Near the end of many a heroic venture or quest a brave band of adventurers upon return will find it necessary to seek out a sage, a wisened person, looking for the answer to a riddle, to decipher a map, or to unlock a geas or curse placed on one of their own. The strangest of quests, those touched by the madness of the fae, the eldritch influence of the outsiders and abominations, and those tainted by the hellish realms, are best met by the mysterious sage known only as Mugwort.
A reference guide to the major physical features and settlements of County Siogal.
Herin are a number of ways your magic item might come into being, apart from something you order from your local wizard.
The two of them peered down at Erath menacingly through the trees. He rested his palm on the jeweled hilt of his sword, ready to cut one of them down the moment they touched the ground. With any luck, he could swing quickly enough not to find a dagger in his spleen. What he wasn’t expecting was the sharp, discordant noise behind him. Whipping around, it was a third creature, gripping a violin in its spindly, sinister hands. Sweat still beading down his forehead, Erath looked down to the poorly scrawled sign at its feet, reading: “Will pley 4 gold.”
"Maps are a human thing. They like to make simplified models in which things are labelled, placed on grids and details are glossed over. I assume it is because their minds are spatial and not mathematical. Things to the human mind are defined by there relation to other things. That is why they need two points to draw straight line, whatever that is. Sincerely, though I don't understand the utility of it, but I don't fight it. The Captain says go to grid space 10-K, and I can discern what he means."
-Lagrimal-0201020101, Chief Navigational Program for the FTO freighter Mtuzanizibar.
"I've been tethered to the side of a spaceship, nothing but a thin layer of carbon fabric between my nuts and the vacc, and I've looked up from the panel or whatever is broken and seen all those stars. It use to make me feel small, but not anymore. Cause after a few runs between those stars, it changes. It will change for you. You will realize that the closer you get to those stars the smaller everything gets. You know what I saying? Ain't that many goldilocks worlds, but there are tons of little rocks circling fainter stars. And almost every little rock has a little petty king scraping out a living and fighting with another little king."
- Buck Leftyork, FTO Mission Engineer
Interstellar warfare is logarithmic. The plan for the attack begins by considering questions of hundreds of billions of kilometers. How will we get people and equipment from all over the galaxy to orbit the star of the planet we intend to take? Those logistical threads can get tied into knots that are literally light years long. Then once we have our force in star system it becomes a question of millions of kilometers. How do we get to this planet safely and quietly? Then we have to make the landing, thousands of kilometers. Next there is a question of defending the LZ: hundred of kilometers. Once the air support is dealt with and the artillery is neutralized, we’ve got to reach the objective. Then finally there is the soldiers’ combat. That is when the scale collapses quickly. A fight we started light years away can end because we had to cross two meters of open field or because a piece of shrapnel was a millimeter too close.
-Awl-70000891, Captain, Dynastic Army
An item to aid those who seek to be hidden in the shadows...
"I fear, dear Marius, that either you or I have been led astray. The Legends of which you spoke claimed Showgull was a land of great Magick, perhaps even the very Wellspring of the first Magick, with a People whose blood runs with æthereal power. You know how serious I take my work, Marius: is this a jest to you? These are a barbarous People, who know little Writing and fewer Manners. They are hostile to the very Idea learned Magick. That anyone should call this a Nexus of magickal power is risible. No wonder so many Kingdoms have been eager to trade off this Place in their treaties."
- the wizard Abelard Selanius, Esq., letter to his colleague Marius Dubesque
The Enigma - the 'unbreakable' German WWII cipher that has become an icon of cryptography and mystery. Learn how it works and why it is a great cipher for role-playing games.
The magical instruments that created the world, long since scattered. Fortunate is the player who finds them, and great is the band that can make them sing again.
Possession is never as simple as you may think....
Look up! Look Waaaay up!
Mind control abilities have always been avoided or very poorly executed due to their extremely powerful/angering nature so here are some tips on how to use it properly to enhance your game.
Thirty naval officers to sail the seven seas, salty sea dogs all. Some are explorers, some are traders, and others are out on missons of conquest.
"Seriously, how many books does he have?"
"I keep my sanity tied to my hip with very thin thread. Somedays when I am pushing through the throngs of people all staring at tiny screens in their heads or in their hands I start feel that thread slipping. On those days I know that my only salvation is docked at the spaceport. My savior is not some luxury liner or high speed transport filled with perfectly balanced environments and a history of 'punctuality'. This man's spaceport messiah is more often than not a century old craft whose airlock is caked with the mud of a hundred worlds, with a computer programed in a dead language and a captain that makes his living looking for the slimmest trade margins in the most distant stars. When I sign on to the crew of such a craft I feel my thread of sanity tighten. I know that when we break through that blue ceiling we will be passing the soul crushing civilized worlds and heading for the fainter stars."
-J. Mitchell Overnantuck, Unlicensed Jump Drive Navigator
100 Word Piece of Sci-fi Minutia
The Gold Standard
Whenever there is conflict or disease you will find medical men and women trying to heal the sick and the maimed. Most are perfectly good people, but by no means not all of them. Whilst many live to serve and do their best for those who they treat, a minority will harm or even kill them, accidentally or otherwise.
These rare, fist-sized spiders do not make webs, but rather excrete secretions which harden upon contact with air. These "droppings" resemble barley-sized spider eggs, or even lustrous pearls, once the slime coating them, dries up. In fact, dried Pearl Spider "drops" are indistinguishable from the marine varieties produced by mollusks, and hence of identical value on the open market!
Several centuries ago, they were studied by naturalists, and several observations were made. Firstly, was that these spiders "lay" these pearls for no apparent or discernible "natural" reason, and secondly, the naturalists had discovered that the more these spiders ate or were fed--and they were true omnivores--the larger the spider pearls came out.
A cottage industry began. Enterprising merchants hunted and collected these creatures across the lands, erecting spider-farms for the manufacture of Spider Pearls. It wasn't long before someone got the idea to force-feed the spiders, ala foie gras geese, and soon, the fattened spiders began pooping out pearls of great size! (relatively speaking). The regular pearl market came to disarray, and prices and value fluctuated wildly.
[b]Plothook[/b] The Mermen Mercantile Alliance hires the party to eradicate all terrestrial Pearl Spider Farms!