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Nature's Toll - Weathering and Decay
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 02:50 PM
The Process of Dying

It is commonly believed that the hair & nails of a corpse continue to grow for a time following death; this is not exactly accurate. Death is not an event, it is more of a process, with the body actually dying in stagesdifferent areas will cease functioning at different times. It is true that the visible portion of hair & nails are formed by a slow and constant action, and that this is one of the last functions of the body to actually cease. What does occur rather, is that the skin pulls away from those somewhat more dry and rigid structures; this gives the illusion that growth continues. Another example of this effect is that the gums pull away from the teeth as they dry out and rot. This is less noticeable with the recently dead, but a more obviously decaying corpse will show this. Certainly, the teeth do not continue to grow substantially following deathespecially as decay grows more evident, as one may compare how much is visible dental anatomy in a recently deceased individual (showing hair & nail "growth"), and later on that same body as the teeth seem much longer. To assume that the teeth grow in this manner far after death is absurdthis is certainly so when they have not done so in decades while alive. To make this assumption of hair & nails continuing to a great extent post-life is nearly this illogical.

The various stages of decay are affected by temperature, moisture, and other environmental effects. The following general timeline of the process of decay:

* One hour after death the muscles totally relax. All contents of the body are now voided, leaving a foul mess.
* Three hours after death rigor mortis sets in, and the body begins to stiffen.
* After the first day the body has returned to room temperature. At this point, the skin dries and contracts making it appear as though the hair and nails have grown, or are still growing.
* Within the first day or two insects will have discovered the body. Flies will lay eggs on the corpse that will rapidly hatch into maggots (within minutes to hours, depending on the species). Preferred areas for these are those with ready access to the moist flesh, such as the eyelids, lips, and open wounds.
* After about two days, the effects of rigor mortis subside, and the flesh is again pliable. Also at this time, the internal tissues begin to decay. This softens and liquefies the internal flesh; gasses begin to build within the rotting flesh.
* Within a week, the flesh has decayed sufficiently to where the flesh feels "liquid like," and the skin easily falls off if molested.
* Within two weeks, the internal gasses build up further. This causes the stomach to distend, and can force bloody dark liquid from the corpse's orifices.
* Within a month, there are extreme signs of decay. The face is discoloured (purplish green) and the tongue extends. The torso has swollen to double its size. Hair and nails easily fall out. After this point, the body becomes "soupy."
* A body interred in the ground will completely rot away to the bones after about ten years. All of the flesh will have liquefied or turned to gas and been absorbed into the surrounding soil.


An estimation of the time of death may be made by comparing the temperature with the body's rigidity. The surrounding temperature will alter this, but a general room-temperature guideline follows:

* Warm and not stiff: death occurred less than three hours ago
* Warm and stiff: death occurred between three and eight hours ago
* Cold and stiff: death occurred between eight and thirty-six hours ago
* Cold and not stiff: death occurred more than thirty-six hours ago


Reposted from Death: The Pale Horse http://lostsouls.damnserver.com/Death.htm#process Go to Comment
Nature's Toll - Weathering and Decay
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 03:32 PM
Rust

Time gets to the best of us, and even the hardest steel is no exception.

The rate at which rust forms on any ferrous substance can range from instantly--you can watch it form before your very eyes--to the seemingly-eternal rustlessness of the famous Iron Pillar of Delhi, which has withstood corrosion for 1600 years of Indian weather. The rate at which metal decays and rusts depends on several factors: temperature, moisture, oxygen levels, chemical composition of the metal, and the electrical environment.

Temperature: Hot iron rusts faster than cold. Rusting is a chemical change, and heat speeds up the reaction just as it does for nearly all chemical changes.

Moisture: This one is fairly obvious. What is not so obvious is that humidity in the air can be even worse for the iron's health than being submerged. Water acts as a solvent to degrade the metal structure, mixing the iron with oxygen in either the air or in the water.

Oxygen levels: Without oxygen, there is no rust. Oil or grease, or a good quality paint, can help reduce the rate of rust by blocking water & air from coming into contact with the metal surface.

Chemical composition: Stainless steel is made by adding chromium & nickel. High phosphorous content iron also decays more slowly than high carbon iron. The purer the iron, the faster it can rust, but ironically iron that is very nearly completely pure decays more slowly (the rust reaction tends to catalyse around impurities).

Electrical Environment: How electricity flows through and around the metal can affect the rate of rusting. Other metal in contact with the iron, especially when surrounded by an electrolyte such as seawater, will decay first, leaving the iron unaffected. This is why placing a US penny (or other bronze or zinc coin) on a car battery reduces corrosion of the terminals--the rust forms on the coin first.

Steel, in case you didn't know, is mostly iron. It rusts. The thickness of the metal does not affect the rate of decay at all. All rust forms on the exposed surface. The interior of the iron does not rust until the metal above has decayed down to that level. This means that thick metal will survive corrosion longer than thin, and objects with a large comparative surface area, such as steel wool, will decay very rapidly. Go to Comment
Zigerot
Lifeforms  (Flora)   (Swamp)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-03-22 01:28 PM
I hope I don't cause offence at taking a crack at a re-write, and adding my ideas in the process.

The common zigerot (Zigerotis cerris) is a large, carnivorous, land-dwelling cousin to the hydrazoa. In its adult form it typically ranges from ten to sixteen feet in length at full tentacle extension. A visual mimic, this animal's exoskeleton (theca) resembles bark and a leafless oak tree. As an ambush predator, it lies in wait with its distinctive grinding mouthparts attached to the soil (which also helps anchor it in high wind) with its sensitive branch-like tentacles raised rigidly in the air, alert for any vibrations or chemical scent of prey in the air. When food is detected, the body bends back, bending the trunk so that the 'branches' touch the ground. Raising its mouth from the ground, the multi-toothed maw is brought upward & forward to engulf the prey. The short 'roots', actually feeding tentacles, try to whip and sting. The zigerot's stinging cnidocytes is not further developed from their smaller kin; though it contains a potent paralysing neurotoxin when employed against microscopic targets, it is merely a painful stinging used against large animals, similar to that of some jellyfish. When attacking, a distant observer will see what appears to be a tree turn upside down & try to smash someone with the base of its root cluster. The unfortunate victim sees only the great Sarlaccian mouth. When moving to a new hunting ground--which is an uncommon occurrence--the 'upper' tentacles, the branches, act as the means of locomotion.

The freshwater zigerot (Zigerotis lobatae) is identical to its more common cousin, save for its environment & long, spindly, drooping tentacles. These lack the fully-developed theca that helps protect Z. cerris from dehydration, and this causes gravity to pull them downward, resembling a dead willow more than a dead oak.

False coral (Zigerotis protobalanus) and rare Blanchard's Coral (Z. mesobalanus) are the less common members of genus Zigerotis. In habitat, form, structure, and lifestyle, these are more similar to the coral they mimic than their terrestrial cousins. The so-called Blancard's Coral, which is actually a type of zigerot and not coral at all, is a communal organism. Unique among the other zigerots, this species features the neotenous traits of having a hard theca and reproductive ability without the normal metamorphosis of budding & splitting. Like proper coral, Z. mesobalanus makes their homes upon the corpses of their parents and ancestors. False coral (Z. protobalanus) on the other hand, feeds in much the same way as the common terrestrial Z. cerris. The primary distinction--as with Z. lobate--is in appearance and habitat. False coral, as its name implies, has a stony pale reddish theca. It retains the cracked appearance from age, but grows in spurts while more rapidly filling in the gaps in the carapace. This causes a more spiny or thorny appearance as broader layers from new growth push the older & sharper sections outward. The greater weight of protobalanus's theca is alleviated by buoyancy, but they are no more mobile than either the common or freshwater zigerots. Z. protoblanus and mesobalanus are fully marine.

All zigerots are completely blind, lacking even the minimal vision of their tiny marine ancestors. They are as long-lived however, and have been known to haunt an area for many decades, perhaps centuries. They also retain the impressive regenerative capabilities, but due to their much greater size the apparent effect of healing seems slow.

All forms of zigerots reproduce by budding--again, common to other hydrazoa--but in a destructive manner. On the rare occasions that two meet--any two of the same species, as they are monoecious as well as semelparous--they intertwine their 'upper' tentacles with the dangerous mouths kept far apart, all while Barry White plays in the background. After mutual fertilisation the pair separates, and new buds grow on each parent. These lack the protective theca shell, and emerge from the parent mouth-first. These buds quickly grow, and take nutrients from the parent's body at a lethal rate. Within two weeks the buds have drained the progenitor dry, leaving only a lifeless husk. The parent's shell then breaks apart under the weight of its children--killing some in the fall as they lack a protective coating at this point. Some juveniles may form colonies in the location, but most species separate after birth. The protective theca forms after the first week or two following separation/birth, but does not resemble tree bark for much of the first year. As the zigerots do not molt, the shell cracks as the body expands, and it is the process of breaking down over time that gives the naturally light bluish skin the darker shade of wood. Most juvenile zigerots do not survive this crucial first year. Go to Comment
Zigerot
Lifeforms  (Flora)   (Swamp)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-03-22 01:32 PM
I just couldn't wrap my brain around 'Dwarves think trees are of evil alignment' to add in the Legend Busters. Most of that is the 'evil alignment' part that I haven't had to deal with in a roleplaying game in many many moons. Deal with evil, certainly, but not alignments.. Go to Comment
30 Peasants
NPCs  (Extras)   (Agricultural)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 04:25 PM
28--Deal-Maker
This guy isn't necessarily greedy or shady, but he comes across that way. He just can't resist deal-making. He'll sell his only plough ox if the price is right--and will suggest such if given half a chance. He'll buy or trade whatever trinkets & souvenirs the pc's have if he thinks he's getting a good deal, whether he has any use for them or not, or even if he has no chance of ever convincing someone else to buy or trade them.

29--Miss Eyes-on-the-Sky
She is a daydreamer. She longs to be taken far away from this dump by some handsome prince. However, the pc's aren't ever going to match up to her vision of a proper suitor. She fantasises about travelling the big wide world, so much so that she spills what she's pouring, or trips over obstacles in her path. However, that same native intelligence that causes her mind to wander also causes her to realise that the world is a big and scary place outside of her quiet little mountain town, and she knows she would miss her friends & family too much--even her stupid brother.

30--Not My Grandma
This is an elderly lady--very elderly. Time has twisted her face and body into a cruel parody of what it once was. No one in the village claims any kinship to her, even though it is likely that many of them are her kin. She seems to spend her days shambling about, napping in odd places, and mumbling to herself. No one takes care of her, and most people try to ignore her as much as possible. Her speech is as twisted as her visage, and no one understands a word she says. Maybe she doesn't understand herself. Go to Comment
Host of Battle
Society/ Organizations  (Travelers)   (World Wide)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-30 01:37 PM
Cheka Man: They are nomadic enough. Why couldn't they sail away to the seas of Acqua? Use them with my blessings.

Valadar: The RTS feeling is intentional, and I'm glad that didn't get lost completely. They were originally created for use with the Combat Efficiency guidelines (mass combat rules), and intended to blur the boundaries between a nation, army, and ethnicity. You wouldn't believe how many hours I've agonised over linguistic issues with them--even whether to spell 'Gobbley' with one 'B' or two...

MoonHunter: Midianite Trolls are very varied (lots of random rolls) & generally come in large, medium, & small sizes. They are also separated into different ethnicities: Black, Cave, Ice, Rock, & Mountain Trolls, with the Host of Battle as an arguable sixth group. Go to Comment
Capt. Corrine 'Rings' d'Albertine
NPCs  (Minor)   (Travelers)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 02:26 PM
Plausible backstory? Check. Graphic description, both physical and social? Check. Distinctive character colour? Check. No eye-rolling moments reading the write-up? Check. Motivation independent of the pc's? Check. Good potential for interaction with the pc's? Check. Distinctive and memorable? Check. Go to Comment
Kristoff's Kerchiefs
Items  (Home/ Personal)   (Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 02:17 PM
One can never get too many items like this: useful for everyday (non-adventuring) life. This is something that I can easily see a mage creating as part of the setting, rather than just for a combat bonus. I thought the background was a bit much to develop what is essentially a cotton-wool blend, though.

I like the anti-munchkin destructive effect. That's a good touch. Go to Comment
RGP M-10
Items  (Other)   (Non-Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 02:00 PM
Jane's couldn't have done it better.

Most Real World technical descriptions aren't going to cover developmental problems, either. Dangerous bugs & shady backroom deals are almost a given in weapon development.

I like this thing. It's cute. It's tiny. I want one painted to look like a Sanrio character. I know my S.O. will let me have one if it's marketed as a Hello Tankbot. Go to Comment
RGP M-10
Items  (Other)   (Non-Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-28 06:03 PM
I love the technical write-ups. It's like porn for a techno-geek. Go to Comment
The Prophecies of Aeriolaineus the Sage
Items  (Books and Scrolls)   (Non-Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-25 05:17 PM
Originally from Eat your heart out, Nostradamus by Scrasamax
"Every single prophecy ever written will come true, likely exactly as it is written. And chances are, these events will be centered around the characters and the current day. This really clashes with prophecies from the real world as they are wrapped in symbolic imagry and most never actually happen, or are so vague that the events listed could have already happened a dozen times over."


You know you want to do this. Fake prophecy plus cliche plus player-characters equals profit (or prophet...). Since the prophecies are intentionally vague, they can easily seem to fit the pc's perfectly. Most players won't ever see this one coming. Go to Comment
Sports
Systems  (Societal/ Cultural)   (General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-13 08:00 PM
One of Midian's fans created an Orck variant of football, played with a short sword. Rules are kept simple, and the team captain has the option to challenge the referee to a duel over a disputed ruling. I can post the rules on request.

As part of the Immersive Game World, certain players are trying to start various sporting competitions in different cities.

An Orck sport, Deathblade, has been imported into Formour & Byzant. Efforts are currently underway to start a league with teams from various cities, but the violence inherent in the sport is not viewed favourably by Formourians.

  • 11 players on the field at a time, out of a total team of 30.
  • One player has the shortsword.
  • None of the players wear armour.
  • Six points are awarded for getting the sword across the opponent's goal line.
  • The field is 100 yards by 30 yards, with an additional 10 yards beyond each goal line.
  • The game starts with both teams lined up five yards apart in the center fo the field. Play begins when the swordsman on the advancing team shouts "Heik!" which is Gobbley for "run" or "go."
  • The sword may be handed to another player, but if it is lost, or the swordsman falls, play ends. Play begins again when the teams again realign at the point where the sword or swordsman dropped.
  • The advancing team retains posession of the sword until they either score, or fail to score for four plays. At that point, the opposing team gains posession and now becomes the advancing team. The sword can be taken by the opposing team, which then becomes the advancing team, if they gain posession of the sword before it touches the ground.
  • There are three referees who have the authority to halt the game when they see fit. A referee calls "halt" and all movement or hostilities must cease. The interrupted play is then redone once the referees allow. The referees can impose pentalties on the teams, such as a loss of yardage, or ejecting a player from the team. The referees may be armed and armoured as they see fit. If the team's Captain or another referee disagrees with the call, a trial by combat may take place during the half-time intermediate period or at the end of the game. If the referee loses the trial by combat, the disputed call is undone, but not the secondary results of that call. If the referee wins against the Captian, he gets to select a player of his choice from the disputing team as his slave, effective immediately. Referees who dispute another referee's call do not win any additional reward. Slain referees and Captains are traditionally eaten by the winning team.
  • An hourglass is used to determine how long the game lasts. Once the initial hour lapses, there is an intermediate period to allow both teams to rest, patch wounds, and substitute players. After the intermediate period--which lasts from about 10 to 20 minutes, as determined by the referees--the second half of the game is played, again for an hour. The hourglass is only stopped when the sand runs out at half-time or the end of the game. Anything that delays the game still counts toward that time.


Beyond this, nearly anything goes. The referees only enforce the few rules, and generally let the teams slaughter each other.


Formourians are fond of jousts, and hold tournaments similar to those of our world, but with melee competitions far less common, and the loser of a match is not obligated to surrender horses or armour.

Children across Midian have their own games, with tag, hide-and-seek, and jumping rope being the most common & nearly universal. In urban areas of Formour they have a variation of a teeter-totter, consisting of a plank of wood thrown across a half-log. This sits low on the ground, and is stood upon.

Dancing is popular in Formour--ballroom type in the north & "shake ya booty" more in the south. Dancing is especially popular in all Gothic areas, with dance clubs being a popular way to spend one's evening.

Heldanns are fond of wrestling, and foot racing of all varieties.

Killians are great swimmers, but do not generally do so competitively, aside from informally by youths. Adult Killian hold unarmed martial arts competitions. Some of these attract competitors from around the world. Go to Comment
Magic of the Kiln
Systems  (Mystical)   (General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-26 02:42 PM
I had to tag this one as a favourites. There is indeed a real gem of an idea or three there; I just can't yet bring it into focus. Need to let brain percolate... Go to Comment
The Acibus Foundry
Society/ Organizations  (Technical)   (Local)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-30 01:52 PM
Is this a Wal-Mart parody?

I like the vivid description, I can almost hear the pumping steam in the pipes. Go to Comment
New Takes on Classic Magic Items
Items  (Equipment Listing)   (Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-30 07:25 PM
Powerful Staff

Through long tradition, the warrior-magi of Kalent do not use the spellbooks common to wizardly students of other lands. Instead, they carve their magical glyphs into the wood of their walking sticks & staves. Staves are common equipment for the elderly, lame, shepherds, and travellers. Such staves are often decorated with carvings, or with things tied to them, but only the Powerful Staves held by the Kalenti warrior-magi are bound with powerful magics.

Traditionally made from dark wood, the Powerful Staff may be straight or twisted, and the core stick is chosen as much for its artistic merits as its strength. Small protrusions are typically left uncut, so that fetishes, medicine bags, sacred feathers, or mystic weavings can be more easily tied to it.

Smooth patches--natural or sanded--are used for the mage's carvings. Some of these are magical in nature. In fact, most of these hold some hidden power. These carvings can include runic spells that imbue the magic of the staff, Some of them are Talisman Memory Marks, encoding important events and memories personal to the mage. The bulk of these mystic glyphs however, are the mage's spells. In these twisting and winding carvings is the sum total of the personal knowledge of spellcraft of the owning mage.

Though the primary function of the Powerful Staff is as a mnemonic reminder & pseudo-spellbook, the staff is also used for defence. The Kalent warrior-magi are well-versed in the art of stick-fighting, and employ sorcerous augmentations to that art. The staff is enchanted to be light and fast, yet strong and unyielding. This imparts greater skill at blocking blows or delivering them. In addition, the Powerful Staff can strike ghostly or immaterial opponents. In this capacity, even a non-magic owner of one of these staves can find employment as a hunter of Demons, ghosts, or witches.

To ease the burden of spellcasting, many--perhaps most--warrior-magi inscribe spells into their staves in a form that allows ready delivery. With only a few words, a finger gracefully tracing one of the many symbols, and a quick thrust of the staff, the contained magics are brought forth. These magics may be used to curse, to slay, to trap, or to trick. Nearly any spell known by the warrior-mage can be encoded as a mystic enhancement of the staff's power. Anyone that is taught the proper name of that glyph--or can decode it through their own sorcerous talents--can use these embedded spells.

All of these functions are useful, and any one of them would make the Powerful Staves great and powerful artefacts. But there is more. As the staff has power over the unseen Entities, these can be beaten into submission and forced to serve inside the staff itself. This greatly enhances the mage's power, and adds to the fear and respect due them. Whether (somewhat) willing or trapped and enslaved, the imprisoned Entity's power may be used at a whim by the wielder.

As a last act of defiance, a mage who has been all but beaten by an opponent may use the imprisoned Entity for one final strike. This explosive blast uses up all of the enchantments to the staff, all of the encoded spells, all of the Entity's might, every last talisman tied to the staff, everything that is the sum total of the warrior-magi's art is destructively released at once. All this magic is released by breaking the staff over the knee. The Entity helps overcome the normal strengthening magics, preferring oblivion over servitude or defeat. The mage, indeed everything nearby, is destroyed in the blast. Even the greatest Demon is not immune. The only thing that remains from the final strike is a smoking crater, its glow dimming rapidly, fading into memory. Go to Comment
Court Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-28 08:01 PM
Rules for dealing with people other than at the end of a sword... it's unheard of in a roleplaying game.

It's food for thought, well written, and forces pc's to be polite to people they would otherwise easily fireball without hesitation. I like. Go to Comment
Location Commodities
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-07-11 07:45 PM
I have found that if you always refer to an item or substance by its regional appellation then the players catch on pretty quickly. It doesn't take too much for them to become snobs about such things, and only want swords from Toledo or horses from Arabia.

Something else that I have had fun with is to do mini adverts for stuff. This is a great way to make a product less generic, more memorable, and a better fit with the game world. For example, one local brand of tobacco (exclusive to the Scientius region of the Darkmouth Emirate in the Byzant Empire) is sold under the brand name Smoked Prophets. The packaging features a rolled cigarette made into a stern face smoking a smaller cigarette. One of the slogans is, "They're Sacrelicious!" Go to Comment
Cyberwear
Items  (Clothes)   (Non-Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-24 05:58 PM
Sigh.

I want this. I need this.

Most of the pieces are already in place. We just need someone clever to put it all together, and make the components play nice. Of course, there is the inevitable societal response, such as worrying about someone surfing for pr0n while driving.

One fun way to flesh this out further could be with various models. These could be different designs by the same manufacturer with different options & greater or lesser capabilities, or different models by multiple manufacturers. Thus we could have the Apple iCoat versus the Dell Flexiwear versus the HP JB-3100 versus the Sony WearStation versus the open-source version created by Google that runs Clothesbuntu as its OS. Go to Comment
Cats
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-01-25 06:16 PM
That really makes cats seem different, without actually making them any different at all. Go to Comment
The Necronautilus
Items  (Transports)   (Magical)
Kinslayer's comment on 2008-05-30 05:18 PM
Zombie whales rule. The bit about reanimating those it consumes isn't an angle I would have considered. Go to Comment
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