The Vidrefacte
A13, A14, A15
Minor Artifact
This enormous carved gem is about 3 feet high by 2 feet wide and flawless.

Aura strong transmutation, moderate all other schools; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 250 lbs.

This item looks like an enormous carved gem, flawless in nature and about 3 feet high by 2 feet wide. Its color can be whatever is most appealing to the creature it is being given to, although it will gradually become the shades which best reflect the owner and the way they use it to cast spells, switching between the colors of the user’s alignment and the most-frequent school of magic as follows:
LG – Abjuration – Red
NG – Conjuration – Orange
CG – Divination – Yellow
CN – Enchantment – Green
CE – Evocation – Blue
NE – Illusion – Indigo
LE – Necromancy – Violet
LN – Transmutation – White
N – Universal – Clear

The Vidrefacte is capable of draining souls from the dead or dying and transferring their life force into energy. This energy can be stored in the artifact and used at a later time to cast the most powerful transmutation spells and all other moderate magics.

The Vidre (a race of crystalline humanoids) which craft the artifacts offer them freely to the power hungry and weak of conscience as part of an agreement. This agreement is a magical bond between the vidre and the ignorant benefactor. The artifact has a nasty secret: The souls fed to the Vidrefacte are deviously split asunder with half being stored as energy and the other half being channeled to the vidre. The vidre feed upon the life force of other humanoids. In distant lands mages call the vidre “Soul Devourers” for that is precisely what they are.

When granting the artifact to Matron Maelora (in RISE OF THE DROW A13,A14,A15) the vidre performed a magical incantation which permanently bonded the crystal to House Gullion and its insignia.

Once the crystal has been significantly filled, powerful spells may be wielded by the person bound to the crystal by the Vidrefacte.

The spells available and souls consumed per casting are as follows:

The Vidrefacte is designed to cast a range of Transmutation spells with virtually no expenditure of souls. The following effects burn a number of souls equal to the spell’s level. These effects may only be employed so that a total of no more than 50 HD of souls is spent on them each day.
1. Magic Stone: Three stones become +1 projectiles, 1d6 +1 damage.
2. Soften Earth and Stone: Turns stone to clay or dirt to sand or mud.
3. Stone Shape: Sculpts stone into any shape.
4. Spike Stones: Creatures in area take 1d8 damage, may be lowered.
5. Transmute Mud to Rock: Transforms two 10-ft. cubes per level.
6. Move Earth: Digs trenches and builds hills.
7. Statue: Subject can become a statue at will.
8. Iron Body: Your body becomes living iron.
9. Shapechange: Transforms you into any creature, and change forms once per round.
(Limits: Only creatures with the Earth subtype, but even if you aren’t familiar with them. The Vidrefacte is familiar with all of them. Also, the form can be your caster level plus 4 HD).
The Vidrefacte is able to cast any other Transmutation spell as well as any spell of 6th level or lower from any other school for a total number of HD of souls equal to the spell’s level multiplied by 10, with the spell then lasting a whole day (e.g. a 2nd level spell takes 20 HD of souls to cast and then lasts all day). No more than 500 HD of souls per day can be used in this way.
This is in addition to the 50 HD of souls to use the main Transmutation spells.

A Vidrefacte can only be destroyed in two ways. The first is by a Supreme Entity Vidre (5,000+ souls consumed) placing both hands on the Vidrefacte and allowing itself to be absorbed into
the crystal. This takes 5 rounds, during which the vidre can not take any other action. If the vidre and the crystal are separated during those five rounds, the Vidrefacte drains 1,000 souls from the vidre for each round they were in contact. The vidre then has to go and reabsorb as many souls as needed to re-attempt the absorption. If successful, this is the final step before a vidre
transforms from a physical being into a living form of energy, and the Vidrefacte is drawn into the vidre at the end of the 5 rounds, never to be seen again.

The second way is for undead creatures with a total of more than 75 HD to be willingly drawn into the crystal in 5 rounds or fewer. The negative energy released by the undead is sufficient to crack the Vidrefacte and render it useless, although it does still exist as a gem worth 5,000 gp. The undead are completely destroyed by the process, never again able to exist in any form.

House Gullion and the Vidrefacte
Tolgorith Tower started out as a large stalagmite within the vast cavern housing the drow city of Holoth. Using the magic of the Vidrefacte, Matron Maelora of House Gullion enlarged the stalagmite, hollowed it out, and added levels, stairs, rooms, and even doors to complete House Gullion’s home. The drain on the Vidrefacte was one of the initial factors which drove Matron
Maelora to taking over the city and then instigate plans for domination of the surrounding area – it was taking twice as many souls as normally required to power the Vidrefacte. Even now, with the links to the vidre severed, many souls are still
required to maintain the energy of the Vidrefacte, but from Matron Maelora’s point of view, at least she is now getting full value from each of the sacrifices…

Communication within the Tower
Matron Maelora used the Vidrefacte to install a system of small magical communication tubes which run the entirety of the structure. This allows the matron or any of the House Gullion
children to quickly relay messages back and forth throughout the tower. Only the immediate House Gullion family members are permitted to speak into the communication tubes unless no family member is present; in which case any of the guards are permitted to utilize the magical communication system.

Vidrefacte: Spells in Constant Effect
In addition to other preparations, the matron has placed several spells into effect to protect the tower from potential invaders. These spells use a specific amount of souls per day, thus sacrifices must be performed twice per day. Listed below are the spells in effect when the PCs arrive at Tolgorith Tower followed by the number of sacrifices needed per day and how the spell affects those within the tower.

Forbiddance/60 HD of souls per day (3.5 / PF):
This spell prevents any good-aligned creature from using any form of teleportation, plane shifting, astral or ethereal travel, and all summoning spells within the tower as well as causing 6d6 damage to any good-aligned creature which physically enter Tolgorith Tower without permission. The sacrificial shrine pool on level four was not included in this spell since access to the demi-plane “Venom” would be impeded. The daily human and dwarf sacrifices taken to the pool are of course given permission to enter the tower so that they may live long enough to make
it to the ceremonial sacrifice.

Guards and Wards/60 HD of souls per day (3.5 / PF):
Although this spell is listed under constant effects, it does in fact still require 30 minutes of casting time (performed by the vidrefacte itself) in order to begin functioning. Matron Maelora can choose which floor of the tower will be affected but must do so prior to activating it.

Unhallow/40 HD of souls per day (3.5 / PF):
This spell is in effect only within the confines of the House Gullion Crypt which is adjacent to the Tolgorith Tower dungeon. The spell itself makes the entire crypt an “unholy site” providing
bonuses and protection to undead whilst allowing Makinnga to tie a spell of her choice to the site for a duration of one year. Spell effects that Makinnga may tie to the unhallowed site include aid, bane, bless, cause fear, darkness, daylight, death ward, deeper darkness, detect magic, detect good, dimensional anchor, discern lies, dispel magic, endure elements, freedom of movement, invisibility purge, protection from energy, remove fear, resist energy, silence, tongues, and zone of truth.

False Vision/50 HD of souls per day (3.5 / PF):
This spell is in effect only on level five of Tolgorith Tower. Matron Maelora spends all of her time here with the Vidrefacte and hatches her plans from this location. Attempts to scry upon
this location garner false information.

Vidrefacte: Daily Sacrifices
Daily sacrificial offerings are taken from the nearby House Gullion slave camp and marched up to Tolgorith Tower by the slave master and a contingent of 20-40 guards. Offerings generally total between 200-500 HD of souls per day, depending upon how heavily the matron is using the Vidrefacte.