Full Item Description
A brilliant wax, echoing the whites of ones eyes.
The volcanic lands of Neuapar are a mixed blessing. Wondrously fertile soil is balanced by the hazards of the realm, including an unusual number of highly corrosive lakes. To protect themselves when catching the Neuaparian Slime-fish (native to these lakes) they use an acid-resistent wax that they apply to their clothing and skin.
It was in trying to improve their wax that Creeping wax was developed. Through somewhat necromantic magic they sought a wax that would apply itself, and draw from the wearer the essence it needed to multiply itself. Their problem was their new wax worked too well. Several of the waxmakers died horrible, slow deaths, though one, who understood what they had created, carefully bottled some, took the notes and fled Neuapar.
When applied to a person in even small quantities(no smaller then a fingertip, however), it will bind itself to the flesh and begin to coat the individual, slowly drawing life as it does. Areas coated by the wax are completely protected from acid. The wax can only move by growing on flesh - it is not mobile.
The problem is that it does not stop until the victim is dead - by being drained of life by the wax, fatigue from fighting the growth of the wax, the effects of unsuccessful 'cures', or simply being smothered by the wax. Unless cured by magic, the end is inevitable but perhaps a long way out.
Magical flame is the most effective means of stopping the spread, but must be applied strongly enough to char the region contaminated by the wax. Depending on how bad the victim is contaminated before the application of flame, the treatment could prove as lethal as the wax.
The affected area can be severed or removed surgically, requiring areas at least 1 inch past the visible contaminated area also be removed.
Finally, a difficult to formulate alchemical alkali can be used to remove the contamination, but this material also damages living flesh.
This material is a dangerous substance, though it should be extremely rare. It can only be 'propagated' via intelligent hosts - though perhaps an evil mastermind might do just that. To limit some of its lethality, one can have it affect only those who deliberately touch it. This prevents it from becoming a nasty missile or melee weapon and further limits it's use to trickery and subterfuge.
One suggested application is simply packaging it as 'Wax of Acid Resistance' and treat it as a cursed item. Making a candle from this substance might be another effective boobytrap - picking up the candle subjecting the victim to its effects. Finally, a letter sent by an evil alchemist may bear a wax seal made from this wax, and in handling the envelope or breaking the seal the person becomes affected.
Among the Neuaparians, there is a legend that their deity will take mortal form in a body which is immune to the corrosive waters of the lakes of the Thuviack Volcano. As a result, they take great pains that all of their dead are disposed of in this manner. Losing even a single corpse to them is drastically important. They will make superhuman efforts to retrieve their lost dead. Few Neuaparians will travel far, lest their corpse be lost should they die.
The waxmaker who fled Neuaparian is sought by his fellows - they have been searching for him, but as of yet been unsuccessful. Now, in a nearby city, several important people have been found dead, coated by the wax.
The PC's have been contacted by the Neuaparians, who want him back, dead or alive. They blame him for the deaths of his fellow waxmakers and want him to stand trial, or if dead, cast him into the acid lakes.
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? Responses (13)
Nasty stuff, reminds me a lot of a burning wax artifact from vampire the masquerade. I like the additional details you put in the back ground history and plot ideas.
Nasty. Can it's spread be slowed by picking it off or does that make it spread to new places like jock itch?
I would think that extreme cold would stop it and allow you to peel it somewhat like regular wax. In that way at least you can fight it besides charring it off. Gauntlets of cold could probably be used to peel it or some kind of ice blast to make it brittle.
If that is the case, then I would say that you could fling it at people and let the was start, otherwise the wax would have to have some kind of intelligence or another more specific trigger then just contact to start its growing.
A nice solid idea, I imagine the wax to have a ghostly quality to it's whiteness. But that's just me:)
Interesting concept in total. I am not thrilled with it, but it comes across logically and consistant in the reading. It make sense and seems to be balanced in the world. A few nice details round it out.
Old John got into the Creeping Wax, got it all over his hand. He stuck a wick into the thick of it and now calls himself the human candle. Keeps the stuff at bay, but he's got to keep it lit every day until he finds a way to permanently get rid of the stuff.
Heh, hadn't thought of that one. That's actually a cool idea for an NPC...
It is, who's gonna do that one? Go Scras!
I rather like this one.
It also set me going into the list of things that dissolve paraffin. Boiling kerosene / gasoline will usually turn the trick... Which is all its own problem...
As you said, Valadaar, this item should be used sparingly. The backstory is intriguing, and the item itself is interesting.
Very interesting substance. Fun to imagine how to ""properly" use this stuff in a game. And yet another mention of the bizarre Neuaparian burial customs. Good work!
I enjoyed the comments on this one too.
I have rearead this, and I think my previous comment was a bit harsh.
I do like it. It is nicely played out. I think the item has uses and merit. It fits most worlds. It is a bit of an evil trap, but you need those from time to time.