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
21
2017
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Creature Seed: Hyper-Mega-Goanna.

Hyper-Mega-Goanna – Google Docs

Hyper-Mega-Goanna (HMG)

 

Well, goannas were merely mildly venomous Australian monitor lizards, about man-length in size; which is to say, no more or less unusual than any other animal native to Australia.  But then there was an almighty electrical discharge in the skies above Australasia; the first reports of somewhat altered goannas appeared shortly thereafter. The current generation of Hyper-Mega-Goannas (blame the tabloids) all have a length of about 15 feet, and it’s not entirely clear that the HMGs have stopped growing as a species.

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Feb
19
2017
2

Campaign Seed: The Great Drone Wars of 800 AD.

Yes, it’s mildly awful. Or at least the implications are.  Gotta give the PCs a suitably awful Ultimate Big Bad to aim for, right?

The Great Drone Wars of 800 AD – Google Docs

 

The Great Drone Wars of 800 AD

 

Well, it’s like this. Time travel is possible, you can change the past, but it doesn’t effect anything that happens back in your home time period.  The nations of the world — at least, the ones whose governments survived any number of revelations by people raiding the recent past for evidence of awkward or illegal shenanigans — have banded together to create an international organization dedicated to making sure that all the awful consequences of time travel stay strictly Downtime, and never impacts Uptime (currently 2057 AD) at all.  OK? OK.

(more…)

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
12
2017
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Creature Seed: Arcturian Jewel-Mites.

Blame this.

Arcturian Jewel-Mites – Google Docs

Arcturian Jewel-Mites

 

Humanity first came across these gorgeous, horrible pests during the First Glimmer Expedition.  Glimmer is an extremely pretty, but only barely human-habitable planet orbiting the red giant star Arcturus, and creatures like the Jewel-Mites are a large reason why the place is only barely habitable.  Simply put: Jewel-Mites eat gemstone.  One particular type — the kind that’s most hardy offplanet — eats diamond.

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Feb
10
2017
1

Creature seed: Skullcrabs.

Blame this.

Skullcrabs – Google Docs

Skullcrabs

 

These creatures are why most civilized realms frown on the gratuitous use of zombification as a means of powering galleys.  It admittedly seemed logical enough at the time: undead rowers don’t tire, don’t need food or water, don’t try to revolt at inconvenient times like the middle of a sea battle, and don’t really ‘die.’ They just break, and when one does that you can just toss it over the side.

 

And that was the problem. The combination of sea water, undead flesh, and the peculiar metabolism of certain crustaceans has created the Skullcrab: it superficially resembles a allarming-looking purple-black hermit crab that uses a skull for a shell, but it’s actually a lot nastier than that.  Basically, Skullcrabs are unholy (in the academic sense of the term) hybrid creatures that have a continuous hunger for meat and the inherent intelligence of baboons. Individual Skullcrabs can be nasty surprises for a human, although not usually fatal ones; but when you get about a hundred of the things in one place, it can be bad.  They’re organized enough to operate via pack tactics, smart enough to swarm sentries first, and know enough about technology to cut ropes and wreck equipment.

 

As for a Skullcrab’s lifespan… it’s unknown, but it’s at least a few decades. Or possibly centuries. When they run out of food a Skullcrab will simply go dormant; they certainly can’t be starved to death.  Indeed, the only really reliable way to put down a Skullcrab is to, well, crush the skull.

 

Fortunately, they absolutely cannot reproduce on their own. To make new Skullcrabs you need to take a reanimated corpse that’s been submerged in seawater after being surrounded by organized death and destruction, then feed the corpse to a hermit crab.  Said crab will eventually take over the skull as its new shell, thus completing the Skullcrab transformation process.  And that process will not happen en masse if people remember to not use zombies as galley rowers.

 

Also:  do not eat Skullcrabs.  That one’s just on basic principles, though. Eating revenant flesh never ends well.

 

Feb
09
2017
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Location Seed: Salamander’s Firebreeze Resort.

Blame this.

salamanders-firebreeze-resort-google-docs

Salamander’s Firebreeze Resort

 

It startles some people when they find out that there’s a luxury resort that’s exclusively for fire elementals. First off, there are people who do not actually know that there are fire elementals. I mean, it’s obviously not a secret, or anything: but apparently some parents don’t teach their kids the facts about elementals of various sorts, and since there are various treaties in place that forbid the videotaping of regular, law-abiding supernatural entities (or otherwise determining their True Names) some people can go twenty, thirty years without ever actually getting the head’s-up.  Weird how folks can get bubbled, huh?

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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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