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Hourglass of Shadows

Aura strong necromancy [evil]; CL 17th Slot none; Weight 350 lbs.


The Hourglass of Shadows is a foul artifact that allows the user to process a creature's remains into an undead shadow. The unwieldy, 5-foot-tall device rests suspended on an iron stand fitted with pivots that allow its user to rotate a central chamber of etched, smoke-colored glass. To operate the device, the user must place the ashes of a Small, Medium, or Large sentient creature into the glass chamber along with a crushed onyx worth 100 gp. After the ashes have flowed through the chamber three times—a process that takes 3 hours—the contents can be emptied. If deposited into a clay pot filled with grave dirt and brackish water, the ashes transform the mundane container into a shadow urn. A creature whose remains have been defiled in this way cannot be restored to life by any method short of a miracle or wish until the shadow urn containing its spirit has been destroyed.

A shadow urn contains an unquiet spirit befouled by the Hourglass of Shadows. These fragile urns can be thrown, have a range increment of 10 feet, and shatter on contact with any creature or solid surface. When a shadow urn is broken, the single greater shadow contained within is released. This shadow is free-willed—owing no allegiance to the owner of the Hourglass of Shadows or whoever broke its urn—and typically attacks the nearest creature, seeking to sate its hunger for life energy. A shadow urn is destroyed when it is used. If not shattered, a shadow urn contains the soul within indefinitely.


Casting a spell with the light descriptor on the Hourglass of Shadows renders it inoperative for 1 day per level of the spell. Casting sunburst on the Hourglass under the light of the noonday sun causes it to shatter. Similarly, a shadow urn broken in an area of full natural sunlight destroys the shadow within rather than releasing it.