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Comments: 12
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.55
Condition: Normal
ID: 3848


April 6, 2015, 5:41 am

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Cheka Man

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The Thing That Goes Beep


Well it’s got to do something, but I’ll be damned if I know what

Players' Description

A small slab of polished granite about 7 inches long by 3 inches wide by half an inch thick, with hieroglyphs engraved on one face. The hieroglyphs are recognisably part of an ancient language, now unreadable to all but a very few (highly specialised) sages. There are no other identifying marks.

There are no moving parts or mechanisms of any king. However the slab does radiate a faint magical aura, which is visible to those who can detect such things.

When any of the hieroglyphs is touched the slab emits an audible "beep", of the type that would be called "electronic" in a more technological universe, but nothing else appears to happen. There is no variation in tone or note between the hieroglyphs, all of the hieroglyphs producing exactly the same sound.

GMs' Description

The slab is actually the control unit to an ancient magical device or mechanism of some kind (think TV remote control). This can be almost anything the GM can envisage (a slave golem, an air conditioning system, an entertainment device, whatever). Unfortunately, the device is long since lost so the controller now does nothing at all.

Oh, and the beep sound was included by the original enchanters as a kind of "feedback" to confirm to the user that a hieroglyph had been touched.

Plot Idea

Just drop this into a treasure hoard somewhere then sit back and watch your players get really confused.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Dozus
April 23, 2007, 6:36
A neat and useless little gadget.

What might be even more entertaining is to have it actually *do* something, just something very subtle or out of the sight of the PCs. Have you seen that one commercial where the guy keeps hitting the switch on his wall trying to figure out what it does when it ends up opening and closing his neighbor's garage door on top of her own car? Mayb esomething like that: a garage door opener in some far-off star system. When the PCs push the hieroglyphs, the door smashes down on the aliens' starcruiser, setting off an intergalactic war unbeknownst to them.
Voted manfred
April 23, 2007, 7:36
Heheh. Nice one! Oh, and please add it to the Red Herrings codex.

Nothing above having a little fun with the players. :)
Dragon Lord
April 23, 2007, 8:06
Glad you liked it

and you're right, it's a classic red herring, so added to the codex as suggested
Voted Scrasamax
April 23, 2007, 12:36
It's got to do something important, we can't read it, it radiates magic and beeps...

Add in a touch of trickery and watch the paranoia bloom.
Voted Cheka Man
April 23, 2007, 18:23
LOL Funny and the PCs would be bemused by it.
Voted Murometz
April 23, 2007, 19:03
hehehe, a classic red herring.

"Its important, i'm tellin' you! I just havent figured out why or how, but damn it! Its important! Look! It just beeped, for chrissakes!"
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
November 9, 2007, 9:54
I will remember this and use it once. I will only change the sound, "beep" is a little too modern for me.
November 9, 2007, 11:27
Well the tone of a bell or chime works.

Actually I would keep the beep simply because it "trigger" something in the modern player's minds. They will think this is an item of technology that has somehow found its way to the world (or high tech from an earlier age). They will confidently work with it, thinking that their modern minds will be able to figure out what it is for.

"It is a universal remote in a cool synthetic material that looks like granite, but what is it for?"
Voted Peppe Pepis
August 18, 2009, 12:34
Funny! Same kind of situation as with those locked, unbreakable, fake doors attached onto walls...
Even funnier, GMs might put something actually controlled with it might in the most absurd place, many adventures after, where the PCs would never expect it!
Voted Silveressa
January 10, 2011, 1:35

Endless fun, especially in a steam punk setting. I can imagine a huckster selling this as a device that grants bodily control over goblins or some such. (Especially if he has a trained goblin or halfling dressed as a goblin to help with the ruse.)

Voted Ramhir
January 12, 2011, 14:34

Oh, neat! I'm going to have to put this in my campaign and give it to the players!

Voted axlerowes
April 4, 2013, 12:08
Nice one.....wish I'd thought of it year ago.

Link Backs

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds


       By: Murometz

Coinlake sits perched between two sheer cliffs in the Stigrani range, and is difficult to find, much less approach. Four miles long and two across, the water is a vibrant cyan blue. The lake's shoreline is an unassuming beach of gray pebbles, and its mean depth is seventy feet. The rare times when the sun makes its way between the cliffs and shines over the the still water, one could see clearly the lake's rock-strewn bottom.

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At night, a peculiar phenomena occurs. When the night sky is clear, the moon and stars are reflected in the lake's surface, but if one were to look at the surface from a high vantage point, the reflection does not match the firmament above!

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Legends whisper that Coinlake is not a lake at all, but a gate or nexus, to some distant alien world.

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Encounter  ( Any ) | January 31, 2016 | View | UpVote 3xp

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