"The Zapper"

Arch-Diatharmancer Frilheblin Nersarith Presents the Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg

The Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed Paraenthropic Renegotiable Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg appears to be a polished, conical steel tube about five inches long, with one end being one-half inch in diameter and the other being three inches in diameter. The device is usually accompanied by a scroll written in fancy calligraphy done in very fine inks, providing the name of the device and its purported creator, the Arch-Diatharmancer. The words are written in multi-colored inks; “quasiplanar” has white stars inside of the line work of the lettering and “undulation” has orange-ish flames drawn bursting out of the word. Around the edge of this onionskin parchment is a jagged yellow border that brings attention to the scroll. This is all the scroll says and the back is blank. The tube itself doesn’t seem remarkable, but whenever a light is shone upon it, a single glint of light reflects off of it, making it appear to have a pristine shine.

Neither Arch-Diatharmancer Frilheblin Nerarith nor Southwest Quizberg exists. This item was actually invented by a gnomish illusionist by the name of Forklift Michigan, a traveling salesman of the fantastic. A retired and largely unsuccessful adventurer, Forklift started a business selling to peasants the strange trinkets he picked up on his travels. He made up crazy tales to spice up his pitches and was able to sell wolf fangs as baby dragon teeth and bog-standard orcish grunts’ swords as relics from great battles. The money fed him, but he soon ran low on junk to pawn off and peasants didn’t have much money anyway. The rich were too well informed to fall for his gnomish fast-talk, so Forklift decided to try his luck in the magic item market. Although Forklift had never actually acquired any magic items, his education insisted that he could (possibly) fabricate them. It seemed to more profitable to make non-magical items and then sell them as magic for inflated prices, but the rich tended to hire people to appraise their goods; so he needed a plan.

This is why Forklift invented the Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg, although at the time he just called it “The Zapper.” At first, all it did was place fake magical auras on ordinary items, but as the money came in and Forklift spent his money on new and better spells and techniques, he added new features to it. He was even invited into one merchant’s house as “Patron Artificer” and achieved a steady income making fake magic items. Because Forklift was careful to only to “invent” magical items with a value so foreign to what a rich patron could actually use that the only thing they ever did was keep them on display as collector’s items, his deception was never found out. His final joke, however, was selling marketing and selling “The Zapper” to his patron as the source of all his power, giving it an extra fancy name and scroll to seem official. The irony was that the Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg was indeed the source of his power. When Forklift’s patron realized that everything he had was a fake, he was furious, but Forklift had already disappeared. He retired far away from where his life as a fraud began. Some people report he now has three beautiful halfling brides and a four-story beachfront keep, but no one knows for sure.

Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg: This item’s main power is to cast Nystul’s magic aura on an object. The effect is permanent until dispelled and the aura given to the object is always strong transmutation. The disguise made by this device is more complete than the usual version of the spell, and an identify spell will reveal that the affected item is “an extremely powerful item radiating strong transmutation power” and nothing more. More powerful divinations such as legend lore and analyze dweomer reveal the item as a fraud. Unless the item which legend lore is cast upon has a magical enhancement independent of the aura, the spell will give a comprehensive history of whatever object the Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg is enhancing, but it will mention nothing of magic. The item has a command word trigger (the word is “go” in Gnomish) and the closest object in a ninety-degree arc centered on the wide end of the device is given the aura. The Hypersonic, Quasiplanar, All Purpose, Stainless Steel, Wide Mouthed, Renegotiable Paraenthropic Undulation Illuminator of Southwest Quizberg itself radiates an aura of strong transmutation to detect magic, but an identify spell reveals the item’s nature and a faint illusion aura. Other stronger divinations also detect the real aura. Arcane sight reveals that the word “thanks” in Gnomish is magically scribed on the side in an ornate script.http://www.dndarchive.com/node/353/edit
Faint illusion; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, Nystul’s magic aura; Price: 9,000 gp.

Plot Hooks:
1) The player characters get ripped off. An NPC finds the item and begins using it to create fakes. The characters think they are buying a genuine item (a belt of giant strength or similar transmutation-based item), but soon realize that they’ve been had when the item simply doesn’t work when called upon during a battle or other crisis. The player characters will then have to find the crooked salesman to get their money back.

2) The characters get greedy, and follow the tradition of Forklift in deciding that adventuring is hard and dangerous work. Instead they try to make some quick and dirty cash. Someone is eventually bound to find out what they’re up to, and this may spell trouble sufficient to put the characters on the run. After Forklift’s fraud, the rich are a bit shrewder about magic goods from unknown sources, so the chances of being caught are very high if the characters try to sell where Forklift did. A bardic knowledge or Knowledge (local) check (DC 15) will enlighten the party to rumors of fake magic items, and a success against DC 20 will provide most of Forklift’s story.