Monday, June 14, 2010

Weird Watery Magic of Pools and Vats

I haven't been posting much on this blog. Recently, I've been pretty much obsessed by the use of magical vats of liquid in my games. I created this Lovecraftian sort of monster in my Castles and Crusades game. It was an outsider "demon" creature from space that crashlanded in the Bright Lands of Greyhawk. I combined this concept with Moldvay's "The Lost City" and I'm working in this whole backstory about how the creature has spent the last 500 years feasting on the intellect of humans. My thought is that this creature is made totally of protoplasm and it can fashion itself a body and change the hardness of its goo to that of chitin plate if it desires. It's intelligence was so alien to human kind that initially it could not communicate telepathically with humans. After 500 years of feasting on human psyches it has now adapted to be able to communicate. Anyway, I ruled that during its crash landing on earth it lost a particular artifact which allowed it to live easily in any environment. It has been stuck deep underground living in certain pools that sustained its abominable lifeforce until it could regain the artifact. The PC's were chasing this Half Orc Assassin which had obtained the artifact, but they failed to stop the half orc from returning the artifact. This demon being which was revered as a god by these underground people has now been unleashed on Oerth. I'll be bringing the PC's into confrontation with the beast again once they have gained a few more levels and could survive the encounter. Anyway as a side effect of this adventure I became obsessed with pools and vats. I started brainstorming a huge number of ideas for how these magical vessels of liquid could be used to awesome effect in DnD style games. I have written a ~4-5 page article so far and I still have lots of ideas. I'm thinking of throwing it in front of some folks that publish hobby gaming fanzines. In addition, I will probably publish most or all of the ideas up on this blog and try and get some feedback for how the article is progressing. Here is my introduction to the article - I haven't done any re-writing yet, this is still a first draft:


Human kind has long had both a fascination and fear of water. Man needs this precious liquid each day to live and yet he can drown in a mere teaspoon of the substance. Vessels of water hold a powerful symbolism of motherhood and the womb, juxtaposing the origin of life itself with an environment that man can no longer enter without fear of death by drowning. Foul potions brewing in the cauldrons of witches and the embryonic vats birthing an artificial monster of a man are just two examples of how this powerful symbol has been employed in literature. This article aims to flesh out a variety of ideas on how you can use vats and pools in your fantasy RPG game. These entities should be used infrequently and each use should invoke either a pure magical wonder or a sense of horrific alien fear. The statistics used in this article are written for Swords and Wizardry, however they could be adapted with ease to any retro clone or original edition of DnD.

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