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.