Ruins of Adventure
The Snakewood Staff
The Snakewood Staff can call the dead to walk and raise a corpse with just one touch, raising it as a Zombie. Any creature slain by a strike from the staff in melee will be automatically animated in this manner. The mindless thing will serve whomever raised it till destroyed or worn to bits.
Once used the staff cannot be discarded. If thrown away, the corpse closest to the staff automatically reanimates and brings it back to its owner, by force if necessary. This will never stop. The only way to be rid of the staff is for another living being to willingly take it and use it.
The staff cannot be destroyed by any means short of a Disjunction. If broken, burned or crushed it seeps invisibly back into being by midnight the next day. If ordered to “leave,” dead raised by the staff will walk for fifty miles, then get confused and come back. Any undead that are abandoned or told to “stay” will do so only so long as the staff remains within 50 miles, after which they abandon their orders and march inexorably towards the staff’s location. Beyond this, the zombies will do nothing other than follow and wait for an order from their master. They can understand only the simplest commands.
When used on particularly old corpses, or those slain by unusual means, the staff will occasionally bring them back as other forms of undead such as Mud Zombies, Salt Zombies, Sea Zombies, or others. This is solely at the discretion of the staff or the circumstances. The user has no control over this.
Rather than charges, the Staff steals from the user’s potentiality via a trick of Chronomancy to power itself, leeching life-energy from the user’s future-self. Each use of the staff incurs an XP debt of 500 points per HD of the creature animated. This will be taken from any future experience earned, and does not reduce the amount of experience currently possessed by the wielder.