Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound
Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound
The door swing open, revealing a room dark but devoid of any living thing we could detect. A step or two into the chamber and it was filled with the echoing sound of an animalistic howl. We guarded ourselves from the unseen threat, weapons at the ready. A groan of pain from Neville signified we had located the beast, but as his sword came down upon the source of his wound, it passed straight through. Neville assured us that the pain was very real, and that perhaps this was not a fight we were meant to walk away from. – Entry from the journal of Tharon Grumblefoot
Long before the archmage Mordenkainen had risen in power and founded the Circle of Eight, he was a mere apprentice, still learning the finer points of the arcane. He resided in a modest dwelling, its location lost to time and legend, alone save for his one companion, a mastiff name Xyg. The morning following an unremarkable night, Mordenkainen awoke to find his home had been robbed. The thieves had stolen no small amount of scrolls, potions, and research, but these were the least of his loses. Near the door of his cottage lay Xyg, dead. At the sight of his slain companion, Mordenkainen was stricken with grief, overcome with a loneliness he had never experienced. Slowly, though, his grief turned to anger, then resolve. He would not fall prey to loss like this again. And so, he created a new companion. One that was visible only to him, in the image of his fallen friend. The spectral hound guarded tirelessly and without fear, for Mordenkainen had made it invulnerable to attack. The phantom hound kept guard for Mordenkainen throughout his training, and some say it continues to watch over him as he sleeps, despite the wizard’s more potent security options.
Learning the Spell
Since its creation by Mordenkainen and subsequent discovery my other members of the arcane community, the Faithful Hound spell has become an alarm system and security measure for no small number of wizards. Those with a real-life connection to canines usually have a much easier time with the spell, though anyone can master enough with enough practice. The wizard conjures a mental image of the hound they wish to summon, then beckons it into existence with the whistle and bone. The string acts as a sort of leash to the material plane, allowing the beast to attack intruders while remaining unharmed by their attacks. The creature conjured by the spell is unique to the caster, as it manifests in the image seen in the caster’s mind. Some claim that all manifestations share traits with Mordenkainen’s companion Xyg, but no one has yet been able to prove this, due to only ever having seen their own resultant casting.
The most notable failed attempts of the Faithful Hound spell involve one of two scenarios. The first involves its casting in areas of excess wild magic. In some reported cases, the spell summons a non-spectral, flesh and blood version of the creature being envisioned. The effect of this is two-fold. Rather than vanishing at the end of the spells duration, the creature remains with the caster indefinitely. Similarly, the hound is no longer invulnerable, instead falling in combat as any living creature would. The second result of failed attempts comes when those with a history of abuse towards animals attempt the spell. Whether built into the spell by Mordenkainen or warped by natural forces, hounds summoned by abusive individuals are hostile, instead of loyal, to the caster. They immediately attack, relentlessly, until they have been dispelled or have killed their caster, at which point they disappear, seemingly at rest with the justice they have brought.