During a long and bitter winter many moons ago, there came a light in the northern sky. There also was a scream, but few now remember. And as the sky split in the darkness, men cowered. On the morn, at the outskirt of the basin, a large pool had formed. The new pool could be seen to be made of the darkest volcanic glass, and none could explain the almost aethereal quality of the cool crystal clear water which now resided in this darkened goblet. none would try, and the liquid defied identification. It was only when the arrogant young alchemist Crossus fell in the pool while trying to collect a sample that the properties of the water were understood. For ten days and ten nights, Crossus fell into a deep trance, and when he awoke, he talked of gods and angels. Since then, it is known that the water allows communion with the divine plane. It is whispered that on that fateful night, the godess Thella, of truth and justice, came down from the heavens to give man a true vision of the divine. since then, Crossus has entered Thella's order of the just, and lives his life in accordance to her will.
This has become a most important holy sites for the small order of Thella, and is also possibly one of the least favorite geysers to drink from... Go to Comment
I like the sense of sadness of the creature, and the backstory is really cool too. I'd love to run into this thing as a PC, and befriend it enough so that it comes with the party. In fact I *really* like the sense of sadness for the creature. And the fact that you made it dangerous only to those who arbour ill will. I also Like the flow of the sub. Go to Comment
I dont think we need to go to so much trouble for enchantments:
1 take bar of steel
2 magnetise using electric coils/other magnet (you get the idea)
3 permanent magnet
1 take normal sword
2 enchant using acrane ritual
3 sword with dangerous, life taking field around it.
First example is a verifiable physical process which produces a permanent effect, second one is a magical process which produces a permanent effect.
We could also consider the halflives of various radioactive compounds. 28000 years is a long time for a sword to become half as effective as when it was originally created in the magical forge.
So an enchantment could be a sort of irradiation process or magnetisation process. In one case, the magical effects would gradually weaken, but for human timescales, they would seem eternal. Magic could affect an until-now unheard-of fundamental particle, which would decay and release magical energy. Go to Comment
Since the oraki are not restricted by a biological heritage, data rot wouldn't necessarily occur: You could do error correction across cells, which biologicals can't do with DNA. Somewhat like a RAID 1 across all cells.
Although in practise, it would be more like comparing a checksum or crypto hash. (The right function should get collisions down to once in the lifetime of the universe range, and special algorithm can be stronger against closely related data: for example changes due to mutations rather than completely different data (such as different orakis.)
Cells would check another's checksum before interacting, and would refuse to interact if they don't match. This way, two cells have to agree on their respective instructions before they cooperate, immediately isolating cellular difference.
In effect, the correct instructions would also act as a key.
Only by knocking this process out in several cells at the same time could a tumour cluster develop.
(I wonder if this is possible to do biologically with actual DNA?)
Parasitic nanites and cancer might occur (due to external factors). But the body would probably have specialised cells that only compare checksum and devour invalid cells. (obviously, they could check each other also.) The cells that dish out the "nutrient" could also do this before distribution, immediately starving cancer cells and tumours. So I would have imagined the lifetime to be indefinite.
Of course, Siren, as creator you have god like power to give them whatever lifespan you want. I'm just surprised that they aren't technically immortal, is all. Go to Comment
Regarding the essential evil/good of dragons, I wanted to leave that to the GM, since I know that some settings have inherently evil dragons (eg coloured dragons in D&D), while others have a different view.
I think that you are right: it would be as harder moral choice if the dragon was perceived as evil in the general mind. This however does not mean that the dragons have to actually be evil, just that the general populace find her (or dragons in general) evil. I am personally of the view that all sentient being should have a choice, including in the game world. If I was running this I would probably make Bellissa in the moral "grey zone", making the choice more difficult by not tainting the dragonlings with evil (in which case they might just slaughter them without guilt), but making sure that the adventurers know of "wrong" moral choices by their mother.
I really like the idea about her power protecting the adventurer's children as long as they protect hers! it makes sense and is much neater than granting them anything beyond the already existing loot. Although it might not work for all parties...
Certainly the hatchlings bring problems of their own, which is why this can really be approached as a stepping stone to other adventures. I especially like the idea of the heros having to look everywhere for instruction as to how to care for a baby dragon, making them run around to find draco-nannies if you wish. I also imagine that a nice loot will only compensate the added trouble that the hatchling cause, rather than be a true reward. Go to Comment
Actually I was thinking of adding some kind of human acolyte initially. Eventually they were cut out simply because I could not see why Bellissa would let her kids go with the un-prepared adventurers if the acolyte was already well versed in dragon lore and customs. But having them walk in at the wrong moment, it would be really interesting to see how the players react. Lots and lots of potential for trouble!
The order would also be a fantastic addition to the world where this initially happens. They could provide guidance, help, and tips when found. Or, they could be a constant thorn to the PCs, believing them unworthy and self interested, and unsuitable to care for dragonlings... I like that a lot actually. The order adds the depth that makes it fit into the gameworld.
ooh! sounds good... I like the way the PCs are forced into a conflict they have nothing to do with at first, and the antagonism with the commanders of their new "platoon" if they are conscripted. It could be the basis for an entire campaign, with the tavern scene the very first time the players get to know each other... I want more! It sounds very promising... Go to Comment
Really good idea. I especially like the use of the fungus in investigation, as well as the origin tale. Fantastic curse! The Basilik (23rd) legion sounds like it could be a sub on its own, as well as the Necrannen Brethren. 5/5
Moon, your idea is cool: a death throe garden... suitable warning for any enboldened adventurer. Go to Comment
I strongly disagree that this type of institution has to be used in a mostly modern setting. Fear is a basic human emotion, and its affect on people has not changed within the last few thousands of years. Crucifiction, public drawing/quartering, beheadings... are all a form of terrorism on your own populace. And since time immemorial have all been used to harness power.
However, fear comes in many different flavors, and this institution simply takes the subtle approach at conquering the will of the 'common man'. They simply promote ideas that create fear, rather than terrorizing the people themselves
The fact that they sell their services is, in my opinion, secondary to the way they achieve success. I can definitely see this working in roman times, or even before that in Egypt.
Look at all the example of their work: Christian persecution in roman and egyptian times, The inquisition, Witch hunts in America, antisemitism in nazi germany. The list is practically endless and carries on today.
The internet references are clearly set in this day and age, however, recruitment procedures have always happened too. Freemasons, for example (not the conspiracy theory guys, but the real order) have a history of recruiting members, if not secretly, then at least quietly.
Pulp can deal with it by using an evil maniac (instead of a Depresso-Ray, the maniac uses the institue), while fantasy games a demon, and western games a corrupt governor. Technophobia is the fear of technology, but often, fear comes from anything new and mis-understood. New ideas, new people, new religion, etc... And all can be used to take control by the unscrupulous, and ironically enough, 'new' ideas are not a 'new' phenomenon! Go to Comment
Barnaby's Cigarillos of opening
These short, thin pencil sized cigars, more akin to thin cigarettes, are thin enough to be inserted into most keyholes. Their dark ebony color and incredible strength and flexibility should be a give away as to their magical nature. However, this in itself is often rarely noted when one is casually lit in the streets. They are sold in a simple metal cigar case with a small latch and spring opening (more on that later...).
When lit, the cigars will vibrate madly. This makes for a particularly unpleasant smoking, jarring and shaking teeth and jaw, but the true purpose of these cigars is criminal in nature. By vibrating so strongly and noiselessly, they can and will unlock most common locks. In fact, better quality Barnaby's will vibrate through a very wide range of frequencies, sometimes hitting just the right note and shaking a lock apart. CLearly, to lockpick successfully, some sort of tension is needed on the tumbler, which is often provided by using the specially designed case spring, which can be used as a tension wrench.
As an aside, they are of mediocre quality in terms of flavor.
Bartholomew's cigars of fair trade
These rather thick and stubby cigars are always smoked after the signature of an important contract. Both parties will usually share the first few puffs and then, they will each in turn press the burning tip against their copies of the agreement. This should burn the paper, but doesn't. Instead, the burnmarks left are quite special.
In fact, the burn marks are utterly random, but when two marks are shown one on top of the other, they always form a distinctive pattern, which is unique to the cigar. This pattern is in fact printed on the silk band wrapped around each cigar, and is often given to an official to keep a record of the deal struck.
This allows a verifiable link between two contracts, making forgery of the contract impossible without access to the silk band and the two copies.
Otherwise, they make quite pleasant smoking indeed... Go to Comment
A really good random encounter or quest. Truckloads of potential for play!
Regarding the Coral, the island plants could concievably excrete a highly acidic substance (eg: every night, due to lack of sunlight, the trees respire normally and give of acidic co2) to dissolve the coral. This would then also mean that the animals and people wanting to stay here would have to sleep in the trees, otherwise their feet would be attacked by the acidity of the water. This in turn would also mean that every morning, every pond on the island would be filled with dead fishes (fishes would naturaly come to such an island every day, and only a handful, trapped in the roots and seaweed, would die during the secretion, the others swimming away), allowing the ecosystem to exist.
The weather and temperature would also have a significant effect on the island's size, shape and buyoancy, perhaps having some seriously weird effect in heavy seas...
(aside: in "The life of Pi" by Yann Martel, chapter 92, such an island is described quite vividly... ISBN:1 84195 392 x) Go to Comment