Geneforge Pen and Paper
|Author||Topic: Geneforge Pen and Paper|
Member # 3568
written Friday, August 4 2006 08:12
A couple of friends and I are thinking of running a couple of games set in the world of Geneforge, but we decided that the gameworld needed a little fleshing out, so I wrote this. This is a partial, rough draft.
We'll be using the SR IV game mechanics, since wanted things a little grittier than D20.
If anyone has any suggestions, comments or feedback, coo:
The Other Magical Guilds
Shaper incl. Agents and Guardians, are the highest social class. Every Shaper expects absolute obedience from the entirety of the rest of society, and from lower ranking Shapers. In a sense, they foreswear personal wealth (in another sense, they own everything.) They generally divide their time between healing the sick or injured (which always guarantees them a minimal base-line level of popularity), ordering people around, doing research and applying their talents to the benefit of their community (generally in agriculture.) Paradoxically, most Shapers are born into the landowner class, and not into the wealthier merchant class (see below). Shapers are not permitted to marry – but given that their talents are partially hereditary, and they understand this fact, they do reproduce. Recreational sex and romance are both strongly discouraged as a matter of policy – but Shapers, especially in remote areas, can do essentially whatever they want so it is not unheard of. The offspring of shapers are generally adopted and raised by landowning families (or by the non-shaper parent), and it not considered appropriate for a shaper to show favoritism to his or her biological offspring.
Lapidaries There are several sub-societies within this prestigious magical guild, but they are interchangeable from a societal standpoint. Lapidaries sometimes serve as “lieutenants” to the Shapers, but generally avoid responsibilities related to governance in favor of accumulation of wealth and luxury. Most Lapidaries live in major metropolises where they manufacture powerful magic items and maintain magical infrastructure of various sorts (street lighting, for example) The magical powers of this guild are described below. Lapidaries are generally drawn from families of the Merchant class, as their products are expensive and the schools that teach their guild members, although vetted by the Shapers, generally charge substantial tuition. Lapidaries are integrated into society more or less normally, and they generally marry to secure family business connections, or for love. Lapidaries have to do whatever work a Shaper orders them to do (the Shapers sometimes dip into their coffers to pay Lapidaries in their service a stipend, and sometimes don’t,) but are otherwise generally free to sell their services as they wish.
Mason Although theoretically lower in status than Lapidaries, Masons are much more visible to the general populace, as they are generally given charge of crews of craftspeople (and serviles) who work to maintain roads, bridges, buildings, etc. It is common practice among Shapers to delegate their authority (which is total) to Masons who are engaged in such work. Masons also provide some general services to the public. For cultural reasons, many children of craftspeople become Masons. Masons generally live as very wealthy craftspeople, with spouses often drawn from that class. Masons are more restricted in their ability to sell their services to the general public than are Lapidaries, but they are also more likely to be given a stipend since they are so directly involved in public works much of the time.
Aromatists Aromatists are not actually higher in status than Magi generally (the next caste in the list), but they are such a large guild that they deserve special mention. Some Aromatists are itinerant, working as fortune tellers, soothsayers and the like, but most live in and work for the Shapers directly, using their divinatory talents to provide the Shapers with valuable intelligence, or working to produce various useful products from shaped raw materials. Since this is the lowest status, (and easiest to join) of the major magical guilds, many Aromatists are the magically talented children of the poorest “craftspeople” – traveling entertainers, street performers and the like. Aromatists have a reputation for licentiousness, and even those living permanently in the compound of a Shaper or Shaper’s council seldom have stable family lives. Aromatists are not, technically, supposed to sell their services to the general public, but most Shapers turn a blind eye to this practice as long as they don’t cause trouble.
Mage A member of any other magical guild, a licensed assistant to the Shapers, or a licensed but not guild-affiliated magic user, will generally just be called “Mage”. Not everyone with the honorific Magi before their name is actually capable of using magic – although the vast majority are, various prominent citizens (heads of non-magical tradesman’s associations, prominent merchants, artists of renown, as well as high ranking supporting functionaries, such as the secretary or head gardener of a powerful shaper) will also get this honorific from the local Shapers council. Note that this title gives you permission to know magic (and to be a member of a legitimate magical guild,) so even if someone knows no magic whatsoever, they will often learn at least a little once honored with such a title. Some minor guilds require their membership to be celibate, but generally speaking, Magi of other guilds are integrated into the larger society. Anyone wishing to make a living as a teacher/intellectual must be a Mage – non Magi are not permitted to be paid for tutoring, writing or teaching – one way in which the Shapers promote ideas they favor is to elevate aspiring writers into this caste when they espouse pro-shaper ideas. Magi in general need permission to sell their services, but such permission is routinely granted, depending on what exactly the Magi does.
Students Students are not precisely Magi. Until they are officially awarded the title of Mage, they are not allowed to use magic except as explicitly instructed to do so by a Shaper or by someone delegated by a Shaper to instruct them. For a student-shaper to violate this discipline is a good way to get kicked out or killed. For any of the lesser guilds, it’s assumed that young people will tend to misbehave and is generally overlooked when not egregious.
Any human being who is not granted permission to know magic is a citizen. Knowing magic is punishable by death – former students who are not made Magi are sometimes exempted from this sentence, but sometimes they are killed for the crime of knowing magic (especially likely if they are kicked out of school for causing trouble.) The Magic Users are the officially sanctioned “professional” class (including those “Magi” who do not actually have magic) – anyone who does not have permission to use magic is regarded as, at best, “skilled”.
Citizens generally have a fairly high standard of living, and look up to the Shapers for providing order and stability, as well as economic prosperity and medical care.
Families tend to be fairly small, for several reasons. Firstly, there is general gender equality, which as a social question lowers the frequency of childbirth. Secondly, most citizens are reasonably prosperous (which tends for whatever reason to favor small families), and finally, the Shapers spent a great deal of effort breaking the power of individual clans, so atomized, nuclear families are encouraged (by various policies, mainly economic.)
Unless one is a shaper, Magi generally retain some ties to their birth families. This is particularly important for Merchants, but some Magi make their living as homesteaders, and many sell services to the general public on the side (in addition to doing whatever work it is the Shapers require.) In any case, Magi will often be members of one of these unofficial classes as well – so Mage/smiths and magic-using landowners are fairly commonplace.
There are several unofficial ranks of citizen, based more or less on wealth.
The wealthiest citizens are generally Merchants. The Shapers do not entirely trust Merchants, however, and there is a certain tension to this day between the existing Merchant families and the Shapers, who view the wealthy, organized and inter-networked merchant families as a potential threat or rival. The term “merchant” will be used to refer to any member of a merchant family, even if they are a clerk, teamster or banker (or useless dilettante.) Young merchants are generally the most cosmopolitan section of the population, along with the students of the lesser magical guilds.
Landowners are generally second in wealth to Merchants. A landowner will be, almost invariably, a gentleman (or gentlewoman) farmer with a sizeable “stable” of serviles and other work animals. The small sizes of families keeps population growth relatively slow, there is a great deal of wilderness but it is steadily being taken over by homesteaders. Because they receive so much material benefit from the Shapers (shaped seeds, for example, and various magical aids to soil fertility,) the landowners are, generally speaking, the social class most loyal to the status quo. This means that their children are generally thought to be more reliable candidates for the Shaper caste, and that parents are more likely to encourage their children to enter into that calling (since it is highly respected), as opposed to Merchants and Craftspeople (who would generally prefer their children join a magical guild that permits it’s members to accumulate wealth.)
Craftspeople are, generally speaking, not as wealthy as the landowners and the like who purchase their services. They are organized into semi-democratic guilds or tradesman’s associations. This class includes smiths and pipe fitters, but also rogues, tinkers, etc. Entertainments and arts of various sorts are also generally regarded as “crafts”, although high art (as determined by Shapers) and literature are both professional callings which can get one jumped in status to Mage (see above.)
Finally, some people aren’t integrated into one of these social classes. Some of them live in secret compounds, hiding from the Shapers. The Shapers don’t generally like it when people don’t fit the mold, and take it upon themselves to ensure 100% employment. Those with no other prospects are encouraged to become homesteaders (eventually landowners) in new areas which the Shapers have fertilized and prepared for cultivation.
The Shapers did away with organized religion some time ago, and it is remembered (if at all) as a romantic strangeness of a bygone era.
Most people would be baffled if you tried to explain the concept of a religion to them.
The general population does have an amorphously monotheistic belief system, and you get occasional expressions that reference “God” or “Heaven” or the like. This is combined with superstition and pantheism (many people believe in invisible place spirits, as well as various spirits of good and bad luck, possibly ancestor spirits or ghosts.) Many people are atheists, or at least skeptics, but none of this is considered (by the Shapers) as appropriate material for discussion, so people simply don’t talk about it much. Most Magi are unarticulated agnostics – meaning they probably don’t believe in God (or in ancestor spirits) but don’t give it much thought.
There are occasional, generally secret, movements that might be described as religious or philosophical – this includes the Takers, for example, as well as the various groups that simply choose to live away from the larger Shaper-dominated society.
Finally, there are mystery cults within the Masons and Aromatists (and, some whisper, the Shapers.)
The Shapers generally take a very dim view (spiced, in some instances, with extreme violence) of anything that we would characterize as religious activity, including overt atheism, which tends to upset superstitious people.
Serviles form a sub-human slave caste. You will be able to play a servile if you wish – you get build points for it, and certain other features (being shaped yourself, mainly) are cheaper if you are born as a servile.
Serviles who are not shaped to it cannot channel essence (use magic) at all.
Social Responsibilities of Shapers
Shapers are generally expected to spend their time doing three things –
a) Healing. Their talent with healing magic – which is unparalleled – is one of the things that propelled the Shapers to mastery in the first place. It gives the Shapers a veneer of benevolence and a moral authority that is practically unmatched.
b) Aiding the economy. Shapers create economically useful things of various sorts, mainly by shaping either a plant or a servile in a permanent way to be more useful for some task. They also deal with pest infestations and help keep the landowners’ soil fertile. In an economy that is still substantially agricultural, this is a big deal.
c) Maintain order. Brigands are still an occasional problem. However, Shapers also do duty as the government, resolving disputes (in the best interests of all, ideally,) and so forth.
A Shaper is supposed to be wise, powerful and benevolent, to some extent self-sacrificing. Every tyrant in the history of the real world has made the same claim, of course – it’ll vary from game to game to what extent the motives of the Shapers really are noble. Personally, since they also serve as doctors, and since I want to make the loyalist position at least somewhat appealing, I intend to play them as largely benevolent, but very arrogant.
Social Benefits of Shapers
Relations between Shapers and Lesser Guilds
All of the lesser guilds exist only on suffrage of the Shapers, at least in theory. Also in theory, they have no secrets from the Shapers. Obviously, they have their own traditions, and since a Shaper will very, very rarely have the needed background to understand the highest levels of one of these “lesser” magical arts, the “no secrets” rule is essentially meaningless.
Nonetheless, while the basics of shaping are absolutely forbidden to non-shapers, any shaper has free access to the basics of any of these guilds – and nominal access to their advanced teachings, though few are serious enough students to manage such.
The membership of the lesser magical guilds comes from several sources –
a) Shaper washouts. Anyone who has any experience with higher education knows that “failing” may have very little to do with competency and a lot with politics. Nonetheless, sometimes those who don’t make the cut are transferred into a different guild so that their magical abilities can still be useful to society.
b) Children of the prominent. A Lapidary or a Mason doesn’t have quite the status of a Shaper – but they don’t have a fraction of the responsibility either, and are generally permitted to pursue their own wealth and advancement when the shapers have no need of their services.
c) The specifically talented. Some people just have a strong nack for one sort of magic and not another – since there are never enough Shapers (or other sorts of Magi) with genuine magical strength, the Shapers do a certain amount of scouting. The odds of a talent being noticed vary greatly depending on circumstances, however.
Magical Guilds are different in approach, not in effect. Thus, there is no guild that specializes in fire magic – but there is a a guild that specializes in using fire to do magic (seeing the future in fire, throwing someone’s fingernails into a fire in order to cause them bad luck, etc.)
Lapidaries Lapidaries do magic using crystals. This means they are the “lesser magicians” who make the wands and spray crystals, and they also work with those giant crystals that power many shaper facilities. The Lapidaries are the ancient allies of the Shapers, so they are the second most prestigious of the magical guilds, and the one given the most leeway.
Masons Masons basically do Feng Shui – they work magic through architecture and arrangement. These are the people who put up magical buildings and build many of the magical traps. Drawing mystic symbols on things and arranging them on the compass points, along with various other trappings of high ritual magic, are also part of the Masonic study. Their magic is not always artificial or even stationary; they can harness power from natural arrangements and the movement of natural things such as wind and water. Finally, they study space itself, and when the shapers permit the construction of a gate or portal, it is the Masons who build it. Masons are the third most prestigious of the magical guilds,
Aromatists This is a catch-all guild for various groups of witches and alchemists who surrendered to the Shapers, and whom the Shapers treated mercifully (both to encourage others to surrender without much of a fight and because they had magical skills the shapers thought might be useful.) The name of the guild comes from the practice of working magic by burning wood or incense and inhaling the smoke, which both harnesses magic inherent in the wood and alters the Mage’s state of consciousness. The Aromatists absorbed the remnants of various magical societies of a more or less alchemical nature, so they make magical salves and potions, and use other preparations to achieve altered states of consciousness. Their focus on fire also leads them to smith magical objects out of actual metal. Shapers make the plants from which magical pods, batons, etc. grow, but most Aromatists prefer to work with shaped plants over natural varieties. Finally, and again with a focus on ritualistic fires, aromatists practice sympathetic magic of a type very different from that practiced by Masons. The Aromatists are both the least prestigious and least trusted of the three major lesser guilds – unsurprising, given their history as defeated enemies. However, they still have great clout compared to the general population, and as the Shapers wars fade into ancient history, the stigma declines.
There are probably at least a dozen more, lesser magical guilds, but the Lapidaries, Masons and Aromatists are the big three, and are present in every major metropolis or agricultural region. Other magical guilds are comparatively much smaller, often taught in only a single school with membership only in that region.
Illegal Magical Practices
There are a number of magical practices which are illegal, for shapers or for any other guild. Before the shaper conquest, these arts were practiced by various magical societies – some of which were part of the magical guild system that preceded shaper dominance, and some of which were despised and illegal, even then. One of the reasons that Lapidaries are so favored is that the Shapers have seldom had cause to censure them for overstepping these bounds, while the Masons and Aromatists are prone to bouts of Demonology and Necromancy (respectively.)
Examples of forbidden magical practices include –
Necromancy of any kind. This includes both magic that involves or manipulates the dead, as well as the magic of the former Guild of Necromancers, which used death and human sacrifice as a means of magic.
Demonology. There are horrible things which are somehow excluded from our reality. The same techniques that would allow a Mason to open a gate between two places might allow him to summon these utterly alien and generally malevolent beings. Actually controlling or harnessing such beings would be an entire college of magic in its own right (demons being vary diverse and useful, after a fashion), but it has never been permitted by anyone remotely sane.
Various forbidden shaping. This gets talked about a lot in the computer game – creations that can make more creations, using shaping to alter human beings, making Drayks, all disallowed.
Basic Would be “battle” creations in the computer game. This is the default for a creation with a “normal” metabolism.
Fire Would be “fire” creations in the computer game. These creations incorporate magical fire into their physiology (they may or may not actually go around breathing it.)
Cold Likewise “fire” creations in the computer game. These creations incorporate magical cold into their physiology.
Spectral A class of creation which phases in and out of material reality.
Magical A Magical creation is essentially a creation which is, itself, capable of limited essence channeling. Name unchanged from the basic game, but now includes the majority of the basic game creations (since most of them can use magic in some sense or another.)
High Magic A Creation which MUST manipulate essence as part of its underlying processes (for example, anything that flies or floats.)
Computer Game Creations
Roamer Fire, Magical
Pyroroamer Fire, Magical
Drakon Fire, High Magic
Ur-Drakon Cold, High Magic
Thahd Shade Spectral
Plated Clawbug General
Battle Alpha General
Bettle Beta General
Searing Artila Magical
Vlish High Magic
Terror Vlish High Magic
Gazer High Magic
Eyebeast High Magic
Essence channeling enables you to generate a lance of power that alters the properties of matter in its path, lowering the flashpoint (the temperature at which something combusts) of anything in its path. The power lance is itself invisible, but the effect of the lance on the intervening air is to generate a cloud of red, orange or yellow sparks and possibly similarly hued, glowing smoke.
Creations of the “Fire” type are those that incorporate this stuff into their metabolic processes. Essentially, a pyro-creation uses magical fire to digest its food. Such creations are also, often, capable of producing lances of the stuff on their own.
Generating magical cold is more difficult than generating magical fire, but often somewhat more harmful. Shapers generally lack the skill to do this directly. Instead of causing matter to fall apart, a lance of magical cold causes matter in its path to temporarily assume an extremely unstable state, sucking heat from the environment when it does so.
When air collapses from this unstable state, blue or white sparks are produced, sometimes so many that it looks like blue glowing smoke. A certain amount of ionizing radiation is also produced, although very little heat. Thus, you can use these cold bolts (or a similar but weaker effect) to chill a room.
However, it is the sheer transmutation power of the lance that does most of the damage, and not the cold, per se, which is why these lances are actually more destructive than their heat-based counterparts.
Using essence, it is possible to create a universal solvent out of ordinary water.
You can squirt (or spit) the stuff at people, or you can condense it out of water vapor in the air and drop it on people.
Either way, being splashed with it is extremely lethal, and will hurt virtually anything, although it generally takes a bit to kill someone.
As fired by Vlish and Gazers. Essentially, this is a telekinetic fist.
6.0 or less Unmodified human. No penalties. Unless a particular forging has an obvious effect (like, say, claws), it is undetectable at this level.
5.0 or less Slightly creepy. Anyone who meets you makes an Intuition + Essence (3) test. If they succeed, they sense something wrong or unnatural about you, -1 die penalty on social skills in most situations (no penalty on intimidation, no penalty when dealing with a cabal of takers, use common sense.) People who recognize this sense of the unnatural (for example, loyalist agents who hunt takers)
4.0 or less Intuition + Essence (2) or a –2 penalty (same schpeal.) Character probably enjoys increased self-confidence and zest for life, without noticing any loss of self-control.
3.0 or less Intuition + Essence (1) or a –3 penalty (same schpeal.) Character’s vigor and enthusiasm may strike others as dissonant or offputting in its intensity.
2.0 or less -4 penalty all the time (same schpeal). Starting to get crazy – Willpower + Humanity (1) to exercise restraint or humility. Note that this arrogance does not necessarily equate a lack of empathy, or a lack of concern for, for example, the freedom and intrinsic dignity of others.
1.0 or less Really crazy. Willpower + Humanity (2) to exercise restraint or humility. Character also becomes much more passionate, probably prone to extreme mood swings.
0.0 or less Furniture chewing super-villainy. Can exercise caution to show off your own cleverness, but never through a lack of self-confidence, which is now boundless. Expect to spend a lot of time explaining yourself to people while they hang precipitously over a pit of slavering monsters (who will eat them in your absence). Character may be driven by noble principles, ideas or ideals, but is an overconfident megalomaniac.
Note that Serviles only start with 4.0 but they lose HALF as much when forged, so they can get 7.9 points of enhancements before turning evil.
4.0 or less Basic servile. Serviles experience many social penalties.
3.0 or less Modified servile. Loyalist shapers will sometimes customize serviles to this degree, but certain forgings (such as the ability to channel essence!) will get the servile killed on the spot.
2.0 or less Dangerous, angry, possibly crazy.
1.0 or less Perpetually angry, definitely crazy.
0.0 or less
Posts: 19 | Registered: Saturday, October 18 2003 07:00
Member # 7354
written Friday, August 4 2006 11:37
This is an interesting idea.
Ages ago I tried to convert some of the Exile creatures and character types into the GURPS system.
Regarding Geneforge, though, I think that the best sort of pen & paper system to use would be Amber diceless-- namely because with that you can easily incorporate the effect of the canisters. Your typical character will start with maybe 25 points, and each canister could increase this total by five. But the net sum would lead to a sanity rating.
I'd post a link to an explanation of the Amber Diceless system, but can't seem to find a good one.
Best of luck, though!
Posts: 1 | Registered: Friday, August 4 2006 07:00
Member # 5243
written Sunday, August 6 2006 21:34
I had an idea to run a Gurps Geneforge game, that I never got off the ground. Lately though, I've been looking at Sorcerer (www.sorcerer-rpg.com) and thinking it would be an interesting system to run geneforge in, since the entire system is built to explore the question 'How do you deal with morally questionable forms of power?'
When I was thinking of Geneforge pen and paper though, I was thinking more about how the kind of shaping you'd want in a pen and paper world is very different from the (eseentially just combat based) shaping that works in a computer RPG. Here's some stuff I came up with, feel free to use as much of it as you want:
A Tilka tends to average a foot in length, with a slightly large head for it's body size and a pair of large, strong legs with powerful claws, which fold up into body-cavities when in flight, to allow for greater speed. It's head has three eyes, one on either side and one in the center, which allows for a great field of vision, depth perception, and ability to focus on a small area. The top half of it's beak is forked, the bottom is not; they curve inwards slightly at the ends, which are very sharp, though further back is quite dull. This gives the Tilka a great ability to tear things open, grab something, and hold onto it with it's beak. It's legs are very strong and flexible, with opposable claws for gripping. Walking it's long legs and almost hand-like claws make it somewhat clumsy, but in flight it can tuck them away and even use it's feet to assist in steering and climbing. Tilkas have slightly larger heads then most birds not just to accomodate the extra eye, but also to allow for better visual processing and memory. Shapers use these creations to find things they have lost, and retrieve them. Finding something that fell out of a backpack or was lost on a battlefield is a peice of cake for these creatures, and if they have seen and smelt the object before, and have a skilled trainer, they can find objects stolen and carried on another person. They can also be used to find a person, either returning to lead their master to the target or bringing back a peice of the target's scalp or eye. Tilkas, being slightly smarter than most birds, are at some risk of going rogue. They can be dangerous, especially if the attack is unexpected, but most rogue Tilka prefer to take a few swipes at their old master, then retire to a life of stealing shiny things and eating rodents.
The Cahrf is a creature that could only possible have come from Shapers; a small bird, about the size of a hand, with transparent feathers and semi-transparent skin. It has no legs, and thus requires a bit of a throw to get started flying. Alternately, it can shuffle along slowly using it's wings, and plummet off a drop of some sort to pick up speed, and hope for the best. Suffice it to say, the creature will not try this when it has much of a choice. It's eyesight is very poor, but it's senses of smell and taste are quite good. It's skin is also highly sensitive to touch (including pain) as well as environmental factors. Most interesting is that it's skin and feathers can change shade and pattern like an octopus. This occurs without concious control on the part of the animal, and reflects the environmental conditions around the animal. These can be 'read' and used by the shaper. There are various different varieties of Cahrf, to suit purposes. Some are very sensative, changing colours quickly; this kind are often carried with shapers. Others are less sensative, changing quickly only in extreme conditions; this enables them to hold their information for long enough to fly back to their owner. There are even some that remain highly sensative when touched regularly but lose their sensativity a certain length of time afterwards, enabling them to pick up subtle information, and hold it till they return. Cahrfs are a prized tool in the mining industry, and useful in surveying and scouting. The ability to accurately read subtle information from a Cahrf is a very marketable skill. Cahrf Rogues are thought to be non-existant: they are too simple to have much will, and have virtually zero self-sufficiency skills. The few unverified reports of Cahrf 'refusing' to change tones are dismissed as non-sense.
Redish to Blueish Waves: Heat or Cold
Frequency of waves: Humidity/Dryness
Shades of Green: Poison
Grey: Carbon Dioxide
Flying, a Deev looks somewhat like a cone-shaped owl. It has a dispro-portionally large, slightly bloated lower half, with small legs which emerge from opposite sides of it's body. It's small head has two large, owlish, forward-facing eyes on top, giving it a keen vision of it's destination as it dives, and brilliant depth perception. It's beak, flat and round, is under it's eyes. Because of its shape it's a slow and struggling flier, but an accurate diver. When walking the Deev waddles like a cross between a penguin and a compass-needle, straining it's head down and forwards to be able to see where it is going. The reason for its rather distended belly is a huge digestive system, which processes the large quantities of food the creature eats and heats them significantly. This burning material can then be dumped on targets at the master's whim. If a Deev does not have enough food in it's digestive system it developes a terrible stomach ache – something not many Shapers care about, but a factor for those Deevs that go rogue. With their abilities they can hunt lone rodents or marsupials for food, giving a rogue some chance for survival. Because they are so clumsy at everything except diving and not very bright, a rogue Deev is not a difficult adversary though. A few different kinds of Deev have been created, most notably a variant which, rather than heating the material in it's digestive tract, processes it into a corrosive liquid. Though more dangerous than the regular kind, these Acid Deev are also less stable, both in terms of their digistive systems and mentally. Recently, an Ur-Deev has been created, which is said to have a less clumsy design and be more internally stable.
Hawky like attack bird.
Synashers are small, slug-like retilioids. The tend to be about 4-5 inches long, tapering off to a forked tail at the end. They have a thick, often brightly coloured skin which protects them from all but the most intense of heat, and are capable of great bursts of speed when they are hot. Synashers are used as practice for Prentices, allowing them to experiment with the internal heat shielding necissary for more advanced Fire Shaping, by applying it to the outside of these creatures. Their only other real function is to amuse children, as they are often considered fairly cute.
The Bruzh is a thin snakelike creature with no teeth, usually between 18inches and 2 feet in length. It gets created with many different skin shades and patterns, to match different types of terrain. Bruzhi get used to trip or entangle opponents, hopefully hiding in grass or something similiar so they are not seen, and then slithering around legs in either a figure 8 or 'O' shape. Not being very smart, a Bruzh will often just entangle the first person who stumbles near it. Bruzhi have fairly weak bones, and are often crushed when being forcably removed from their targets. Because of their lack of teeth it is fairly difficult for them to find food if they escape and go rogue. The worst that can happen from a rogue Bruzh is that they fail to entagle when their enemy approaches, which can be quite a problem if it was integral to an ambush or escape.
Blinkers, a difficult creation with a lot of essential shaping practises incorporated into them, are a kind of baptism by fire for Magic Shaping. A blinker is mostly animal, though part plant. It has 3 legs that sink into the ground and branch off into roots. They join together at a central stem which leads to a single eye. When this eye blinks, the Blinker is seen to disappear – it actually activates a layer of camouflage, blending into its surroundings. From it's rooted position it watches and remembers all that it sees. When touched by a Shaper, it dumps all of it's memory, 'downloading' it to the Shaper. As this is usually a month's worth of memories, most Blinkers are created to just remember specific things. Occasionally this is as broad as recording any changes to the area of view, but most often it is to remember when certain things move past the blinker; Shapers, humans, creatures, creations, etc. If left for long periods of time without dumping it's memories, a blinker can start to forget things. This rarely occurs before a month or two, but since it is dependant largely on how much the Blinker has been created to remember, it can happen earlier. It is also possible that a particularly large download can temporarily confuse and disorientate a Shaper, and there are rumours it can cause memories problems or loss. A rogue Blinker is annoying at worst, confusing a Shaper or refusing to download memories. Their only form of protection is to keep their eye closed, retaining camouflage, but since they are so curious – and their only other real sense is vibration – a very still Shaper can usually wait till the eye opens.
Simple Warning Sensor
Another half living device a simple warning sensor is a living sensor rod attached to one end of a small base, with a small crystal attached to the other. If the sensor rod is animal, it lights up the crystal if it detects unsuitable temperature ranges for humans nearby. If the sensor rod is plant, it lights up the crystal rod if it detects pollutants unsuitable for humans nearby (noxious gases, poisons, the like). Obviously they do not indicate exactly where the source of temperature or pollutant is, though it may be obvious from the placing, and the brighter the crystal, the closer it is. A source of nutrients is often built into the base of the device as well, so that it will last. Depending on the length of use, this may need to be replaced.
A living mine is a small, sensative blobby creature that is dropped into a small hole at the top of an empty crystal ball on a tripod. The creature is fed until it fills the ball, and roots begin to grow out of the legs of the tripod, and the ball is then placed on the ground. The roots grow into the ground, and the mine is activated. Once activated the mine needs a constant source of nutrients or it dies instantly. If anyone approaches the mine, it senses the movements, and begins to swirl around, exploding within around 10 seconds. This does give someone time to reach down to the legs of the tripod and try to disconnect it from the ball. This will kill the mine without it exploding. Living mines have been known to explode at random when young.
As well as being pretty took look at, flowers can have many beneficial effects. Sweet smelling blossoms can be used to cover up unpleasent odours – not to be underestimated in world without sewerage pipes. Beyond these kinds of mundane uses, shapers have found a variety of additional properties to give flowers.
Effects: Drowsy, Sleep, Itchy, Poison
As well as these properties, the ability to release pollen into the air is a vital part of much living machinery.
A Sensor Mine is one of the two types of mines that shapers use. It is a small pod about 9 inches in diameter and about 6 inches high which sits a few inches off the ground, suspended by roots which dig into the ground. On top it has a thin sensor. Through pollens they are 'programmed' to have a target. This could be something like 'Shapers', 'Serviles', 'Creations', 'Humans', 'Non-Shapers', 'Everyone'. If the Creator has something with the DNA of a specific person the mines can target just that individual. Mines can also have 'exceptions', be they individuals (subject to the condition above), entire species, or any being holding, say, a rose. It is even possible to except specific groups, by creating a living object which emits a particular scent which grants exception – just hope your enemies don't find one of the tokens! It is rare, dangerous and forbidden to create mines that have the ability to target their creator or that lack a 'disarm' scent, so that at least someone can 'disarm' them easily. If a target approaches within about 2 or 3 metres, the sensor will point to them, and the mines usually explode at about 1 metre from a target, though these values are changable. The point of these mines is primarilyto protect an area from certain beings, not necissarily to hurt them.
Posts: 3 | Registered: Wednesday, December 1 2004 08:00
Member # 3607
written Tuesday, August 8 2006 12:04
I have played around with the idea of using the d20 system. Most of the aspects of Geneforge can be transfered over fairly easily, but creations are a little more dificult since you need to maintain game balance.
I may go back and work on it some more :)
Posts: 4 | Registered: Monday, October 27 2003 08:00