|"More and bloodier wars than anything else..."|
Outwardly it is a six-inch hollow cube made from expensive and highly polished wood, with silver thaumaturgic circles inlaid on each face. It has a bulk of 100gp and is light enough to float. Carved into the wood inside the circle of one face is an image of a mouth; on the opposite side a human ear.
If the ear is held up to the user’s mouth and spoken into, the mouth will become animate in the manner of a magic mouth spell and repeat the same words in the language of any one intelligent creature within a foot of the appropriate face of the cube. Communication can be achieved by passing the cube back and forth or simply by the holder turning it around to let the other party speak.
Within its confines lives a minor demon - a rutterkin, in fact - which does the work of translation. However, the rutterkin is not bound other than physically and is able to decide for itself what to say in the translation. The rutterkin is cunning and can hear (and understand) everything going on around itself, meaning that it can usually adapt to pass any translation test for reliability that is set up by a party.
Once the owner’s confidence in the translations is established, the rutterkin will bide its time until it can cause the most mayhem and the most harm it can to everyone involved.
Not a cursed item in the normal sense, the False Translator can be given away or passed around. However, an owner could decide that it is cursed and have a remove curse spell cast on it. If this is successful the demon will be freed, initially shedding darkness and then spending the next 666 minutes (11 hours, 6 minutes) on the material plane wreaking its revenge on any inhabitants it thinks it is capable of taking on. After that, the fading summoning magic which allowed it to enter the plane will send it back to the abyss.
Note that against any magic at all, the rutterkin’s 40% magic resistance operates as normal and a side effect of this is that spells, good or ill, targeting anyone actually holding it may well fail to affect them.
There is unlikely to be more than one of these items and it is likely to be found in the midst of a heap of bodies.