Helm of Marcellus (5e Equipment)
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Wondrous item (Helm), artifact
The Helm of Marcellus was once worn by a Paladin named Marcellus Asher Uiliam LaGuardia, one that failed in his duty to protect the one he loved, a princess by the name of Lena. Marcellus took up an Oath of Vengeance and betrayed his good nature to seek out and punish the two assassins that killed his beloved. It is up to GM to decide if Marcellus, and/or the two assassins-Petrus and Ran'Kul- are currently alive. If both assassins are alive, they will never be anywhere near each other at anytime for almost any reason. (By default, Marcellus is alive, Ran'Kul is not, Petrus is)
If Marcellus is currently alive, he is a Human Paladin 20, Lawful Good (or Neutral. He tortures people so that might get in the way of "good" but he tries to do the right thing and help people, as long as it doesn't get in the way of killing the assassins, Oath of Vengeance, and is immune to the Charmed condition or any other condition that would remove control of Marcellus' actions such as Command or Suggestion; the rest is determined by the DM, but by default he would have a Holy Avenger, Full Plate+3, and a Hand Crossbow+2 with the Crossbow Expert Feat; he would also have 25 Str, 15 Dex, 18 Con, 15 Intelligence, 20 Wis, 25 Chr). The two assassins may be anything the DM wants and have no default, though Petrus should be a rogue, Ran'Kul can be anything, even going as far as not having any class at all. Marcellus believes in destroying all that is evil and that there is little redemption for those that have committed vile acts, redemption can only be found by giving yourself to Marcellus, at which point he places his gauntlet upon the evil-doer's head, channels radiant energy through his body and, depending on whether or not the target is truly repentant, they either shift alignment to any good alignment or, if they are not truly repentant, they must make a DC 20 Charisma saving throw or be killed immediately, effects that would prevent this death are dispelled before the effect can trigger; if the creature is not repentant and is too strong to instantly die to the channel, such as a dragon or extremely strong npc, they are instead branded with a mark that allows Marcellus to know their exact location if he is within 10 miles of the creature. If a creature dies this way, they are turned to ash and cannot be brought back to life without using a Wish spell. Marcellus can also use his action to brand a grappled or incapacitated target, creatures branded this way only suffer the effect of the brand and not the instant kill, unless for some reason they really are truly repentant, in which case their alignment turns to good. Marcellus cannot brand good or neutral creatures unless the DM decides they are guilty of something (Marcellus would know if they are guilty even if they feel no guilt, but not if they are under a mind blank spell, though he would know the spell has been used and would believe they are hiding something, branding them anyways). Marcellus' primary goal, the reason for which he lives, is to hunt down, torture, and kill the ones that killed his beloved, Lena. Marcellus will do anything to get to them, but knows that they are deceitful and will try to convince good people that Marcellus is the bad guy (which isn't very hard considering he has a rough personality and wears spiked black armor), so if good creatures stand at one of the assassins' side, he will fight them mercilessly until they are close to death, at which point he only aims to knock them out so that he may get to Petrus. Petrus is permanently marked with Marcellus' Hunter's Mark that deals 1d12 damage and does not need concentration. If Petrus is in a city surrounded by people, Marcellus will pull rank on the guard, show them documentation of his legal authority to hunt down this man anywhere he goes (the documentation states that any kingdom that attempts to stop Marcellus in his pursuit of justice will be besieged by Marcellus' kingdom. The stamp on the document is valid and recognized by all guards and "higher-ups" and is treated urgently, giving Marcellus the "OK" to kill Petrus). Petrus does not think that Marcellus can do that and is shocked when and if it happens.
If the party does not pick a side, Marcellus will ALWAYS attempt to torture and kill Petrus, he CANNOT be convinced otherwise, there is no Persuasion DC, no Intimidation DC, no Deception DC, he will always know if it is Petrus even if he is disguised by magic that would say otherwise and will always attempt to capture him to torture him to death. If Marcellus is unable to capture Petrus, for fear that he might get aw.ay or if he is surrounded and faced with imminent doom, he will attempt to kill Petrus, even if there are other obstacles in his way. If Ran'Kul is alive at the time of Petrus' capture, he will try to get the info of where Ran'Kul is, of which Petrus does not know, as the two agreed to never see each other again for their own good. Petrus will try to convince Marcellus that Ran'Kul was only in it because Petrus forced him to do it; Marcellus will appear to not care but will secretly think about it, meaning that he will give more thought to not killing Ran'Kul if he is repentant.
Ran'Kul was not the assassin that dealt the killing blow, he merely distracted Marcellus by pretending to assassinate the King while Petrus snuck in while Marcellus was busy running to the King's quarters. Marcellus pinned Ran'Kul against the wall as he heard Lena scream out his name as he immediately knocked out Ran'Kul and ran to Lena's room, where she was cut in the neck, bleeding to death. Petrus and Marcellus locked eyes and in that split second, Marcellus memorized his face as he rushed to Lena's side. The Kingdom did not blame him for his failure, as he saved the King, but Marcellus believed he had failed everything. Marcellus gave up his Oath of Devotion and took up an Oath of Vengeance. Ran'Kul managed to slip away from the guards as they took him to be hanged, so the only reason Marcellus wants revenge on Ran'Kul is because he sees him as an embodiment of his failure. That does not mean Marcellus does not hate him with every fiber of his being, it simply means that, if the players convince Ran'Kul to repent, Marcellus might yet spare him. Ran'Kul is the brother of Petrus and never wanted to assassinate the princess but does not regret the gold they got for doing so, so if the party does not inspire good in him and he tried to repent, he dies from not being truly repentant. Otherwise, Marcellus will torture and kill Ran'Kul as well. If Petrus is alive at the time of Ran'Kul's capture, he will try to get the info of where Petrus is, of which Ran'Kul does not know, as the two agreed to never see each other again for their own good.
Upon completing his task of killing the two assassins, he removes his helmet to reveal a man with white, slightly tanned skin, a stubble, and brown hair of medium length and brown eyes. After removing his helmet, he takes a deep breath, comments on how its been a while since he's breathed fresh air not through a helmet, he will then take out a white, ornamental dagger from his pocket and say "I did it, Lena." as he raises the dagger to his neck. If someone tries to stop him verbally, he'll usually say "The time will pass anyway, you can either spend it creating the life you want or spend it living the life you don't want. The choice is mine. I choose to be with the one I love." and will attempt to kill himself by slicing his neck with the dagger. If stopped physically, he does not become angry, he just says that quotes from above again but can't cut his throat if he doesn't have the dagger. Marcellus will not kill himself with anything other than the dagger. If he is successfully convinced to not kill himself, he will ask for the dagger back. An Insight check will reveal he has no intent to kill himself if successfully convinced, he states that the dagger belonged to Lena; it also happened to be the dagger that Petrus used to kill her, as he broke into her room from the window and took the dagger she was supposed to use to protect herself just in case and slashed her throat with it. There is still blood on the dagger, presumably Lena's blood and the dagger is unwashed. He does not wish for the dagger to be washed and will become angry if it is. The dagger is in a well hidden holster on his person, carefully hidden, with in a waterproof holster. He will never use the dagger for combat under any circumstances except to kill Petrus, which he may or may not choose to do. If Marcellus survives, he hands hi helmet to the nearest Vengeance Paladin (if there is one), if there is not one nearby (or not one he deems worthy), he will hand it to the next person capable of wielding plate that has a vendetta. If none of those apply, he simply drops it on the ground. Marcellus leaves, stating that he will work to right some of the wrongs he's done and that he will pave a path of true good. If, somehow, Marcellus stays with the party, he switches to Devotion Paladin.
Alternatively, if he is convinced to keep fighting evil, he puts his helmet back on and leaves to go find greater foes to fight, thanking the party for reminding him of what he set out to do in the first place: destroy evil and punish those that would harm the innocent purposefully.
If the helmet is not gifted to the person that attempts to put it on by Marcellus of his own free will, it is cursed. The curse cannot be removed from the helmet by any means. If the helmet is stolen from Marcellus, he knows where it is at all times and the helmet does not give any benefits and does not curse. Marcellus must be dead, or the helmet must have been given to the wearer for the helmet to be magical.
Effects: The Helmet grants +1 to AC, advantage against saving throws that would influence a creature's actions such as, but not limited to, Charmed and Frightened (the amount of effects it protects is up to the GM) (this effect does not apply to the mind altering effects of the curse); during a long rest, a creature wearing the helmet only requires 1 hour of sleep but most complete the rest of the 7 hours of light activity as normal, Darkvision (if you don't already have it), and the ability to cast Hunter's Mark twice per long rest.
Curse: The Helmet is sentient with 15 Intelligence, 20 Wisdom, and 25 Charisma. Upon putting on the helmet, you cannot take it off without using a Wish spell or equivalent. Upon donning the helmet, if the person participated in the killing of Marcellus, he greets them with hostility, forcing them to make a DC 16 Charisma saving throw, on a failed save the creature is possessed by the spirit of Marcellus for 1d4+1 rounds. Marcellus will attempt to kill those that killed him if they are within sight. After the possession is over, the creature must the saving throw again or be possessed for another 1d4+1 rounds, repeating the save every time until they succeed, fall unconscious, or die.
If the creature falls unconscious under the control of Marcellus, the creature makes one final DC 14 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, the creature's soul is trapped inside the helmet and Marcellus completely controls the creature's body. The helmet's stats of 15 Int, 20 Wis, and 25 Chr replace the original stats of the creature, otherwise it's stats stay the same.
If the creature that dons the helmet did not participate in the killing of Marcellus, Marcellus will apologize for the inconvenience he is about to cause and force the target to make a DC 16 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, Marcellus possesses the creature for 1d4+1 rounds and begins to question as to where he might find Petrus. After those rounds, Marcellus will allow the creature to retain control, seeing through the creature's eyes. Marcellus will slowly drive the creature to become Lawful Good or Neutral if it is not already so, and to become a Vengeance Paladin, and kill those that are evil (even players in the party).
If the creature that dons the helmet did not participate in the killing of Marcellus and is Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral, he will commend the creature for making, what he believes to be, the correct choices in life, for the most part. He will still attempt to guide the player towards the Tenets of Vengeance, slowly turning them into a Paladin of Vengeance, but he will not actively try to possess them unless he believes they are making a horrible choice, like letting an evil doer go or if the creature happens upon Petrus, where he will kindly ask to borrow the creatures body to torture and kill Petrus saying things like "This will only take a second, I promise."
If the creature that dons the helmet did not participate in the killing of Marcellus and is a Vengeance Paladin of Lawful Good or Neutral alignment, he will exclaim that him and the creature are one and the same and that they both work toward the same goals. He will never try to possess the creature, trusting in their judgement as a Paladin of Vengeance, unless they stray to an evil alignment, at which point he will try to turn them back on the path to good. If the creature sees Petrus, Marcellus will ask the Vengeance Paladin if he could take over for a second to enact some vengeance. He will try to possess the character if they don't allow him to take over to kill him but will apologize for doing so.
Upon killing Petrus, Marcellus willingly moves on to the afterlife, his job complete.