Tuesday Magic Item – Watchful Coffin

3 July, 2012

Not all tombs are warded by curses and bound spirits, some culture prefer the simplicity of guards and traps, others rely on different of magics.  If you hope to get far in the tomb robbing game, you need to learn about the history, culture and technology of those whose tombs you intend to pillage.

They are watching you

Watching for thieves

Assuming, of course, that you do not wish to end up as just another corpse in said tomb.

Watchful Coffin

These coffins are always heavily made and tightly put together, heavy and difficult to transport, or to damage.  Usually an eye or face motif is worked into their design but not always.  Usually, a loyal servant is buried within, their vigilance is imparted to the coffin (though no necrourgic magics are involved).

These are constructed to act as part of elaborate tomb defenses, providing information back to the guardians of the tomb while slowing down intruders.  The Watchful Coffin is very easy to scry upon for those wishing to do so, acting as a creature that always fails to resist the scrying attempt.  Additionally, it can sense, to a limited degree, things and being around it and co-ordinate with other Watchful Coffins to tell if someone is a grave robber.

Initially, a Watchful Coffin will use ghost sound (DC 11) and mage hand in an attempt to play on the fears of anyone unauthorized in the tomb, trying to chase them away without permanent harm.  Those that do cause vandalism or attempt to steal from the tomb will generate a more serious response, the coffin will summon 1d3 creatures from the 4th level Summon Monster list to attack the intruders, this can be done once a day and the creatures last seven rounds, if there are multiple Watchful Coffins, they will jointly summon their monsters to provide a much more effective force.

The coffins have a hardness of 7 and 40 hit points if made of wood, hardness 10 and 45 hit points if made of stone and a hardness of 12 and 60 hit points if made of metal.  Destroying a Watchful Coffin will instantly dispel any ongoing magical effects it has created.

Aura strong conjuration; CL 7th
Slot none; Price 15,000; Weight 35 lbs or more
Construction Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, detect evil, detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, message, scrying, summon monster V, creator must have the Silent and Still Spell metamagic feats; Cost 7,500

Notes: Some variety in tomb defense in good, I think.

Photo by Mark Skrobola and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.



  1. That is a very cool idea! You get so used to tomb raiding going in a certain direction, sometimes it’s hard to get out of the rut, but that’s gonna help a lot.


    • That is part of what I was thinking to. If you are building tomb defenses, why would you want to make undead part of them scheme if you could avoid it. Ideally, the watchful coffins are designed to work in concern with guards, but they work on their own too.

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