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Emerald Pen
What Dall-e thinks the emerald pen looks like.

The Emerald Pen is a wondrous item from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons that lets you can the illusory script spell:

You write on parchment, paper, or some other suitable writing material and imbue it with a potent illusion that lasts for the duration.

To you and any creatures you designate when you cast the spell, the writing appears normal, written in your hand, and conveys whatever meaning you intended when you wrote the text. To all others, the writing appears as if it were written in an unknown or magical script that is unintelligible. Alternatively, you can cause the writing to appear to be an entirely different message, written in a different hand and language, though the language must be one you know.

Should the spell be dispelled, the original script and the illusion both disappear.

A creature with truesight can read the hidden message.

D&D 5e Basic Rules p. 252

Using the Pen in a Campaign

Ok, so how do we use the emerald pen in a campaign?  I think the easiest way is to put it in the hands of one of your Villains. The Queendom is at war.  Someone on the queen’s war counsel is a traitor, and the players need to figure out who.  The players begin to interview the council members.

If they are sharp eyed, the notice the emerald pen on the desk of one of the counselors.  Perhaps a quick-witted wizard notices it and is able to unravel its secrets.  Maybe a quick-handed thief takes it because it’s shiny, without realizing it’s a clue. 

Armed with the knowledge that someone may be using magic of the emerald pen to encrypt their messages, the party keeps an eye out for the messenger.   Hiding in the brush outside the castle, they see a shadowy figure slip out of a secret passage. They have to make the choice: do they capture the messenger know, or follow them to their contact?  After arguing furtively, they choose to attack now. They were tasked with finding the traitor, and they can’t afford to lose this piece of evidence.

The messenger was tougher than they expected.   In the end they were able to subdue him.  A quick casting of detect magic reveals the illusion.  The note is still unreadable though.  Will that really be enough evidence to out the traitorous counselor?  Maybe they can find a friend with truesight to read it for them, or summon a friend?  Or maybe they rouse the messenger and see what he knows.

What’s Next for the Emerald Pen

After solving the case of the traitorous counsellor, the party is left with this beautiful emerald pen.  What good is it to them though?  Now that they have the backing of the queen and her court, they have powerful allies they can send to for assistance.  Maybe the rogue has a criminal contact that would be best messaged via furtive means.  They could get supplies, soldiers, or an introduction to another noble.  They’ll have to be careful though.  Sooner or later, they’ll be up against foes who have the ability to see through the illusions…


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