This kind of goes against the trope of fantasy standard version of goblins being shrieking mobs of hero-fodder, probably too much so (goblin scholar?!). A very important question this sub doesn't answer is: are Skarsnik goblins normal goblins in this setting? If not, why?
Why does the spear have elvish writing along the handle? Why does Guznal share a last name with his tribe?
Having said that, you have an excellent style of writing. Descriptive and to the point. You have a lot of sentence fragments, though, and that hurts the readability a little.
I especially like the detachability of the dagger/staff combo. It'd be cool if the staff helped make long journeys, or the knife with skinning rabbits, just so that all three pieces could share a theme. Go to Comment
Number 1 is very important. People forget it sometimes. I think sometimes it gets conflated with number 6, and you get stories that are just self-indulgent wallows of escapism.
I think there's a contrast between writing and tabletop RPGs: shades-of-gray villains and heroes are great (and probably necessary in literature), but sometimes it's nice to have a truly despicable villain. As long as they aren't, god forbid, a cliche.
I didn't vote this as high as Unummodo. Let me explain.
There's a lot of cool, cool stuff going on here, but most of it is just a recap of what we learned in the Unummodo sub. There's a few new details (vibration, parasites, FACE-WEARING).
This sub is just the biology. They have a great propensity for evil, but do they ever get super-evil with it? Do they feel bad about the people they eat? They're smart (they learn in 4 weeks what takes us 10+ years), but do they have personalities, goals, or culture? What exactly does a face-wearing horse-sized beetle do for fun?
Anyway, I pay more attention to biology than I should, and it sort of bugs me to think about the idea that nerves are still usable after rotting for five days. If we don't have circulating, oxygenated blood, very bad things happen to our bodies. After a few minutes, our neurons break. After a few hours, pH and osmotic pressure have started rupturing all the cells, muscles lock up (broken Ca+ pumps), and bacteria blooms have already made our guts stinky.
If you want a more IRL version, you could have the parasites preserve organs instead of digesting them, and the implantation fails without them. Maybe they're really good at keeping skin alive and healthy. Instead of nerves, you could have the young bugs depend on the cadavers for skeletons, since they can't stand up without a framework to lean on (they're just tentacled grubs at this point). Heck, they can't even chew their food without a human head (they don't grow their adult pincers until later. Maybe they grow their own tentacle-muscles where the human's muscles used to be, and it takes them a long time to learn how to talk without slurring like that other face-wearing beetle in MIB. Ooh! Maybe they bond with their human skull/skin face, and think of it as THEIR face. Throwing it away when you get older would be weird. And then you'd have this creepy bug face and you probably couldn't whistle anymore! Sadness.
Come to think of it, if you really annoyed your siblings, they could rip off your face and you wouldn't be able to talk for a few days while you regrew your cranial tentacles. Couldn't even chew. Or see. Or hear. I guess it would be cool to see a PC chop off a angry villager's head (with surprisingly little blood), only to see the villager drop to their knees and go searching for it like Velma for her glasses.
Also, you've got two symbiotic organisms in here (and I guess the beetles themselves are a sort of postmortem parasite). If you want to go symbiotic/parasite-themed, you could give these guys a parasite menagerie (Is there a 30 symbiotes sub?) And maybe the ceremony where the mother gives a daughter a colony of the parasite and the mushroom could be a coming of age ceremony, like Catholic Confirmation and First Communion.
Also, also, what do the mature males do if they aren't raising a brood of nightmare-spawn? Raid tombs for arcane lore or just tromp around the desert looking for buggy love?
Also x3, I can imagine one of these working as a healer in a village. She dispenses small amounts of Nectar of Life to sick villagers, and in return, she gets fresh corpses from the hangman. And her children have to get jobs as ditch diggers. Or town watch, if they are stronger than normal humans. That'd be another fun town to go to. The guards just run away after you decapitate them, no one's been buried in the cemetery for 2 decades, and there are these WEIRD tracks around the gallows. . . Go to Comment
Sensing vibrations is pretty far from a hivemind. Could a human replicate the vibrations by hand or with an instrument? I'm picturing a scene where the PCs are interrogating the gravedigger about the missing ambassador. After enough sweat has run down the gravedigger's face, he does a quick, arrhythmic series of taps on the floor with his boot and all these creepy crawlies swarm out of the basement while the gravedigger makes a break for it.
Also, later they meet the missing ambassador weeding a turnip patch and he seems to have some sort of weird amnesia. And's he a little pale. Talks like he's drunk, too.
Men's Health tells me that I poop 200% of my body weight in a year. If the beetle is 10 times as efficient, and poops 20% of its body weight, and it weighs about 1000 lbs (mid-sized horse), then it poops about 200 lbs of poop at once.
Wow. You can grow a lot of mushrooms in that stuff. Go to Comment
Thank you! I've never actually noticed that "Add an Idea" button before.
And sure! I'm up for anything that can turn my 5am delirium into something productive. I just don't want to hijack your beetles with silly ideas. What's the best way for Strolenites to talk to each other? Chat? PMs? Message board? Brunch at a tapas place?
Deserts are the driest places on earth, so that's fair. However, I'm just thinking about the amount of biomass that grows per square mile of desert, and the total biomass that an elephant-sized beetle would need to eat in order to grow to that size. Also, larger mammals have problems dissipating heat. Most desert animals are small animals. Go to Comment
I guess it depends on the group. It's a cool idea, but to me it looks like homework. It's a complicated optimization problem. Then again, I don't like sudoku, either.
Also, an extra guest could show up. Or a different guest from what was expected, and the players could have a short time limit (1 min IRL) to seat them.
Also also, I'm imagining a combat version of this. Count Hobron's hunting lodge is under attack, and you have to place the guests in front of various windows or chokepoints. ("Knight Commander Gren is incomparable at killing goblins, but he's terrified of harpies. They remind him too much of his wife.") Go to Comment
I actually like this one more than the Red Sun one. GaMa is more of a streetfront corp, while the Red Sun is more of an ominous presence in the background . The interpersonal stories are very good too (I especially like 14 year-old Vivian Gadreel, and the sexist Caduceus) and lend themselves to plots extremely easily.
Ian Gadreel's got a good story, too, but I don't like the wolfman shtick. I'd rather have him burping up horrible little bat monsters (or birthing them Gremlins-style) and then frantically looking for a cure, and a place to hide his 'children'. Hopefully, not too many of them get out in the street.
I have mixed feeling about how you treat corps like kingdoms, with a heavy emphasis on family drama and lineages. But, I'll admit, this approach does make for more interesting stories, and the corps are much more engaging when they have a 'people history' instead of just a 'board meeting minutes history'. It works.
You entered this as fiction, but its a really good idea. The story is simple but decently written (although 'I am weak' gets said an awful lot), the ending is a little bit cheesy, and I absolutely love this imagery of a demon sitting behind skin curtains stabbing a withered heart. It's demonic possession, but of a very different sort--none of this mucking about with mind control and incorporeality.
And it brings to mind a bunch of campaign ideas. Fiction is full of things that slither up your nose and control your brain, and I see this as just a death metal extension of that same idea. It could be difficult to track down an demon like this if incorporeal possession was ruled out. And the demon could be a nasty surprise if the party came looking for a corporeal demon. Trying to rescue a guy from the imp, when he needs the imp to 'live' could probably involved deceiving the imp while he is led to some place where he can be taken out safely. Although that doesn't seem possible, if an angel can't save him.
Which brings me to my last point: the guy seems doomed. Really, fully doomed from the very first line. This might be too bleak for a lot of games, but I like this stuff. Pity this undead. Go to Comment