two times per day and has a duration of twelve hours each time activated. All abilities are otherwise identical to the animate dead spell. The possessor of the three skulls can also command animated dead controlled by another. Simple commands such as “Stay back,” “Move away,” or “Stop,” can be made without need to roll against the animator. To seize full command of the animated dead, the possessor of the skull must roll 1D20 with a bonus of +4 and roll a number one above animator's spell strength. For example, if a wizard with a spell strength of 12 animates the dead, the possessor of the skull can usurp control by rolling 9 (13 with bonuses) or higher and announcing his conquest by bellowing something like “You are mine to command. Obey me!” followed by an order. The stolen animated dead will remain under his control for the maxim duration of the original spell and serve in addition to those raised by own magic. Double the number of animated dead when used by a Necromancer, Witch, or Dark Priest.
Possess all Three: The possessor of one of the skulls will be driven to try to see if they can acquire all three of the skulls. One must use the skulls in order to be inflicted by this compulsion, not just possess them and keep them hidden. Each time the skull is used, the possessor must save vs insanity or be driven to possess all three of the skulls. Of course, this compulsion is often boosted by the possessor’s natural inclinations. This compulsion is not removed when the skulls are lost and can only be removed by a “remove curse” spell.
Powers & Abilities:
All Three Skulls:
Compulsion / Curse:
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2013, Kitsune. All rights reserved.