The Great Race of Yith as a Game Mechanic

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In his story The Shadow out of Time, H.P. Lovecraft introduced the Great Race of Yith. A sketch of a member of the great race appears at the top of the post. This alien race colonized the land that would be Australia in a billion years. The unique thing about the great race was the bodies they used were already native to earth. They translated their minds across space and time from their original planet. In the mythos that grew up around Lovercraft’s stories, the great race were the only sentient race to completely conquer time. In this post, we suggest a game mechanic based on the great race’s technique of colonization.

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Unstoppable Druids

topDruids have many possible flavors and origins and may have a whole bag of tricks up their sleeves to protect the woodlands. In this post, Dan and Andrew introduce a game mechanic that explains why even an inquisition-like organization might have real trouble getting rid of druids as a competing institution. This mechanism is in addition to our earlier notion of memetic entities which might also act to preserve druidisim, or almost any other belief, in spite of an eradication campaign. In addition, this game mechanic helps explain how a druid can gain a deep connection with the forest he lives in and guards.

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Bound Entity Weapons

topEnchanted weapons are a staple of fantasy adventures. From a blade with a single mystic rune that negates a minor undead’s immunity to normal weapons to blades that can lop of heads and limbs with a huge increase in the chance of hitting opponents. Magic weapons may also grant a character powers, glowing to report that orcs are nearby, allowing the character to project a blast of frost, or even fly. This post outlines a game mechanic for the creation of powerful yet perilous magic weapons. Powerful entities, such as elementals or demons, are bound into the weapons in a fashion that permits the wielder to use some portion of the entity’s powers. The perils of these weapons are detailed below the fold.

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Alternatives to Hack and Slash: Bounties and Summons

topThis post is the next in our series on alternatives to hack-and-slash adventures. If a party does not have a quest or a dungeon that they are currently engaged in, then they may look for alternative employment. A standard bit is for the authorities, the crown, or some other entity like the guild of thieves to place a reward for the apprehension or death of an outlaw, enemy, rival, or charge. The government may put up posters, the thieves’ guild would put out the word on the street, but in any case trying to collect a reward is a potentially interesting adventure. There are also more delicate instances of bounties. A fleeing bride may command a large bounty, but require that the individual be returned in excellent shape and with great discretion.

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Traveller Spirits

topThe models of deities used in fantasy games are pretty variable. A standard approach is to have something like the Greek Gods — superhumanly powerful beings that exemplify the virtues and vices of human beings. These human-like deities also have portfolios. Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom, Aphrodite is the Goddess of *ahem* Beauty, Apollo is in charge of the sun and Zeus is King of the Gods and in charge of lightning and suchlike. The Hindu deities are sort of in this vein, but more interesting because they absorbed the objects of worship of several waves of invaders. The overpowered human or monster style of deity contrasts strongly with modern monotheistic gods who are sometimes personified, but are usually much farther from human in a number of ways. This post looks at a gaming mechanism where there probably are beings of great power that exemplify and support principles and portfolios, they may well be supported by a following of priests and believers, but their location is completely obscure and their powers depend in many ways on the nature and dedication of their followers.

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Spies and Informants in Fantasy Campaigns

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One member of the party having gotten a hot tip or finding an old map meets everyone else at the Blue Moose, the finest drinking spot in all of Coyote River, and discusses their campaign to ransack a rich dungeon over a couple of ales. They do this in front of the bartender, the serving man, the bar maids, the boy who cleans the boots, and the people at the three nearest tables. In spite of this, in many fantasy campaigns, the party is not scooped, beaten to the treasure, or murdered on the way back for the loot they garnered. This post is about spies and informants, a mechanic you might want to put into your campaign to settle the hash of overconfident players.

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Druid’s Berries

topIn Realm of the Powers several of the source books have some flavor of Druid. One of the things druids can do is to develop, over many years, plants with magical properties. These are long-term rituals that slowly grant a magical feature to a plant. In this post, we deal with magic berries. These berries all look interesting and possibly edible, but they may be useful, beneficial, malign, humorous, and even toxic.

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