Built in batches, raven skull rods were used by Dhakaani military commanders to give long-distance orders to elite bugbear and hobgoblin units.
Lore: Raven skull rods were common in the Dhakaani military some six thousand years ago, although some goblins still make them today (Knowledge [history] DC 10).
The skull at the top of the rod speaks a message that’s sent from another raven skull rod (Knowledge [history] DC 20).
The word inscribed in the rod isn’t the command word per se—it’s the word another person says before he starts speaking into his raven skull rod. If he names your raven skull rod before he speaks, your rod repeats his message. (Knowledge [history] DC 25).
Description: A heavily shellacked bird skull sits atop this 1-foot-long ebony rod. Raven feathers dangling from the other end of the rod suggest that it’s a raven skull. If you shade the skull’s eyes with your hand, you can see a faint amber light emerging from the eye sockets. When the skull speaks, its beak opens and closes to match its whispered words. It speaks slowly, drawing out long vowels to sound like a whispered raven-caw.
Activation: Unlike most magic items, a raven skull rod is useful only if you have two or more rods that were made in the same batch. Three times per day, you can use a raven skull rod by holding it in your hand, speaking the names of one or more of the other raven skull rods in the batch, then speaking a message of up to 25 words (a move action).
Effect: Once you’ve spoken your message, the raven skull rods named will emit a whispered screech for 1 round, then say the name of your raven skull rod, then repeat your message word for word in a harsh whisper. It takes 1 round for the skull to speak the message, then the raven skull rod falls silent.
A raven skull rod has a 3-mile range.
Aura/Caster Level: Faint transmutation. CL 3rd.
Construction: Craft Wondrous Item, whispering wind, 2,000 gp, 160 XP, 4 days per raven skull rod. Dhakaani item crafters usually created raven skull rods in batches of six to twelve.
Variants: Because this item is useful only in sets, random treasure troves should have 1d4+1 raven skull rods, all constructed as part of the same batch. If you’re designing an adventure location with a Dhakaani heritage, you can spread the raven skull rods around the site. The first rod the PCs find will be useless by itself, but the second one they find will make both valuable.
Weight: 5 lb.
Price: 4,000 gp. Because this item is useful only in sets, random treasure troves should have 1d4+1 raven skull rods, all constructed as part of the same batch. Likewise, a single raven skull rod is worthless to most merchants, because it won’t do anything.
Source: Explorer's Handbook