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Unique Mystaran Vessel - Stone Toadby John Calvin
The Stone Toad appears to be a statue of a sitting toad made from the blackest basalt. It is 10' wide by 15' long and stands at a height of 10' tall. Eroded by the ages, the features of the toad can barely be made out, although if one stares long enough at its form, bulbous eyes sitting atop a round head, and a wart covered back can be discerned. The basalt itself is coarse and pockmarked, and various portions appear to have been eaten away by acid. Although the Stone Toad appears to be a solid statue, it is in fact hollow.
The inner dimensions of the vessel are somewhat distorted and slightly larger than they should be. Thirteen divots along the ceiling (the largest warts on the toad's back) are lined with spherical iron cages, each fused into the surrounding basalt. In the centre of the chamber is a chest high pillar upon which rests an onyx heart nearly a foot in diameter.
Life must be consumed in order to power this fiendish vessel. For thirteen nights, when the darkest hour is marked, the Stone Toad issues forth its siren song, summoning a single lantern archon within its presence. For reasons unknown, lantern archons find the Toad irresistible, and always investigate the object eventually floating near its head. It is then that the Toad strikes. Its eyes alight with blue hellfire, the Toad's mouth opens and a tongue of dark force lashes out to capture the unsuspecting archon. Consumed archons find themselves trapped within one of the iron cages inside the vessel.
Once thirteen archons have been captured, the Stone Toad is fully powered and can jump to another location. A user communicates a destination to the Toad by grasping the onyx heart and creating a mental depiction of the desired location. With each beat of the stone heart, the lantern archons begin to dim, and one by one loose both their light and their life. When the last archon has faded away the Toad stands in its new location.
Said to be able to cross any barrier of distance, and possibly even time itself, the Stone Toad has left a trail of misery in its wake throughout the ages. Created by unknowable creatures even before elves first walked the planet, the Toad has found its way into horror stories and hauntings told by innumerable cultures across Mystara, from the Lhomarrians and Blackmoor, all the way to present day Karameikos and Rockhome. Through all the stories, one thing remains constant - whoever uses the Stone Toad is cursed to bring misery to all they touch thereafter.