Some magic items are beacons of light, weapons in the war against evil. On the other hand, some magic items are definitely turned towards the darkness. They are not bright, serving some other form of terrible beacon… Here are a couple magic items that serve that path, following the darkness…
Sack of Bones
The Sack of Bones is a dark magic item, used by evil priests to raise the undead. This small leather bag contains 3d6 finger bones. When the owner of the sack casts a bone down, it transforms into a skeleton under the control of the caster. The skeleton has the following attributes: ST 12, DX 10, IQ 2, MA 10, armed with a short sword. The skeleton will last 5 minutes or until destroyed. The wielder must roll for 1 corruption point for each skeleton raised.
In a high fantasy setting, undead may be common. In a low fantasy setting, though, the walking dead may be very uncommon, and the presence of undead materializing from a single bone on the ground would definitely inspire a roll against IQ to avoid running in fear!
Greater Magic Item
Weeks to Make: 10.
Cost/Week of Ingredients: $50.
Starting Item and Ingredients Required Weekly: Finger bones of a warrior who died in combat, leather bag, 1 Telekinesis potion per week.
Source: Swords & Wizardry White Book: Gothic
Staff of Fear
The Staff of Fear is a loathsome artifact, created to inspire fear and dread wherever it is wielded. The Staff gives the wielder the ability to cast the 7-Hex Fear spell at the normal cost. Each use risks 1 corruption point at well.
The Staff is a gnarled wooden staff, inscribed with arcane runes and symbols that hurt the eyes of those who view them. It is commonly used by evil wizards or priests, not only to cause fear in their enemies, but also to instill adulation in their cultish worshipers. Continued use of the Staff may also cause a place (such as a cult temple) to acquire a point or two of dread.
Greater Magic Item
Weeks to Make: 5.
Cost/Week of Ingredients: $700.
Starting Item and Ingredients Required Weekly: Wooden staff to start, 28 Fear potions per week.
I hope these magic items give you a taste for how they can be used in a fear-inspired campaign… If nothing else, they should spark your imagination! Let me know what you think!