Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Eldritch Humanitas

Yang Xueguo

So there's this world with gods and those gods make life because life is rad which is why animals and plants and fungi and bacteria all live together in the great circle of life. That's the world, a delicate living painting, all things hanging in the balance.

Then humans show up.

Humans are weak, and imperfect, and prone to blaspheme. No creator entity worth their salt would make the mistake of introducing us to the culture environment, and they certainly wouldn't make us their favored creatures. The true children of the gods are cats, or frogs, or something. We're different. We're from somewhere else.

(Another side effect of humans being outsiders is that we can't naturally communicate with the rest of the world. Pretty much all animals speak each others' language; we're the only ones not in on the joke.)

Needless to say, the pantheon has taken poorly to our presence. Floods and earthquakes are classics, but they also introduced us to magic (wizards go sterile, then crazy, and eventually explode into giblets, typically in that order). There's been an on-again-off-again war (of which owlbears are a by-product) and some really fucked up bioweapons (of which ants are a by-product).

And we can't go back. It's been so long since we slipped into the ecosystem, we can't survive between planes anymore. It's definitely been attempted; there's a fair chunk of monsters that could be described as planar experiments gone wrong. They dropped the whole of Tindalos through a wormhole and it got spat right out in a pretty sorry state.

That's where the ritual comes in. Summoning outsiders gods is dangerous, but its the only way to get in touch with our divinity. Once the call goes out, the actual parent deity of humanity will arrive, either to reshape the world towards our interests or carry us safely back to our kin.

So, now do you understand why I have to sacrifice you on this altar to the Dark Lord Dkrmvsnkt?

JOESKYTRON LIVES

from the Biomancer's Arcane Product Index:

Ambergris, Singing: An ocarina which produces mournful whale songs. Makes elves sob uncontrollably, which is a plus. Can be heard from a mile away; play lightly, or it will blow out your eardrums.

Ants, Turing Complete: Write your question on a rice grain and give it to them. The ants will respond by remodeling the dirt, with each alphanumerical character taking a day to appear (one week the ant farm looks like an "A", the next it looks like an "2", and so on). This is a pretty great rate for universal truth, except each character has a 50% chance of being misprinted at random (break out that d36), so you can't just ask for 1s and 0s without some redundancies.

Apple, Planarian: Regenerates instantaneously as you eat/cut/peel it. Small bites of apple will regenerate in your stomach. Eventually you fill up with apples and die and the fruit uses you to grow a new tree. A terribly successful invasive species, which is why it is gravely rude to offer fruit to one from Dmylos, except as a jam.

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