A number of resonance stones were created by a talented wizard for the purpose of communication with his pupils. Each stone is tuned to the same astral wavelength, which they all simultaneously broadcast and receive on. Whenever a stone resonates from soundwaves or any other kind of energywave, including astral, the other stones will resonate at that wavelength. (They send and receive using a common wavelength, like 2 way radios, but the wavelengths which they resonate at is variable, like a speaker.)
USING THE STONES
The stones have many uses. Users may vocally speak through the rocks, (They must speak loudly enough for the rock to resonate, however.) Users may send thoughts, images, and emotions. Even energy can be sent and received through the resonance stones. However, the signal strength is devided by the number of active stones and also dissapates with distance. Because the stones broadcast/receive on the same wavelength, simultaneous broadcast via more than one stone at a time is impossible because the signals will mesh and clash, becoming incomprehendable. The stones were tuned to a wavelength which biological beings are unable to use. Liken the stones’ wavelength to a microwave signal when everyone else can only communicate with radiowaves. Because of this, the possability of communications being intercepted is virtually nonexistent. Because the stones function by resonating, they will not work effectively if used in close quarters, a double-resonance effect will occur similiar to feedback when a microphone is placed too closely to a speaker. If two stones come in close proximity and anything causes one of them to resonate, a feedback loop will occur which will destroy the stones, possibly causing great damage.
A drawback and benefit of the stones is that when they are in use, they can function as homing beacons. Any stoneholder can quickly calculate the radial distance from any other active stone. Two radius combined will overlap at two points, three radius will give exact coordinates because all three will share one point in common. (Refer to diagram for visual aid.) The wizard enchanted special holding pouches for the stones. When placed in a holding pouch, a stone will temporarily loose it’s resonance properties. It will become astrally undetectable and neither broadcast nor receive.
The players wil come into possession of a stone by aquiring it as victory spoils from a party of thugs/bandits. The bandits sternly approach the party and make the following demand. “hand it over.” - if the party asks what, the bandits will insist the players know what they are talking about. (They mistakenly believe the party possesses a stone) Upon examination of the stone aquired from the bandits, the player will sense some strange, indiscernable magic from the stone. The high tuning is unique. (Stones don’t have to be tuned to their user) But the player won’t know that, and won’t be able to do so anyway. The funny part is when the player carrying the stone begins to hear voices coming from it, or receives thoughts, images, or emotions through it. The other players and any NPCs will think this to be quite insane!! Let the communications stop whenever the player hands the stone to another player. Have some fun toying with them. For further impact, give the player an actual stone (and or pouch) to hold onto during the course of this adventure. Also make them act out their usage of the stone. - When the players all catch on, establish a dialogue with the other stone holders and have them communicate their plight (Either the wizard, a student, or a number of students have been attacked and releived of their stones.) Their conditions are unknown. The surviving stoneholders will want to know all that they can about how the stone came into the party’s possession, who did they aquire it from, and where.
BUT!! How do the players know these voices can be trusted? Hmm? What if the stone is just sentient and is messing with the players minds? What if the students aren’t students, but other thugs who will attack the players? Don’t make it easy on the players, indulge the mistique and danger of trusting the different voices coming from the stone.
The students are all novices. They are not powerful enough to take on any real challenges and will request the aid of the player party.
The original enemy who aquired the first stone or a new enemy who aquired it from the first has taken an interest in aquiring more stones and wants to collect the whole set! Because of this, communication will be infrequent, and it will be difficult for the players and other stoneholders to meet up. The evil party will be numerous enough to convincingly claim rightful ownership of the stones and attempt to discredit the students as liars and theives.
The good and the bad take action
The students will convene at a location only they are familiar with and then try to meet up with the player party and offer their true version of events. They will inform the player party to use the stone infrequently and move often to prevent an encounter with the enemy. (of course the enemy want the party to use the stone as often as possible so they can get a fix on their position.)
-If the player party trusts the enemy, they will attempt to get the party to meet them in a secluded area. If party agrees, they will close in on location, meet, give their story of events explaining how the students are corrupt men who killed them and stole their stones. They will then ask the players to kindly surrender the stone. If players hesitate or dissagree, the enemy party will inform them they must now surrender their lives, as they attack.
-If players distrust the enemy, events will unfold pretty much the same, because they already have a fix on the party’s location and have closed in on it. They will simply use a more hostile approach to procure the stones and student arrival will be delayed.
At GM’s discretion, the students can show up early in this encounter and argue their right to the stone and their own story. The enemies will attack the students and ask the assistance of the players.
Students can be made to show up to assist the players as soon as conflict with the enemy party breaks out.
Or the students will show up shortly after the enemy party leaves, to argue their position and seek assistance. If any players have been injured, the students will invoke the healing arts to the best of their ability.
-Locate and resque (if appropriate) all who have been attacked. If two enemy parties are used, then only the second party will be able to lead the players to the first party who will know the fate of the first victim. Because of this, it will be necessary to use some degree of diplomacy as well as keep a few alive for interrogation.
*For added difficulty, the GM may modify the size of the enemy party and split it up into multiple groups whom will each have a stone. Once the first encounter with the baddies is resolved, the other factions can optionally be dealt with and apprehended if needed. (Perhaps one of the factions has a hostage but players don’t know which one, or only one of the factions knows the fate/whereabout of the NPCs in trouble.) Also consider altering the nature of the scenario/mission(s).
NPCs do not know the function of the holding pouches, so their attempts at hiding will be somewhat miserable. Especially if they threw away the holding pouch. (unlikely, because it’s magic, but this can be used as a plot device if others fail.)
Depending on GM generosity, players are rewarded with a stone that works on the same frequency as the wizard uses, and or, with a set of stones that function on an independant frequency. The wizard will not reveal how he enchants the stones because he doesn’t want resonance stones to see wide use or be employed by the powers of corruption.
To make things interesting, the players can only be rewarded with their own set of resonance stones if they succeed in resquing the wizard. (only HE can create them.)
If party expresses disinterest in the stones, the wizard & surviving students will reward with other miscellanious magical trinkets.
Various basic plotlines and ideas covering the fates of captured stoneholders. Use what you like best and embellish.
What can happen to student/wizard?
-sold for slavery, kept as slave, en route to be sold
-interrogated concerning use of items found on person
-They can be kept for whatever reason and then escape.
+After escape, they may be apprehended, or forgotten.
-Severely beatten and left for dead or dying
Possible detainment and transport measures.
Can be on feet, tied to tree, set on pack animal, cart, wagon, stationary in a cave or building, courtyard, or prison.
It is easy to develop variants of the basic plotline provided in this scenario. Simply change the parties involved, what they are after, the nature of their plight, etc., I’ve included the following for you.
-One of the students, or the teacher, is attacked. Their stone is removed from the pouch by enemies who strip them of their possessions. When this happens, the stone broadcasts nearby conversations. By listening in, the other stoneholders are made aware of their companion’s plight. When stoneholders / party closes in on position of stone, they find that is has been sold or given away. They must interrogate the buyer for the whereabouts of the seller. They will be given enough information to begin tracking efforts.
-The players aquire a stone, and hear strange voices emanating from it. However, the stoneholders are not in peril, and they don’t ask for help. They are corrupt individuals united for a dark cause that they will inadvertently reveal while speaking through the stones. The party will be tipped off about a conspiracy and have the option of taking action to stop it. However, they will have a difficult time trying to get anyone to believe that putting a rock to their ear is going to validate their conspiracy theory. The only help they will get if they try to involve other NPCs is psychiatric help. - So the party must gather evidence to garner support, or stop the conspiracy themselves.
-The enemy party knows all about the stones and is directed by one whom is familiar with the wizard. (A current or ex pupil with bad motivations.) The enemy party will be a much more powerful adversary if familiar with the wizard, the students, and the operation of the stones. Perhaps an old rival of the wizard?
*Note how easily the stones can be used as a plot device for future scenarios. Here are a few I’ve sketched out.
Stoned Plots (Extra plots based on the stones)
-Have players encounter an outerplanar beast who cannot stand the high frequency of the stones. Whenever stones are used in its viscinity, it experiences extreme pain much like a dog’s ears can be hurt with a dogwhistle. This beast may believe the players are using the stones to hurt or endanger him. The best time for the players to encounter this being is when they are frequently using the stones in a separate adventure. Also, if the players become to reliant upon the stones. The being will not be hostile unless met with hostility or his demands ignored. It will demand the players not use the stones until they are a good 50 or 100 miles distant. Another great time to manifest this beast would be if an enemy captures a player and removes the stone from the pouch. The enraged beast will manifest itself to kick some major butt. Clever players might get the idea of passing the stone to others whom they would mark for execution. After the enraged beast has went on a few killing sprees, it will try to hide the stone or put it someplace that the players won’t be able to retrieve it. (bottom of a lake, etc.) The beast cannot take the stone into his plane, so it must dispose of it in the prime plane.
-The holding pouches begin to rapidly deteriorate. The enchantment upon the pouch has a detrimental effect upon the leather, which cracks and falls apart unless frequently oiled. The wizard and his pupils forgot to mention this. If a player doesn’t care for his/her pouch, it will be broken within 7 days. The enchantment upon the pouch is common magic, but will require the expensive services of an enchanter. If an NPC relieves the players of a pouch and stone, this will ensure that after a time, tracking measures will be made available.
-If an NPC witnesses the players speaking to stones, the NPC may alert authorities that a band of armed, insane people is freely roaming the territory. This can lead to a lot of different problems for the party. Another, allbeit harmless and humorous encounter would be for the players to encounter a sane or insane NPC who will humor them and pick up a nearby rock and speak into it. An insane character may believe that the players are of an evil nature and fight or flee the area.
-An old rival or ex pupil of the wizard may recognize a holding pouch, (They are covered in runes). This person may wish to attack the players out of spite or to get at the stone because of its value or in order to hunt down the wizard. Locals may also recognize the holding pouches and may falsely believe the players to be pupils of the wizard. They may introduce them to another plot or ask for magical services.
There are many possabilities for plotlines based on the resonance stones and the holding pouches. Be creative, have fun. If you develop any great ideas, please send them to me, I’d love to include them here. I would eventually like to develop this scenario into a full campaign.