I’m a fan of old fantasy movies. One of my favorites is Jason and the Argonauts (circa 1963).
If you’re not familiar with the movie, the premise is simple – Jason has to adventure for the golden fleece and faces a number of challenges along the way. The guardian of the fleece is the fearsome hydra, along with King Aeetes, the leader of the people who currently possess the fleece.
After Jason defeats the hydra and Aeetes witnesses their escape with the fleece, he calls upon his evil goddess Hecate, Queen of Darkness for help in slaying the intruders.
Want to learn about the Children of the Hydra’s Teeth? Dig down for the details.
After hearing the plea from her follower, Hecate throws down a fiery ball from the heavens and scorches the hydra’s body. Aeetes has the seven hydra’s teeth gathered and meets up with Jason and his men.
With the usual barrage of threats and promises of death, Aeetes scatters the teeth and eagerly awaits the destruction of Jason and his comrades.
Children of the Hydra’s Teeth
This item only works as a set and all seven teeth must be used at once. The user can scatter the seven in any unoccupied square 15′ to each side up to 10′ out (e.g., a 7×2 square area centered directly in front of the user).
Each teeth manifests itself in 1d3 rounds (roll randomly for each tooth to determine which round it appears on.
On the round they appear, a medium human skeleton digs it’s way out of the ground in the square the tooth was scattered. The skeleton can not move that round, but can make one attack at the user’s desire if it threatens anyone.
Each skeleton has 50% chance of being either of the two skeletons listed:
Longsword & Heavy Shield
|Size/Type||Medium Undead||Medium Undead|
|Speed||30 ft.||30 ft.|
|Armor Class||15 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, +2 shield)
touch 11, flat-footed 14
|13 (+1 Dex, +2 natural)
touch 11, flat-footed 12
|Base Attack / Grapple||+3/+2||+3/+2|
|Full Attack||Longsword +4 melee (1d8+1/19-20)||Longspear +4 melee (1d8+1/x3)|
|Space/Reach||5 ft. / 5 ft.||5 ft. / 10 ft.|
|Special Attacks||Hecate’s Scream||Hecate’s Scream|
|Special Qualities||Damage Reduction 5/bludgeoning, Darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits||Damage Reduction 5/bludgeoning, Darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits|
|Saves||Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3||Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +3|
|Abilities||Str 13, Dex 13, Con 0,
Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1.
|Str 13, Dex 13, Con 0,
Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 1
|Feats||Improved Initiative||Improved Initiative|
Prior to these skeletons engaging in battle, they let out a horrific screech at all enemies within 15′ as a swift action. They can do this once per encounter. Those hearing the scream must succeed on a DC 13 will save or be Shaken for 2d4 rounds. They must make a save for each skeleton they hear, but the durations and effects overlap if affected by multiple skeletons – they do not stack.
Moderate necromancy and transmutation; CL 12; Craft Wondrous Item, Summon Undead I, Cause Fear; Price 8,500 gp
Using The Children In Your Games
This tends to be a somewhat evil-focused item since it summons undead to fight for you. It shouldn’t be difficult to make some minor changes to make it less evil, however. For one, you could make the skeletons normal humans. You would likely want to remove the undead traits special quality, but there’s no reason to remove the other special qualities if you don’t want to.
You could also substitute the skeletons for elementals. You’d want to be a bit more careful with that and consider the likely situations that they’d probably be summoned into.
You’ll also want to modify the required spells if that’s important to your campaign.
These items would be easiest to introduce as a “gift” or an item to aid PCs on a particular quest given by a higher level cleric of a particular god or goddess. Since they can only be used once and all must be used at once, a DM shouldn’t have a hard time setting up a situation in which the PCs “really need” the extra feet on the ground.
Druids or other spellcasters with a lot of summoning spells could possibly marginalize this item if they’re also able to buff the summoned creatures after they’ve been summoned. It’s impact also becomes considerably smaller as the PCs advance since the summoned skeletons have a relatively small amount of hit points for melee fighters.