For D20 Fantasy RPGs (*Originally Basic D&D.)

This staff appears as a pitch dark polished shaft of solid bone with a skull on top. It glows brightly with necromantic magic and evil. Continual use of this item will eventually begin to lower the owner’s morale and possibly turn them toward evil as intrusive thoughts of destruction and corruption alter their mind. (DM’s discretion on how this should be handled.) Once the wielder has bonded with the staff, it can’t be discarded or destroyed until the bonds are broken by powerful magic or the wielder’s untimely demise. The staff must be bound to the wielder before the three powers and the Death Cry can be unlocked.

IF the wielder should happen to die while in possession of the staff, their spirit will immediately be sent to the creator of the staff as a ghost. It is left to the DM’s discretion as to what happens after.

This +1 Staff deals an additional 1d6 necromantic damage on a successful hit.

The skull grants the wielder 60′ Darkvision, but from the staff’s perspective.

The Staff of Ebon Skull and Bone has three powers that it may share with the wielder whenever it feels they are ready:

First, the eyes of the skull can emit a Necrotic Ray that deals 3d6 necrotic damage. Reflex (Dex) Save for Half. 3x/Day (Long Rest.) Each ray cast costs the wielder 1 hp which can only be healed by natural means afterward.

Second, tapping the staff upon the ground and uttering the proper command word, 1d3 Obsidian Bone Skeletons erupt from the ground and aid the wielder for 2d6 rounds at which time they crumble to dust. Stats below. 1x/Day (Long Rest.) Casting this ability immediately drains the wielder of 1 temporary Con (Stamina) point per skeleton unless a Fortitude (Con) Save DC 12 is made to negate the drain entirely. Attribute points lost in this way recover naturally at 1 per Day (Long Rest.)

Third, by invoking a special command, the jaw of the skeleton’s head opens a blasts a cone of blue and black necrotic frost 60′ long and 30′ diameter. Targets within the cone must make a DC 14 Fort (Con) Save or take 6d6 necrotic damage and be Stunned for 1d3 turns. Successful save for half damage and no stun. Necrotic damage taken from this attack must be healed be natural means only. Ability recharges Once per Week. (5 Long Rests.) Also, the Staff absorbs 1 Temporary point of Str and Cha from the wielder when this power is used. No save. Must be healed naturally.

Learning the ultimate requires the wielder to spend extensive, mind warping time meditating with the staff. The Cry emitted by the skull on the staff is the stuff of which nightmares are made. It is a primal, evil sounding scream that strikes fear in the hearts of common folk.

Ultimate aka the Death Cry: The wielder may command the skull to slay a single target with fewer than 60 hit points unless a Fort (Con) Save DC 14 is made. If the target has 61-100 hit points it will be stunned unable to act for 1d4 turns unless the same DC 14 Fort (Con) Save is made. A successful save negates the damage. No creature with 101 or more hit points is affected.
Alternately, the Death Cry can be used to automatically slay up to 5 creatures with fewer than 4 HD automatically, with no save.
Creatures slain by the Death Cry automatically rise the following round as Obsidian Bone Skeletons under the wielder’s command for 3d6 turns.

The price of using the Death Cry is terrible upon the caster. First, the wielder loses one permanent point of Str, Con (Sta) OR Cha chosen by the caster (or roll 1d3 and choose.) Second, the staff alerts its creator, a high level Demilich to the staff’s presence. Finally, the character has a cumulative 3% chance of summoning a powerful demon devil, demigod, or undead who will attempt to reclaim this staff unless a deal can be struck with the wielder OR the creature is defeated. Each time a creature is defeated in this manner, the 00% chance resets to 3%. (Dungeon Crawl Classics players may change this to a Greater Corruption roll as a 5th level spell.)

Obsidian Bone Skeleton:

These skeletons are immune to non-magical weapons. They are vulnerable to Holy damage. They take damage as normal from blessed regular and magical weapons.