Everyday Magic #140: Stygian Coin

While this week has delved into clouds and mist, not all mists come from the sky. Some come from the rivers and waters of this world and the next, and a simple coin might buy you a trip beyond the mists of eternity. 

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Stygian Coin

Wondrous item, uncommon

Tales abound of the eerie ferryman of the netherworld who carries the condemned down the sinuous canals of the lower planes. While many spring of fertile imaginations, there is such a thing as firsthand accounts of the boatman’s never-ending journey, rare as they may be; for by employing the fabled stygian coin, forged in the plane where all souls meet judgment, mortals have commanded the services of the usher of damnation.

A stygian coin typically bears the visage of the Goddess of Death on one side and the flowing image of a river basin on the other. It is made of a resilient, unknown metal which dissolves into mist when hurled as an action into a body of water. The mist functions as fog cloud, except it expands in a radius around the coin at a rate of 5 feet per round up to 20 feet, at which point it dissipates revealing the presence of a hooded man on a raft, floating above the water.

Once the boatman has been summoned this way, the creature who threw the coin can designate one destination in any plane, and up to six creatures to board the raft. The boatman consents to taking these passengers to the shore nearest to the chosen destination, using the shortest possible path. This journey takes 1d6 hours and is invariably uneventful, as no being dares meddle in the boatman’s affairs.

However, invoking the boatman’s services does not come lightly: as a servitor of the Goddess of Death, he too is entitled to pass judgment on his passengers. Upon disembarking, all passengers who are evil or have committed an evil act without atoning must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw or be branded. While under the effects of the brand, the branded individual gains vulnerability to attacks and spells of fiends, for his soul is temporarily pledged to such creatures. The phantom boatman has no physical substance and cannot be attacked.

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