Mar
26
2017
0

Item Seed: The Vita-Inversion Assembly Chamber.

Vita-Inversion Assembly Chamber – Google Docs

 

The Vita-Inversion Assembly Chamber

 

This device exists in the worlds where the Mad Scientists of the Victorian Era thrived, crowded out all the non-Mad scientists (non-Mad engineers, too), and went on to be the backbone of scientific and technological progress in the Interstellar Era. And, hoo, boy, was there progress. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if there’s no little voice inside anybody’s head that says “Is this wise?” It certainly makes peer review a more… dynamic experience. And quite exciting, at least from outside of the blast radius.

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Mar
18
2017
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Item Seed [heh]: Lachnimloth.

Lachnimloth – Google Docs

 

Lachnimloth

 

This actually refers to an entire order of trees that grow primarily on lava.  Note that the word ‘trees’ is very much an approximation; lachnimloth are ‘organic’ in the sense that they have a recognizable life cycle, and obey universal biological imperatives.  They are absolutely neither carbon-based, nor part of an oxy-nitrogen ecosystem.

 

But lachnimloth are still very pretty.  Extremely dangerous to humans in their living form, thanks to the heat, but very pretty. It’s all due to their makeup: the various species of lachnimloth are made up of a complicated mix of glass and trace materials. When alive it has molten glass for sap and various  translucent silicates for bark and ‘flowers.’  

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Mar
13
2017
1

Item SEed: the Strategic National Ontological Weapon (SNOW).

Strategic National Ontological Weapon (SNOW) – Google Docs

Strategic National Ontological Weapon (SNOW)

 

SNOW is a suitcase-sized product of early Cold War Weird Science, and it shows: everything about it is glass and dials and a steel casing that can absolutely shrug off a bullet. It was ‘invented’ in 1946 by the State Department’s Interim Research and Intelligence Service (IRIS).  More accurately, it was invented in 1942 by a tame mad scientist seconded to the Office of Strategic Services’ Research and Analysis branch, who then got transferred over to State in 1945, along with the rest of what would become IRIS.  Once that happened, the State Department felt comfortable officially telling Harry S Truman that he happened to have a single-use cosmic reset button.

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Mar
01
2017
--

Creature/Item Seed: Gunpowder Wasps.

Gunpowder Wasps – Google Docs

Gunpowder Wasps

Never allow the sophonts at the Galactic Uplift Bureau’s Surreptitious Assistance Department too much free time.  Or access to trashy Old Earth vidshows, apparently.  GUB-SAD operatives can get themselves into all sorts of trouble that way.

The basic problem is this: most oxygen-nitrogen water worlds in the Milky Way galaxy have roughly similar biospheres, and that’s not even remotely accidental.  A standard biological package of photosynthetic bacteria was apparently introduced to every planet that looked like it could support it (don’t ask anybody in the various Galactic governments who, or Who, did that). So, you can introduce new species into a particular planetary mix.  If you have that sort of mind.

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Feb
27
2017
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Item Seed: Magiki Sfaira.

Blame this.

Magikí Sfaira – Google Docs

Magiki Sfaira

 

Well, it’s like this.  Back in the fourth century BC, one of the proto-mages that the Greeks had hanging around back then did a favor for a friend of his and enchanted a sling-stone to ‘kill the enemy its user chose.’  Unfortunately, the spell did not do anything to actually help with the aiming of the sling-stone in question; the first time it was used, the slinger missed his target completely.  And then apparently promptly forgot about it, except to possibly mildly complain to his magician friend.

 

The Magiki Sfaira has been the thaumaturgical equivalent of the Goose That Laid The Golden Egg ever since then.  The original mage’s notes have been lost, assuming that he ever wrote any in the first place, and nobody else ever learned the enchantment that he used. Which is a real pity, because black-box research on the Magiki Sfaira suggests that said enchantment was a masterpiece of efficiency and potency.  Even today’s state of the magical arts would probably still be improved if the spell was finally reproduced — to say nothing of the prestige that would result from finally cracking the code — but the item is still ‘stuck‘ in active mode.

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Feb
18
2017
2

Item Seed: Ozone Pills.

…You know, I should just write this up as a short story.  After reading more about ozone, of course.

Ozone Pills – Google Docs

Ozone Pills

 

Ah, Mad Science.  It’s like regular science, only the explosions are judged by their aesthetics. Or pyrotechnics. Or possibly their ability to dissolve sand.  And so it goes with Ozone Pills.  These particular bio-metaphysical pills were designed by Doctor Archibald Harriman Cheverly-Button, Baronet of Woodly-on-the-Avon. As you may have guessed, the good doctor was called mad at university, and he spent the rest of his very long life proving them right.  The man was an admittedly inspired chemist, but: he had the bad habit of never checking secondary effects.

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Feb
17
2017
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Item Seed: the Affinity Polygraph.

Yes, I find it a bit alarming as a game concept, too.

Affinity Polygraph – Google Docs

The Affinity Polygraph

 

There is a saying among those involved in espionage and such-like activities: “What you do not know, you cannot reveal.”  This device was designed to circumvent that rule of thumb.  Note ‘was:’ it is 99.99% likely that every version of it was destroyed, and thrown into a blast furnace — right alongside of the bodies of its creators, as well as any documentation whatsoever that might have been useful for reverse-engineering it.  And then the more patriotic and/or idealistic of the people involved in the blast furnace thing probably murdered everybody else working on the cleanup project, dumped them into the blast furnace, and then shot themselves.  It’s that kind of item.

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Feb
13
2017
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Item Seed: Arg fisk drikke.

Blame this.

Arg fisk drikke – Google Docs

Arg fisk drikke

Yes, even the crack agents of Sweden’s C-byrån intelligence agency hate the taste of the arg fisk drikke (‘angry fish shake’). …What, you’ve never heard of C-byrån? Yes, well, that would be the idea, wouldn’t it? The Swedes did an excellent job of sanitizing what little public history there is of the group, which is impressive. Normally you’d think that a World War II spy agency that was top-heavy with art historians and other academics, and who had Abwehr head Wilhem Canaris as an intelligence source, would trip the radar of certain researchers in the modern era.  Then again, there were a lot of WWII and Cold War archives that got thoroughly sanitized before the Internet showed up and made copying things an exercise in triviality.

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Feb
07
2017
1

Item Seed: The Grasshopper’s Revenge.

grasshoppers-revenge-google-docs

The Grasshopper’s Revenge

(With apologies to Expiration Date and Dracula)

 

This artifact is a heavily modified US Army XM27 prototype silicone gas mask (colloquially known as a ‘Grasshopper’).  The actual time of the modifications is unknown, but since the mask was only prototyped in 1966 it can’t be more than fifty years old (best guess is that somebody did the work at some point in the late 1980s).  It is not strictly speaking an enchanted item — The Grasshopper’s Revenge will not register as one via any standard magical detection method — but it is definitely an occult one.

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Feb
06
2017
4

Item Seed: EPSILON HOSANNAH.

epsilon-hosannah-google-docs

EPSILON HOSANNAH

This device is called ‘EPSILON HOSANNAH’ largely because it was captured and classified before even its creator — whose name is VERY redacted — could give it another name.  Superficially, EPSILON HOSANNAH resembles a modified 1984 TRS-80 Model 200 flip-top portable computer.  It lacks any interface jacks and does not have an immediately obvious power source; a very sophisticated radiation scanner will determine that the items is extremely mildly radioactive, but hardly dangerously so.

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Feb
04
2017
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Item Seed: Tertium Bellum In Caelo Polyporum.

Blame this.

tertium-bellum-in-caelo-polyporum-google-docs

 

Tertium Bellum In Caelo Polyporum

 

Tertium Bellum In Caelo Polyporum (“The Third War Against the Sky Octopuses”) exists only in palimpsest form: the earliest copy was apparently a 10th Century transcription of an earlier scroll.  The copy was later erased sometime in the 13th Century so that the parchment could be used for monastery tithe records (modern-day researchers found it via a standard check for palimpsests).  The records were eventually found, slightly buried, in the back of a natural cave in Spain, next to the remains of a trussed-up monk: both the remains and the bag holding the parchment had been covered with quicklime before burial, which ironically enough helped preserve the parchment itself.  Interestingly, Interpol is still treating this discovery as being part of an open murder investigation, although that may simply be because even international police organizations are allowed to have a little fun sometimes, too.

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Feb
01
2017
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Item Seed: The Pravaz Syringe.

the-pravaz-syringe-google-docs

The Pravaz Syringe

 

This particular device is a masterpiece — a bizarre, twisted masterpiece — of 19th Century technology. To begin with, it’s titanium covered in silver, which would be generally considered to be simply flat-out impossible, given that the Syringe has been verified as existing at least since 1850.  It’d be like finding a handmade automatic breech-loading rifle in Grant’s Tomb: a sufficiently brilliant and obsessive tinkerer might have made it, but why didn’t they make any more?

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