The wooden facsimile of a small man jumped and jerked unnaturally as it approached, head twisting to and fro with inhuman creaking. Surely the small creature of rotting wood could not contain much strength and its clumsy rattling did not betray any great agility.
Nonetheless unsettled, Maven charged it, disregarding his halberd to punt the little man away and into a stone wall. The creature rose again, apparently unperturbed. When Maven and the other guards approached, weapons at the ready, it fled jauntily.
They pursued, leaving the gate open to a pair of cloaked figures. The first produced a lock pick while the other’s hands danced madly, manipulating a pair of wooden crosses with short strings dangling from them.
Stringless marionettes can come in many forms including animals and people. Much like a normal marionette, the puppet can be guided with a pair of control bars. The strings of these bars hang unattached, however, and the marionette is controlled by a magical bond to the bars.
The skill with which a character can manipulate the marionette depends on a number of factors related to how it is used. Most movements with the marionette will depend primarily on dexterity, though to the extent the marionette is putting on a show charisma can also play a role. Both of these can of course be supplanted with training in performing with marionettes and other puppets.
The Stringless Marionette is just one of many unique entries in my compendium of flavorful loot: “Who Would Just Leave This Stuff.”