As the party walks through town, they hear a commotion: lots of angry call-and-response yelling and…singing? If they choose to investigate, they find a large crowd of angry bards gathered outside a magic shop.
The bards are cursing the store loudly, aggressively strumming lutes, and waving banners over their heads. The banners say things like “The only lyre here is you!” and “make more music, not more money!”
“It’s quite sad,” an old woman says, standing a safe distance from the edge of the mob. “In all my years, I’ve never seen an entire industry like this threatened so suddenly. All those poor bards…”
If the party pushes their way into the crowd and starts to ask around, they learn that this gathered mob is actually an official organization called Bardic Retainers United in Harmony (B.R.U.H.). According to the frustrated protestors, the group is dedicated to preserving the musical arts and protecting its practitioners from corporate greed.
“That wizard in there already makes so much money selling enchanted baubles. Why does he need to come after us now?” One of the bards asks before blowing angrily on his brass horn.
“Honestly, I think something fishy is going on,” another bard comments, putting down his “Boomboxes are Doomboxes” sign for a moment. “Can you imagine? A box that can produce music whenever you want? That’s got to be some dark magic, and it’s going to put us all out of work if we don’t do something about it.”
Suddenly, the wizard himself appears on the balcony above his storefront. He is greeted by a chorus of boos and jeers, even needing to counterspell a few weak attempts at Vicious Mockery from the masses. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the wizard appears totally unfazed by his haters. He smooths out his elegant and expensive robes before clearing his throat and projecting it, magically, over the congregation.
“Members of B.R.U.H.!” he exclaims, smiling confidently, “Do you realize what you are protesting? Accept it: you are the selfish ones here! I am simply using my patented boomboxes to share the beauty of music with the masses. That is a noble pursuit!”
“All you’re trying to pursue is a bigger fortune!” a man interrupts from the crowd, backed by a chorus of support.
“You’re putting bards out on the street!” shouts another.
The wizard shakes his head sadly. “It appears that you are too blinded by your own stubbornness to accept that these are changing times. My boomboxes are the future. Adapt or be destroyed.”
At this moment, some city guards push into the crowd, ordering the bards to part and create a safe pathway to the front door of the shop. Trying their best to ignore the angry roar of the protestors, interested customers, excited to buy a boombox, race into the shop.
“Yes, that’s it. Come right on in and see my marvelous boomboxes for yourselves,” the wizard says proudly. “I’ll be down with you momentarily.”
The wizard takes his leave and disappears from the balcony; the protestors return to their general picketing and impromptu performances.
At this point, the party can join the steady stream of customers and enter the shop. Two city guards stand as sentries beside the door; if your party has a bard in their midst, the guards will eye them suspiciously and might require a low-DC persuasion check before allowing them inside.
Music On Demand
The store is filled with many wondrous and enchanted items: cloaks hanging on hooks, spell tomes lining shelves, and bottles that glow and swirl with multicolored light. However, the customers are primarily gathered at a single table in the center of the shop where 10-20 “boomboxes” are stacked.
The wizard who runs the shop appears behind the counter, entering from a curtained area that says “employees only.” He proudly struts over to the table and happily answers questions from his eager customers.
“Simply turn the dial here,” he says, demonstrating, “to indicate your desired mood. Then, flip this switch at the top to start the music. Every so often, make sure you allow it a chance to rest—-er—-recharge. The internal mechanisms of the boombox are quite advanced and delicate, infused with some of my finest arcane magic. Remember to keep everything inside properly lubricated in order to maintain your device.”
The wizard holds a small purple bottle aloft, uncorks it, and pours its contents carefully into the contraption. After a moment, a soothing melody begins to fill the room. The customers gasp in awe at the wonders of this device.
Have the party roll a perception check with a high DC. If they succeed, they smell the faint aroma of a floral liquor.
A boombox costs 5 gold. “An expensive investment upfront” the wizard admits, but it will grant a lifetime of musical pleasure in the comfort of your own home. Those copper and silver pieces you toss into musicians’ hats really do add up over time, you know. You won’t need to throw away money like that ever again!”
The party can choose to purchase a box if they would like to investigate it more carefully. Shaking a box will cause the wizard to be very upset, warning them that “if they break it, they buy it” and that any damage done to the box won’t be covered by the warranty.
If the party does break open a boombox, they will find an empty box with only piles of small lavish pillows and, if detected, traces of fey magic. In actuality, inside each box is a satyr, reduced in size through magic, playing instruments and drinking the wine poured in as lubrication. If the satyr is about the be revealed, however, it will either teleport back to the fey realm or turn invisible in an effort to remain undetected.
For a more complete investigation, the party can try to sneak into the back of the shop behind the “employees only” curtain. Doing so requires a distraction of some sort. The party can return outside and get the protestors riled up or cause some sort of disturbance among the customers inside the shop.
The Grand Fey-nale
Creeping into the back storeroom, the party immediately takes cover behind various crates and shelves that are filled with empty boomboxes and piles of silky pillows. In the distance, the party observes two of the wizard’s “employees”: dryads. The two fey are laughing and sharing a drink with a very small satyr sitting on the edge of the table.
“Bottoms up!” the satyr says, his voice in an awkwardly high pitch because of his reduced size. They each chug one of the small purple bottles of liquor, hiccupping and burping happily.
Just then, the wizard is heard laughing cheerfully from the main salesroom: “let me grab a few more boomboxes from the back. I’m flattered by this demand, folks. Truly! We will satisfy all your orders.”
The party should take cover or hide somewhere (if they have not done so already). Otherwise, they will be caught and confronted by the storeowner.
The wizard comes into the room and tell the satyr to hurry up and climb into his box. The tiny fey takes another swig of the purple bottle, picks up his tiny pipes, and climbs into the box as instructed, lounging on its comfortable pillowed interior.
“How long until we attack, boss?” the satyr asks, slurring his speech.
“Just a few more days. Then, once everyone in the town is charmed or put to sleep by your songs, we fey can easily take control of this city and make it ours.”
At this point, the wizard gets suspicious and makes an attempt to detect your party.
If the party is caught, the battle begins.
The wizard (stat block above) and the dryads will fight. The little satyr, feeling very uneasy in his reduced size and drunken state, will take cover in the boombox or try to teleport away.
If the wizard is defeated before the dryads, the dryads will see that their leader has fallen and attempt to flee back to the fey wild, abandoning their plans.
Saving the town from the fey wizard’s plot causes much rejoicing among the members of B.R.U.H. The city guards leave their posts at the shop and go door-to-door, recalling the dangerous boomboxes and offering full refunds.
The guild president steps forward and specifically shake hands with each member of the party, telling them that they have not only saved the bards but the entire town as well. He says that, strangely enough, the union has also been working on ways to make music more accessible (“without mischievous fey, of course,” he adds), although the process is still in the research/development stage. When they do smooth out the wrinkles, however, they will make sure that all bards receive fair and just compensation for their musical creations. As a token of thanks, he will offer the party a prototype of the Stone of Reserved Reverie.
This item functions like a modified Ioun Stone of Reserve. However, instead of storing 3 levels worth of spells, it stores 3 songs. Once these songs have been used, the Stone of Reserved Reverie breaks. The union president asks the party to choose 3 of the following songs. He then takes 24 hours to get the recordings completed/stored by members of B.R.U.H. before handing the song-filled stone back to the party. Here are the options. Note that “the range” is any creature that can hear the song playing from the stone. The stone is activated as an action.
- Lullaby-Puts all creatures within range to sleep for 1 hour or until awakened
- Dirge-Frightens all creatures within range for up to 1 minute.
- Serenade-Charms all creatures within range for up to 1 minute.
- Requiem-Inflicts -1 to attacks rolls and -15 to movement for all creatures within range for 1 minute.
- Anthem-Gives +1 to attack roles and +15 to movement for all creatures within range for 1 minute.
- Serenade-Each creature within range recovers 1d6 hit points.
The party also receives complimentary earplugs (small pieces of cork) to use along with the stone.