Content of the article: "Advice or Idea wanted: Best way to give the party a means of long distance communication"
My players have finally returned to the surface world, after nearly three years of adventuring in a vast underground penal colony of caves and tunnels, many miles below the surface. They are beginning to explore a foreign land, controlled by a bureaucracy that was responsible for exiling the PCs (and thousands of others) to the underground penal colony in the first place, all for petty crimes and misdemeanours.
Having just unexpectedly defeated the invading forces of this bureaucracy, which attacked the make-shift administration of the embattled exiles as retaliation for assassinating the bureaucracy's leader towards the end of the last campaign, the PCs have been asked by the recognised leader of the exiles to carry out recon and see what's going on up on the surface.
Just before the PCs left the underworld for the surface, the exiles' leader, with the PCs present, received an emissary of supposedly the daughter of the assassinated emperor, more or less asking for a truce. After her father was slain, the royal vizier assumed command of the bureaucracy, and was responsible for the ultimately doomed invasion of the penal colony underground.
Now that the vizier is dead, the emperor's daughter, who claims to be the rightful heir, also claims to be very different from her tyrannical father, and wants to broker peace with the exiles, with a view to allowing them to return to the surface and live the rest of their lives in peace under the light of the sun once more.
Perhaps inevitably, all is not right up here. A deadly pestilence is sweeping the nation, unchecked by traditional medicine or magical curing alike. Elsewhere, reports of mass uprising of the undead is causing havoc, overrunning the second city, and most ominously of all, an as-yet unidentified (by the players) third 'plague' is ravaging another part of the nation. Between the three plagues, thousands of lives are being lost.
The daughter has asked that the exiles help her put an end to the calamity, as well as support her ascension (powerful factions exist who much prefer her younger brother, who it can be said, isn't a million miles away from King Joffrey in GoT, in that he's 13, and has his father's tyrannical disposition). The reward: a royal pardon for every exile and a dedicated nation of their own, on the surface, to call their home.
Right, that's the premise explained. The campaign therefore has the party exploring the surface, discovering what's going on, trying to end the plagues and also, discovering who or what may be behind them. What I don't want for the players to have to do, is spend a lot of redundant time travelling hundreds of miles back and forth across the nation, and the singular entrance to the penal colony underground.
Charged with reporting back to the exiles' leader, the PCs are going to have to share their discoveries and take subsequent instruction as to their leaders' wishes. The exiles' leader is keen to follow up on the offer to have everyone returned (with a a royal pardon) to the surface. Of course, the players may decide otherwise, or back the younger brother (or perhaps, someone else entirely), but in any event, they will need a means of fairly regular discourse with their adopted leader throughout much the campaign.
So – what's the best way of enabling remote communication? I'm aware there are certain spells (the party has access to 9th level spells at this stage), but there must be a more novel and fun way of replicating a mobile/cell phone here! I'm looking for ideas and suggestions, whether it's a magical item, or some other device. And while we're at it, what's the best way to get it to the party so the PCs don't have to traipse back to get it? (Yes, I should've considered this earlier!)
Many thanks 🙂
TL;DR What's the best, funnest, most novel and coolest way for the PCs communicate with someone who is many miles underground, thus negating the need for endless back and forth travel?
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