Nithing Pole

Nithing Pole

Wondrous item, rare

A nithing pole is crafted to exact retribution for an act of cowardice or dishonor. It’s a sturdy wooden stave, 6 to 10 feet long, carved with runes that name the dishonored target of the stave’s curse. The carved shaft is draped in horsehide, topped with a horse’s skull, and placed where its target is expected to pass by; typically the pole is driven into the ground or wedged into a rocky cleft in a remote spot where the intended victim won’t see it until it’s too late.

A pole is created to punish a specific person for a specific crime. The exact target must be named on the pole; a generic identity such as “the person who blinded Lars Gustafson” isn’t precise enough. The moment the named arget approaches within 333 feet, the pole casts bestow curse (with range 333 feet instead of touch) on the target.

The DC for the target’s Wisdom saving throw is 15; if the saving throw succeeds, the pole recasts the spell every round until the saving throw fails, the target retreats out of range, or the nithing pole is destroyed. Anyone other than the pole’s creator who tries to destroy or knock down a nithing pole is also targeted by a bestow curse spell, but only once.

The effect of the curse is set when the pole is created. The pole becomes nonmagical once it has laid its curse on its intended target; an untriggered and forgotten nithing pole remains dangerous for centuries. The curse lasts 8 hours and doesn’t require concentration.

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