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El Corozonby Tristan Dunigan
While walking through the store the other night and passing the electronics department, I got inspired. They were playing the "Romancing the Stone" video to demo one of the VCR's in stock...well.........
Some Dwarven miners in Cimmaron County were out digging up the components that went into making their precious Smokepowder. One of these miners, Ortego, found something a bit more; a gleaming ruby stone about the size of his fist and shaped like a heart. Ortego slipped the stone into his coveralls and took it home with him once his shift ended. Poor Ortego and his family have had a bad run of luck lately. Their small garden had dried up due to an uncommonly rough drought, their meagre hacienda was on the verge of collapse, and just a few weeks ago, Ortego's wife, Rosita, became afflicted when the last of her Cinnabryl ran out. Ortego ran home as quickly as he could. He just knew that this stone was going to be the answer to all their problems. Upon arriving, Ortego found his wife sitting in a rocker on their porch, covered from head to toe to avoid being stared at. He recounted the story of how he had found the stone to his wife and described it to her. At first, she thought him quite mad, "Too many hours in that hole, Ortego! Its rotted what brain you had away!" Then Ortego produced the stone and handed it to his wife. When she took hold of the stone, it began to glow brilliantly, almost blinding the couple before it returned to its normal state. "Rosita!!! Look! You are cured!! Its a miracle!", Ortego screamed, and indeed, his wife was now free from affliction and the chunk of red steel that was hanging from her neck was now slightly pink again ... it had returned to its former state; Cinnabryl.
Word spread, and eventually all the Orders of the Inheritors had heard of this "El Corozon" stone and what it had done. Ortego was made many offers for the stone, but was stubborn. Then the attackers came.....almost every evening like clock-work, his hacienda would be attacked. Ortego called on his extend family, and soon the small hacienda was turned into a tiny fortress, complete with wheel-lock wielding dwarven sentries. Eventually, after seeing all the trouble the stone was causing, he relented to turn the stone over to the Order of the Ruby as soon as he could gather up a few things and travel to their Conclave.
(Here's the adventure hook) So, he's carefully began asking around to "hire" a group of body-guards to keep him safe and the stone in his pocket until he reaches the Ruby Inheritors.
Somebody has "hired the PCs to return a "brilliant red jewel" that was stolen. All they tell the PC's is that a Dwarf in Cimmaron has the stone and they will be handsomely rewarded if the stone is returned.
(This one could actually spawn a campaign if done right) A small group of Mages in Herath have gotten wind of El Corozon. They want the stone as well ... to study to determine the type of magic and to possibly become masters of the Curse. One night, the group attack Ortego's home in their spider form and actually manage to capture the stone. Then Ortego and the Order of the Ruby "hire" the PC's to follow the creatures and retrieve the stone. So the PCs end up chasing this group of elusive wizards to all the corners of the Coast.
any other scenarios you all can come up with..