10 Votes


Hits: 3427
Comments: 12
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.55
Condition: Normal
ID: 3848


April 6, 2015, 5:41 am

Vote Hall of Honour
Cheka Man

You must be a member to use HoH votes.
Author Status


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.

Additional Ideas (0)

Please register to add an idea. It only takes a moment.

Join Now!!

Gain the ability to:
Vote and add your ideas to submissions.
Upvote and give XP to useful comments.
Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities.
Join a Guild in the forums or complete a Quest and level-up your experience.
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

Corpse Herders

       By: Murometz

The Jiangsi was the name of an undead being in Chinese folklore and mythology. Usually translated as zombie or vampire for Western palates, the Jiangsi was really neither. They appeared as simply risen, fresh corpses. They moved (peculiarly!) by hopping rather than walking, and sought out the living to suck the Qilife force from their victims.

Perhaps significantly more interesting than the Jiangsi itself, was the lore surrounding them. "Zombie wranglers", or "Corpse Herders", usually Daoist priests, were men tasked with delivering these undead beings back to their respective home towns. Tradition in China placed great importance and emphasis on the return of the dead to their homes and families, and thus the corpse herders came to be. By using magick words and talismans they would animate the dead, and by placing specially inscribed parchments of paper over the Jiangsi heads and faces, the corpse herders would be able to control the hopping corpses. Then like pied pipers, they would lead processions of subdued undead, across many miles, rhythmically chanting and ringing tiny bells.

Special inns were built across China to house these undead caravans, as the zombies could only travel by evening and night, the sun anathema to them. Rows of doors opening to barely a closet-space, lined the walls of these special establishments. Behind these doors, the corpses would be stored upright while the corpse herders rested in rooms.

The Jiangsi under the control of a corpse herder were quite harmless, merely hopping after him, silently and without complaint, for weeks and months. If however, the magicked parchment would somehow be removed from their faces, the creatures would immediately seek living humans to kill. Their thirst for Qi was unquenchable.

The job of a corpse herder was an interesting one to say the least.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | December 2, 2015 | View | UpVote 4xp

Creative Commons License
Individual submissions, unless otherwise noted by the author, are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
and requires a link back to the original.

We would love it if you left a comment when you use an idea!
Powered by Lockmor 4.1 with Codeigniter | Copyright © 2013 Strolen's Citadel
A Role Player's Creative Workshop.
Read. Post. Play.
Optimized for anything except IE.