Tag: things that i like


Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

 We return this week with, well, a few more magic systems. And to round them out, here’s a link to an old story of mine, which is as much overview of a magic system as it is creation myth: A Legend of Creation.

  1. The Multitudinous Way

The financial astrologers are not the only power in their world. In some opposition to them (not so much morally but ideologically, for their respective magics depend on wildly variant world-views) are those that consider themselves Icewalkers, or Driven, or Joktanists, or the followers of Ishmael’s Way, or nomad-princes.

There are three tools through which a Joktanist wields zir magic: wine, bowl, and dust. No cup will do to hold the wine, which may be of any quality, nor a deep plate, but only a bowl. The dust is tossed in (the more you put in, the more you get out) to fuel the spell, and once the bowl is struck or swirled to achieve movement the dust dissolves and the spell takes effect through the medium of the wine.

What exactly is done depends upon what kind of dust is used. Salt, for example, will imbue the wine with protective properties. It shields against harm such that, if placed on the doors of a house, it will make the building impregnable for a time. Ash-charged wine will ignite. Common earth will heal or repair.

Just as the financial astrologers lose something in return for their powers, though, so too do the Driven. Each of the nomad-princes has become what ze is because ze wanted freedom and wonder. In a dream ze pursued zir quarry— deer, man, RC car, or something else entirely— until it was caught and revealed itself to be the Dream of Kings (no accidental switching of order there) and granted zem power. As consequence, however, the Joktanists can never rest their heads in the same place more than once. No bed, cot, or sleeping bag can serve the same man again, nor building, lest the offender suffer nightmares all through zir sleep, and when ze stays in the same city for a full lunar month zir powers— but not the required nomadism— are lost until ze moves again.

Generally, financial astrologers want bigger cities and Icewalkers want smaller ones. Larger cities lend themselves to easier manipulation through ley lines, while smaller cities make things more flexible for the Icewalkers. Nevertheless, it is not unheard of for a financial astrologer to hire an Icewalker for some task.

  1. Stars and Sun

There are those who have sought out the power of the stars and made bargains with them upon the mountain-tops. To each of them a star comes. They speak, and deal one with another, and make their contract. To one that has made a stellar-pact there is given a small power. Through one star may be granted the power to relieve exhaustion, through another the power to turn steel back to untreated iron, and through a third the power to speak with mice. The number of powers and stellar-pacts to be had is as great as the stars themselves, for no star will refuse to come down and deal with the children of men.

But there is one cost that is ever the same, no matter the terms of the pact. The usage of this magic hollows out memories, emotions, and other aspects of the mind, leaving space for them to be infested with parasites of a spiritual nature. These parasites, perhaps proto-stars, are not malevolent, but neither are they benign; by natural consequence of their presence they warp their habitation, altering the mind of their host in ways that are small at first but grow greater in the course of time.

The sun, chief emperor among the stars, does not take part in these pacts, and neither have the stars ever been permitted to remain in the land except for the space of a few minutes. But there are those whose blood goes back to those times when the sun itself came down and tarried long, making merry with the sons of men, and the daughters of men. It bore children to the sons of men, and begot children by the daughters of men, and some of these lines have continued true to this day.

The power of these bloodlines is tied to the sun, coming with its rise and departing with its setting. Because of the rising and setting of their forebear they have internal clocks precise to a thousandth of a second, being able to tell time by the waxing or waning of their power. When the sun is risen they have not so much great strength as they do the ability to make other things weak, and simply by so choosing they can interact with matter as though it were warm butter, no matter whether it is granite, flesh, or steel. This power is theirs from birth but it does not affect others with the same heritage.

  1. Morospicy

This magic is as simply as it is horrific: the murder of a human being, under the right conditions, can give the killer a glimpse of another point in time and space. The more removed this point is in either time or space, the more deaths that are required, and changing both has a disproportionate effect. Viewing another location in the present is about as easy as viewing one’s present location in the past, though just a handful of deaths are necessary to glimpse a few minutes of one’s present location ten years hence.

It is possible, in theory, to glimpse everything, past, present and future. The number of deaths that would be required is unknown, but must surely be immense. It is possible that the population is not even large enough to accommodate make it possible yet. It is just as possible that a group of morospexes are patiently waiting through the centuries for the time when their order may make the necessary sacrifice or, if life extension is possible in the setting, that a single long-lived morospex has been killing through the centuries and saving zir charges in preparation for the day of revelation.

Each morospex has zir own necessary conditions, which can be anything from intoning a certain chant or to using a weapon inscribed with the right runes. These conditions can be discovered either by accident or by the intervention of another morospex using zir own conditions to view the future and see under what conditions someone is practicing morospicy.

R. Donald James Gauvreau works an assortment of odd jobs, most involving batteries. He has recently finished a guide to comparative mythology for worldbuilders, available herefor free. He also maintains a blog at White Marble Block, where he regularly posts story ideas and free fiction, and writes The Culture Column, an RPG.net column with cultures ready for you to drop into your setting. 

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

Like everything, these ideas are free for the taking. Consider them to be public domain. Just… grab them, and use them, and stuff. That’s what they’re there for.

  1. Financial Astrology

Developed in the throes of the Great Depression, financial astrology is the art of using magic to make money, and using money to make magic. To those that have sworn the oaths, the signs of the stars unfold to their understanding. They are able to decipher the currents of the future, at least so far as it pertains to currency. The stock market becomes child’s play to them that have sold their eyes and their hearts to the great god Pluto, and the more learned among them can predict its changes to the minute.

What they do next is based upon a principle that everyone knows: Wealth shapes the world. Only the merchant-kings know how true that statement is, however. Currency has an effect on the ley lines of the world, which themselves have subtle effects on the environment when “plucked” by the presence of money. Where a ley line is plucked, and how strongly (that is, how much money is affecting it) determines what happens, so that the right amount in the right place can lead to decreased social stability in another city.

With the right plucks nearly anything can be done, with the caveat that ley lines influence only living organisms and not natural systems like the weather, and so the financial astrologers carefully manipulate the flow of money to get the changes that they want (which is not to say that others want it— they are not a unified lot). With enough money, ley lines can be plucked so severely that they actually shift in place.

The one thing about their condition that makes life difficult is that they cannot physically handle money. Credit cards and checks are okay, but actual money catches fire or melts in their hands, leaving them with dross (and burned hands).

  1. Orthosurgy

A system of magic based upon the principle of sympathy, using teeth and nails as foci. While teeth are reasonably potent and retain their power until destroyed, a single full nail is useful for no more than a couple of weak spells, to say nothing of a mere clipping. They may, however, be used for reanimation, whereas teeth can do nothing to one that has died (including those that have suffered death temporarily), and reanimation is not a terribly powerful spell. Full resurrection may require years of clippings, but to turn a corpse into a shambling walker bound to one’s will for a few weeks requires only a few nails.

However, whether they be teeth or nails foci must be taken, not given. This is why children leave offerings for the tooth fairy. It robs the leavings of their power by explicitly giving them out to anyone who would be interested in taking them.

The power of orthosurgy is a gift, however, twisted, and it must be passed on to another in order to persist. Without a declared heir, the death of an orthosurgeost permanently reduces their number by one. Heirs may not be replaced except in the case of premature death, so orthosurgeosts are careful about speaking the “naming words.” Orthosurgeosts become more inhuman as time goes on, first in mind and eventually in body. Among other things they are prone to developing slight kleptomaniacal tendencies, long fingers, and in some cases fingers without nails. Their teeth may change shape and their stomachs change, both in response to whichever diet the orthosurgeost prefers.

  1. Lychery

A kind of ritual magic that makes you the temporary channel for a Power, timeless things from outside existence. The exact ritual sets bounds on the Power and guides its actions toward the desired result: healing, transformation of the body, the unleashing of fire, or whatever other effect is desired.

Lyches know how to use preexisting magical patterns easily enough but experimentation is dangerous. The slightest error can give the Power summoned too much free reign or, if the binding is successful, force it to take an undesired action. Accordingly, innovation is very slow.

Another limitation is tied to candles, which are necessary to strengthen the invoked Power— it might be said that a Power is like a hole of a certain shape which supplies nothing of itself but determines the shape of whatever is put through it. Each candle adds to the potency at hand to make the spell 1.05 times greater than before.

Repeated channeling of Powers affects the body, most principally granting longevity. A lych’s mind is not equipped for this, however, and the weight of memory proves an eventual but inevitable strain. Suicide among very old lyches is common, as senility begins to settle in over the course of centuries. On the bright side, however, senility within the context of a conventional lifespan is far rarer, due to the efforts of lyches to ward off the effects of aging wherever they can, for as long as they can.

If you want some quick figures: 15 candles are necessary to make a spell 2.078 times as powerful as with one candle. 33 to reach 5.003x potency, 50 candles gives it a potency of 11.467x, and 93 candles before the potency overtakes the number of candles at a potency of 93.455x. 100 candles gives a potency of 131.501x and 200 gives a potency of 17,292.58x.

  1. Greensinging

In the earliest days of Man, he was taught language. The language that was taught him was the language of the world— of life and death, or connection and destruction, of bonds and the severing thereof— and Man’s teachers were the birds. But Man’s first act was to sever the bonds that were between him and the birds, so that they would hold no power over him, and ever since that time the birds have spoken no word that can be understood.

Or so goes the story of the langua verde, a peculiar tongue consisting of whistles and other sounds in marked similarity to bird song. Greensingers, or Green Men, sing songs of empathy and decay. The songs allow them to feel what others are feeling and transmit the same. Skilled Greensingers can learn how to feel falsely, to give fear when they are calm, or to calm the crowd though they have also been roused to anger. The songs also allow them to accelerate the natural processes of destruction by spying weaknesses, magnifying flaws, weakening strengths, and instilling, nurturing, and hastening all rot.

Your turn: What’s your favorite system of magic, and what do you like so much about it?

R. Donald James Gauvreau works an assortment of odd jobs, most involving batteries. He has recently finished a guide to comparative mythology for worldbuilders, available herefor free. He also maintains a blog at White Marble Block, where he regularly posts story ideas and free fiction, and writes The Culture Column, an RPG.net column with cultures ready for you to drop into your setting. 

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

  1. The old man with jobs for heroes is a dragon

So dragons can shapeshift in your world? And they don’t always get along with each other?

Think back to The Hobbit and put your Imagining Hat back on. Imagine that Gandalf was a dragon. That Smaug was a rival of his, for territory or treasure or something else, or maybe just an undesirable loose cannon and potential threat somewhere two or three centuries down the line.

So Gandalf-the-dragon tracks down some dwarfs that have a personal stake in the issue, gives them advice, and sends them in the right direction. Even helps them pick up a hobbit for the journey, too. And the thrush that mentions Smaug’s Achilles’ heel? Shapeshifted Gandalf again.

Lesser beings are pieces on a magnificent chess set, moved around by their draconic betters. These are moves in conflicts that can last for centuries before they even come to open blows, and sometimes never do.

Another dragon doesn’t even have to be facing down the metaphorical barrel, either. Dragons can have a multitude of reasons for manipulating humans into doing their dirty work for them.

And sometimes, of course, dragons head off potential trouble by giving false reports about themselves. Imagine the look on a dragon-hunter’s face when it’s discovered that the secret vulnerability ze was going to exploit doesn’t actually exist.

  1. The dragon used to be an old man with jobs for heroes

Alternatively, let’s go back to characters like Fafnir. Dragons aren’t born, they’re made, they’ve become. Sufficient greed and obsession, centered on a sufficiently-large hoard, can cause a transformation into a dragon. It may be slow and gradual or very sudden.

A dragon’s new life came on account of its hoard, and its life is forever subject to the same. Dragons can be controlled by holding their hoards for ransom. Luckily, this is usually as far as it goes. A dragon’s strength and power are linked to its hoard and it can be killed if the hoard is destroyed, but dragons seldom fear this fate. They know how hard it is for their former peers to do away with such treasures. More likely is that the thief will turn miserly as well, and a new dragon will be the result of it.

Dwarf-keeps are generally ruled by dragons, of course. More dragons were originally dwarfs than any other species, in fact. Whether this is a natural tendency or their culture has been warped by centuries of dragon rule is anyone’s guess.

I say “alternatively” in the beginning there, but I should add that these ideas are not mutually exclusive. In this scenario dragons have already changed shape once. Who’s to say that they can’t shapeshift back, either into their original form or into anything that their minds conceive. Maybe there are supernatural tells, maybe it’s a flawless impersonation.

  1. The most important part of a dragon’s hoard is the dragon

Maybe dragons hoard gold and jewels. Maybe they don’t. Either way, though, the real profit from dragon-hunting is in harvesting body parts. Every part of the dragon is useful.

The scales make a serviceable armor. The fangs and claws may be made into weapons. But many of the other body parts may be rendered into potions. Dragons possess a venom in their teeth that keeps long and well in glass decanters. Or perhaps the venom, so quick to kill, is a multipurpose fluid that is also behind their fire.

Perhaps it is their blood, and causes paranoia and various hallucinations. Hence the tales of dragon-slayers that speak to birds after killing a dragon (especially if it can turn into a gas upon contact with the air, which can also add danger to the very fighting of a dragon). Or maybe the hallucinations are the natural side effect of getting down into the depths of reality, where things are truer and the phenomenal world is revealed to be merely symbolic. Or maybe it just makes you invulnerable, as Sigurd discovered.

The heart may prolong the lifespan, cure diseases, or grant strength. The eyes aren’t actually magic, but they do taste pretty good and make an excellent soup.

  1. The next step is body modification

Silly dragon-slayer, you don’t go and use up a dragon’s bits like that. Didn’t you hear that the future is in renewable resources?

Wizards are the elite of society. They’re almost defined by their practice of grafting parts of dragons to themselves. Some of them have a smile like a shark’s, full of razor-sharp dragon fangs. Some of them have new blood flowing through their veins, opening their ears to the language of the birds. Some have threaded dragon muscle in with theirs, or grafted tough skin in place of their own.

Almost all of them have replaced their hearts. It’s the first thing that you want to do, even if it has a fair chance of killing you. With a dragon’s heart in your chest your lifespan can be measured in the centuries.

In some ways scientific progress is right on the level for a fantasy society, but medical science (surgery in particular) is on the cutting edge, if not entirely past anything that we can do today. Wizards direct all of their efforts in this direction, because improving the grafting process is an effort that never fails to bear fruits.

Some wizards push the boundaries of what should be possible, even allowing for magical cross-species organ transplants. Some have chopped up their stomachs to make room for additional organs, and rely on intravenous drips or nutrient slurries. Others are simply content to become bloated parodies of their former selves

Wizards. Biotech. Body horror. Dragons through and through that all. What are you waiting for?

  1. Actually, don’t touch anything there at all, mkay?

A dragon’s hoard is cursed, man. It’s the dragon’s last revenge against thieves and murderers that would despoil it and rob its treasures.

Perhaps you hallucinate or turn mad. Perhaps you become mad with greed (maybe even as the result of partial possession by the dragon’s own spirit) until you’ll kill someone for looking at your hoard wrong.

The curse may be applied to the hoard and whoever owns so much as a single coin of it. This means that the curse can be transmitted vertically, generation to generation, and also be spread horizontally, so that many people are affected. Does it matter how much of the hoard you have, or is the person in possession of a cup subject to the curse to the same degree as the person who owns everything else? Does giving up the hoard relieve the curse?

Your turn: What are some other interesting ways that dragons could be used in a story?

R. Donald James Gauvreau works an assortment of odd jobs, most involving batteries. He has recently finished a guide to comparative mythology for worldbuilders, available herefor free. He also maintains a blog at White Marble Block, where he regularly posts story ideas and free fiction, and writes The Culture Column, an RPG.net column with cultures ready for you to drop into your setting. 

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

  1. Dragons built civilization (kind of by accident)

Pretend for a moment that you’re a dragon. You have a hoard. You want to keep it protected, but you would like to grow it too and you can’t be over there, getting loot, if you’re over here, protecting the loot that you’ve got.

Lucky for you, there’s no need to choose. Those half-hairless bipeds you’ve noshed on now and again might try to sneak into your hoard every now and then, but maybe they could be trained.

Dragons have their own civilization (of a sort; we wouldn’t easily recognize it as such) but they didn’t intentionally replicate that in humans in the organization of their “hoard-keeps.” It simply grew around them. Writing and mathematics developed in order to keep better records of a hoard’s contents. A technological arms race was the product of struggles between tribes and clans, all trying to protect their patron’s hoard and seize the hoards of others.

The system became so successful that small bureaucracies began to emerge in order to manage all of the various tasks required by the hoard-keep. Having a dragon around is a good deterrent against raiders, too, so there’s another incentive to align yourself with a dragon.

Even today, dragon-run empires are effectively vast hoard-keeps. The national treasury and the dragon’s hoard are one and the same, and when the empire extends its holdings and establishes colonies it does so in order to add greater glory to the name of its dragon.

There are a few ways that this can go, none of them contradictory with any others:

  • Dragons may be cooperative in this and age, and nations are ruled or run by multiple dragons at one or more levels.
  • Dragons may be capable of breeding with humans, and their children are likewise fertile. Perhaps dragons simply fill the middle ranks with their descendants but are still active forces themselves. Perhaps dragons don’t care what’s done so long as the trains run on time (are there trains in this world?) and the effective head of state is a descendant of the dragon. Indeed, that might be the difference between nobles and commoners.
  • Going a little further on that idea, Dungeons and Dragons isn’t the only place where you find dragon-descended humans having magic powers thanks to their ancestry. Perhaps this is the source of all magical ability. Speaking of which, what if dragons were able to magic to great effect but only in certain ways, while their half-breed descendants are not as powerful but can turn their small amount of magic to a number of ends?
  1. A generational story centering on a dragon

We can run with this idea even if we assume that civilization arose more or less normally. Let’s push the date of the Bright Idea further into the future.

Imagine a story, told over generations, that starts with a few people that have been approached to protect a dragon’s hoard. Perhaps the dragon has made a cost/benefit analysis and decided that what it pays them will be a smaller loss than if there were no one to protect the hoard. Or maybe there’s something that people really like and dragons care little or nothing for. If dragons have valuable bodily substances (we’ll get to that next week) then maybe it bleeds itself or milks its venom on a regular basis for them.

Regardless of how it gets started, it goes on. The years pass and a secret society forms around the hoard. You don’t want to make this a matter of public knowledge if you can avoid it, after all. You want to help your fellow hoard-keepers in day-to-day life while you’re at it, too. And having a series of initiation levels will help you sift wheat from chaff and discover who can be trusted.

Imagine that the treasure of the Freemasons and the Knights Templar was a dragon’s hoard (and also not fake) and you might have the general idea.

Eventually, in process of time, the secret society transforms further. Perhaps it insinuates itself into society so thoroughly that it effectively takes control. Perhaps it becomes a religion, secret or otherwise.

  1. A generational story from the point of view of a dragon

Alternately, why don’t we forgo the humans entirely? We’ll get rid of the whole process of characters dying and being replaced by others, too. Instead, our story, still being told over a period of centuries, has a single protagonist: the dragon itself.

Start with the durg is born, or hatched, or whatever you want to call it. From youth to extreme old age we follow the dragon. History moves, the times change, and the world becomes ever more different. Once no bigger than a thumb or a hand, the story goes on until our dragon is as big as a mountain and has to retreat into the bones of the world or the depths of the sea.

And what would that be like, if the story continued for a little bit more? I want to know what civilizations exist beneath the waves. At the very least there must be dragons, great big ones that hibernate for years and have lived for millennia, and the kind of society that would develop under those circumstances.

By the way, does that proposed life cycle make dragons out to be like great big fire-breathing sea turtles?

R. Donald James Gauvreau works an assortment of odd jobs, most involving batteries. He has recently finished a guide to comparative mythology for worldbuilders, available herefor free. He also maintains a blog at White Marble Block, where he regularly posts story ideas and free fiction, and writes The Culture Column, an RPG.net column with cultures ready for you to drop into your setting. 

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

I’m in the preparatory stages of writing a sourcebook called Species Shock, for really weird non-rubber forehead aliens. It’s going to include a dozen or so species, covering evolutionary history, present culture, psychology, value systems, language… On and on. A lot of stuff.

And that’s just the second part of the book, a grab-and-go section. But the other part of the book is a how-to guide that will be the theory to the second section’s in-practice. It’ll go over things like the different kinds of intelligence that exist, how to justify humanoid aliens if you really absolutely have to (but please don’t), cultural universals, and so on.

If all goes well, it won’t do badly as a companion to Robert Freitas’ Xenology, which you should totally check out right now and I mean right now, because this article will totally wait for you.

Done? Great.

So as I’m in the process of putting my notes together, I thought it might be nice to gloss over a few ideas in this column. We’re not going to get too in-depth, though.

  1. Don’t forget to study

And by that, I mean that there are a few other things that I think are relevant and worth reading. The first is Freitas’ Xenology, which I’ve already linked to and just did again.

Second, there’s a page that I wrote on TV Tropes several years ago which covered some of this ground. You should check that out too: ”So You Want To Design An Alien Mind”.

Finally, if you haven’t been with me since the beginning then it might be worth mentioning an earlier article of mine from this column: “Blue and orange morality for fun and… profit????”

  1. Don’t forget to talk about humans

In every profile featured in Species Shock, there are going to be two sections called Conflict and (more-or-less positive) Relationships. No species is going to be so nice and fantastically hippie’d that they won’t ever have strong disagreements with humans, which they won’t be able to settle with just a trip to the ballgame and a talk over beers. They may not react with physical violence (though they may, and the profiles will discuss the possibilities) but there will be situations in which they will desire to exert their will contrary to the wishes of humankind.

These don’t necessarily have to be over resources or anything, mind. I’ve got a species who may potentially come into conflict with humans over the fact that they act as brood parasites toward their own kind.

On the flip side, I don’t have any interest in designing species that can only have conflicts with humans in every conceivable universe. So I’m going to think about what each species might want from, and be able to give to, humankind, and how they might relate to our species on a more peaceful, symbiotic basis.

  1. But don’t forget that they’re aliens

Some species will share psychological traits with humans. Any similarities to human psychology will often serve only to make the differences more jarring and, insofar as they may be unexpected and/or downplayed, dangerous.

They have different value systems. They have different mental concepts and maybe even different logic and truth systems. They definitely have different languages, and almost certainly they don’t communicate exactly like people do, with the same range of noises produced in the same manner (in fact, one of the default assumptions I’m making in the book’s profiles is that nobody can pronounce each other’s languages properly).

  1. Don’t forget about cultural universals

Cultural universals are elements of culture that can be found in all human cultures. Here’s a sample list. As part of making sure that your aliens are truly alien, you should take the time to decide which universals the aliens do and don’t share with us.

Robert Freitas goes over cultural universals too, including a sample list of cultural universals for hypothetical alien species.

And don’t make humans the center of the universe either. If you have multiple alien species then you should come up with some cultural universals that are shared by some of the aliens but not by humans.

  1. Don’t forget to make your aliens individuals

There will be rough cultural outlines, basic assumptions, stuff like that, common to each species profile. But I don’t want to make any of these species into a planet of hats, and one section of the profile will be geared to that end.

Let’s say that for some reason I were writing up Klingons for Species Shock. They kind of go against everything that the book stands for (indeed, you wouldn’t be totally off the mark in saying that they’re the reason that the book is being written) but whatever.

Klingons are pretty hardcore about honor and being warriors and stuff like that. So this section of the profile would give a few different examples of Klingon warriors, showing that there are multiple interpretations of their codes and honor systems and such. It will also describe, say, Klingon scientists, Klingon taxi drivers, and, oh, let’s say Klingon farmers, and discuss how each of these occupations applies the common Klingon ideas to their lives.

  1. Don’t forget to set them in context

Your aliens did not arise out of the nether of the never-never. They have an evolutionary history, and even if they exterminated all other life on their planet there was other life there once upon a time. So take the time to get an idea of how they got from single celled organisms to where they are now. Figure out some of the places where their path diverged with other species. And above all, figure out what some of the species were that they are or at least were contemporary with.

You should be able to give a few decent paragraphs of what their world’s wildlife is like, and by having an outline of their world’s evolutionary history it should make sense.

Your turn: What else do you think is worth keeping in mind when writing up aliens?

R. Donald James Gauvreau works an assortment of odd jobs, most involving batteries. He has recently finished a guide to comparative mythology for worldbuilders, available herefor free. He also maintains a blog at White Marble Block, where he regularly posts story ideas and free fiction, and writes The Culture Column, an RPG.net column with cultures ready for you to drop into your setting. 

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

A little ways back I wrote an article about the second-person POV. I don’t think that there’s much for me to say on that topic that I haven’t already said, but there are other ways of telling a story, including a few that I haven’t seen taken advantage of very often. (more…)

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

8 Things to Do With Zombies

Apparently I’ve been on a zombie kick as of late. I haven’t actually written any zombie stories recently, but I just finished writing a three-part series of articles on zombies for Sanitarium and there’s a zombie section to be written up soon, for a sourcebook that I’m putting together.

Here are a few ideas that I haven’t seen often, or at all. (more…)

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

  1. Magic means that everyone is armed

You may recall that there is something of a debate going on in America about gun control. Imagine that this couldn’t even be a debate. Everybody had laser eyes and a third arm with rocket-propelled knife fingers. You could, conceivably, rip those eyes out and amputate that arm, but a lot of people would complain about that and you’d have a much harder time justifying it. Especially since this wouldn’t be seen as an abnormal state of affairs. (more…)

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

Harry Potter, Night Watch, The Dresden Files… There are more than a few worlds with a society of wizards hiding in the shadows. Throw in masquerades of any supernatural sort, not just wizards, and you have most of the urban fantasy genre. (more…)

Posted on by Ryan Gauvreau

More cities and worlds to adapt or use unchanged for your stories and games.

  1. The Magic Dyson Sphere

I’m not sure where this idea came from, but what if magical energy came from a variety of places, and one of those was the process of decomposition as it occurred in a god? You would have wizards ganging up around that thing like nobody’s business, soaking up magic rays like a lazy cat. Well, maybe not quite like that. But it would be a pretty popular place. (more…)

Seventh Sanctum™, the page of random generators.

...  ...  ... ...

Seventh Sanctum(tm) and its contents are copyright (c) 2013 by Steven Savage except where otherwise noted. No infringement or claim on any copyrighted material is intended. Code provided in these pages is free for all to use as long as the author and this website are credited. No guarantees whatsoever are made regarding these generators or their contents.


Seventh Sanctum Logo by Megami Studios