Jun
04
2017
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Spell Seed: Ka-Ching.

Ka-Ching – Google Docs

Ka-Ching

 

This particular style of divination requires a jar full of coins, a magic marker, and one of those automatic coin counter gadgets.  You know, the kind that takes your change and gives you a credit slip for the supermarket, or Amazon?  Yeah, one of those.

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Jun
02
2017
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Item Seed: Relikvii.

Because Commies make my [expletive deleted] teeth ache and I’m trying to not be That Guy, that’s why.

Relikvii – Google Docs

 

Relikvii

 

Well, that’s the Russian slang term for the stuff; God forbid that the old Soviet Union ever use such a superstition-drenched name to describe True Proper Soviet Proletarian Scien — sorry. Old habits die hard, you know? Relikvii are your standard Unholy Artifacts, Demonology edition: they’re a single-shot aid for summoning demons. You can imagine how Stalin-era internal propagandists had to come up with new and unique ways to talk their way around that.

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May
31
2017
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Item Seed: Shackleton Mold.

Blame this.

Shackleton Mold – Google Docs

Shackleton Mold

 

This is some cutting-edge stuff, to be sure.  Shackleton Mold get its name from where it was recently discovered: back in 1915 a set of photo negatives from the Ross Sea Party Antarctic expedition got enclosed in a block of ice, then left frozen for a century.  Yes, 1915.  Which is to say, several decades before the 1947 Invasion from Beyond that fundamentally altered our microbial ecosystem and made us vulnerable to the Greys‘ genetic attacks.  Sure, we fended them off, eventually — but we’ve been doing repair work ever since.  The Mold has thus been an absolute godsend: covert recovery specialists were able to get a sample of the stuff before it got contaminated, which gives us a baseline for what our DNA looked like before we all got infected.  

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May
30
2017
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Item Seed: The Sausage Protocols.

I had no idea where this was going.

Sausage Protocols – Google Docs

The Sausage Protocols

 

Description: a standard cardboard accordion file, wrapped in elastic bands and bearing various stencils and imprints that place and date it to the US Army, circa 1936 or so.  Interestingly, there are no classification stickers or warnings anywhere in the file; everything was stamped as being cleared for public dissemination at some point in 2007. There isn’t even any red tape or tabs.

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May
28
2017
3

Item Seed: Pinball Wizard.

Pinball Wizard – Google Docs

Pinball Wizard

 

Despite the name, this isn’t wizardry. It’s just good, honest 24th Century social science, being forced to use primitive 20th Century technology (specifically, seven heavily modified pinball machines).  At least, that was what the guy said when the agents burst into his lair; there was also a lot of bluster and sneers about “ignorant fools” and “Cower! Cower before the might of the Chan the Unstoppa…” It was about then that the guy’s integral temporal field finally overloaded from the strain of accumulated paradox, and sent him wherever people go when they get booted out of the timestream.  Don’t feel too bad about old Chan, though; the 24th Century seems to be mostly populated by megalomaniacal jerks, judging by how many of them keep showing up here.

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May
27
2017
2

Campaign Seed: Halfterlife.

This got more and more complex as I contemplated it.

Halfterlife – Google Docs

Halfterlife

 

Halfterlife was one of those urban legends found among various post-mortal, extra-dimensional, and intangible supernatural entities until about twenty years ago, when somebody finally found it, then came back to tell everybody else how to get there.  ‘Everybody else’ not including the mortal races, of course. Particularly humanity, or at least the mortal part of it. That species has a real knack at acquiring all the best real and unreal estate.

 

Halfterlife is a self-contained pocket universe that appears to be a half-finished afterlife (hence the name).  There’s a lot of landscape, and even a bunch of architecture — but there’s almost no furnishings, and pretty much no lore whatsoever.  It seems to be set up on the classic Good Place / Bad Place / Stuck In-Between Place model, and maybe there were one or more polytheistic pantheons involved (hard to tell from the floor layouts).  The environmental tolerances are all within the standard human norm, but the climate isn’t noticeably different in any particular place, and no one area seems to be any more ominous or transcendent than any other.  There seems to be a standard day-night format, but there is no sun or moon.  ‘Stars’ at night, though, with about two-fifths of the night sky simply blank (just as if the work was interrupted in mid-stride).

 

There’s plenty of water in Halfterlife – lakes, streams, rivers, at least one ocean — but there was no life of any kind when the place was discovered.  The new inhabitants have introduced their own flora and fauna into the place, with a militant disregard for any kind of balanced ecosystem; surprisingly, the introduced species have generally thrived, including things that are normally incompatible with each other (like ghost trees and feral zombie sloths). Outside of the major settlements, the countryside can get very, very strange.

 

Right now, the following factions (and others) have colonized Halfterlife:

 

  • The New Fae. Various refugees from the Seelie and Unseelie Courts who were banished for allowing themselves to be too thoroughly defined by modern fantasy and horror fiction.  Generally speaking, they’re… well, unlike regular Fae you don’t have to shoot them on sight.
  • The Lost Infernal Legion.  Originally refugees from the wrong side in a particular universe’s Armageddon, this mercenary group now merely hires itself out to whoever can pay them to fight.  They’ve long since stopped caring if ‘whoever’ is an angel; indeed, by now the Legion has outcast angels in their ranks, too. Hey, when the guy with the flaming sword is Smiting the bastard trying to eviscerate you then it’s maybe not the time for racial prejudice, right?
  • The Zombie Collective. Humans only see the stupid zombies; the ones who can’t control their hunger at the smell of a fresh brain.  The smart ones are always looking for a safe place to hide from people; the smart and lucky ones have gotten themselves to Halfterlife, where they can practice their own disgusting, but not actually unethical, form of agriculture.
  • Monster Liberation Front. These guys, girls, and associated others are involuntary refugees. They didn’t want to run away from Earth, and they want to go back. They’re also even more vulnerable to human belief than the Fae are, which makes them both wary of humanity, and extremely cranky towards them.
  • The Figments.  Refugees from lost timelines, victims of reality quakes and dimensional shifts, the human detritus cast up from the collision of two universes at once, ghosts that could not or would not move on  — these poor intangible unfortunates had nothing on Earth but painful memories.  Halfterlife was a miracle to them; they can touch things here again.

 

Note, by the way, that nobody knows who made Halfterlife. And nobody knows where the creators of the place went. And nobody knows if Halfterlife’s creators are coming back, either. But one thing is for sure: if the creators do come back, they’re going to have to fight for the place.

May
26
2017
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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
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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
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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.

(more…)

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