Disease Seed: Milnods


Technically, it’s known as mutated pseudocowpox, but that’s a mouthful.  So was ‘milker’s nodule,’ but that at least could be trimmed down into a two-syllable word that sounded vaguely medical.  Slang’s a funny thing. This version is contagious, from either skin contact or fluid exchange.

Anyway, milnods are what can happen when cowpox jumps species to a DNA-based bovine-equivalent, then jumps again into a DNA-based sapient alien species.  Yeah, there’s a lot of those out there.  Panspermia, Precursors, ancient alien species that used the same particular form of food yeast on all their planets; take your pick.  The point is that people all over the Galaxy absolutely have to worry about catching each other’s germs.

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Item Seed: Murder Cannolis.

Murder Cannolis

Description: they’re cannolis that have been bathed in the death energies thrown off by someone who has been suddenly and ritually murdered.  Murder Cannolis don’t have to be dipped in blood or anything like that to gain their esoteric status. In fact, it’s preferable that they’re not, because pastries that have been in direct contact with an actual corpse are the very definition of ‘gross’ and ‘unsanitary.’

Powers: Soak up a man’s death, soak up that which he leaves behind.  Murder Cannolis bring good financial luck; eat one, and a portion of the victim’s total wealth gets transferred to you.  This is usually coincidental in nature, but sometimes it just comes down to a sudden bank account deposit.

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Item Seed: Tattoo Geraniums.

Tattoo Geraniums

pelargonium zonale laeti

Tattoo Geraniums are not themselves magical; they are flowering plants that have been deliberately bred for ritual magic susceptibility.  More specifically, the Geraniums can be used to ‘draw’ permanent magic sigils and designs outdoors, using the living plants as the ‘ink.’ The sigils drawn this way tend to be fairly robust, as a by-product of the enchantment process: it is difficult to deliberately destroy any individual Tattoo Geranium.  But if one of the plants is destroyed, it can be swapped out with another one of the same color.  

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Item Seed: The Heart of Cincinnati.

The Heart of Cincinnati

Description: a chain necklace.  The pendant is a small hunk of concrete that’s shaped roughly like a Valentine’s heart.  The Heart of Cincinnati is perfectly safe to wear; it never catches on skin or clothing, and is always slightly warm to the touch.

Powers: “Whosoever wears this Token is the Hidden Ruler of Cincinnati.”

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Item Seed: Idol of Disputation.

Idol of Disputation

Description: a small ceramic figurine of a leering, fat humanoid (some versions are male, some female).  The Idol of Disputation will show up as magical on a standard scan. The Idol is sturdy enough to be dropped, but it will break if deliberately thrown to the ground.

Powers: Normally, an Idol of Disputation generates a field (12 feet radius) that encourages people to argue.  It won’t force people to disagree with each other, but if they were inclined to do so anyway this artifact will more or less egg them on.  Note that the argument does not have to be hostile, and that the artifact will not impose an emotional state on anyone; universities will often keep Idols around in order to encourage wide-ranging and vigorous student debates in class.

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Location Seed: The Pool of Terre Haute.

The Pool of Terre Haute

57 S 21st Street, Terre Haute, Indiana

Description: two story single-family residence, wooden frame, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, car park to the side, decent yard in back.  Unoccupied, but maintained. There is a hatch in the basement that leads to a pre-Columbian underground stone-lined room. The room has a shallow (1ft deep) pool in the exact center: there is no obvious water source, but the water is continually clear and fresh.

Properties: variable.  Drinking from the pool results in a dramatic transformation of some sort.  The effects range from the mundane (winning the lottery, going blind) to the unquestionably esoteric (de-aging, bodily transformation, instant and irrevocable death), but the effects are always permanent, and people only get one drink from the Pool.  Theurgists and magicians both report that the anima behind the Pool is essentially benevolent, but it is neither ‘nice’ nor ‘sentimental.’  At least, towards adults; the Pool is remarkably more forgiving and solicitous of children.

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Item Seed: Geriatricol.


Description: well, in its ‘natural’ form Geriatricol is a swarm of self-replicating nanobots that are individually too small to see.  But in its natural form Geriatricol will self-destruct when exposed to atmosphere, so it usually comes in the form of a yellow gel pill.

Powers: one dose of Geriatricol cosmetically ages the subject.  Within five minutes of ingestion, his or her skin and hair will wrinkle and whiten; sweat, stools, and urine will become compatible with an old person’s; and a superficial blood analysis will bring back a positive result for a number of minor ailments associated with being old.  The effects are not permanent: if not reversed, the process begins to reverse itself within two weeks and completely reverse within two more. Underlying health, reflexes, mental agility, bodily functions, and ultimate lifespan remain unaffected.

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