Encounter: The Paired Parchments
February 13, 2019
This encounter is our last online stretch goal for Hexagram #1, and will also appear in the zine.
The party disturbs a crime in a shadowed alley. The assailant, a small cloaked figure, flees after being spotted, and attempts to pursue will fail. The victim lies dead in the alley, valuables strewn about. While examining the scene the party finds among the items a scroll tube. Inside the tube is a rolled parchment. It bears writing in two different hands and colors of ink, one black and one blue:
Our plan has been discovered. Damn the Five Eyes, they truly seem to see all.
What will you do?
I am taking the artifact and the parchment and will find a ship to bear me away from this city.
If I can assist, you’ve but to speak it and it will be done.
Thank you my friend. I must be going.
Move quickly! I have discovered that the Five Eyes have sent the Brothers of the Stitched Hand after you.
As the players are reading the parchment, new words appear at the bottom, seemingly written by an unseen hand.
They have found you. Flee now!
This brief encounter introduces a new magic item, the Paired Parchments. The GM can use this encounter to begin an adventure. Let the players work out how the parchments function. Once they realize that they are communicating with someone, they can seek out the mysterious owner of the other half of the parchment pair, and hence discover what it is that the Five Eyes are willing to murder for.
Paired Parchments (Lesser Magic Item)
Requires knowledge of Lesser Magic Item Creation, Delete Writing, Duplicate Writing.
4 weeks creation time, 30 ST & $1,500 a week.
Costs $16,000 for the pair.
This magic item consists of two sheets of enchanted parchment which are mystically connected so that anything written on one parchment becomes visible on the other in blue.
Distance is not a strict limiting factor, though it has been noticed that as distance increases the writing becomes fainter, and sometimes is delayed.
The parchments contain both the Duplicate Writing and Delete Writing spell, so it is possible to “clear” a parchment by holding it and willing the writing to vanish. The characteristics and limitations of the Duplicate Writing spell apply to the parchments, so one cannot relay a magic scroll or transmit colored inks in their original colors.
If one of the parchments is burned, its twin will also go up in ashes.
It's a good idea to have some kind of phrase, symbol or sign between you and the other parchment owner in order to ensure that you are writing to them and not someone else who has obtained the parchment. Handwriting style can also offer clues as to who you are conversing with.