Amulet of Feign Death

Wondrous item, uncommon

A stylized scrimshaw skull etched into a cylindrical whale tooth the size of a human thumb hangs from a simple silver chain. The lower jaw rotates clockwise, and it offers some resistance, as if a spring-loaded timer mechanism engages when turned. It turns almost all the way around before stopping. The timer gradually ticks down, taking 24 hours to return to its original position. It can be set for less time by rotating it less, but it has a maximum of 24 hours. The teeth offer a fairly reliable guide for setting the timer for up to four hours (one tooth width per hour on the timer), but anything beyond that requires guesswork. Any desired time between 4 and 24 hours varies by 3d10 minutes due to the loose tolerance of a mechanical timer.

During this time, if the amulet is placed around someone's neck, they immediately drop into a death-like state as the feign death spell (Constitution save DC 15 to resist each round the amulet is worn). This also takes effect if the timer is set while it is worn. The wearer becomes blinded and incapacitated, and all attempts to detect signs of life fail, including through magical means. The wearer can still hear what happens around them, though the memory of what they hear may become jumbled after several hours in a death-like state. When the timer completes and the skull clicks back into position, the effect ends, the blindness fades, and the wearer rouses from their death-like state.

Anyone (other than the inert wearer) can reset the timer by twisting the skull's jaw to the right (clockwise) to add more time, or by twisting to the left (counterclockwise) to reduce the time. If the timer reduces to zero manually, it ends the effect as if the timer counted down to zero on its own. Some enterprising pranksters have driven tiny wedges into the timer mechanism and stopped the timer counting down while maintaining the effect. Being in a death-like state for more than 24 hours will have detrimental emotional and mental effects, though the body remains physically suspended and preserved as if they had just died. Using this amulet on a corpse will act as a gentle repose spell to prevent decay and effectively ignore time since death for the purposes of raise dead and similar magic.

The cursed version of this amulet causes the feign death effect even when the timer is not set. In this case, the effect remains permanently until someone else removes the amulet from the wearer's neck. Setting the timer will suppress the effect for 10 minutes once the timer runs out. A young nobleman impatient for their inheritance had one of these commissioned, and within a week his father had passed and been buried.

Finnegan's has an amulet of feign death available for anyone who wants to play Boddie and ensure that all the other patrons receive the "wake discount" on drinks. The Finnegan family commissioned it from someone at the College at least 200 years ago. The family stories handed down from that time have altered the names of those involved far beyond the realm of reliability.

Part of T.W.Wombat's Lore 24 project, detailing the world around Fellport.
For all city posts, see the Fellport Index. For posts about the wider world, see the Beneterra Index.

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