Item Seed: Exo-Osseins.


Description: an intricate and delicate-looking exoskeleton made out of human bone.  The Exo-Ossein covers the body, ears, and eyes, but leaves the nose and mouth free. The chest features a large green gem that provides absolutely no esoteric powers or benefits whatsoever.  There is typically a faint aroma of ozone. Exo-Osseins are surprisingly durable, in more or less exactly the same way that Undead skeletons are.

Exo-Osseins are what you get when a talented necromancer gets told about exoskeletons, and thinks that the basic concept has a certain merit to it.  It helps if the first necromancer is also an excellent bone carver and artificer; but once some genius has the original idea, others can usually follow along afterward.  The trick is getting the first design down properly.

The virtue of an Exo-Ossein is not that it gives strength or agility benefits to its wearer; it is instead a mobile possession platform for spirits.  A spirit can be ‘implanted’ into the Exo-Ossein, allowing it to verbally communicate with the wearer, show visual illusions through the eye-pieces, demonstrate mystical passes, and generally act as a traveling companion.  The spirit can also tap into the wearer’s own sensorium, allowing it to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel what the wearer does.

Please note that Exo-Osseins do not control their wearers.  While the enchantment is deliberately designed so that the spirit in the Exo-Ossein cannot do anything against the true will of the wearer, but it can effectively take over the wearer’s body if the wearer is knocked unconscious.  If put on a corpse, the Exo-Ossein will give it the effective look of a ‘regular’ zombie: shuffling, jerky movements, inability to speak, and so on. Which is sometimes better than nothing.

Exo-Osseins are neither white nor black magic: an evil spirit can be implanted just as easily as a benign one, and vice versa.  Some cultures use them as post-mortem research fellows; others, as the ultimate watchdog for important but unreliable magic-users.  Either way, it smells a lot better than binding a spirit to an actual corpse. That always seems to go badly, for some reason.