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Author Topic: Mytholith  (Read 4134 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 02:27:47 PM »

Stonepunk "bionics":
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2011, 04:34:15 PM »

Okay, I was skeptical on how this whole thing would look...but that artwork is awesome and really makes me want to see/hear more about this setting. I mean, damn, that's about 100 different kinds of awesome. Will have more detailed later, just want to say I now love this setting.

BTW: mind if I borrow the idea of stonepunk? I'm feeling inspired by this and want to try my own twist on it - with your permission, of course.
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2011, 04:35:41 PM »

Wow, didn't know you were such a skilled artist. Pretty good drawings. Although I can't help but wonder why the second gunwoman is wearing frilled leopard gloves :p
Also, what are the bionics in the last picture? the right arm?
I can't quite decide what I think about this. The concept is cool, but it could end up either very good or very bad depending on which direction you take it. I would perhaps try and make some of the allusions to the modern world less obvious e.g. not say that the dreamwalkers "hack" and such.
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 05:52:01 PM »

>>Wow, didn't know you [Steerpike] were such a skilled artist.

So quickly you forget Steerpike's Goblin! Series? laugh.

The link seems to be broken in his signature though sad http://thecbg.org/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?68868.post

This one works, however:
http://www.thecbg.org/PLUGIN_DIR/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?68868.post
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 10:18:59 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

I replaced 'hack' with 'tap,' Crow.  Frilled leopard gloves felt both sort of punk and sort of stone age tongue.  The 'bionics' are indeed the right arm of magically reanimated stone.

[blockquote=Superfluous Crow]I can't quite decide what I think about this. The concept is cool, but it could end up either very good or very bad depending on which direction you take it.[/blockquote]
Heh interesting.  Is it the potential for 'modern stone-age family' stuff that would make the setting potentially disastrous?

Xathan, you can definitely run with the idea of stonepunk - I didn't invent the term, though usually it's invoked to describe old stuff like the Flintstones and campy '70's cavewoman flicks.

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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2011, 05:15:57 AM »

I think the potential for disaster lies in this mirroring the real world too closely, with magic just directly taking the place of every modern technology. Like in some (bad) high fantasy settings where they have what are essentially magic telephones, magic tv's, magic cars etc.
The technologies have to fit in with the world and seem as though they sprang from the very tone, theme and core of the setting even if they are veiled anachronisms.
An idea like the database-monolith is pretty perfectly executed, but the Dreamscape is currently walking on the edge.
On another note entirely, I would probably rename the Saurians. It's just a very old school name and doesn't fit too well with the ingenuity of the rest of the setting.
I hope I don't come off as too critical. I like the concept and hope you will keep working on it!
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2011, 10:30:04 AM »

No no, criticism is good!  I will think up a new name for the Saurians or remove them altogether.

There will be no magic cars or telephones.  Promise.
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 11:02:01 AM »

I notice the bionic warrior holds a shrunken head. What are they good for in this strange world? Spirit-companions? Fragile containers of valued memories? Occult life-sucking weapons?
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2011, 11:13:13 AM »

I think for the most part shrunken heads will contain the spirits of defeated enemies which can be compelled into service.  Real world head-shrinking practices generally were a measure to protect oneself against vengeful ghosts.

EDIT: the Ophidians are now the evil empire.  Might find a place for lizardfolk elsewhere.
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2011, 12:37:06 PM »

I don't know why exactly, but I think Aboleth or some variation thereof would fit well in the setting. They are both primeval and sinister.
Having shamans I assume your world also contains necromancy to some degree. I assume this is of the speak-with-dead variety and associated with less stigma than in most settings?
I would also like to hear more about the spirit-construct practices you've mentioned and the funeral rites associated with a world where spirits roam freely.
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« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2011, 12:46:46 PM »

Yeah, lots of necromancy.  I will do some write-ups on magic at some point for sure.

Aboleth-like primordial deep-dwellers are a must.  Like most projects of mine, Lovecraftian elements are an inevitability.
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« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2011, 05:33:55 AM »

Are there countries/subjugated territories or does everyone live as part of semi-nomadic cultures?
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« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2011, 02:14:31 PM »

There will be some proto-empires, but most will be under the sea or underground.  A couple will be above ground but they won't be human.

I was thinking also of having a quasi-city inside and on the branches of a gigantic tree, with various tribes occupying different areas and effectively becoming castes.  The tree would be a trade-meet/market-hub where various nomadic tribes and other merchants would gather.
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2011, 07:02:19 PM »

Random thingy I wrote...

The Caul

The air was so cold that Ogdar's phlegm froze in his nostrils.  Here, in the very foothills of the Caul - a range of mountains so unimaginably tall that, wisdom held, the stars made their homes at their peaks - temperatures were never above freezing, even during the long weeks of the midnight sun; now, however, was the time of night unending, when for months it seemed that the only light was the shimmer of spirits passing through the sky from this world to the one beyond the mountains.  It was said that some of the dead failed to make this journey, becoming lost in the twisted passes and dark valleys of the Caul.  These became ghosts, the wretched dead, who, pining for the next life, wandered restlessly back down the slopes.  A few of these, the shamans told, inveigled their way into human bodies during sleep: this was how Wendigo, the horrors Ogdar and his companions now hunted, were made.

For weeks now the cannibal monstrosities had stalked their reindeer-herders and mammoth-hunters.  Usually predators preferred to attack the reindeer or mammoths themselves: dire wolves and fangcats tended to avoid humans unless provoked.  Wendigo, however, scorned all but human meat.  A dozen men had already been claimed by the voracious creatures, carried off to some hidden lair in the upper hills where the trees dwindled and few things lived.  It was this den that the group of fur-clad humans sought.

Wendigo left almost no spoor, being soft-footed despite their enormous size.  They did not produce droppings: the flesh and bones they so greedily devoured was almost instantly added to their own bulk, with no waste excreted.  Young Wendigo were but twice or thrice the size of a man; elder Wendigo, the bethemothic giants of the cold waste, were said to tower over a hundred feet high, and were forced to sequester themselves in isolated fells, too large for the ice-caves favoured by their smaller ilk.  Often unable to hunt effectively, these miserable brutes became gaunt, emaciated things, skeletal, hairless, and shivering; their brethren were utterly without pity, the hungry spirits caring only for themselves and for the taste of raw flesh.

Ogdar held his firespitter tightly.  Somewhere below, in the depths of the black forest, a bull wapiti's whining bugle echoed, rebounding against the mountains.  The cry came back distorted and horrible, like the wail of someone dying.  The eerie scream made Ogdar's hair rise beneath his furs.

"Here," Yulik said, hunkered down and pointing to the barest suggestion of a footprint.  How Wendigo managed to step so lightly was a mystery.  "This is recent.  A few hours at most."  The tracker stood up, drawing his repeating crossbow.  Ogdar heard Urra murmur a prayer to the Antlered God, the caribou-spirit, asking him to guide them to their prey.  Her Tupilaq rustled disquietingly beside her, the charms that adorned its patchwork body of bones and leathery flesh rattling softly against one another.  The shackled spirit-thing turned its child's skull this way and that, the collar of narwhal horns and walrus tusks bristling from its neck gleaming in the hazy starlight.  Nhook, bringing up the rear, flexed his arms and muttered to himself; briefly, the skinwalker's limbs flickered, becoming those of a wolverine.  His eyes darkened, becoming black and bestial, pupils hugely dilated.  When the time for a fight came he would slough off his human form altogether.

A frozen mist lay heavily on the hills, shrouding the path ahead with white.  They had no torches, but the little talismans they carried - made from the skulls of cats - augmented their night vision.  The Tupilaq, of course, saw in some esoteric and profoundly inhuman way, its eyeless sockets staring into the cold gloom as it picked its way daintily over the rocks and snow on splayed bird's feet.  Following the quasi-tracks the cannibal once-humans left Yulik led them onwards and upwards, scrambling up inclines too steep to walk.  Once they leapt over a cleft in the rock that made Ogdar wish for his ornithopter (though, of course, its wing-struts would freeze at this temperature - and anyway, hauling a flyer up the slopes, even a small one, would be exceedingly cumbersome).  A smear of blood on a rock, dry but not yet the crusty brown of an old stain, confirmed that they were going the right way.

At last they reached the mouth of a cavern, a ragged mouth in the mountainside with icicles for fangs; a fetid carrion stench hung about the place.  Inching in with weapons ready, ears pricked to the slightest sound, they made their way into the cave.  Nothing sprung from the frigid darkness; no slavering monsters burst from the recesses of the caverns.

"Where are they?" Nhook growled, features shifting between those of beast and man.  "You're sure those tracks were fresh?"

"Yes," Yulik whispering insistently.  "Faint, but definitely recent.  Perhaps they're out hunting?"

"I don't think so," Urra said.  "Look."  She pointed to a dark lump sprawled behind an ice-boulder.  The group clustered round it: a Wendigo corpse, sprawled in a pool of dark blood.

"I'm going to risk some light," Ogdar muttered, slinging his weapon over his back and taking out his fire syringe.  A quick pump and he lit a torch, illuminating the cave and the Wendigo cadaver.  The immense body was half-eaten, horribly savaged; gnawed viscera spilled from its ruptured belly.

"Perhaps they set upon one another?" Nhook suggested.  "Got too hungry and started a feeding frenzy?"

"No," Urra said, shaking her head.  "Wendigo only eat humans, not other Wendigo.  Besides, have you ever heard of a Wendigo leaving anything half-eaten?"

"Look at these marks."  Yulik indicated deep gashes.  "They were made by claws and teeth, but of something smaller than the Wendigo itself."

"Bear?"  Ogdar speculated.  "Wolf?  Fangcat?"

"Animals avoid Wendigo," Urra said, again shaking her head, furrowing her brow.  "They can sense there's something wrong with their spirits."

"If not other Wendigo or beasts, then what?"

"I don't know.  Let's keep going; there may be Wendigo left alive."

The band pressed on into the cavern, encountering more partially devoured corpses - all of them Wendigo - and smears of blood.

"A body was dragged here," Yulik said, noting the path of one blood-trail.  "Whatever it was killed the Wendigo, they took their own dead with them."  He bent low, following the trail of blood.  Eventually the hunter led them to a narrow cleft.  "Too small for any but the smallest Wendigo to enter," he muttered.  The Tupilaq rattled itself as if it were shivering.

"Do we go in?" Nhook growled.

"Whatever can kill a pack of Wendigo is a potential threat to the tribe," Urra said.  "Yulik, you should lead, then Ogdar with the light, then Nhook, me, and the Tupilaq."

"Agreed."

Ogdar's heart hammered in his chest as he followed Yulik into the gap, walking sidelong, squeezing himself through the crack.

"I smell something strange," Nhook snarled.  "A musty foulness, neither animal nor man nor Wendigo."

The passage sloped downwards, deeper into the mountains, twisting and turning without widening.  After an eternity they entered a broader cavern, low-roofed and dank.

"Look," Yulik said, pointing at a wall where strange, spidery pictograms were etched.  "Markings of some kind.   They're intelligent, whatever they are." 

"I've heard stories," Urra said.  "Of the time before the last Age-of-Winter, when all the word was frozen.  They say that those tribes that lived amongst the foothills, as we do now, fled into the Caul and huddled in caves, safe from the blizzards and the fell ice-demons who stalked the earth above.  In the darkness they grew strange, consorting with the spirits that sleep beneath the earth, falling to worship them, to breed with them, or somehow mingle their souls with them..."

Something stirred in the dark; they heard a scrape of nails on stone.

"What was that?" Ogdar demanded, holding his torch higher.  Something pallid skittered away from the light; he caught only a glimpse of greyish-white flesh, the colour of snow at twilight.  "Yulik, you take the torch; I'm getting my 'spitter ready."

"We don't know how many there are," Yulik said warily, taking the torch carefully.  "I say we get out of here, come back with explosive charges from the village and blow the tunnel, seal the entrance."

"They might not be hostile," Urra argued.  "Sure they kill Wendigo, but so do we.  We might even see about trading with them."

"They didn't just kill those Wendigo," Nhook said.  "They ate them alive."

Urra opened her mouth to argue, but was hushed by Yulik's raised hand.  The hunter had moved a few steps forward into the cavern and peered into the blackness, torch raised.  The group stopped talking and listened; a chittering sound was audible, a clicking rodent noise.

"Get back to the tunnel," Yulik said quietly.  "Hurry!"

As he spoke they scuttled into the torchlight: a great swarm of creatures, running alongside one another cheek by jowl.  Small and stunted, they resembled horrific hybrids of bats, rats, and albino apes, with tufts of whitish fur, long, bony limbs, snout-like mouths crowded with teeth, and beady, vestigial eyes that gleamed blindly in the dark.  Huge whorled ears and snub, wrinkled noses added to the grotesquery of their features.  Despite the monstrosity of their faces there was something uncannily human about them - perhaps it was the way they looked at things, some deliberate quality to their scrutiny.  Hunched in the darkness, they looked almost like a group of children.

The multitude hissed and shifted, a morass of pale bodies pressed close.  They moved in quick insect bursts, abruptly scuttling together as a horde, in eerie synchronicity.

"They're cutting off our escape," Odgar said in alarm, as the creatures circled them.  He kept his firespitter levelled at the mass of subterranean things.  Nhook had assumed his bestial form, fur bristling, slaver dripping from his jaws; Urra chanted prayers to the bear-spirit to lend them strength.  Yulik waved the torch back and forth, crossbow butt in the crook of his arm.  They hastily retreated, but the creatures swarmed forwards on all fours, grasping hands glinting with claws.  Her chant finished, Urra spoke a word of command and the Tupilaq sprang forth to meet the chthonic monstrosities.  The slave-spirit bound to the amalgam construct roared and tore at the oncoming horde with bony fingers.  The creatures leapt atop the familiar and began tearing it apart, shredding its leathery flesh, ripping bones from its frame.

Half a dozen of the child-sized things barred the exit.  Nhook swept two aside with his paws; Yulik put a quarrel through the head of three others, pinning them to the cave-wall.  Urra, bone knife in hand, slashed at the remaining creature and it darted back, hackles rising.

As the Tupilaq fell, the rest of the hunters entered the cleft, Ogdar taking the rear, the pygmy horrors close behind.  As their pale, furry bodies squeezed into the tunnel Ogdar pumped his firespitter, spewing a great gout of blazing oil on the advancing creatures.  The dwarfish, misshapen things squealed in pain, their fur catching alight.

"Keep pumping!"  Yulik shouted as they hastened through the passage, moving as fast as they could with quick sideways steps.  Ogdar gritted his teeth and continued his incendiary spray; there was a smell of burning hair and flesh.  The scampering creatures continued their pursuit, clambering over the charred corpses of their brethren while Ogdar ceaselessly pumped out flaming oil.

"I'm running out of fuel!" Ogdar yelled, moving backwards and madly pumping.  The beings refused to retreat; they filled the passage, advancing quickly and easily, unbothered by the tightness of the tunnel.  When they neared the fleeing hunters they were consumed by flame.

There was a dry hissing sound as the firespitter pumped air.  Ogdar prepared to batter the first creature to approach with the stock of the weapon, but none came: the passage was choked with blackened bodies.  Behind the wall of incinerated dead he could hear the frustrated trills of the remaining creatures.

Ogdar exhaled.  "I think they're stuck for now."

The hunters followed the passage back into the Wendigo lair, their bodies beaded with sweat despite the chill.

"It seems the stories are true," Yulik said.

"I must build a new Tupilaq," Urra muttered.  "But first, the elders must hear of this..."
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 06:17:37 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2011, 11:29:31 PM »

The whole environment as you've described it gives the story a very real sense of oppression. A silent and sparse forest buried in snow leading to cold, ancient tunnels beneath impossibly tall mountains. Just the sort of thing that I like. Your monsters are great too, and, at least in my opinion, actually frightening. I especially like your take on Wendigo.

I think this is a setting that could be very interesting to play in.
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