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Ring of Shapeshifting:

by Geoff Gander

This item is used extensively by the Zhochal in their espionage activities against the various nations of the world. In appearance it is a greyish-green colour, veined with black traceries. These rings are always slightly warm to the touch. When they are found, they are always much larger than the standard ring in size, large enough to encircle two or three fingers.

When worn by a Zhochal, the ring fits their tentacles perfectly, and, after putting it on, the wearer need only wish the ring to operate for the transformation to take place. The shapeshifting process takes only two rounds, and after it is completed, the Zhochal wearer will look like a normal unclothed human. The ring also constricts in size, until it is the size of a normal ring. This transformation is permanent unless the wearer wills otherwise, the ring is removed, or if a dispel magic spell is cast by a magic user of at least 15th level. If a detect magic spell is cast nearby, the ring will register as a magic item.

Although the disguised Zhochal looks, and sounds, like a human, they must still learn to walk, interact, eat, and live like the race they are impersonating. This includes such tasks as using fingers, eating human foods (which are digestible, but unpleasant, by Zhochal standards), and behaving in such a manner that does not arouse suspicion. Such training usually takes at least one year. In this manner, the Zhochal are able to infiltrate the human lands near their citadels, in order to keep abreast of what they are doing, so that local cabals of Outer Being worshippers may gain extra information, and so that their masters, the Outer Beings themselves, may have more direct access to important humans. Independent Zhochal use these rings as well, but primarily to aid their efforts as freelance spies, assassins, and mercenaries, functions they have been known to perform in the past. Trained independent Zhochal also use these rings to serve as "front men" for their companions, so that most of their kind do not have to interact with those of other races on a regular basis.

An interesting aspect of this ring is that, if it is worn by a human, it will function as a ring of protection +1, +2 vs. servants of Outer Beings. Needless to say, the Zhochal as a whole have taken great pains to prevent anyone else from acquiring these rings.