Spirit Hound, Screaming Skull

Art: Naming

Ruling Planet: Moon

Sphere: Common

This charm calls to the caster a Spirit Hound to stand guard on his behalf over the AoE he designates or some object, specific doorway or other portal – mundane or magickal – tireless and sleepless for the DUR. It may even be set to simply to watch the caster’s back, to warn of those who would sneak up behind him, whether with malicious intent or not, as he deems fit. The spirit is bound to serve for the DUR or until it has marked and/or pursued those who have violated the bounds of the charm, OR until it has done so (POT) times, if the optional DUR rules are in play and the caster maintains the dweomer at his pleasure.

Like any other warding, the Hound can be instructed to respond only to the approach of certain specific creatures and/or beings, familiar through previous personal experience, etc., or respond to all except certain specified creatures and/or beings, or certain creatures or beings by species or race, or by trade, or by race and trade, etc. in the same manner described under the heading “Fine-Tuning the Magick”, at the head of the Compendium.

Except under the auspices of the charm’s function/purpose, the Hound summoned is visible only to the caster and those also trained in the Arts (except for alchemists, otherwise regardless of trade) or those bearing the Sight naturally or laboring under the effects of a True Sight or Wizard Sight charm, until it is triggered and howling along fulfilling its purpose. Under those circumstances it appears as a massive bullmastiff composed of silver-blue light wreathed in flickering silver flames, to have a huge emotional impact, to scare mundane folk out of their wits, especially thieves.

Even before they violate the perimeter or touch that over which the Hound has been set Sentry, the Hound materializes for those against which the charm is set to guard to see, to pace back and forth at the edge of the AoE or between them and the object it guards, growling and snarling, menacing them – its inability to touch them or be touched by them notwithstanding.

The Hound may be set to stand Sentry duty, baying at the approach of strangers/foes, running to their location and continuing to bay at them to mark their location, using the caster’s own AWA and SPT as the basis of a Sentry SL equal to the charm’s POT for Perception checks against the Stealth skills of those who would sneak up on them before those interlopers cross the perimeter of the AoE or touch that which is forbidden. If the Hound reacts to a trespasser before this, it is because it has made a successful Perception check (as above), but the caster can hear the menacing growl.

When the bounds of the charm are violated, whether the perimeter of the AoE designated by the caster or the sanctity of some container or object disturbed, the Hound begins to bay, letting loose a ghostly howl loud enough to raise the dead, loud enough to be heard by ANY within (POT) furlongs, regardless of whether they are common mundane mortals.

If any cross the bounds of the charm, triggering the baying of the hounds, and then turn and flee, the Spirit Hound faithfully follows to reveal the trail, or location if they should try to hide, baying all the while.

The distance it may pursue one who violates the AoE, baying the while, is essentially unlimited, except for the limits on the distance that can be travelled before DUR expires. In accordance with the name, the Hound is a spirit and can travel across ANY physical surface and pass any physical barrier without impediment or penalty, except pure running water. The caster also has the option to “call the hound off” at any time, at which point the spirit returns home again to the AoE or that which is its charge and takes its post up again.

The caster may also sic the Hound on any foe or other person of interest within sight or with whom he has sufficient knowledge through previous personal experience, for it to track and stalk at up to (POT) mph, tirelessly. The restrictions of the CND Action Allowance are irrelevant where those rules are in play. The Hound can travel at any speed up to this at any time without need to accelerate in stages like a living creature, but can take off from a standstill and move at full speed instantaneously. Only after it has followed the quarry out of the caster’s sight does the Hound bay to alert the caster so he can follow along.

IF the quarry outpaces the Hound, it has an AV to Track equal to (POT) with an att. mod. based on the caster’s AWA and SPT. Once the original check to Track is made and the quarry scented, there are NO circumstances under which the trail can be lost, as there is a spiritual aspect to it also. The charm under which the Hound was summoned Opposes any and all magicks the quarry might use to conceal their path.

As a spirit, the Hound has no means for interacting physically with any creature or being, his best assets are his powers of observation and his loud bark and baying.

The Screaming Skull is related to and of much the same nature as the Hound, but it must be cast upon an actual skull, it invokes and binds the spirit to the skull to act as a Sentry. Put in a box or otherwise carried away from its proper location, the place in which it was originally enchanted, the Skull translates away to its proper location as soon as none are looking, back to where it belongs. If it belongs on a leather thong at the waist of the caster, there it returns as soon as it is provided the opportunity (i.e., when none are looking).

Unlike the Hound, the Skull cannot be set to Track or Tail a foe or other person of interest.It also differs from a Hound in that there is no limit on the speed that it can travel in pursuit of those that have violated the bounds of the charm under which it labors. It doesn’t actually move, in fact, but simply translocates as soon as noone is looking, right to the location of those violating the terms of the charm and binding, marking them by its unholy howling and screaming. Lke the Houng, though, when triggered and howling along fulfilling its purpose, the Skull becomes suffused with silver-blue light and is wreathed in flickering silver flames, fully intended to have a huge emotional impact, to scare mundane folk out of their wits, especially thieves.

Only when the interloper(s) against which the Skull guards is defeated and captured and/or that which was disturbed or taken is restored does the Skull cease its screaming, UNLESS the caster bids it be silent AND releases it from the binding of the charm.

When the skull of an ancestor is used for this dweomer and the place being guarded is part of the original patrimony, generally the one from which the family takes its name, it is automatically attuned to guard against all enemies of the family and those that carry animosity or hostility in their hearts for even a single family member, in addition to those/that against which the caster would set it to guard. In this case, there is also no limit to DUR, it effects are permanent without having to be carried by the caster. Under these circumstances, in order to be rid of the Skull’s service, or to change that against which it is tuned to guard, the caster would have to dispel the charm and summon a completely different Guardian Spirit to bind in it.

Other variations of this charm exist providing other beasts with similarly loud cries to serve the same function, even to the spirit of a huntsman carrying a horn he winds when the enemy he gaurds against has crossed the AoE or touched that which is forbidden. The skull of such a huntsman, or that of a favored hound, etc. can be used to dictate the specific spirit that responds to the charm to fulfill its purpose.

This charm provides the practitioner with a bridge to the Noble Sphere magick “Guardian Hound, Guardian Skull”, giving him the means and background to research it and develop a treatise on it and learn it by virtue of his own studies and practice.

This charm cannot be resisted in any way.

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