May
26
2017
0

Item Seed: Edible Effigies.

There’s a campaign in Witch-finders Meets NYPD Blue, I’m telling you.

Edible Effigies – Google Docs

Edible Effigies

This particular magical workaround occurs only in a magical tradition (we’ll call it ‘witchery,’ with apologies to benign — or very, very touchy — witches everywhere) that permits the remote cursing of individuals by the use of an effigy that has been enchanted to have a mystic link to the person being cursed. Needless to say, if that sort of thing is both demonstrable and reproducible then the practice will get swiftly banned by the local power structure, because typically the local power structure will inevitably end up being at high risk of being cursed.  And when simply banning the spell’s use doesn’t work — it typically does not — the next step is to ban possession of the specialized ingredients and equipment used to create the effigies.  That often can work, for a while. But it also does encourage a certain amount of creativity among the witches making the effigies, because banning this sort of thing also invariably makes it much more lucrative.  

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May
25
2017
4

Item Seed: The Wells Fargo Wagon.

OK. So it’s a plot device.

Wells Fargo Wagon – Google Docs

The Wells Fargo Wagon

 

Normally musicals don’t actually trigger a physical manifestation of a concept like this, but sometimes even low probability scenarios occur.  The Wells Fargo Wagon typically manifests in the form of a horse-drawn enclosed cargo carriage, complete with a friendly driver (typically male) who happily converses with people while smilingly never telling them anything about himself, his wagon, or how it all works.  Speaking metaphysically, the Wagon is a standard wish-generator in tangible form, but with three major differences:

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May
23
2017
3

Adventure seed: Beeleggers.

Beeleggers – Google Docs

 

Beeleggers

 

It all started when those well-intentioned fools up in the Imperial District decided to ban mead.  Now maybe mead was more of a worry now than it used to be, seeing that mages have figured ways to convince the honey-spirits how to give regular mead a proper, heavy kick.  And sure, more than a few members of the demihuman races turned out to have a real problem keeping their noses out of the new, boosted mead-casks. Nobody’s arguing that there weren’t problems — but banning all of the mead, period? That was just too heavy-handed.

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May
21
2017
0

Location Seed: The 3:45 Room.

3_45 Room – Google Docs

The 3:45 Room

 

The 3:45 Room exists in an otherwise unremarkable office building, in an appropriately convenient city. The Room is 15’ by 15’ by 10’; it contains a cot, toilet, shower head, hot plate, ceiling light, microwave, combination desk and mini-fridge, wall cabinet, stopped clock set to 3:45, and no electrical outlets whatsoever (the appliances are all spliced directly into the wall).  Cell phones and wifi inexplicably fail to work inside the Room; supernatural attempts to scry its interior, or communicate from inside the Room, do not end well.  All of this is helpfully explained on a sign on the door leading to the 3:45 Room.

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May
15
2017
3

Item Seed: Root Beer

Root Beer – Google Docs

Root Beer

 

This is kind of an assassination tool, maybe? Although it doesn’t exactly kill people. It instead changes their personality, positive and negative traits, and skill sets.  So, it’s pretty nasty stuff: you may not die after drinking it, but after whoever gives Root Beer to you gets done with you you won’t be the same person in any real, meaningful sense, either. One of many reasons why it’s rather thoroughly banned, except in the most advanced Galactic cultures, under the most rigorous bioethical guidelines.

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May
14
2017
--

Adventure Seed: The LAMP Project.

So, this went dark quick.

LAMP Project – Google Docs

The Limited-Awareness Mobile Platform (L.A.M.P.) Project

 

Little known fact: people have been able to successfully replicate AI in machinery since about 1790 AD (this, of course, predates Babbage’s Difference Engine). Even less-known fact: nobody was ever able to sustain said replication at full strength for more than about thirty seconds.  Apparently the new intelligence goes screaming up the scale to either Singularity-style apotheosis, or the neurological equivalent of putting a pelagic sea cucumber in a regular-pressure salt water tank; frustratingly, nobody’s ever been able to get a straight answer from the AIs as to whether they were shouting in joy, or screaming in terror.

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May
13
2017
1

Item seed: Eschermacke

Eschermacke – Google Docs

Eschermacke

 

This rather bulky artifact consists of eight 2-inch quadruplex videotape reels holding sixteen twenty-five minute long cartoons, for a total of six and two-third hours of footage.  The cartoons are from a Serbian-language show called ‘Eschermacke’ (‘Escher Cats’) that apparently appeared on Radio Television Belgrade in 1967; it features a pack of vaguely anthropomorphic cats that can stretch themselves like taffy and have somewhat surreal adventures.  The animation is horrible, even by the standards of the time; and the writing is not much better — which probably explains why the videotape reels have been gathering dust in the University of Novi Sad library since at least 1978.

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May
12
2017
--

Item Seed: ‘Destroyer-of-Shins.’

Destroyer-of-Shins – Google Docs

 

Destroyer-of-Shins

 

This thoroughly nasty weapon dates back to the end of China’s Song Dynasty. It is a jain (a double-edged, straight sword) that has been unfortunately enchanted to not rust or break; the hilt has a forward-facing guard, and can accommodate two hands. Destroyer-of-Shins has had a number of scabbards over the years, as the sword is apparently destructive of any scabbard that it is placed in.  While Destroyer-of-Shins is an extremely well-made hand-and-a-half sword, it is best known (for given values of ‘known’) for the way that a single scratch from it can guarantee that the target dies, screaming, after a week of agony.  There’s no known cure or even palliative, whether magical or technological.

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May
09
2017
3

Group Seed: Ultimate Sanitation Services.

Ultimate Sanitation Services – Google Docs

Ultimate Sanitation Services

 

Ultimate Sanitation Services (USS) is headquartered in Washington, DC, with a second office in London and a fairly extensive online presence.  They are an exclusive company, but not in the typical ‘you will pay lots of money to use our services’ sort of way.  Instead, they are very selective over the clients that they take on.  As for cost, don’t worry about it: clients simply give USS everything except the clothes on the client’s back and whatever can fit into a standard briefcase. Part of the selection process, in fact, is weeding out the people who don’t need USS’s services that badly.

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May
08
2017
2

Item Seed: The Evil Survival Crash Kit

Evil Survival Crash Kit – Google Docs

 

The Evil Survival Crash Kit

 

This distinctly unattractive, not to mention absolutely repellent, metal box weighs 23.643 lbs, has a handle and carrying straps that are clearly not designed for human hands and backs, and smells mildly like socks that had been used to crush grapes, then left in a dark, damp room to ferment for a few weeks.  ‘Evil Survival Crash Kit,’ by the way, is the name that human investigators have given it: presumably its ‘official’ name is spelled out somewhere in the disturbing, writhing sigils and designs that glow in and out of sight on the box itself.  Given the contents and the entities that typically carry a Crash Kit, the translated name is probably highly unpleasant and almost certainly blasphemous.

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May
07
2017
--

Adventure Seed: Alien grave in Mississippi!

Man, but I miss the print edition of the Weekly World News.

Alien grave in Mississippi – Google Docs

Alien grave in Mississippi!

 

There is a corpse waiting to be dug up in Mississippi.  It’s currently somewhere among the up to seven thousand corpses currently buried on University of Mississippi Medical Center property (said bodies dating back to the 19th Century, when the land was part of the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum), and nobody at the moment is particularly looking for the corpse. Not that there’s much reason to, given that almost the only records involving the corpse were part of the batch of papers quietly burned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton after Lincoln’s assassination. Including a 1863 handwritten memorandum by General Sherman reporting success in removing all details of the corpse from the asylum’s own records (a copy of this memorandum can still be found in Sherman’s papers at the Library of Congress, albeit physically misfiled among some papers from a 1866 diplomatic mission to Mexico that General Sherman had participated in).

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May
06
2017
1

Item Seed: Galvanized Bouquets.

Galvanized Bouquets – Google Docs

 

Galvanized Bouquets

 

The alchemists never really went away; they simply decided to go off by themselves for a while.  Also, it should probably be noted here that virtually nobody in the magical community with real power minded the dawn of our current rationalist-secularist era at all.  Why should they? Thanks to modern science and technology, the number of superstitious peasants desirous of burning magicians — or, worse, desirous of constantly importuning and begging busy magicians for an endless stream of tawdry love spells and petty curses — keeps ever-shrinking.  Books are cheap enough that mages no longer have to go to war with each other for the last remaining grimoire on a particular subject. There are such things as dentists. Indoor plumbing. Blessed, blessed anonymity.  Plus, magic still works! But now that mages no longer have to suck up to rich patrons to get funding, it can now get to be a bit more baroque.  

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