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April 19, 2007, 7:12 pm

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Relics of the Trench Dwellers

By:

Few have ever seen the incomprehensible entities known as Trench Dwellers, but their lethal biomechanical machines remain, guardians of a long-forgotten empire.

In the deepest parts of the ocean, ancient cities can be found, relics of the Tsithca’ca’dss, the race known as the Trench Dwellers.  While few of this ancient species remain, many of their superbly-crafted devices remain, nearly as enigmatic as their reclusive masters.

Trench Dwellers crafted items using technologies uniquely shaped for the lightless depths of the sea.  Unable to work metal in large quantities, they developed strange composites crafted of metal fibers, ceramics never discovered by other species, and complex organic components.  Their completed devices were constructs possessed of incredible resilience and endurance, possessed of blasphemous life.  Some constructs were even designed to reproduce themselves, and remain in vast numbers to this day, silently conducting the business of their long-dead masters, hidden beneath the ocean’s blackness.

Acanthids, Defenders of the Tsithca’ca’dss
These murderous biomechanisms patrol the cities of the Tsithca’ca’dss, protecting areas from other creatures that might hurt their creators or damage their ancient lairs.  Swift and lethal, they vaguely resemble spiny lobsters with a broad, articulated tail and numerous small legs, each covered with numerous intersecting blades.  A set of forelegs bears savage spines, which can impale and pin enemies.  These deadly tools shear across each other, potentially tearing into several enemies at the same time.  Trespassers and other opponents will be pierced by the spines and held for the other blades to shred.  Even more challenging to opponents dependent on sight, they tend to vent out clouds of inky black liquid when they are engaged in combat.  This opaque liquid has a disturbing stench to any water-breathing species and acts as a potent stimulant to the Tsithca’ca’dss.  Several different types of Acanthids exist, ranging in size from small and maneuverable devices only 3 or 4 feet long, to legendary behemoths hundreds of fathoms in length.  These devices incorporate both mechanical and biological components, with external armor of a rigid ceramic substance covering a rubbery organic substrate.  Their bladed limbs are crafted of a bronze-like alloy.  The jagged blades and wickedly-barbed spines covering the exterior shell often become encrusted with barnacles and other undersea life, lending them a ragged, overgrown appearance.

Not overly bright, Acanthids can often be fooled or confused, but they are particularly stubborn constructs, and will often pursue foes with machine-like patience.

Calcifers, The City Builders
These sensitive biomechanical organisms appear to be massive worm-like creatures with dozens of devouring maws and clusters of sensitive tendrils.  Unable to function well without direct supervision from the various builder-castes of the Trench Dwellers, Calcifers are powerful construction tools.  Efficient excavators, they are able to regurgitate a portion of the excavated stone as a gravelly, concrete-like paste:  This substance makes up most of the upper portions of the Trench Dwellers’ cities.  Under the direction of their Trench Dweller handlers, they are able to give the secreted material a wide variety of textures and properties.  

Strangely, Calcifers are able to reproduce, after a fashion.  When provided with the numerous metallic parts that make up their “chewing” and “digesting” apparatus, worn Calcifers will divide into two smaller constructs.  The devices will then spend some months ingesting the materials needed for their biological components, eventually becoming two “fully grown” Calcifers.

Colerids, The Vent Harvesters
In the heyday of the Trench Dweller civilization, they would surround volcanic heat sources with Khiop’rj v’no, vast arrays of strange organic mechanisms known to the merfolk as “Colerids”.  Resembling nothing so much as clusters of massive pipe coral, these bizarre devices ambled slowly across the sea floor on small, clawed limbs that projected from their bases.  They gathered the precious minerals released by the vents and excreted them in forms useful to their masters.  An integral part of their civilization, these strange biomechanical organisms were carefully guarded as treasures of the Tsithca’ca’dss.

Colerids, like Calcifers, are able to reproduce.  In their case, this involved “budding” off a smaller Colerid, which would shamble along in the path of the senior until it had gathered enough materials to function on its own.

Modulan Crawlers
These devices, perhaps the strangest of the Trench Dwellers’ creations, look like shambling heaps of debris.  Closer examination reveals the strange truth, however:  These things ingest raw metals gathered by the Colerids and reshape the metal into complex metal shapes.  When required to produce unusually large items, sometimes the Modulan would burst open once the item was completed.  These things were generally controlled by a team of Trench Dweller handlers, as they tended to self-destruct when left unattended, deciding to create strange and wonderful items of alien sculpture far too large for them to survive creating.

Morderers, the Crop Tenders
Resembling metallic crabs with dozens of sharply-clawed limbs, these devices were responsible for tending the strange fungal or plant crops that fed their ancient cities.  More intelligent than their other strange constructs, they ranged in size wildly, depending on their expected duties.  Many of these extremely durable constructs remain, still tending crops for nonexistent masters. 

In some areas, a variation on these devices was adopted as a defensive construct.  These mechanisms, covered with barbed spines that grow from small orifices in their shells, are able to load them into launching devices built into their limbs.  Generally carried into battle on one of the larger Acanthids, they would fire these vicious weapons at their opponents.



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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Scrasamax
January 17, 2007, 3:28
0xp
Nice and evocative of the Trench Dwellers, showing an alien thought process to normal human industry. I would have made it an equipment listing myself.
Voted manfred
January 17, 2007, 4:59
0xp
Pretty interesting, and they are lifeforms in a way, more than just a kind of equipment.
Voted valadaar
January 17, 2007, 8:19
0xp
I like them - Acanthids being the best described and my favourite.
Voted Cheka Man
January 17, 2007, 10:49
0xp
I like them a lot as well-I wish I had one of them.
Voted Murometz
January 17, 2007, 11:10
0xp
Deviously interesting campaign world you've created here. I know I will be in the minority on this one, but I kinda liked the Trench Dwellers a bit more before you began to unravel their mysteries. But still, this is bizarre, original stuff!
Voted MoonHunter
January 17, 2007, 17:39
0xp
Makes me want to run Blue Planet again. It might be something to throw into a BP game

Again, in most cases this lovely work would be lost on the PCs, as they would have no way to getting access to it.

Still lovely posts with nice details and a good twist.
Voted CaptainPenguin
January 17, 2007, 20:23
Only voted


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Almar

While setting up camp for the night, the PC's are aproached by another group of adventurers who seem nice enough. The road is somewhat dangerous and the other group suggests camping together. The two bands split watches, one adventurer from each group watching at once. The night goes by without incident, the next day the PC's travel with the other group as they are going the same way.

The group consists of Hordel the ranger, who is skilled with the bow. Hordel is a quiet man who speaks little but appears quite skilled. Dremar is a barbarian who is a little excentric, he seems to be an excasive drinker and thiunk that battle is the solution to everything. He appears to be a stout and powerful fighter with his greataxe. Ferrin is the leader of the group, a rouge by trade. He is daft and witty, speaking with the PCs often and asking many questions. He fights with finesse with his rapier. Preminitat as a cleric but he will not say which god he worships. He uses his spells to empower and heal his party and fights with a club. He sticks close to Ferrin. Ferrin is a great talker and tells much of himself and his party, but asks even more about the history and capabilities of the PCs. He tells of some adventures his party has had, and they seem like an interesting group of mercenaries. Hordel is quite and has little interest in speaking with the PCs, he ignores most questions. He spends a lot of time with Dremar and sometimes Ferrin. Dremar seems to not care about any questions ansked to him, nor does he seem to know the answers. He seems battle hardened and is a simple man. Preminitat rarely starts conversations but will speak with the PCs. However, some of his accounts of the party's history seem to condradict those of Ferrin.

The Party spends another night and day with Ferrin's group. One of four things can happen on the third night.
1: While eating dinner around the fire, Ferrin gets into an argument with one of the PCs when he/she mentions the discepincies between Ferrin's stories and Preminitat's.
2: Hordel gets mad after repeated questioning about his life from the PCs.
3. Preminitat gets mad after repeated questioning from the PCs about what god he worships.
4: One of the PCs rejects the offer of a drink from Dremar and he takes it as an insult.
All of these scenarios result in a battle between the parties. If Ferrin's party is defeated and still lives he swears vengance. His party may then cross paths with the adventurers again.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | November 15, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp


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