Postfest IV: Minotaur Mask of the Ulsprues
Date: Mon, April 04, 2005
Topic: Spells of Oerth
This hideous looking and possibly cursed item was created as a profane gift to a long dead cult of Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs. Sages speculate the Mask was made to perpetuate a much larger and complex rite involving something called the Elder Maze.
Minotaur Mask of the Ulsprues
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
The first recipients of the Mask operated covertly among a few congregations of the ancient Baklunish Empire, who used its powers as part of their debased rituals or to go on spates of anonymous bloodshed abroad. In either case the cultís leader or champion typically wore the Mask. Filled with bloodlust, the cursed wearer would then hunt down a victim before brutally killing them. Such proceedings often took place in a highly secret maze or cave complex or among the densely crowded alleys of a major city. The blood of the sacrifice was then shared among Baphometís faithful by the wearer of the Mask, hoping in turn to be granted the Elder Curse by their demonic lord.
In the years building up to the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, the Mask fell into the hands of the Suel Empireís Mages of Power. The Mask was rigorously studied for its magic in an effort to duplicate it so the Empire could have their own enhanced minotaur shock troops. An untold number of copies were indeed successfully crafted by the Suloise but the original was eventually stolen back by cultists at the great cost of lives and thereafter it lay deep underground until the Twin Cataclysms nearly buried the knowledge of the Mask forever. Within the last several decades the purportedly original Mask turned up in the hands of an ogre tribe living in the Ulsprue Range. With their proximity to the strange Altar of Dhawar they immediately brought about a resurgence of Baphomet worship in not only ogres and minotaurs, but orcs and humans as well. The Maskís influence can still be felt today as clans of Vaprak and Baphomet worshipping ogres feud among the craggy highlands of the Ulsprues. Inevitably these chaotic clashes have led to the disappearance of the Mask again. Whether the original Mask or any of its copies still remains in the West is left to be seen, but unquestionably many cults of Baphomet, both ogre and human are tirelessly searching for it today.
The Mask is indeed a real minotaurís skull with the lower jawbone missing, but still sporting a pair of dull, timeworn bull horns. To verify authenticity a glyph of Baphomet is etched with dry blood into its forehead. A strap likely made of minotaur hide is attached in such a way that any creature of small to large size can buckle it over their head and cover their face. Once it is secure the magic of the Mask activates instantly. The user undergoes a swift and visually grisly alteration as the skull melds with the wearerís own head making it appear as if the long dead minotaur has been given flesh, blood and life again. The change is by no means permanent and only extends to the wearerís head and neck, leaving the rest of his body the same, including worn items. Individual appearances will vary by whom wears the Mask, for it will usually match hair and eye color of the owner and even resize proportionately to body size for ease of motion.
The Mask imparts the user with knowledge of its powers but at the same time affects his personality for the worst. Besides having the superficial appearance of a minotaur, the Mask makes the wearer immune to the spell maze and imparts a +4 profane bonus to Search and Spot checks. The Masked one is enraptured with a bloodlust that allows them to rage as a barbarian 1/day (or one additional time if already able to rage) and while raging may use their altered head as a gore attack when doing a charge for 4d6 damage. Once per day the Mask wearer can also emit a terrible roar that acts as a shout spell cast at 10th level. Donning the Mask results in 1d4 Wisdom damage that cannot be cured until the item is removed and it can only be removed voluntarily with a DC 16 Willpower check since the user becomes enamored with the unholy power of Baphomet. Once the Mask is removed it will not function again for 24 hours, but the benefits of wearing the Mask often keep the user eager to wear it again soon despite its side effects.
Mod; CL 18th; Craft Wondrous Item, polymorph self, shout, rage, spell immunity (greater); Price 143,000 gp; Weight 5 lb.
Additional reading and sources of inspiration found at Canonfire!
The Altar of Dhawar
Excerpts from the Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet, Demon Lord of Minotaurs