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Comments: 21
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Rating: 4.15
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ID: 668


March 19, 2007, 4:31 am

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Bugger Leaf


A small weed that rarely grows big enough. Farmers like to remove it from their soil, finding little use for it. A secluded sect of monks living in the same region thinks differently, and bases an important ritual on this plant.

The Bugger Leaf, if burned, seems to repel annoying insects, and therefore received this name. But to the farming folk, the stinging plant, that likes to grow on their fields, is annoying too.

If it has a chance to grow undisturbed (which can take a few years), it can grow up to two yards high, somewhat resembling maize (without any edible parts, though, and with hairy leaves). It is ugly, and you better cut it down before it can sting you, so much the local wisdom.

The “Elucidated Brethren of Norethel”, also “The Willingly Bound” are a monastic order. They do not indulge in secret teachings, nor do they “train for their health” to actually become super fighters. They are just isolationists that dislike where the world is going, and want to be separate and pure. And rituals and special limitations belong to it.

The Bugger Leaf, especially when fully grown, can easily irritate the skin. But if it is cut down in summer, pressed out for the juice, and it is boiled for a short while, the effect increases by a magnitude at least: If the juice is applied on skin while fresh, it itches, and starts its work. In the course of hours, it in effect dissolves the top layer of skin. While the unfortunate becomes extremely sensitive to sun, heat or cold, he is not directly harmed, and the skin can regenerate.

After a few weeks of total isolation (longer exposure to the sun could prove fatal), the adept has demonstrated his devotion and resistance, and recieved a new skin, being thus reborn into the community. After one or two accidental deaths, this test is not mandatory for new initiates.


If the skin dissolves, and the new one regrows successfuly, many old marks can vanish, smaller scars and birthmarks, wrinkles, even the face will be slightly altered, making the monk a slightly different person… while recognized by those that knew the person, they become a bit unsure… could it be a younger brother?

Note: the adepts will _not_ become younger, they will just look so, if they are lucky. Accidents in the healing period can have ugly consequences, and few are willing to undergo the whole process again. Hair, for example, looks the same way as before.

Note: with very careful treatment, the healing period could be used for the equivalent of plastic surgery. Whether this option is open is on you, a controlled regeneration is not fitting for every game world.

Note: the process could be a cure for skin cancer.

Plot Hooks

- if this works, birthmarks are not what they used to be… how to make sure about the heir of the kingdom, or a saviour of people that shall be marked by ______?

- a well known enemy has found and underwent the process, now looking familiar, but not immediately recognized. Time for revenge.

- Fashion rules! Wealthy ladies have found another means to prolong/return their beauty. The cost will be great, in money as in pains. They may be admired and loathed at once. And their rivals will search for the secret. Quest for the secret cosmetical knowledge.

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Comments ( 21 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Monument
July 28, 2005, 17:19
It's innocuous but when used with plot hooks, could prove very interesting. I like the "missing birthmark" thing. Some heir is dismissed as not having the appropriate birthmark. Could be the start of quite a few "rightful throne" adventures. ;) 4/5
Voted Dragon Lord
July 29, 2005, 9:06
Like Monument said - innocuous but has potential for some interesting scenario ideas - like it a lot - 4/5
Voted EchoMirage
July 29, 2005, 14:41
Thumbs up for the Bugger Leaf!

Hsss! Snake-men shedding their skin... hssss. Wicked...
Voted Wogden
July 29, 2005, 23:36
Clever indeed... It almost sounds like something out of Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series - especially the name. Bugger Leaf. Heehee.

Oh, the popularity this plant would have in our world. Mosquito repellent, cosmetic surgery and possible cure for skin cancer, all in one ugly little chunk of vegetation? Man oh man. I can see the pharmaceutical product range already.

"Bugger-Off": the new three-in-one homeopathic sensation! All natural! Side effects may include intense pain and dying in sunlight. Not suitable for children. May be harmful if swallowed."

And thanks for NOT making the monk fellas into crazy Shaolin karate-kicking machines. Extra points.
July 30, 2005, 1:55
Hey, Wogden, that's a decent plot mover(the pharmaceutical comment above). Admittedly, what follows is kind of stolen pretty much directly from Dune, but what the hell. So there's a specific place in the world, that, for whatever reason, is the only place some component of some generically useful magic item(potion of healing? eg) is found or grows or whatever(like the spice on Arakis(sp? forgive me, not a big dune fan). Whoever controls that area of the world can control the entire world, basically, by constricting the ability of others to make use of that component to create the necessary item.

Maybe it's something more generic than a potion of healing component, maybe it's something more basic than that, like control of fire itself, for example(or water, air(maybe like "Total Recall")). The basis for fire in the world is found in something that ONLY exists in a certain part of the world. If that "pipeline" is shut off, every fire on the planet goes out. Someone can literally control all fire in the world(a fairly basic component of "modern" life). Or air, water, etc.

Ok, sue me, it's just a really broad thought, haven't put much thought into it. ;) Feel free to run with it, though.
Voted CaptainPenguin
July 30, 2005, 2:10
It's Arrakis. You aren't a Dune fan? Heathen! ;)

Anyway, I find this item interesting, but really, it seems a touch drastic a cure, even for such dramatic results. I suppose that women have done much stranger things for beauty (to wit, injecting poison botulinum into their faces for "youthful" looks), but weeks of isolation from sunlight, and possible terrible itching and pain? Whatever.

July 30, 2005, 10:19
And this is why we are having a lifeform section in Strolen V2 so we have a information for adventurous plants and wimsical ones.
Voted Ancient Gamer
July 30, 2005, 10:55
I liked this one. Very good.

I have a comment about the Monks, in reply to Wogden's last comment:
Though Kinetic energy Shaolin Monks of DnD is a bit "powergamer's wet dream" as well as a cliche, many monks and monestaries did historically have semi-fighter roles. I am not thinking about the well known oriental monks, but more about the monasteries of western europe and the middle east which were often loaded with treasure, thus the monks had to be prepared for raiders and bandits.

DnD got monks all wrong because, in DnD, they are primarily bare feeted and fisted karate freaks, instead of celibate zealots devoted to a god. Originally monks were holy men, caretakers of religious artefacts, brewers, herbalists, and many other things. Rarely, if ever, did they lead the life of some kind of medieval martial hero.

My point: An anti-thesis to the thesis is rarely the solution. Let us settle for the synthesis.
July 31, 2005, 6:40
"Whoever controls the Spice, controls the Empire..." - an old idea actually, perhaps not quite fitting a plant with a cosmetical use. :)

For the cosmetical industry option: the plant would be not hard to grow, it may be just picky about the right soil or other conditions. The juice could be possibly extracted and concentrated from younger plants, too. (Note: the insect repellent feature is not really that strong... other plants may do the trick better. If burned, it damages the frail wings of flies.)

If it looks drastic, it's the way the monks do it - how about using painkillers? The long weeks (an estimate of a natural regeneration of the whole skin) could be hastened by other magical/alchemistical products or spells, making the process quick and painless... and ourageously expensive. "A beauty within a single weekend - contact us for more information."

Ad Monk stereotype: right, AG. Some monks at least are bound to be the guardians. Anyway, there is no telling of what jobs the men had before.
Cheka Man
July 31, 2005, 20:05
As well as being used for the above uses, and for torture/punishment, if used in very small doses, it can be used for other things. A coin-sized part can be used to stop guards from falling asleep on duty, or, if it's a society where "ladies" are not allowed to scratch, a coin-sized part can be used to help train them to ignore itches.
August 1, 2005, 3:25
Didn't even think of that...

- localised application of the stuff is easier and cheaper and heals much more quickly (and simply covered with bandages)

- how about keeping people imprisoned - for mining work for example, which they cannot flee without some serious skin protection or they would die from sunburn later on... a most cruel option it seems, the hard work probably deform their features.

(A completely different question is, how do people look like without their skin on...)

Thanks, Cheka.
August 1, 2005, 3:43
Well, I was assuming that it didn't dissolve ALL the skin, just like a few thin layers, which would still give you crippling sunburns, especially if it irritated the skin it didn't dissolve.
August 1, 2005, 4:12
Well... I guess we need a skin expert. :)

Anyone out there? How much skin can be "safely" removed? (If the term has any meaning.) And how will it look like afterwards?
August 1, 2005, 4:57
I kind of like the idea of a skinless person running around, like Hellraiser before he grows his new skin. Imagine running into a mine of skinless miners and the party just assumes they are some new form of undead, and immediately sets about "sending the heathens to the pit of hell from whence they came", and then, woops... sorry!

I did that to my guys one time(in a different way). I left all sorts of clues that the bad guy was some noble who had withdrawn into his manor, and his servants never came back, and then they find bodies with blood drained and so on, EVERYTHING to indicate that a vampire was at fault. Of COURSE our noble and courageous paladin fell for it hook line and sinker. So, I set the scene, they open double doors onto a sinister, pale looking old man sitting in a chair in front of the fireplace. The paladin RUSHES in, CONVINCED it's the vampire they seek, and promptly severs the guy's head in basically one swipe. It was only at THAT time that he realized "that was too easy..." Sure enough, he had slain an innocent. The old man was simply that, an old man who was infirm and senile. "woops." says the paladin... woops is right, sez me. It took him a while to atone for that one. ;)
Voted Dragonlordmax
August 1, 2005, 12:44
Two Sites about skin:

If I read these sites correctly:

Your skin has three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue.

The subcutaneous tissue is the layer which contains the large blood vessels and is thus responsible for maintaining body temperature.

The dermis contains the nerves, and the smaller blood vessels. It also grows more transparent as a person grows older, causing the blood vessels to become more visible.

The epidermis consists of five layers, the bottom of which is responsible for making new cells. These cells push to the top layer. By the time they get there, they're almost dead. They're then shed. Thus, if you were to lose all five layers of the epidermis, you wouldn't get a new one.

Apparently, it takes about two weeks for your body to completely replace its upper layer.

Hope that helped. (For reference, I'm NOT a skin expert, I'm relying on above-mentioned websites.)
August 2, 2005, 5:50
So for humans,the result would be a "peeling" of a few layers of epidermis. Effect may vary with race, beware of having contact with a more concentrated product...

Thanks, Dragonlordmax.
Voted MoonHunter
November 8, 2005, 0:27
It is here. It is finally Here! And I get the joy of voting on it again. :)
Voted Zylithan
November 20, 2005, 18:24
A great post. Lots of subtleties and plot hooks come out of this post. Even before all the comments.
February 28, 2006, 1:09
This is another job brought to the surface thanks to the Random Submission section.

I had another thought. If a magic system has runes (carved into the skin), tatoos, or some other markings involved, this would allow the mage to "change their spell book". This could change the entire complexion of the world or at least the magic using part of it.

Just a thought.
February 28, 2006, 10:07
Hmmm... yes, interesting option. But of course, there would be special rituals needed, so the magic does not strike back against its 'carrier'.

Definitely workable.
Voted valadaar
March 1, 2016, 11:07
I like the real world discussion this brought, but to do as advertised - and to be something more interesting then an Organic chemical peel, it has to be magic.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Sentinel

The Rhenn Plains are serene and peaceful, beautiful, and quiet as if nothing had ever had happened to it, hiding away it's violent present and past. During some time ago, the countries needed land to fight on, for they did not want war to come to their home, so they chose the Rhenn Plains, Armies met there and men died on the lands, so the land has been empty always. But now there has been set an outpost and they are beset by the goverments wanting to keep it free, will the soldiers of the barracks prevail, or fall trying?

Encounter  ( Plains ) | September 3, 2004 | View | UpVote 1xp

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