The Masks of Angels and Demons

Being outsiders, these creatures must somehow cope with being treated as foreign substances in a body. The “immune system” of the world would destroy them if it could, so they have to protect themselves.

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Crystal Mountain Dungeon – Introduction

Through the broken ruins of an old city, a band of adventurers crawl slowly ahead. The ground is cracked and uneven, as if partway through an earthquake. Climbing over the swollen street’s loose tiles, the forward scout returns. There are no people, and no corpses. The whirling dust that had obscured the view like mist has begun to clear, dropping into circular patterns. At the now-visible epicenter, a gigantic form is revealed. Its blood-red and raw facets spread vicious refractions of the too-dull sunlight all across the ancient stones. Crystal mountain. And in its centre burns a malign will of immense power…

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What are Dungeons?

Here’s what I’m thinking of dungeons in my current campaign world. It might be good to put it into words.

  • Dungeons are like tumours growing in a body exposed to toxins and radiation.
  • Dungeons are like the protective patina that forms on copper when it’s exposed to weather.
  • Dungeons are like the swelling around an infected wound.

In this case, the radiation, weather, and infection are all the Other, the strange cthuluuverse that wants to devour the world.

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Serpents

Another part in making animals weird.

Serpents are simple creatures. They eat, and then they sleep. Only, they really don’t want to sleep, so they eat constantly. Differently from their lizard cousins, they can literally eat until they burst. They cope best in areas of relative scarcity, where they can’t eat too much, but have enough to grow quickly. Like every creature of the so-called creatures of cold blood (snakes, frogs, lizards, turtles), they can grow indefinitely and won’t ever die of old age. Their reckless gluttony is mainly what gets them killed.

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Fire Oil

Lamp oil is made from the oil of a certain plant, a small orange-tinted ball that grows in the shadow of large trees.

At first seemingly innocuous, the so-called Firebrand Flower shows its true colors during hot summers. At first, the pores on the round, cactoid body of the plant opens, allowing the oil to evaporate. This clear liquid clings heavily to all the plant life around, at first dehydrating them, and then self-igniting in the heat of the sun.

When a colony of the plants are together, a great forest fire generally ensues. And afterwards, the second form of the Firebrand grows in the ashes, the flower itself. It has large jagged orange leaves, which mildly relieves hunger if chewed.

The use in harvesting the bulbs before they can combust is twofold. The prevention of fires is important to both the lord of the lands, and its residents, for wealth and life respectively. And the oil is useful, if dangerous. It’s easily ignited, and burns brightly and hotly. It’s often used by adventurers for use both as a light source and as a weapon.

 

(Trying to justifying the D&D-ism of lamp oil somehow being napalm)