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Relics of Power Finalist: Coffer of the Uninvited Guest

Relics of Power Finalist: Coffer of the Uninvited Guest

Welcome to the Relics of Power finals! We’re kicking off our series of ten finalists with the Coffer of the Uninvited Guest. Remember, these entries are unedited so that you can have a similar experience to the one that the judges had while reading them. As a special treat, we are posting each one with an illustration that Chris McFann made for the item. So, let’s get started!

Coffer of the Uninvited Guest

Aura strong necromancy; CL 20th

Slot none; Weight 3 lbs.

This worn-looking box of dark wood, fitted with simple hinges of brass, is roughly the size of a man’s head, and rattles when moved. The interior contains a collection of tiny humanoid bones. The underside of the lid bears writing that appears in the primary language of anyone reading it, and states that the most recent reader is attuned with the box. No further explanation is to be found within.

Anyone attuned to a Coffer will, upon their death, have their spirit drawn into it and contained within. There they will remain, insensate, until another opens the Coffer. When this occurs the opener must make a will save (DC 20) or have their spirit ejected from their body as they are replaced there by the current inhabitant. They themselves will be sucked into the Coffer, where they will remain until another opens it. If the save is successful then the spirit attempting to evict the opener manifests as a spectre and attacks, but regardless of the fight’s outcome the Coffer will be unoccupied.

Upon taking over a new body the occupant will suffer a –4 penalty to all physical skill checks for 1d4 days, or –6 if the new body is of a different size category than the occupant’s original body. Otherwise all skills, knowledge, and feats previously held by the occupant accompany them into their new host, provided that the host body meets all physical ability prerequisites.

Said to have been constructed by three powerful Bemmean mages as a means of attaining immortality, the story goes that three royal daughters of the fey were spirited away and murdered to construct the Coffers.  Since then, in tales grown obscure with time, they have been central to plots involving everything from usurped thrones to bizarre escapes from imprisonment and romantic tragedies. Two of the Coffers have been lost to history, but one is rumored to exist in the Ruby Despotate, where it is said to be used by a noble to extend his life by inhabiting the body of a new slave every decade or so.


If the bones within a Coffer of the Uninvited Guest are returned to the fey realm and buried with all rites due to a princess they will crumble to dust.

8 thoughts on “Relics of Power Finalist: Coffer of the Uninvited Guest”

  1. What possessed you to come up with this idea Chris? I like your relic! And…
    [PING!][PING!][PING!] Three! …on the Pett Scale for a relic whose previous owner creeps out to possess you.

  2. Yay, that’s the first piece of art for something I’ve written! It’s now my desktop background!:)

    Thanks a lot for the kind words, and thrilled to score on the Pett Scale!

    James – I blame the fact that I’d written out a whole other item, only to find that it basically already existed in 3.5 psionics material, which I never had any experience with. That annoyed me, and then I came up with the coffer:)

  3. Gary S Watkins

    This coffer could fit in any campaign. It’s a nice twist on the whole soul possession theme. I’m curious, though, how spells like raise dead or speak with dead might be affected if they targeted a spirit in the box.

  4. Thanks, Gary! To answer the questions, raise dead wouldn’t work due to the limitations of the spell, which states that the target can be dead no longer than 1 day per caster level. Speak with dead shouldn’t, either, as the bones are loose in the coffer… *BUT* it would be tempting as a GM, if the PCs were trying it with the lid closed, to say,’you do hear a low mumbling, but can’t make anything out. Lifting the lid might make it audible, however..’:)

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