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Tungsten-Trousered Troubadors of Trilaxa
NPCs  (Minor)   (Artistic/Performance)
Kassil's comment on 2007-07-09 06:27 PM
PAX-42235 - AKA "Blink"

Every band needs a keyboard player, and the TTTs are no exception to this rukle - although like everything else this mad band does, they do it in their own freakishly flamboyant style. In this case, the keyboard player is the keyboard itself - a mechanical intelligence very distantly descended from a runaway series of Von Neumann machines. Given how poorly most of their attempts at interacting with the organic races have tended to turn out - being shot at, worshiped, or treated as dangerous rogue 'drones' by any number of races - the entire PAX line is considered utterly insane by Blink's own people, since they're the ambassadors to the rest of the universe. Somewhere along the way the already-insane machine took a liking to heavy metal music, and then joined up with the TTTs without so much as a by-your-leave. They put up with him at first because he's got all the talents you could want in a roadie, with mechanical strength, perfect timing, and a built-in ability to make even the balkiest old gear work right after some tuning - and then when they found out he could play, well, that was just a bonus.

The Look
Blink certainly looks the part for being in the TTTs - his formerly space-battered hull has been recoated tungsten, silver, and gold, interspersed with the strobing lights that give him his Gal-Standard name. Floating off the ground on an antigravity drive, bristling with booms that have everything from amps (the better to keep the band's sound on the move in a fight), pickups (likewise), lasers (special effects and weapons in one, what more could a battle band ask for?), and other more exotic gear, Blink looks more like a piece of equipment than a musician - but don't tell him that, because you're likely to get a keyboard solo burned in your face by a laser. And if it needs to be obvious... Well, he can always fit half a dozen prehensile limbs and wail on a regular keyboard with the rest of the band.

The Music
Blink has, amid the massive onboard gear, a full set of synthesizers. He tends to rely on this fairly heavily, keeping the keyboard line going even in the middle of the heaviest fight. And being free from certain... Failings of purely organic life, he can keep up with every member of the band at once in a mind-twistingly complex dance of synthesized notes. That he can keep this up on the regular keyboards when he's restricted to using six prehensile limbs rather than his onboard suite just helps keep his place when other keyboarders try to oust him - not that this stops any of them. If anything, Thorin apparently gets a real kick out of watching the wildest keyboarders get their butts whipped at keyboarding and slink off with a laser hole through their boards.

The Weapons
Blink has, primarily, a set of lasers supported on various booms sweeping around it, each one capable of cycling from microwave to high UV frequncies. Most of the time it just uses them for the special effects pyrotechnics it specializes in, carving a wild, precise ionized pattern in the sky to the music. Of course, in the middle of a fight, those same lasers can focus a lot of power on whoever Blink thinks would look good with sheet music burned into them... Go to Comment
Tungsten-Trousered Troubadors of Trilaxa
NPCs  (Minor)   (Artistic/Performance)
Kassil's comment on 2007-12-27 03:53 PM
I admit fondness for 'em - but then I included a Scroll submission, so that's probably obvious.

The idea of a battle band amuses me to no end. Go to Comment
Clochardshire Shambler
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (City/ Ruin)
Kassil's comment on 2008-01-03 02:36 AM
I really like this piece; it's well-designed, and is an undead creature that isn't a threat at all; a thing to be pitied, rather than feared, which makes a nice change of pace from the usual moaning hordes that shamble and shuffle along, seeking to slaughter those foolish enough to get in their way. Go to Comment
On the Construction of Swords
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kassil's comment on 2007-12-26 12:55 PM
If you really want to use glass, you're best off using it for things like arrowheads you don't worry about retrieving. Even tempered glass can be amazingly fragile and prone to fracturing along weird stress points. Go to Comment
A Cookbook of Gods!
Society/ Organizations  (Religious)   (World Wide)
Kassil's comment on 2008-01-11 07:12 AM
This entire scroll is dreadfully amusing, although I think my favorite may well be Quillipump, since he occasionally seems to drop by and harass me.

Also, bump. Go to Comment
Mandible Silvio
NPCs  (Campaign)   (Mystical)
Kassil's comment on 2008-01-07 07:18 AM
Maybe because it still feels incomplete? The part about killing the parents, the kid killing everyone, and then him leaving the staff feels somehow... Forced, rather badly.

I agree with Manfred's questions and comments, as well.

Further, why did he decide to build a hub? What are these powers he built a focus for? Is he a basically good guy, a conflicted mass of neuroses, or distilled evil given form? What does he think of his parentage? What does he want from life?

There's potential here, but it still needs work to draw it out and make it exist. Go to Comment
Chocobo Ring
Items  (Jewelry)   (Magical)
Kassil's comment on 2007-12-28 10:48 AM
To chime in on the above, being familiar with the games in question, this is just a bit too much of a mass-derivative work. Chocobos, KH, various and sundry references and acquisitions and intermixtures - I'd advise trying to rework it to be a bit less 'rabid otaku' and if you're going to use material published by others, give credit about it. Not everyone has played the games in question.

The effects are also a bit much on the side of 'This is God in a Box'. Instant amplification of magical ability to epic levels, but if you abuse it (and the descriptor is such that you leave it wide open to interpretation of what might be abuse or not) ZOT, you're dead.

Also, one formatting nitpick: please ditch the multiple exclamation points. Go to Comment
Abligurion
Items  (Other)   (Non-Magical)
Kassil's comment on 2007-12-28 03:10 AM
Quite interesting - although, as mentioned above, I'd almost expect a coin of improbable purity like this - the only one ever minted, and given a ludicrous amount of attention - to pick up unusual capabilities just by virture of scarcity and attention.

Weird things related to precious metals or money, likely. Maybe gold coins brought near it, if impure, begin shedding 'dust' as the impurities are worked out by the massive icon's aura of influence. It'd take a while for any coin to become reasonably purer, but I could picture it being made into a service offered by the Cache - storing amounts of gold coin or gold bars in the vicinity of the thing for a set period for a feee, that they'll be purer when reclaimed.

Or perhaps the priests of the Demon/God of Greed want it as a sacrifice to their master, or as a focal component to summon their master into the mortal world.

Perhaps some aspiring alchemist thinks the final key to turning lead into gold involves using it as a crucial component - sympathetic magic, essentially - and wants to steal it for such a purpose. Go to Comment
Undead Economy
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kassil's comment on 2008-02-12 04:29 PM
Depending on the physical strength available to the skeleton, it could be treated with preservatives to hold the moisture in, covered in some kind of padding, or even have the bones sheathed in some kind of clay-like substance to absorb impacts. Might be a bit of a shock for people not familiar with the practice - what at first appears to be, say, a golem of clay is actually an undead skeleton. Might also be a surprise if there's a more conventional-looking undead thing, the party priest tries to drive it off, and instead the "golems" shamble away... Go to Comment
Tohm Bones
NPCs  (Minor)   (Mystical)
Kassil's comment on 2008-10-22 08:47 PM
This is absolutely awesome; while I had a similar character turn up in a story once, this is by far the better production of it; Astrolith was nowhere near as interesting or as potentially complex as this fellow is. I could see him becoming a kind of strange sage over long periods of time, wandering across the world long after the civilization has fallen, helping people out in the dark times and perhaps a popular kind of figure in the civilizations that follow.

I'm picturing a sort of thing where a family of refugees are huddled in a small cave or stuck in a tree to escape some menace - an angry bear, an ogre, some bandits - when this skeleton looms from the darkness... Then smacks the troublemakers around, or casts some spells to drive them off, and accompanies the family to the nearest true settlement. With the youngsters, by the end of the trip, calling him something like 'Unca Skellington'. Go to Comment
The Shrew-Haters
Plots  (Mystical)   (Mini-Campaign)
Kassil's comment on 2008-02-14 04:29 AM
Only voted Go to Comment
Kassil's comment on 2008-11-07 07:45 AM
This is a novel and focused rendition of nonfluent aphasia, I think. Quite amusing as a concept, although I could see it afflicting each villager to a different degree based on how involved they were in the burning of the hag; one person might stammer and sputter a dozen syllables in response to someone's name being 'Tom', while another might only make it 'Twthmr' or something.

Vowels for Wales. Yes, they could definitely use some of those. Their language is so very bemusing... Go to Comment
The Bound Ones
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Forest/ Jungle)
Kassil's comment on 2006-12-21 12:50 AM
Only voted Go to Comment
The Nightmares
Lifeforms  (Third Kingdom)   (Any)
Kassil's comment on 2006-12-21 12:42 AM
Only voted Go to Comment
Worlds and Planets
Locations  (World)   (Any)
Kassil's comment on 2008-01-25 05:06 AM
107) Grehom

In a fringe system on the outermost edge of the frontier, this world is one of the quirks that the universe seems to include to keep sapient lifeforms on their toes; the star is a dull red dwarf, just bright enough that a 'habitable zone' exists around it - if there were any planets occupying it in a normal fashion. Alas, the only world in this system occupies this wonderful area for two brief moments each cycle around the primary - once on the way in to swoop hazardously close, and then again on the way back out into the cold outer reaches of the otherwise empty system.

The planet is about twice Terran mass, with a positively ludicrous amount of water - or, more often, ice, such that only a handful of genuine landmasses break the surface year-round. The orbit is nightmarishly elliptical, to the point that the original explorers were convinced that they were merely witnessing a lost rogue planet passing by the star. Internal heat keeps the atmosphere from freezing out during the lengthy winter where the world swoops out to mark the edge of the system, and it is by this virtue alone that life has actually come to dwell on this world. Home to all manner of strange creatures, adapted to the long, deepl bitter winters and the short, brutally hot summers, Grehom is a world of such exotic biochemistry that many races have sent scouts here simply to examine the biosphere.

Unfortunately, these scouts quickly learn why the planet is rated as an 'Omega Black' system - a living hell-world. What plants there are either bloom massively during the summer season, transforming the burgeoning oceans and lands into improbably jungles over a short span, then leaving behind frozen nutrients and seeds of the next generation during the long winter, or they grow around the perpetual vents of volcanic energy that crack the planet's crust. The herbivores who feed from these are either swift to breed, feeding on the ever-growing volcanic plantlife, or ice-burrowing titans that slowly chew across the icescape, harvesting frozen plant matter as they go.

The predatory races make up roughly two-thirds of the biosphere, with the lowest-grade preying exclusively on the herbivores and breeding wildly to stay ahead of their hunters, while each gradient above that is a fantastic depiction of evolution in action, with changes that would take millennia on other worlds being crammed into only a few cycles, a complex, rapidly-shifting web of hunter and hunted. Beasts that can chew through hardened starship armor, or with corrosive organic acids potent enough to dissolve a careless explorer before he can scream, or any of a hundred thousand other streamlined ways to kill and feed await those foolish enough to come here for whatever reason.

And yet, even here, sapience has come to arise. Settled firmly in the middle of the food chain, and bearing a rather startling resemblance to the dragons of Terran legend, the native intelligence of this freakish world might be considered crude and primitive - but then, when every day of one's life is a struggle for survival against incredible odds, it leaves little room for social and technological development. Capable of exhaling a gaseous organic compound that ignites in the air, and with wings that rely as much on the potent magnetic field of the planet as the bitterly cold air, the 'dragons' of Grehom would be the ultimate predators of any other world - cunning, vicious, and concerned only with themselves and the rest of their extended family/pack/tribe, they still live in steady fear of the creatures more perfectly specialized than they.

Of course, one can never tell what might happen if a clutch of eggs were taken offworld and brought to hatch, safely away from the terrors of the seemingly eternal winter night... But that would require surviving long enough to get the eggs and escape off the world in the first place, and thus far only a few ships have managed to land and depart before being torn apart by the indigenous life.

Plot Hooks

Stranded - The traditional story; a ship, damaged somehow, has to land to make repairs for some reason, or crashes and needs to be fixed before it can go aloft again. The hitch is that the ship is comparatively warm, and it's deep winter; everything is on the prowl, and the monsters of Grehom's winter make the beasts of other worlds seem as placid as goldfish. Perhaps, if the crew can communicate with the 'dragons' before a hungry clan sets upon them, they might survive long enough to repair the ship.

Biogold - A world as deadly as this is profit waiting to be plucked by biological prospectors. Nearly every living thing is a perfect weapon, if only it can be captured and genetweaked to be domesticated and controlled. Then again, you have to survive the process yourself before you can cash that paycheck...

Uplift - Some well-meaning soul has discovered the sapience of the natives, and wants to give them a fair chance in the galaxy. The group has been dispatched to capture as many 'dragons' as possible, or at least enough clutches of eggs to establish a breeding colony on a more hospitable world. Of course, when the eggs start to hatch midway back, and you have a hold full of hungry, terrifyingly clever predators, even the most altruistic and empathic of souls might start considering dumping the hold into space...

Hunter - One of the native creatures of Grehom has been successfully captured and imported to another world as a zoo exhibit. Unfortunately, something went wrong and now a fantastically adaptable predator is on the loose on a more civlized world. Worse, it may have been female, and pregnant - either with live young, or eggs ready to be laid... Go to Comment
Worlds and Planets
Locations  (World)   (Any)
Kassil's comment on 2008-12-29 07:31 PM
Not really. You have to be willing to either land and hope to escape or be willing to lose the drop pods for good if you send criminals, and you can never tell when the world is going to cast up another sapient race that can try puzzling out how to get off-world. Given the local biosphere, would /you/ want natives out exploring the galaxy? Go to Comment
Worlds and Planets
Locations  (World)   (Any)
Kassil's comment on 2008-01-28 02:53 PM
Perhaps someday. Grehom is a nasty place. Go to Comment
Worlds and Planets
Locations  (World)   (Any)
Kassil's comment on 2009-07-27 09:21 PM
The biggest problem with the 'oil mantle' theory of Mister Gold is that there are biological markers in most oil that indicate where and when it originated; moreover, none of the tests to 'prove' his theories have panned out. He has essentially proven himself to be a petroleum geology crackpot, in the same field as the students of orgone energy.

That said, there are a plentitude of organic compounds in space; entire massive 'ice clouds' exist whose spectrographic signature suggests that they are composed of alcohol, for example. It is /possible/ that such complex compounds could have collected in large enough quanitity that a forming world might trap and bake them to form complex hydrocarbon compounds in large amounts. Highly unlikely, but possible.

My question is, if the atmosphere has no oxygen, how does fire flare up at all? It's an oxidization process, and without the oxygen there won't be fire at all. Go to Comment
Mirichromite
Items  (Materials)   (Non-Magical)
Kassil's comment on 2008-11-11 10:49 PM
Having had this brought to my attention, I have to say I like it. I could see it being in use for people in important positions, to determine if someone is trying to work a mental charm on them.

Could it be tasked to a specific type of magic? Go to Comment
Mirichromite
Items  (Materials)   (Non-Magical)
Kassil's comment on 2008-11-12 11:26 PM
This is a notion that quite intrigues me.

If said alloys could be created, I imagine that you would have rulers with the traditional magical protections in place, as well as an alloyed form of this as jewelry that reacts to magics that work to influence or control the ruler's mind. Priestly types might have relics that react to 'holy' or 'unholy' magic. Or, if you're a specialzed kind of spellcaster, you might have something that doesn't react to your own form of magic, warning you of other potential hazards in the area.

Quite an intriguing item, and definitely with plenty of potential. Go to Comment
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