The Pins of Skull Crushing:
This item is a two inch long golden hat pin, the head of the pin is a tiny but detailed ivory skull wearing a thorny crown and processing eyes set with small ruby flakes. If held up to candle light the shaft of the pins will reflect not only golden light but a dark crimson hue as well.
While it is no longer known who created the Pins what is known is that they are assassin’s relics, created for the sole purpose of eliminating a single target in the most shocking way possible. It is said that originally a set of six pins were created however over time most of the pins were lost or expended.
The pin must be forcefully placed into the back of a targets head, i.e. jabbed in during an attack. The pin on its own does no damage however (see mechanics below) if the pin is well placed the targets head will violently implode on the next turn, killing the victim and sending a shower of gore in all direction. The shaft of the pin is consumed the tiny ivory skull left behind presumably as a calling card.
While this would seem to be an overly done effect, it seems the creator of the pins knew what he or she was doing. The shocking way in which the target is killed serves as a smoke screen for the assassin, the violence and disgust of the scene blinding onlookers to the assassin slipping away.
Possession of a pin of skull crushing in most places is a crime that will result in imprisonment, torture and death. (Then more torture.)
In the record, there are two known uses of the pins. The first perpetrated nearly 70 years ago, the bard Juran Flutechasser was performing to a sold out theater. The music and revelry was cut short when one of the viewers was assailed with a pin of skull crushing. In the ensuing panic two other onlookers were killed by guards and one was trampled, Juran never performed again and the assailant was never caught.
The second known use of the pin happened more recently, when the son of arch duke Nethran was assailed with a pin in broad daylight while walking the crowded streets of the capital city. This attack killed its target, sent the arch duke and his family into hiding and out of court politics, and again nearly caused a riot. The assailant was never found.
- Name: Pin of skull crushing:
- Uses 1.
- Effective against non-undead, Medium sized humanoids only, I.E. From Halfling to Human, noting bigger or smaller, target must have a discernible “head”.
- When attacking with the pin of skull crushing the attacker must make a successful attack with a result die of at least 14. (At least 12 if they are using the “assassins strike” ability.)
- If the result die is not high enough the resulting attack only causes a pin prick and automatically alerts the target to the assailant’s presence.
- On a successful strike with a high enough result die the targets head violently implodes, killing the target, destroying the pin.
- Onlookers must roll a leadership checks against a difficulty of 16 or be stunned for 1 round. (Stunned is +4 difficulty to all rolls)
- Identifying the assailant to give chase requires a knowledge check against a difficulty of 18.
- Legend has it the pins were created by a litch for a successful assassin, they are in actuality cursed as each time one is used both the victim's and part of the users soul is siphoned off back to the litch.
- A rumor says that one who is attacked by a pin of skull crushing and survives is considered "deathless" by the guild of assassins and can never be targeted by the guild again.
- I have heard pricking ones finger with a Pin of skull crushing and bathing the ivory skull with one's own blood creates a bond with the pin, the one who does it will always know where the pin is and can see through it's eyes.
- It has been whispered that Demogorgon created the pins, just for laughs.
- One rumor states that the royal family have three of the pins under lock and key, these represent a full half of the known pins.
- It is said that if the head of the pin gets buried with the victims body shaft of the pin will grow back in six months.
- It is said that the pins ivory skull heads are not normal ivory but chips from a demons tooth, any one who possesses a pin for more than six months will be visited by the demon looking to reclaim the pin.
- A story is told that an assassin took one of the pins into the Tomb of the Corpulent Hydrax looking to assassinate the Hydrax. That assassin was never seen again.
- Another story tells of an assassin being buried in the mountains with one of the Pins, others have sought for it but it has not been found.
- It is said counterfeit Pins abound throughout the realms, some are poison needles others are simply replicas. A great number of assassins, thieves and cut throughout lay claim to owning a Pin of Skull Crushing but very few could possibly have ever even seen one.
This was originally a random magic item rolled up for my AAIE game.. I attempted to write this article in a way that at the very least the lore could be used in any game where such a thing woudl be welcome.