Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Magic Item of the Week - the Spear of the Hunt

  The Spear of the Hunt is a long spear made of ash and has a steel head with a leaf-shaped blade. The haft is protected by iron down a full 6" from the head and has an iron butt. It acts as a +2 weapon and makes all saving throws at +4 (total).
  Once a month the wielder may strike the butt of the weapon against the ground three times and summon 3 phantom hounds. The hounds are similar to Unseen Servants in that they are magical constructs but unlike servants they appear as ghostly hunting dogs. Because of their spectral appearance no normal animal will attempt to attack them unless charmed or otherwise magically compelled to do so.
  The hounds have an A.C. of -4, 24 h.p., and take no damage from weapons of less than +1. The hounds may only be harmed by area effects spells such as Fireball or the like and then only take 1 h.p. per die. They are immune to charm, paralysis, petrification, level drain, strength drain, fear, poison, disease, sleep, and other similar effects. They have a movement rate equal to a light warhorse, never tire, and need not food, water, or air. The hounds may be set to one of three tasks; all hounds share in the task.
  Guarding - While guarding the hounds will attack anyone attempting to strike the wielder of the spear in melee. While guarding the hounds fight as 5 HD monsters and have one attack per round for 3-9 points of damage. After 10 rounds of guarding the hounds vanish.
    Example: Bren Tolmar is menaced by a pack of 50 goblins in a massive maze of thorn hedges. Concerned that he may be overrun Bren finds a turn in the maze that will shield him from missile fire and summons the hounds, setting them to Guard as the first wave charges. For the next 8 rounds the hounds attack any goblins that attack Bren in melee. In the face of heavy losses the Golins retreat.
  Warding - The hounds may be set to ward a portal, door, item, camp, or person. While warding the hounds can see invisible and ethereal creatures. If any creature other than the wielder of the spear on a person touched by the spear in the round the hounds arrived approaches within 30' of the warded object the hounds will begin baying loudly to alert all of the presence of intruders. After 4 hours of Warding the hounds vanish.
    Example: Bren and his followers are defending long-abandoned fort against a large group of Gnolls. He is very concerned that the Gnolls could slip through a hole is the tower walls and get behind him and his men but needs everyone to prepare for the various frontal attacks the Gnolls keep launching. He summons the Hounds and sets them to ward the hole in the wall, touching each of his men with the spear to show they may pass without alarm.
  After several frontal assaults and long delays Bren hears the hounds and know he must shift men to defend the rear....
  Hunting - The hounds may be set to hunt a creature or group of creatures. If the target of the hunt is not visible the wielder of the spear must name or describe them (this can be extremely general) and the hounds will spend one round 'finding the trail'. If the described prey was within 30 yards of where the spear wielder summoned the Hounds have them look for the trail as 7th level Rangers (each). If the trail is found the hounds will then set off to chase the target of the hunt at full speed. One hound will bay each round that they have the trail and two will bay once a round each when the prey is in sight. Once the prey is trapped, surrounded, etc. all three will bay once each per round. The wielder of the spear can make the baying audible to anyone or so that only the prey and the wielder can hear it - this choice is made at the time of summoning and cannot change until the next summoning.
  While hunting the hounds each track as a 7th level Ranger and can all an see invisible and ethereal creatures. They can travel across water and over cliffs, etc., as if they were solid ground. While hunting the hounds strike as 7 HD creatures and do 1 point of damage per strike; no more than 1 hound may succeed in striking per round. Anytime the prey is successfully struck it must save vs. magic at +2 lose 1'/10 yards/10 feet of its movement rate. This is a fear effect..If the prey seeks shelter (up a tree, in a defensive ring, etc.) the hounds will bay as above and circle the prey in an effort to keep them from leaving their new-found shelter only attacking if the prey attempts to flee.
  If pursuing a group and the group begins to scatter the hounds will default to attempting to follow the largest concentration of HD or levels.
  The hounds will hunt for up to 4 hours.
    Example: Bren and his companions are patrolling the edges of a small barony when they see smoke rising over the trees. They come upon the remains of a caravan attacked by raiders less than 2 hours before. Bren summons the hounds are orders them to,
  'Hunt those who attacked this caravan and let all hear you'.
  The hounds sniff around for one round and one succeeds in the check - all bound off on the trail. Bren and his friends follow on horseback as best they can, listening to the call of the hounds.
  An hour later the calls double, letting all know the hounds see their prey. Just 20 minutes after that the baying reaches its maximum.
  40 more minutes and Bren reches the hounds as they howl and pace about the side of a rocky hill - in a few minutes Bren and his companions find the hidden entrance to the long-sought bandit hideout.
  The hounds may be dismissed by the wielder at any time but may only be called once every 7 days.