Beyond The Shore
A shadow pearl is a lustrous black pearl, approximately four inches in diameter. Anyone who studies the pearl’s glossy surface for more than a minute sees what appears to be a swirling vortex of shadows within. As the viewer watches, faces form in the shadows until a twisted, feral reflection of the viewer rises to the pearl’s surface, leering and hateful. While potentially unnerving, this has no effect on the viewer.
The original shadow pearl was created over a thousand years ago by the Prince of Demons and sent to Earth for his followers to discover and use. The results of the first savage tide released by a shadow pearl devastated an entire nation. Despite being powerful artifacts, the shadow pearls in existence today are pale poor approximations of the original. Yet these lesser shadow pearls are more than enough to serve the Prince of Demons’ needs, and as more are created and seeded throughout the world, the awful culmination of his plans draws near.
A shadow pearl serves one function—to create a savage tide. This is a wave of rippling blood-red energy that washes over the surrounding region, transforming creatures within into violent, savage, near-mindless caricatures of themselves. To trigger a pearl, it must be anointed with the blood of an intelligent creature—just a single drop will do. For one minute thereafter, the pearl sizzles and flashes with red light, reverting to normal after this time if no further action is taken. If the pearl is dropped or struck a solid blow during this minute, is cracks open and releases a choking cloud of smoke and bloody droplets in a 20-ft. radius spread, teeming with swirling evil spirits and gnashing fangs. Any creature that ends its turn inside the cloud takes 1d6 points of acid damage.
Once a shadow pearl is cracked, it smokes and sputters for one minute before exploding into a savage tide. Only by negating the pearl’s growing magic with a successful dispel magic (DC 30) can the oncoming tide be halted. Placing the pearl in an antimagic zone during this time also prevents a tide from being unleashed.
Once the pearl explodes, a savage tide flashes out like a wave of boiling blood and fog out to a one-mile radius. All living, corporeal creatures in the area must make a DC 15 Will save. Success indicates that the creature is merely nauseated for 1 round. Failure means that the savage tide has washed away their sanity and immediately transforms the victim into a savage creature (granting it the Savage Creature template).
Once a shadow pearl has exploded and released its savage tide, it is destroyed and cannot be used again. If the release of the tide is prevented or stalled somehow, then the pearl can be reused later.