Monday, October 17, 2022

Teeth are Magic Crystals.

We all know wizard teeth are full of magic.

But in fact, all teeth and bones are full of magic to varying degrees. Living animals accumulate magic in their bodies when interacting with the aether. This magic settles in the form of magicite crystals, which integrate neatly into the apatite crystals found in non-magical bones and teeth. Any creature which lives in a magically rich environment will develop a more magicitic skeleton, and grow more resistant to injury as a result.

(This is also why the cheapest form of mana potion is simply concentrated bone broth. Makes a good stew and recharges your fireballs too.)

Bones and Teeths with Special Powers

Some creatures have adapted to direct their bioaccumulation of magicite towards specific parts of their skeletons, and to shape it for more esoteric effects.

In big apex predators like wolves and lions, the magicite concentrates in the fangs. This imbues their bites with supernatural killing power. The most dramatic example of this is the smilodon's ability to bite things from several paces away.

Other examples of tissues with high magicite concentration include the horns of antelopes, the clubs of mantis shrimp, the dermal denticles of certain sharks, and the tusks of the mighty porcine unicorn.

(Larger animals and apex predators tend to accumulate more magicite, but there are exceptions to this rule.)

Magical Bird Pearls

Birds (and frogs and some other creatures) lack teeth or other bony protusions, and tend to have unenhanced skeletons. Instead, they ingest a small rock or particle of sand, and then coat it with layers of magicite. The resulting magicitic gastroliths, or mana pearls, are most commonly used simply to aid in digestion, but can also be channeled to more exotic effects.

Who can forget the fire-breath of the flamingo, the shield-penetrating honk of the celestial goose, and the psychic calls of the songbirds?

You can never quite be sure what a hawk is capable of. They ingest and store the pearls from the birds they eat as prey, and elderly hawks are on par with young wizards in terms of the diversity of their spellcasting abilities.

Teeth are the Catalyst for Verbal Spellcasting

In humans, the magicite concentrates in the teeth, but not as a weapon. Human dental magicite is the reason that song and incantation enhances spellcasting.

A child's milk teeth are essentially mundane, being apatite-based. The second set of developing adult teeth are imbued with magicite throughout the first years of a child's life. And it is only once they erupt that a child begins to display magical aptitude. Wisdom teeth are so called because they develop for longer and so accumulate a higher concentration of magicite.

People often lose their teeth as they age, and it used to be that they needed ivory dentures to maintain their magical abilities. This all changed, of course, with the discovery of arguably the most important spell of the modern wizarding era: Fauchard's Renewal

Wizards Regrow Teeth Like Sharks

Anyone who practices magic frequently, and thus cycles more aether through their body, will accumulate additional magicite. But because their teeth have already erupted and stopped growing, most of this magicite goes towards strengthening the skeleton and generally enhancing the constitution.

Fauchard's Renewal is a spell with stimulates the growth of a new set of adult teeth. It was initially used as a way to improve the quality of life of the elderly. But it was quickly discovered that when grown in the mouth of a spellcaster, this tertiary set of teeth has an incredibly high magicite-to-apatite ratio. It is thus now standard practice to apply this spell to students at the conclusion of their magical training. Practicing wizards have lost both their baby teeth and their adult teeth, and now have "wizard teeth".

Wizard teeth are powerful magical items and valuable ritual components. Some mages are thus tempted to apply the spell multiple times, harvesting teeth to enhance their power. However, this process is stressful on the body. The nutrients that would be directed towards reinforcing the bones and counteracting the effects of aging are instead directed towards growing more teeth. Those who abuse the process risk premature aging.

(Also, if you beat up a wizard and steal their teeth, you can make dentures which give you a wizard level.)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

22 Magical Teas, and the Plants from Which they're Made

The following is a list of 22 strange plants used for brewing magical teas. Each entry describes where this plant can be found or how it can be cultivated. Each accompanying image is AI-generated by Wombo's Dream AI.

This was written for Stick for the Spring 2022 Secret Jackalope blogpost exchange. My apologies for the delay.

1. Bartered Tea

Tea made from the Il Plagato plant promotes a calm mind and enhances physical dexterity, but only if the leaves are willingly given to the harvester. Stolen leaves are bitter and have a diuretic effect. Such plants are typically willing to part with some leaves in exchange for entertainment, and are known to be especially fond of juggling.

Monday, November 29, 2021

A Metric System for Faerun

In many tabletop roleplaying games, the round of 6 seconds, and the space or square of 5 feet serve as basic units of measurement for game mechanics. Just for fun, let’s try to actually construct a system of measurements using these as our base units for time and distance.

The self-imposed rules of the exercise are as follows:

  • Derived units are expressed simply in terms of base units. (Coherence)
  • Larger or smaller units use a consistent exponential power (Though I’m not sticking to decimal).
  • And if possible, the resulting system should feel psuedo-medieval, be intuitive to a 21st century American, and be useful for rules of thumb in a tabletop rpg.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

321 Hero* Dice: A post about unusual dice anatomy.

This post briefly mentions HeroQuest. As such, we must begin by viewing the sacred liturgy. Once this is done, you may return for the rest of this blogpost.

The structure of the dice:

Several games use six-sided dice with the following properties:
  • 3 of the faces share the same symbol, usually indicating a successful 'attack' result.
  • 2 of the other faces share a second symbol, usually indicating a successful 'defense' result.
  • The final singular face has its own distinct marking.
An example of what these dice look like. Photo credit to Eric on BGG.

What follows are some examples, and my thoughts about adapting these dice for RPGs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

d6x6 City Names, Poorly and Literally Translated

In what follows,  I've taken the names of places, translated them into English, and when the namesake itself was a name, I've gone and translated that too. 

Don't take this too seriously. I haven't worked too hard to verify the translations or etymologies. In some cases where it sounded interesting, I went with suspect folk etymologies. 

Cities in the Fishhook Language Ball:

1. The Most Populous Cities in the Southern Lands:

  1. Wide Watermeadow
  2. Mill Stream
  3. Broken Bone
  4. Wood
  5. Noble Sort
  6. Gold Coast

2. The Most Populous Cities in the United States of Laborious Rule:

  1. New Pig Farm
  2. City of The Angels
  3. Garlic
  4. Town of the Mind Clan
  5. Phoenix
  6. City of Brotherly Love

Friday, August 13, 2021

12 Mile Hexmaps overlayed onto the Contigous United States

 Hey, there. I put a 12-mile hex grid onto North America. The projection is Lambert Conformal, so there's minimal distortion, at least within the US.

Rivers, train-lines, and urban areas are included, but there are no labels.

So, if you happen to want an unlabelled 12-mile hex map of North America with rivers, train-lines, and urban areas, then this is the blogpost for you.

click for slightly lightly bigger version.

And click here for a very very big version of this map which includes more of Mexico.

More maps below.

Monday, August 2, 2021

d6x6 Elemental Powers: Wood

 Inspired by this post by Red_Kangaroo.

All xylomancers are resistant to poison and illness.

1. Wood magic is about strength.

  1. Wood in your sight can't be bent or broken.
  2. Augment your strength with vines coiled around your limbs.
  3. Form self-repairing wooden plate armour around your body.
  4. Reactively form a protective wooden dome around yourself when attacked.
  5. Lift and swing massive logs and poles as if they weighed no more than a twig.
  6. Bring to life mannequins and totems which you carve from wood. They'll follow your commands, but are only capable of brute force, and not fine manipulation.

2. Wood magic is about endurance.

  1. Your skin is faintly green. Time spent in the sun makes you rapidly heal.
  2. Become tougher and more immovable the longer your feet are firmly planted on the same piece of ground.
  3. Tap a contiguous piece of wood to render it immovable and inviolable. The effect lasts until you apply it to a different piece of wood.
  4. Repair wounds - yours or another's - with wooden prostheses that work as well as flesh.
  5. Go without food or water or rest, and ignore severe injuries, as long as you remain in contact with living plant matter
  6. Care for a specific plant. If that plant grows ill, so will you. But as long as that plant flourishes, you cannot be killed.

3. Wood magic is about growth.

  1. Sing to plants to make them grow at visible speed.
  2. Snap your fingers to make a sapling instantly, explosively, destructively grow into a full-size tree.
  3. Dense and diverse vegetation sprouts in your footsteps. You have limited control over the kind of plants that grow.
  4. Grow to many times your normal height, with strength scaling more than proportionately. The extra mass sloughs of as leaf litter when you sleep.
  5. Cause dense roots to burst from the ground and ensnare a target, growing around them. Needs existing roots as a starting point.
  6. Extend and retract your limbs like Inspector Gadget. The extra length can take the form of either vines or hardwood.

4. Wood magic is about weird plant-themed whatsits.

  1. Emit soporific spores from flowers blooming from your skin.
  2. Organic material rapids decays under your touch.
  3. Implant a parasitic sprout into someone's body to parasitically siphon away their lifeforce.
  4. Absorb light energy into your skin and concentrate it without bound. Re-release all the light at once.
  5. Rapidly grow parachutes of cottony fibers.
  6. Exude sticky sap in place of sweat.

5. Wood Magic is about being in tune with nature.

  1. Step into a tree-trunk, and step out from any trunk connected to the same wood web.
  2. Meditate in a grove to gain tactile awareness of all the creatures therein.
  3. Speak to trees. Learn the strange things they've seen and heard.
  4. Plants and undergrowth don't hinder your passage. They bend out of your way while reaching to trip those who pursue you.
  5. Trees grow and slowly twist into shapes convenient for you. Chairs, spears, houses, etc.
  6. In exchange for tender care, Trees will relocate at your command. You need to shout; they're hard of hearing.

6. Wood Magic is about hurting people... with wood.

  1. Shoot seeds as projectiles from out of your palms.
  2. Cause impaling thorns to burst from nearby wood.
  3. Summon and swing whip-like vines.
  4. Staffs and polearms can grow and shrink in your hands.
  5. Summon razor-sharp and impossibly rigid leaf blades. 
  6. Stab a stake into something to destroy it utterly. 

Here is some visual inspiration: 1, 2.

Bonus: 6 more elemental powers to combine with Kangaroo's lists to make a nice round 200:

  1. The element of Storm: Call down a lightning bolt directly on your location.
  2. The element of Glass: Glass shards cannot cut you, and in your hands they can cut through anything.
  3. The element of Osmium: You can telekinetically move osmium with your mind. It's quite strong, and has impressive range, but only works on highly purified osmium (which happens to be the rarest of the precious metals).
  4. The element of Friendship: You can fire concussive beams of force from your palms that, in addition to knocking people off their feet and breaking their bones, also overwhelms them with an intense longing for companionship.
  5. The element of Flesh: Sprout nasty flailing tentacles.
  6. The element of Surprise: It's a gun. The surprise is that you can somehow own a working firearm in a magical psuedomedieval fantasy world.