Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Painted Window

I do not remember what inspired the idea but it came while watching The Aristocats (coming right after a post based on The Rescuers, one might conclude I am watching old Disney movies; one would be correct). I realize now that it bears some resemblance to a quest in Oblivion but that was not in mind until I started typing this post.

The idea is simple: a painting serves as a window into ours or another world. The fantastic properties of the painting lie undiscovered for some time because the painting remains fixed in place, hanging on the wall of a manor. Rumors of ghosts and possession have, in the past, risen up due to perceptions of movement in the painting but they were often attributed to the house in general and no specific investigation of the painting was made.

The use of such a painting is quite obvious: as a window providing view into another plane of existence, it can be used to explore and investigate this world. Whether the painting updates its view continuously (if I take it down from the wall, does its face change instantaneous to depict the altered perspective into the other world) or gradually (you have to hang it on another wall to get another view) is up for debate. Whichever serves the ultimate purpose of the painting is fine.

The Devil's Eye

Did you know that Disney's The Rescuers actually makes for a decent adventure?

In the movie, a woman named Medusa and her accomplice, Mr. Snoops, discover a hidden cave in Devil's Bayou that was used by pirates to bury their treasure. The only entrance to the cave (that they know) is a small sinkhole. Neither of them are small enough to fit through so they kidnap Penny, a girl from an orphanage, and force her down into the cave. Despite plenty of other gems, jewelry, and valuables, all Medusa cares about is the Devil's Eye, a huge diamond.

There is a large hole in the cave, probably 4 feet across, that blocks Penny from getting to the other side where the Devil's Eye is hidden in a skull. During high tide, the seawater enters through this hole in huge gushes as the waves crash into the cave entrance far below.

This adventure could take place in the Hoach or in a cave near the Hoach (same cave system but no connections large enough for PCs to traverse). As mentioned, there is another entrance to the cave besides the sinkhole. A party of unscrupulous treasure hunters kidnap one or more children from the nearby town of Fortune and force them into the cave during low tide to seek out the treasure. This party might have tried to enter the cave from the larger, sea-level entrance and had to turn back due to the length of the route (high tide comes before they could reach the treasure and get back out), traps (if pirates buried treasure here, they might have trapped the cave), obstacles (hidden cave passages or rockfalls blocking off a route), monsters (they were just too wussy to fight their way through), or a combination of these. The sinkhole puts the child beyond most of these obstacles but not beyond all danger.

PCs would investigate the missing children, discover the sinkhole, and, if they wanted the treasure for themselves, fight their way through the obstacles from the cave entrance (or have a small PC solo the sinkhole challenges).


Edited to add: Challenges seen in the movie include a pair of alligators, a colony of bats, the waterspout in the cave, Medusa, Mr. Snoops, a skeleton (inanimate but frightening; there were multiple skeletons in the cave), and fireworks.

Helpful characters included the Swamp Folk (an overweight, motherly figure; a drunken hillbilly; a civil-war old-codger; a deacon; a hillbilly fisherman; a miner; and a dragonfly who could not talk and served as a boat's motor and a messenger).

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's from a Medical Condition

Quote (paraphrased) by Adkit2 in episode 13 of his Neverhood LP:

"Sometimes I have difficulty differentiating between my left and right. It's from a medical condition ... called stupid."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want My Stuff Back

I am playing Epic Battle Fantasy 2 and it seems that the characters are maxed out from Epic Battle Fantasy 1 (which I have played but I remember very little of it) because they have 9999 hit points and 999 magic points and tons of magic and special attacks and alternate weapons. At the end of the first level, you get to level up and increase an attribute and gain a special bonus of your choice.

I stopped there because I had an idea. I assume that we will somehow be knocked back to low-level standards since there really is no place for our hp, mp, spells, or items to go. I am probably wrong.

The idea was akin to any of the later Metroid games where you start out with all the special gear from the previous game but something conspires to set you back to square one (specifically, I recall the opening of Metroid Prime).

My idea was for a fantasy or sci-fi game that defies the "start at level 1 with crap gear" convention and gives you everything at the beginning. Then, after you get into the game's plot and mechanics, you lose everything. The game then allows you to choose which pieces of your equipment to recover first. In this way it differs from Metroid; if I really like the Morph Ball and Morph Bombs, then I should be able to go after them before the High Jump Boots.

The game should be open-ended so the player is truly free to pursue the items in any order. Some may make it easier to gain others but none should be required. Also, the game should be difficult but not impossible to beat without any items, just for the hell of it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ars Mortis - An Undead Taxonomy

The following post is by Yobgod from OYT:

I've mentioned the basis of this idea in other posts, but this seems like a suitable place to flesh it out a little better (except the skeletons, of course).
As a theory, it's applicable to non-D&D systems, but I'll focus on the D&D interpretation here.

There are seven main "types" of undead, based on the retention or loss of the three primary qualities of the original creature, those being:

Body - The corporeal form, possibly decayed to a greater or lesser extent. (Strength, Dexterity)
Mind - The capacity for independent thought and reasoning. (intelligence, Wisdom)
Spirit - The sense of self, memory. (Charisma)

Most of the undead one may encounter are powered by negative (unlife) rather than positive (life) energy, although the latter are theoretically possible and would tend to be less corrupted by the hatred for life that our standard undead possess. In any case, this leads us to the following forms of undead:

The Animated Corpse (Body only)
Examples: Skeletons, Zombies and everything in between
Description: These common pests are merely the shells of the deceased made to move again by the energy of unlife. They lack both a sense of self and the capability for reasoning. When created by a Necromancer or Cleric they can be made to follow simple instructions, otherwise they simply move towards and attempt to destroy living creatures. Skeletons require more magical energy to animate, since more physical form must be compensated for with magic, but as a result tend to be much nimbler than the shuffling zombie.

The Hungry Corpse (Body and Mind)
Examples: Ghouls, Ghasts, Mohrg, Wights* and similar creatures
Description: These corporeal undead can be significantly more dangerous, as they retain their intelligence and cunning. Lacking a sense of self, however, they are completely driven by whatever hungers the hateful negative energy powering them has focused on. They are crafty and ruthless and remember nothing of life, seeking only to kill and to slake their insatiable hunger.

The Corrupted Corpse (Body and Spirit)
Examples: Trap Haunts, certain Tomb Guardians, Wights*
Description: These sad creatures retain their form and retain a sense of who they were, but have lost the capacity for independent thought. Often they endlessly relive their last moments or carry out their last commands, interpreting the present through both the distorted lens of time and the corruption of unlife. Unfortunate or not, they can still be extremely dangerous. Appeals to the emotions of their past may help, but appeals to reason will fail, and evidence of their current state is likely to drive them into a killing rage.

Sidebar: Wights - There have been several different creatures known as Wights, some of which are clearly Hungry Dead (3.5 MM Wight) while others fall more clearly into the Corrupted Dead classification (Tolkien Barrow Wights). Confuse them at your own peril.

The Corrupted Spirit (Spirit only)
Examples: Haunts, most Ghosts
Description: Similar to The Corrupted Corpse (and actually more common), these undead retain a memory of their identity and emotion, but have lost both their body and mind. Incorporeal, they are often tied to a particular place or longing. While some are relatively harmless, the negative energy that animates them makes their touch anathema to the living, whether they intend harm or not. Sometimes these are corrupted corpses whose corporeal forms have worn away to nothing.

The Hungry Spirit (Mind only)
Examples: Shadows, Wraiths
Description: Nothing but an evil will, fueled by hunger and hate for life, hungry spirits can, like their corporeal brethren, be cunning and manipulative.

The Lost Soul (Spirit and Mind)
Examples: None I know in D&D.
Description: This is the essence of a person stripped of their corporeal shell, corrupted by negative energy and left to roam the material planes. Having both thought and memory, unless they were particularly evil beings to start with, they are likely to be somewhat tortured by their current state and prone to fits of both rage and sadness. Sometimes, an evil creature will become a Lost Soul in order to bind themselves into an object or other prepared form in order to approximate eternal life. Sometimes an even more evil creature will use similar techniques to bind an unwilling soul into an object or form.

The Unliving (Body, Mind, Spirit)
Examples: Vampires, Liches, Death Knights
Description: These evil creatures voluntarily embrace undeath through one means or another and thus retain their form (often augmented) and facilities. The conversion to run on clean burning coal negative energy often takes it's toll however, and slowly corrupts the mind of all but the strongest of wills. Those wills that are already wholly evil in nature have no problen with this.

It is theorized (depending on your setting), that there can also be alternate forms of undead that remain powered by positive energy, despite no longer having a functioning metabolism. There are several of these (which are generally more suited to PCs). In some cultures Mummies are believed to fall into this category, may have any combination of Mind, Spirit, or both, and are left as tomb guardians. In other cultures they are fueled by evil like any other undead. Caution, as always, is advised. Other examples include Graveborn, Revenants, Petitioners and all other cases where thought and motion is maintained by magic and positive energy rather than normal bodily function. Some would seek to lump Warforged into this category, but they are different because they do rely on a functional metabolism... an artificially created one, but a metabolism none the less.

The positive energy fueled combination of Mind and Spirit is likely to be what we usually refer to as "the soul", which normally travels on to the outer planes once the body ceases to function, although religious representatives have declined to comment on this. This explains why a creature who has been converted into any undead with Mind or Spirit is unable to be raised from the dead or move on to their final reward/punishment. Many, however, believe that even having your corpse raised as a simple Zombie or Skeleton is sufficient to prevent the soul from moving on or coming back. It may be that the soul maintains an attachment to it's physical remains and that the infusion of those remains with negative energy taints the soul as well through that link.

If positive-energy undead exist, some form of unliving is the most appropriate option for an undead PC. Any form of mindless undead is obviously unsuitable for a PC, although you could play one with no spirit as a free-willed undead who has merely lost their memory and general sense of self. (Maybe it was stolen and they are questing for it?)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yadri Tippits: Conditional Perfection

Just need to get this down. I thought it up yesterday at dinner and told myself to go home and type this up immediately. Note "yesterday at dinner".

I was at Subway eating dinner. I drink Diet Coke but I always mix something else in to add a tinge of flavor (just a small spritz totally changes the taste for me). I like to start off with Sprite or Dr. Pepper and then move towards Cherry Coke (if I want sweet) or Barq's Root Beer (if I want bite). Too often Subway will have Coke Zero instead of Dr. Pepper and it really limits me (I will mix Sprite and Cherry Coke but neither goes with Barq's, so I go from 6 flavors to 3).

Anyway, as I was mixing my drink, I noticed someone looked at me adding two different flavors to my Diet Coke. They were not watching me or giving me a disapproving look, but it did bring the concept of conditional perfection to mind.

Conditional Perfection is a label I give to things that are perfect in certain circumstances but not others. If I want a sweeter drink, such as when I get a Turkey sub, Cherry Coke and Sprite make the perfect drink. But if I get a Roast Beef sub, Cherry Coke and Sprite are no longer the perfect drink; instead, I want Barq's Root Beer.

In a world where the Gods of Law oppose the Gods of Chaos, is there room for conditional perfection? Would one not assume that the Gods of Law have a set and unchanging ideal of perfection? I oppose any relation between Chaos and Perfection but sterility and uniformity do not account for differing circumstances.

Yadri Tippits, a priest of Derrgan, the Wandering God, has long had the quirk of collecting rain water from the petals and leaves of various plants. For one who's palate is properly cleansed and sensitized, these waters provide a myriad of tastes and combinations that can accentuate and perfect any meal. Of course, to the boorish and uncouth drinker, they all taste like water.

Yadri uses his waters to teach the lesson of conditional perfection (along with food, music, painting, and other arts). "Which is perfect," he would ask, "the red wine or the white? Each is perfect in its own place: the red wine with steak, the white with fish." This music is perfect for joyous celebration while this is perfect for sorrow. If you switch them around, neither seems perfect.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trokair's Monastery - Xian Gi Wo!

I cannot for the life of me remember what the name of the monastery was near the ruins of Trokair. I remember lots of things about it, and I know I had a notebook with the name written inside because I listed three separate monasteries near Trokair and differentiated between their teaching styles, but I do not recall more than it started with X and was two words. This was not all that long ago either as I used the radio tower in the mountains visible from my community college's adjunct campus's second floor as the basis for the monastery.

Xong Guo?
Xia Shou?
Xin Gao?

Nothing rings true.

This post brought to you by Kung Fu Panda, which I am watching right now.

Pharmacist's Prayer

The Pharmacist's Prayer

Lord, as I work behind this counter
may I feel your presence here.
Help me to fill each prescription
with knowledge, love, and cheer.
May I always be humbled by the
privilege that is mine
of making life more comfortable
and giving peace of mind.
For all who seek assistance
give me wisdom to meet their needs
And for each encounter I pray,
Dear Lord, that I follow as You lead.
Amen.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faces of Fear, Fangs of the Wyrm

Had this idea while in the shower.

Today's Cool Comic Book Moment on Brian Cronin's Are Comics Good? blog was Skurge the Executioner holding off the armies of Hel at Gjall while Thor, Balder, and some mortal warriors escaped back to Asgard (the mortals were originally being held captive in Hel). The moment is quite poignant and Skurge comes off as quite heroic since holding the bridge was certain death, even for a god like Skurge. I was thinking about a similar moment for my campaign.

The obvious, non-psychopathic enemy group would be the Fangs of the Wyrm. The Dragon King, Demitri von Rhinestadt, would be the only member whose word would be his bond as Groder worships the god of murder, Rath revels in mindless violence, and Marhault's entire modus operandi is based on lies and betrayal. I envisioned a scene wherein the party had to work with the Fangs to each group's mutual survival. Demitri vouches for the other Fangs when the party rightly questions whether they can be trusted, being devotees of murder, rage, and deceit. Demitri's rule of the Fangs is based on a combination of birthright and personal power; he vows that any Fang who breaks the truce would answer to him. This is far greater incentive than even personal survival.

This scene then brought to mind the various villain parties I had created. At first, I could only recall the Faces of Fear. Having started to write this, however, I recalled that Rath was a member of the Fangs and that the Fangs each have their own extensive entourages: Groder has his undead companions (the crazed skeleton and methodical zombie serial killers) and a virtual undead army; Demitri has his half-dragon sorcerer and dragon mount in addition to the troops he can levy and the awaiting demon army of his father, Ashardalon; Marhault has his devoted defender and traveling troupe (truly the weakest force of arms among the Fangs); and Rath has his Ravager companion and loyal followers among the Sons of Wrath cult.

I had always wanted a witch-type villainess on the Fangs and envisioned a pair of sisters, a siren and a harpy (in theme, if not in form). However, unlike the other members of the Fangs, these two never saw any development past that point. Tonight, I briefly thought about Saren filling in that roll but I feel her self-importance and particular philosophy do not fit particularly well with the Fangs. I can envision a manner in which she could fit, namely that she seeks to free those who would break the present order and expose true reality. Ashardalon could easily be the Face of Fear who speaks to her in her dreams and visions. But the crazy religious cult overtones of the Faces does not quite fit with the Satanic, overarching power of Demitri as head of the Fangs. And Saren's great insistence on self mutilation and grotesquerie is likewise incongruent with the Fangs' nobility and respectability. In Demitri's world order, there is a place for grotesque mutilation; it is in the dungeons and it is reserved for his enemies. No way would he defile himself in that way. So the Faces of Fear are not quite right to integrate into the Fangs.

But that still leaves the door open for them to work together. In particular, I imagined that Garrett would be encountered with the Fangs. The party would already know Garrett and the Faces, likewise the Fangs, and would wonder why he was working with the other group. In a just world, the party would be scared to death at the thought of these two groups cooperating. Their minds would boggle at the depths of evil they would seek together. I imagine Garrett is involved with the Fangs in one of two ways: either he is trying to infiltrate the group for some end (in which case he really tries to silence the party to protect himself) or he has taken leave of the Faces of Fear and has sought another powerful group to enable his cruelties (which would probably be my way of getting him more screen time when the Faces were geographically removed from the campaign, as the idea of Garrett is rather independent from the Faces).

God I miss D&D.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Magical, Musical Battle-Axes

From a post by High Priest Syriax in a thread about adding anachronistic elements to a fantasy game (specifically, axes that are also magical electric guitars wielded by barbarian/bards):

The more I think about it, this is the way I would go with any "musical weapon." A series of holes and grooves along the weapon itself make sound as it is swung at varying speeds in a trained combat style. Each maneuver/attack sequence produces different notes. The location and pattern of the holes/grooves on each warrior's weapon produces a slightly different voice/quality, which uniquely identifies that warrior to the other members of the tribe. When they are fighting together they can pass short communications along the battlefield via sound, and when fighting in concert they can even weave their individual combat maneuvers/songs into an ensemble which produces greater magical/morale effects for the entire tribe and drives their enemies before them.

Prison Ship

We already have The Boiling Rock but the (not as terrible as you would think but still pretty terrible) GI Joe movie gave me another idea for a sea-based prison. They lock Cobra Commander and Destro up in fancy laser-cages in the hull of an aircraft carrier at sea.

The prison ship would not be an aircraft carrier. In fact, it does not possess any alternate means of transportation (no helipad, no lifeboats, etc). In a fantasy setting, the ship might not even have doors leading inside. Supplies are dropped hours ahead in the path of the ship and are collected by guards or even the prisoners over the side of the hull without the supply ship coming within sight. The ship travels an endless circuit in the midst of the ocean, never approaching within a few hundred miles of islands or the coast. The message is plainly that if you are on this ship, heading into the water is a good way to be lost to death.

Of course, such a prison ship leaves many open questions. Are there guards on the ship? If so, do they get breaks or vacation and how are they replaced? How are new prisoners brought to the ship? What stops the prisoners from staging a riot and gaining control of the ship? Since there are no other ships within sight (to prevent prisoners from swimming over and stowing away), how would anyone respond to the prisoners taking control of the ship?

Lots of problems, many of which are easily solved in a fantasy setting. Prisoners are teleported into the sealed, magically guided ship that provides food or even a field of sustenance.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Giant Centipedes in Trokair

Centipedes live in moist areas so they should be in the sewers, the forest, and in trash heaps by the bandit and orc camps as well as under large rocks and by fallen logs.

Parthogenesis, Gynogenesis, Hybridogenesis

Someone on OYT described an almost 3-inch long wasp that he encountered in the middle of the night. He swung a broom at the thing, fell off balance when it charged his face, and cut a big gash in his hand on a vent cover.

Another poster kindly provided a picture of a 1.5-inch long wasp from Kansas that he found dead in his basement. He remarked that huge wasps do not scare him (because he always finds them dead) but house centipedes freak him out.

I had no idea what a house centipede was so I used mankind's latest, greatest inventions: Google and Wikipedia. While reading about centipedes, I came across the term parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction where an egg cell develops into a fully grown organism without fertilization. It comes from the Greek parthenos (virgin) and genesis (creation). Parthenogenesis does not (necessarily) create clones because it is an egg cell that matures and egg cells are products of meiosis, a process that includes crossing over between chromosomes. For species like humans, with an XY sex determination, all parthenogens are female (because the mother only has XX to give to the child).

Two relations of parthenogenesis are gynogenesis and hybridogenesis. Gynogenesis is akin to parthogenesis but requires the presence of sperm from a closely-related species for the oocyte to develop. The sperm does not contribute any genetic material to the oocyte and so all gynogens are also female.

Hybridogenesis is not asexual but hemiclonal. The female mates with a male in the usual fashion and father and mother each contribute one set of chromosomes to the child. However, in hybridogenesis, when a female child matures and produces her own oocytes, only her mother's chromosomes are passed on; the father's genetic material is excluded from her gametes. In this way, the female line continually passes down the same genetic material while each individual female possesses novel genetic material from a male donor. It produces a distinct and powerful hereditary factor with respect to the progenitor female's chromosomes while allowing for individual hybrid vigor from the male's contribution. No mention was made of the male hybridogen's gametes but one assumes, from the silence, that they reproduce as normal (their gametes are varied by crossing over during meiosis and randomly assigning either mother's or father's chromosome to each).



Parthogenesis, gynogenesis and hybridogenesis have some potential for a magical society of women who have lasted through the ages. Perhaps a goddess served as the founding matriarch of the family and all of her daughters through the ages share her genetic legacy. With an isolated society like Wonder Woman's Themescarra, parthenogenesis would allow them to reproduce without any contact with mankind.

With a gynogenetic society, women would have to enter the world to find appropriate mates (perhaps, due to magic, each woman's mate must be discovered in a sort of 'one true love' or 'Mr. Right' kind of way, though owing more to genetics and magical arbitration than romantic feelings (unless one wanted those too)). Or a sister society of normal men and women develops as servants to the goddess's descendants with suitable men being plucked from them to mate (perhaps a reward for heroics or exceptional service or maybe chosen like racehorses for genetic worth; this might lead to resentment on the part of the lesser, normal women who keep losing their best men and sons to the goddess's daughters). This latter idea would not be a fateful Mr. Right situation but a "closely related species" kind of mating, perhaps evoking a sense of Jack Kirby's New Gods.

A hybridogenetic society would be less fantastic and more subtle than the other two. It could play into a prophecy where the party has to find a descendant of the goddess to prevent some disaster (since each of her daughters would have her DNA unsullied by mortal man).

I Alone Love You, I Alone Tempt You

I should have posted this months ago when I first came up with it. Luckily, they were playing Live's I Alone on the way home from the doctor's office and I remembered.

Live's song, I Alone, has the following lyrics (in part):

I'll read to you here, save your eyes
You'll need them, your boat is at sea
Your anchor is up, you've been swept away
And the greatest of teachers won't hesitate
To leave you there, by yourself,
Chained to fate

I alone love you
I alone tempt you
I alone love you
Fear is not the end of this!



The beginning of the song conjures the image of a dark god talking to a goblin or other supposedly fell creature. The goblin wishes to better himself, to escape his station as a pawn of evil. However, as the dark god explains, "I alone love you" (only the dark god cares about the goblin; the heroes of good are constantly killing his people and the general populace is prejudiced towards and afraid of him), "I alone tempt you" (the love is not a one way street from dark god to goblin; both recognize the innate lure of evil and darkness in the goblin's soul; therefore, the power and words of the dark god are tempting to the goblin despite its lofty dreams and desire of good intentions). Finally, the dark god explains that fear is not the end of this (the goblin's myriad fears, of falling back into the darkness of his people, of prejudice and rejection by good people, of making a life-changing, nay, defining decision that is also a point of no return, closing off the other avenue forever).

The short scene that plays out in my mind sees the goblin leading the party to the dark god to defeat him. Throughout their adventures together, the goblin shows that he is actively fighting against his darker tendencies (whether in-born or cultural) and honestly striving towards good but he is still a ways off. When the party finally encounters the dark god, he explains to the goblin the words above, "I alone love you; I alone tempt you" and the goblin recognizes this as true and turns on his friends, though the pain of doing so is clear.

It is a definite, "but this is who I am; I'm sorry" kind of moment, where someone does something they really don't because they perceive it as their identity and feel they must remain true to who they are. Gang members who have to turn against non-gang friends are a good example of what I am trying to get across; a gang member must keep up appearances for the gang even when it hurts to do so. Likewise, for the goblin to fight against the dark god on the side of the party would require him to turn his back on his entire race and that is a difficult thing to do, even when your race is generally evilly inclined. Think of Red Cloak from Order of the Stick and his championing of the goblin race.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Strovil's Wizard Academy

I thought this idea up years ago on my way to undergrad for use on Venura. The point of Strovil's school is to teach the theories of magic and magery in addition to practical knowledge of spells and reagents and rituals.

The theory of wild magic is reserved for higher level students. The idea I had now and the idea I had then was a series of tests for beginning students to teach them the successful tactics and strategies of wizards.

The initial tests for cantrip-only students involve a series of challenges that can mostly be overcome through mundane means. Most students, excited to use their newly-learned spells, quickly exhaust themselves of their magical power. They then encounter the latter trials that can only be overcome by magic (unless one is very clever, very skilled, and very lucky). The point of these initial lessons is to teach the young wizards that magic should not be their first choice in overcoming challenges; instead, they should overcome as much as possible using their own minds and bodies, utilizing their magic only when necessary.

A further test involves using illusions to attack students in the middle of the night. The student is awakened by sounds of scuffling or mumbling in or near his room. An illusory enemy then accosts the student. Students who heeded their lessons and retained some spell power are in much better position to fend off the attack. Students who felt that their lessons for the day were done and used up their spells will be left overpowered (wizards being rather ineffectual at manual hand-to-hand combat).



Trials could include getting an object from a high shelf, finding one's way through a dark room, cutting an object down from a rope, etc. I need to look through the SRD at the cantrips to develop appropriate tests.

Elemental Nemuranai

These small tokens contain their respective kami. Activating these single-use fetishes releases a ten foot diameter sphere of the contained element. The element can be directed to appear up to 20-30 feet away from the nemuranai (helpful when releasing a huge fireball) and can be altered from a perfect sphere into another shape of similar dimensions (but not intricately; the purpose of the nemuranai, and the will and ability of the kami, is to produce a mass of elemental material).

Fire, water, and air can be directed forth like a flamethrower, firehose, or airhose as appropriate. Earth can be summoned as several boulders and rocks instead of one large chunk.

In order to form one of these nemuranai, a sufficient volume of appropriate material must be stored within. This means a water fetish drains a pond, an earth fetish can leave a crater in the ground, and a fire fetish requires a bonfire or other large source of flame to extinguish. The fetishes do not create their element; they store it.

Eagoragion

I just played Isabelle, Poppy, and Bling, a flash game by Andy Master of Fish on Albinoblacksheep.com.

At the end of the game, a thing that looks like a gorilla crossed with a lion and a toucan shows up on screen. It gave me an idea for a chimera.

It has the hind legs and body of a lion, the arms and chest of a gorilla (it walks on all fours but the ape's long arms gives it a centaur-like chest). From there, you can add different heads and wings. The eagoragion has the head of an eagle and the wings of a dragon but the opposite is also quite possible. And the thought of a rhino- or boar-headed variety without wings also just sprang to mind.