Capsule: (note: Skull is used to signify a Crystal Skull, while the uncapitalised skull is used to represent a natural skull)
This force artifact has been around since the Sith were first enslaved by a Dark Jedi thousands of years ago. During this time legend has it that the Dark Jedi created a circle of 13 perfectly-formed Crystal Skulls, which, when mounted in a particular pattern within a pyramid constructed for this express purpose, gave him incredible powers. Since that time the Crystal Skulls were lost in the constant infighting that characterised the Sith history. In the ensuing millenia every so often a Skull has surfaced, only to be lost again. In appearance the Skulls are life-sized representaions of the human skull which are perfect in every detail. The crystal used is flawless, lacking even the tiny gas bubbles which can be found in all natural crystal. This has given rise to the theory that these Skulls were somehow formed using the force itself. Each Skull is slightly different from the others, seemingly representing different individual skulls. Some scholars have speculated that perhaps these Skulls were once real skulls of humans whom the Dark Jedi sacrificed in some bizarre ritual and transformed into crystal. Another theory is that each Skull was created as a replica of an individual's skull. Of the Skulls 7 exhibit features which indicate that they are female, while the rest appear to be male. The few times that Skulls have surfaced, extraordinary circumstances have abounded. Some say that the Skulls are cursed, and indeed many owners of such Skulls have suffered horrible fates. One example of this is a Jedi loregatherer who lived nearly a century before the Freedon Nadd uprising. Her name was Corea Borna, and she was considered a fairly competant knight, as well as an expert in the field of history. When exploring some obscure ruins on a dead world, she discovered a Skull. She attempted to study it, and reported the feeling that the Skull had a presence and mind of it's own. Within 3 months Borna became the victim of a mysterious wasting disease which slowly ate away her flesh. The best in medical technology couldn't so much as identify her illness, let alone heal it, and Jedi healers were equally helpless. It took 7 painful years for Borna to finally die. Long before her death the Skull went missing. On other occasions when Skulls have surfaced the circumstances have been quite different. A Herglic gambler named Golad once purchased a Skull from a mysterious trader. Before the year was up the once obscure gambler's luck had become famous, not only at the gambling tables, but in life as well. Unfortunately for Golad his luck abandoned him 3 years later when he was killed in a casino. A small metal ball that was used for a game of chance slipped out of it's mechanism, went flying across the room for 30 meters, and struck Golad in the back of his neck precisely between two vertebrae, killing him instantly. The fate of his Skull is unknown. Another Skull was found by a farmer on a backwater world. His diary records how the Skull "spoke" to him of power beyond his imagination. This farmer, the self-styled Great Lord of the Dark, subjucated the small population of his homeworld, exhibiting strange powers of mind control and brute force. His reign of terror was ended by a group of Jedi. During the confrontation he was killed and the Skull was lost.
I encourage each GM to tailor the exact powers of the skulls to his/her own campaign, but here are some suggestions. Each Skull should have it's own personality and powers. Perhaps each Skull actually has the same powers as the others, but their personalities dictate which will be used. Some Skulls may show no powers at all, and give no hint that they have personalities, while others may be show offs. It is recommended that a non-force sensitive character who is in contact with a Skull for an extended period of time should become force sensitive. A force sensitive character with no force skills may gain sense at 1D, with the exact powers gained at the discretion of the GM. If the owner of a Skull is a force sensitive with force powers the effect can vary wildly, depending on how the Skull feels about the character. A holier than thou Jedi may suffer a grave misfortune similar to Corea Borna, while someone whose inclinations are towards the dark side may be granted enhanced force skills, with an increase of up to 3D in each skill, and additional force powers as the GM sees fit. These bonuses do not require actual contact with the Skull, merely that the individual is attuned to the Skull. Only one person may be attuned to a Skull at a time. The Skulls themselves should rarely, if ever, exhibit force powers of their own, instead working through an owner in the manner mentioned above. If the GM desires, however, each Skull could have force skills at 5D for each skill, with powers determined by the GM. The powers of the Skulls can be linked if all 13 are arranged in a precise pattern within a room shaped in such a way as to channel the force through it. Whomever has all 13 Skulls in such an arrangement is considered to be attuned to them, gaining the maximum bonuses possible for attunement with a single Skull. When all are used in concert they are wholely subservient to their owner. If the owner stands in the precise centre of the room in which the Skulls are arranged and attempts to channel the force to flow through the Skulls (a heroic control roll is required), he will gain a bonus of 8D to each of his force skills for as long as he performs this ceremony. The ceremony is considered an action for the purposes of multiple actions, so if a Jedi were to do this, and then attempt farseeing, he would gain an 8D bonus, minus 1D for performing 2 actions. All dark side points gained when channeling the force through the Skulls, or when using a bonus granted by attunement to a Skull are doubled. Also if a force user attempts to channel through the Skulls and fails his control roll to allow him to do so, he will be hit by force lightning from each Skull (2D damage for each, but use the combined action bonuses for a total of 6D damage). Obviously the Skulls are closely linked to the dark side, and any attempt to use them is perilous.
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