A dark, closed-faced helm of grim visage, with a faint purple aura.
The Helm rouses the dead as skeletons or zombies, waking 1D6 of them per round starting with the closest, until all within 100 yards are awakened. These revenants will not attack the wearer but will attack all other living creatures within the radius. They will roam in the area within 100 yards of the helm, whether it is worn or not. If it moves, they will move to stay in the zone, but if speed or other considerations make them stay out for more than two turns, they will collapse back to death if reanimated less than a day. If they have been animated and absorbing dark energy from the helm longer, they will begin wander around wreaking destruction for up to a day per day reanimated prior to the separation before collapsing.
A roused undead will obey a command by the wearer if the wearer stands within ten feet, directly before the creature, and makes a WILL save against a target number of 20. Fail and be ignored, score under a target 10 and be attacked.
Undead within the radius of the helm are much harder to turn. Give a -2 on the old 2D6 table or a -4 on a D20 roll to turn undead.
Undead creatures slain in the radius of the helm but not ground to dust, burned to ash, treated with holy water and appropriate prayer, or otherwise rendered permanently dead, will rise again at sunset, with body parts more or less gathered and rejoined.
Anyone newly slain in area of the helm's effect will roll 1D6 each turn and arise as a zombie on a 6. If they were higher level in life, give their monster form another HD per level.
The first clue to the helm will be a mostly burnt manuscript. It has a few readable phrases:
"Vaskarn the Necrarch's army of the dead wrought destruction upon the town at"
"The dead rose and followed as he walked among the graves"
"Vaskarn died at the hands of the hero ----- and the helm passed into his hands"
"faithful servant torn limb from limb, arose and trailed his master, a gibbering horror"
"maddened by the lurching dead all about"