Thursday, August 24, 2017

A transient moment in the life of a starbeast

My objet d’art is a representation of the tunnels a space termite bored inside one square hectometer of a massive, sentient, spacefaring creature’s flesh.
Microscopically honed mouthpieces pulverize tunnels through flesh growing and dividing in a complete vacuum. This tough, dense, whitish material is torn through by a creature whose mouthpieces treat diamond like wet paper. The alkaline ooze spurting out of defensive pockets is designed to protect outer layers of flesh from exactly these parasites. The termite treats it as a mild irritant at best, and an unfortunate hit at worst. A lucky gush occasionally triggers an autoimmune response that causes a leg or an eye to slough off.
The barely insectoid form drills away, powering its mandibles with thick, acidic blood naturally pressurized to function as organic hydraulics.
The titanic creature registers an itch, somewhere along its lower dorsal quadrant, around its third supernumerary cluster of redundant filtering systems. Analogous to livers and kidneys, they filter the sludge-like blood and produce the long strands of proteins necessary to replicate the mammoth’s incredibly dense, armored cells.
This creature, this fleshgod, unwinds a manipulatory tactile organ, a spiraling tentacle hundreds of meters long, to scratch at the itch.
The termite is hit with a sudden, colossal convulsion that ruptures the stressed sides of its tunnel walls, engulfing it in a sudden deluge of superalkaloids. It instinctively engages a natural defense mechanism, encasing it in a shell not dissimilar to the ones formed by anthrax bacteria to hibernate. Particles blossom from hidden gills, reacting to the bases and forming a hardened, crusty shell, that encloses it in seconds. Currents of blood are drawn outward to the vacuum of space, simultaneously boiling in the sunlight and freezing in the shadow of the fleshgod as its solar sails eclipse the light from the closest star, filtering all but the most unstable wavelengths and converting them into energy.
The encapsulated termite floats with the blood, forming crystals of ice on its dark side and steaming on its sunlit side.
On the flank of the fleshgod, the blood pouring out of the wound undergoes an instant reaction as proteins from a nearby lymph network reach the site. The blood, in a matter of milliseconds, freezes, expands, and adheres to nearby cells, creating a crusty shield keeping thousands of gallons of blood inside.
The cracks are where flesh has started to regrow, eradicating the crystalline clots filling the tunnels. Nubs are tunnels being reclaimed by growths of new, healthy flesh.
Opaque blue for the outer coating, the scum over the living flesh and fluid.
Green for the areas affected by void bacteria, those hardy space organisms.
Brown for the necrotic areas, those dying and being reabsorbed. Targeted for waves of antibacterial product by the local lymph network.
Digging through this flesh is akin to mining through solid metal. The tunnels are geometric, the result of technique adjustments made by the parasite while drilling.

My art is the remnant of a cosmic feast.

threading through the blackest incomprehensible eons until rude gravity clutches at its godly flanks

Friday, August 11, 2017

I had a probably stupid idea that might actually be educational

Say your people are busy saving the world. Say they've saved it. Doesn't matter. This can apply to the best of players, and happen at any time.

Spread rumors of a new virus. This virus is memetic in nature; it propagates through a pamphlet. When you read the pamphlet, you contract it. If someone explains the information in the pamphlet to you well enough, you contract it. If you ingest some infected person's blood or mucus, you contract it.

Who are the infected? What does this virus do?

The infected are odd creatures. They dress weirdly, alternating between flamboyant poufery or incredibly drab clothes. They have little to no regard for money, hoarding it selfishly but rarely spending it except on new equipment or purported magic items. They love their equipment, but they mistreat and ignore it when not in battle or busy burrowing through the warrens of some intentionally buried necrothing crypt.

They don't really talk to strangers, and move in packs. People avoid them instinctively, flowing around them. They are weird. They are outsiders. When they talk it is stilted and often simple.

They look at each other constantly. When they talk to each other, it feels like round words being forced through square mouths, off-kilter.

To a creature, they are deadly in battle. All their battles, except for spells, are fought in complete silence. They die quietly, eyes flicking furiously around. They take no heed of lethal wounds.

Anyone close enough to them can sense the wrongness. The fundamental disconnect. The jerky, spastic movements they make. They are like puppets, moving in some strange dance, some like a standing corpse, others loosely animated.

When your players come across a pamphlet, it needs to be nasty and grease stained. Trampled underfoot in the gutter. It should be badly printed and unintelligible.

It should be, with no spite intended, a summary of the Player's Handbook.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Strange Teeth

Teeth hold a special significance for the farmers of the Styssios Wetlands. They are symbolically the means through which life enters your body by the vessels of food and drink, and therefore an important way to express vagaries of thought and body. Strong teeth indicate a hale person. Neat teeth are a sign of intelligence and a good predictor of literacy and mathematical ability. Even teeth show a person's purity, small teeth demonstrate strength, and large teeth show off a person's dexterousness.

This person is hiding something

Here is a table for teeth and how they can affect the mindset and body of people. Judge your PC's by their teeth. Cleanliness in outsiders doesn't matter if you don't have the money to afford it , but a sumptuously dressed adventurer with filthy teeth will be regarded with suspicion.

Teeth and what they mean (1d4s)

The first roll is odd.
  1. These teeth are glasslike. If you look closely, you might be able to see a vein. People with translucent teeth must be either grounded in this world or drifting. They are sapient but distant.
  2. Strong canines and small fronters. This person is witty but often employs cutting words.
  3. These bones are even and uniformly sized, signs of a scholarly future.
  4. This person has the touch because their front two teeth are gapped. They can peek into the cracks and crevices of other's thoughts, albeit dimly.
The first roll is even.
  1. Well-cared for teeth, if a bit crooked. This body enjoys the company of others, and people reciprocate affection around them.
  2. Small, squat teeth well suited for grinding and crushing. This person likes using their strength to solve problems.
  3. Even chompers with rounded tops that are dirty and discolored, hinting at a light hidden under a bushel.
  4. This person has buckteeth, the better to project with. They will speak their mind, whether sensible or not.
Quite normal actually

The second roll is an odd prime.
  1. These teeth are false! Roll again to see what teeth this person used to have, and what teeth they currently possess. 
  2. Overbite is an indicator of an energetic personality. 
  3. This person has wisdom teeth that have come in evenly. They are lucky and placid.
  4. These organs are overly large for the palate, but this person has learned to nimbly evade this difficulty, making them spry and quick-witted.
The second roll is an even prime.
  1. This person has a canine missing. They have been through a great stress, which makes them kind or acidic.
  2. This person has a molar or two missing. Do not trust them with significant matters, for they are rotted at the core.
  3. When this person smiles (which is rare) the missing front teeth are very noticable. They will lie as easily as breathing,
  4. Through luck or riches, this person now has no wisdom teeth. They are charismatic, but something is missing.
The second roll is a number squared.
  1. Their teeth twist slightly inward to the right, as if corkscrewed by some mammoth antediluvian in the womb. Their bite hexes its target. 
  2. They have a second row of teeth. Roll again to see what it is and determine how hidden the row is. 
  3. This person still has their baby teeth behind their adult teeth. The baby teeth are dead, but they refuse to let go. This person can sacrifice a baby tooth and plant it to summon a zombie or skeleton.
  4. This person has a hideous layer of overlapping canines that wave slightly. Their grin paralyzes like hold person. It is a predators stare, one that fixes a victim in horrible trance to the earth.
When you walk through the flats, it is considered proper courtesy to only take the briefest look at a new acquaintance's mouth. A true sign of trust is never looking at their teeth unless permission is given. Often, friends will greet each other with wide grins and others with small smiles. Styssians are close-lipped because they do not trust strangers with their identities.

Rulers of the Muds will approach each other with lips stretched over wide open mouths, to ensure each other that no deception is intended. Until salutations are brought to a close, it is considered proper to never close your mouth entirely, not even to enunciate. In cases of great import like peace negotiations or marriage contracts, professional ivorywrights (always part of a retinue) will inspect the other leaders teeth in front of a court assembled to insure that no glamors or false teeth obscure the truth.

This person is very trustworthy
As is this person

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Petalord

 Velvet, passionate, verdant, beautiful, wild, rich, beloved of lovers.

A rose is a metaphor so beautiful and perfect in its own right that it fully deserves all the cultural and personal adoration it receives. It grows, as love does. It has thorns, as love does. It unfolds into a beatific blossom, as love does.

Let it grow, and it runs wild. Prune it, and it only blossoms more. 

Developing an infatuation is called "pricking the rose". Jilting a lover is "pruning the bud". When a rosebud is presented to a lover, it serves the same purpose as an engagement ring. That rosebud, always a white rosebud, is typically preserved by magic, and taken into the couple's bed on their wedding night. Legend has it the rose will turn red and blossom in the morning if the new spouses have been faithful to each other. The rose is then planted, and nurtured. The tenements in most major cities are crammed full of roses feeding off the light through the ventilation hole penetrating the center of the building. Some plants have survived for decades in the stench of the cities, and a well-pruned rose bush is a sign of dutiful potential in-laws.

Naturally, roses are the ingredients in most love spells.