View Full Version : The Fleshforger's Legacy (Community World Building Project Interest Check)

Admiral Squish
2010-07-25, 06:11 PM
So, I have an idea that I think would make a truly epic world-building project, but as I am but one man with odd tastes, I thought that checking interest would be wise before I go off, reserve like six posts, and then get a grand total of one comment on it.

The basic idea is that the world of the time has been shaped massively by an ancient 'master' race of bio-mages and fleshwarpers. Medical science and magic came together as the master race shaped virtually every species on the surface of this world to their convenience, preparing a self-perpetuating system of changed beasts and warped men.

Some examples of things that occurred to me while pondering on this idea:
The basic form of agriculture is a genetically enhanced form of rice that grows massive quantities of edible food. They grow from large, tangled nodes of roots, specially made to taste bitter (You'll see why), and they can continue to regrow almost indefinitely. The paddies are arranged in concentric loops hundreds of miles across that are staggered so one field will ripen within days of the previous one.

The system requires five animals.
Scytheboars (think Razor Boar, but slightly less crazy, and predatory)
Paddy Eels (Basically eels, but they nest in the root-tangles of the rice and have a lemming-like instinct described below)
Plowtusk (It looks vaguely like an elephant, but with an elongated lower jaw with a pair of flat tusks on the tip and a second set that goes down and curls forward like a hook, coming off the upper jaw)
Seedbeard (Sorta like an anteater/sloth thing. Very shaggy fur.)
Cropguard Lizards (Basically, mini-iguana that live in the rice fields and jump from stalk to stalk)

The process begins with the scytheboar. These boars come to a paddy and rampage through it, their tusks swinging back and forth, cleaving stalks. Their rampage stirs the paddy eels into a terror-fueled rush that culminates with them leaping, lemming-esque, on the paddy's banks to die out of water. The scytheboar eat the dead eels and continue back and forth through the paddy to scare up more of their meal, leaving the fallen stalks laying about. The eels have already laid their eggs by the time they scytheboar comes around, so the next generation remains assured. those that escape the scytheboar die soon afterward, of age, and rot to nourish the soil. Once a scytheboar is finished, he sleeps off the meal, periodically mating with the scytheboars of the other nearby rings. and proceeds to the next paddy. Once the scytheboar is finished, along comes the plowtusk. The plowtusk eats plants, tubers and roots specifically, that may grow in the paddies, but the rice's bitter roots make them unappetizing. The process of plowing it's lower jaw through the muck on the bottom is made difficult by the stalks laying around. So, the plowtusk's instincts tell it to first scoop up the stalks and deposit them onto the banks of the paddies. Then it gets one with it's meal, stirring up the soil for the next year's crop and weeding the field. Then the seedbeard follows the plowtusk, once the root-bundles have put up flowers. The seedbeard eats the eggs of the paddy eel, but it's appetite is low enough that only a fraction of the eggs are consumed. While feeding, It's shaggy body drags through the flowers and carries pollen from one to another, influencing the next year's seeds. Thereafter, the flower falls away and the true stalk arises. The Cropguard Lizards then move in. They eat insects and birds, anything that would feed off the crops, and live leaping from one to another for most of the year, gliding from one paddy to the next every few days. Their instinct prompts them to move along rather than fight when a new group of cropguard lizards moves into their paddy, causing a chain reaction. Every time a scytheboar gets a paddy, the lizards move on, and then the ones in that paddy move on, and so on and so forth.

A perfect cycle. All the intelligent creatures have to do is gather the piles of grain on the shores of the paddies.

Giant vermin, dire animals, and dinosaurs are all bred for battle. Where tanks and helicopters on a modern battlefield would be, there are dire bats or t-rexes in the fleshforged battlefield.
Dinosaurs are basically top-of-the-line models. Sturdier, with greater destructive capacity, they were designed from the ground up as opposed to dire beasts, which used the naturally-occurring animals and made them bigger and stronger. Battletitan and Judatitan (New idea, don't start looking for it, it's not there) dinosaurs are the greatest of them all, secrets of their creation as well-guarded as the creation of the stealth bomber.
Giant vermin are about a step below the dinosaurs in newness. While still working on the basis of a natural creature, the scaling problems were immense, but well worth it for the finished product. Some modified versions were made, including scorpion-based catapults and exploding giant bees, but they never saw widespread use.
Horrid and dire animals are the easiest to mass-produce, and so, make up the bulk of the forces.
These creatures are all directed by the 'common races' as riders, of course. It's infinitely simpler to simply give them riding instincts than to instill true intellect, and the common races can hardly rebel in the presence of the generals.
The generals of these amalgamated riding forces were the dragons. Strong, intelligent, resilient, mobile, and able to deliver concentrated blasts of devastation wherever it was needed most, these massive war-machines stuck terror into enemy forces. Each nation came up with their own versions, with their own themes on the dragon, but most remained true to the original design.

Common Races:
There are tasks for unskilled labor that simply cannot be simplified into animal minds without training. For these, the common races were created.
Humans: These were the basis, the template. They were easy to change, and their short lifespans and high birth rate allowed the master race to experiment with them the most. Humans were everywhere, but never were 'properly' specialized.
Elves: Elves are tree-tenders. They maintain the tall trees and the gardens of their masters, including the mobile plants that they create. The elves were most plentiful in the western forests and swamps, though some oversaw the order in the crop rings.
Dwarves: Dwarves are miners and builders, they made everything the master race couldn't grow. Eventually they were replaced in all but their mining efforts by the warforged. They were mostly in the northern mountains and tundra, more widespread when they were still used for building.
Warforged: The warforged were made from the ore the dwarven mines churned out, but proved themselves an extremely competent replacement for the stocky ones, able to work without breaks and even in the harshest of conditions. They edged out dwarves almost completely, and the humans were the competition. Warforged couldn't birth more, though, so their price tag was a tad steep for many.
Gnomes: Gnomes were the fine detail the dwarves missed. They were fine crafters and fixits. They also revealed an unexpected competence in alchemy and one in medical and surgical tasks, which could prove valuable to those interested into extending the use of their meat-machines. Their ability to speak with animals often made them extremely useful in the crop rings and on most other meatmachine operations.
Halflings: Halflings served a double function. They were merchants, first, traveling far and wide to sell the latest beasts and designs. In addition, they served as spies, though they were mostly neutral. Halflings were the only race that could have been considered 'independent' in the reign of the master race.
Orcs: Orcs were the enforcers. They were proud to serve the master race directly, and swiftly reprimanded any man or beast that stepped out of line.
Minor Illithid (Also a new idea): These thinkers served in the central cities as thinking computers. The elder brains were originally nonsentient, organic data storage, which developed intellect later.

Mass Production
Simple Explanation: Trolls.
More complex explanation: Seeking a easy way to arm their forces for battle,the master race made the trolls. May varieties with different purposes arose, but three were the most present and most widely-used.
Shellskin: These bone-plated trolls were covered in a layer of thick bony armor, which they could shed like an insect, leaving it mostly intact. Normally, these shells become brittle and useless quickly without the troll's natural oils moistening it, but if treated quickly with a special oil, it would seal perfectly and become a sturdy suit of bone fullplate.
Boneforge: These trolls bore a pair of bone-spurred 'wings' that could be torn off and treated to become lances. On one arm, the fingers formed into swords, while the other forearm was grotesquely elongated with a snakelike flexibility, able to be removed to form a deadly trollclaw whip. Finally, between their wings they grew bony plate that could be removed and formed into a heavy shield.
Flesh-harvest: These bloated trolls were used to harvest meat, able to regrow it nearly instantly as long as they were fed. They could also be used to harvest trollskin leather which could be made into either clothing or armor.

So, what do you think? Worth a proper thread?

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 04:00 PM
Come on, I need at least one person to tell me I'm either crazy or a genius.

2010-07-26, 04:13 PM
The idea has merit, ill give you that. But we need more information. Who were these shapers, what did they look like? Are they still around?

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 04:28 PM
I wasn't sure exactly what would make a good candidate for the role of these shapers. Perhaps the Silithar (Lords of Madness)? A less-insane version of the Daelkyr? Perhaps some newly-made race specifically for this point?

However the idea was that these shapers are no longer around, and if they are, they're hiding REALLY well. Mostly because almost all sentient life resents them for basically viewing every living thing as something to be controlled and experimented on. There would probably be some cults remaining that worshipped them, but hate is much, much more common.

I would think that with an empire like this, any conquering race would more likely attempt to control the system themselves. Perhaps it's changed hands so many times nobody even REMEMBERS who started it.

2010-07-26, 04:36 PM
In regards to who your progenitor race would be, i think i can help you narrow it down. Considering the amount of humanoid creatures they created, it would seem they would have to be a humanoid shaped race. Think about our obsession with creating a humanoid robot. It makes it easier for your servants to interact with you if their the same general shape.

other than that, i suggest you create your own race. They sound superficial similar to the daeklyr, enough so that you could easily lift their symbiotes and tolls out of ebberon and no one will call foul. If you come up with a really interesting progenitor race, i could even draw them up for you. Ive been hungering for something new to draw. But thats neither here nor there.

Oh one last note, i wouldnt have the warforged edge out dwarves completely. Servants that become obsolete are generally disposed of, and with your creators somewhat pragmatic bent, that might mean death. Id have them remain the master craftsmen.

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 04:54 PM
Alright, makes sense. It could just be that they found a plane of existence to colonize and humans were the only intelligent creatures, so they decided to modify them rather than create more being in their own image.

I'm thinking outsiders, perhaps from a plane of law, or lawful refugees from a plane of chaos where shaping magic was easy? They just sorta turned from refugees to the godlike rulers of the plane when they realized what they could do on a stable plane.

So, dwarves would be the master crafters, but the warforged would be the heavy labor?

2010-07-26, 05:01 PM
Yes that would be the gist of it. Warforged would make excellent laborers, especially in situations other races couldn't handle, such as underwater or in deep mines full of gas pockets. But their fluff suggests they wouldn't have the patience and focus a dwarf would have for crafting tools, weapons and machines, or being architects. Think of it as the dwarves being the brains and the warforged the hands.

Hmm, lawful from a plane of chaos? Sounds like the Gith.. with a little modification and a focus on transmuting rather than psionics, they'd preform admirably.

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 05:46 PM
Makes sense to me. It shall be done!

I thought I was making something using the Daelkyr base chassis, rather than using a premade race. Basically, rewrite the fluff and a few abilities to make them less chaotic and more about controlled change.

2010-07-26, 06:01 PM
I can dig that. They make great rare villains, like liches in some respects. Just think about the level of arrogance and hubris that would be required to even get close to justifying altering the genetics or physiology of intelligent beings to create better servants.

A thought, have you thought about religion? It could be quite complex with most intelligent beings knowing how they were created and having a distaste for meddling powers.

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 06:14 PM
These are all interesting points. Religion, I think, would be a much less... widespread factor in this universe. Perhaps a few cults here and there and minor faiths in kharma-esque ideas, but nothing truely described as a 'religion' as we know it.

But the first question remains: Is it worth reserving six posts and turning this into a proper project?

2010-07-26, 09:01 PM
Id say so,but then again, im the only one who's posted other than yourself.

Admiral Squish
2010-07-26, 09:10 PM
And there's the problem.

Ah, well. If it dies, it dies. I shall produce a thread tomorrow.

2010-07-26, 09:32 PM
And there's the problem.

Ah, well. If it dies, it dies. I shall produce a thread tomorrow.

Consider me on board for this idea. I love it!

2010-07-27, 10:52 AM
Actually, I don't know HOW I managed to miss this thread until now.

It sounds like something up my alley, and I would probably end up contributing to it (I like to avoid promising anything).

I would recommend making the trolls naturally shed their weapons etc like a cat's claw layers are shed, or giving them a modified pain response under certain circumstances. Agonized creatures means you have to pay for shackles and then oil the shackles regularly so the blood doesn't rust them... not efficient in the long run.

I have several things to offer, some of which I have been itching to post for months, if not years, but could never figure out the right way to say. I think I started to post them in a "Work in progress, ignore" type thread, but never was able to get further than that.

Existing work of mine that might (or might not) work out:
Wing Dragons: A general that does his own scouting? Their BW isn't very friendly to combined arms, but if you have the advantage in melee (especially having trained your soldiers in Blind-fighting) they can be good for countering massed ranged attacks, especially if they go for the "Fog Cloud" level of opacity, rather than "optic black".

Mepholk: Some fleshforger towards the end decided that humans were out of date, but since they were so numerous, he released a "patch" instead of a "delete and re-install" solution. If deities exist in this setting you can keep Allurehn and her curse just the same as always (although the Mepholk wouldn't be as picky about who they had children with in this case since their mortal masters wouldn't like that). If not, you can call it a bug that didn't get corrected before the fleshforger's left.

New stuff (here is where I have a lot of ideas stored up) :
Massage Squirrels: Based on flying squirrel stock, these creatures have a highly modified biochemistry that allows them to sport lead-laced bones. They are virtually unable to survive in the wild. Normally very lethargic, the only time they show "squirrelly energy" is when they are on a warm object at least 3 feet long in one direction, and at least 1 foot wide. In such cases they scamper around on top of said object, dragging their patagium(sp?) and tail heavily until very tired (by which time they will have gradually slowed down noticably), at which point they curl up on top of the object and go to sleep. Literally used by the fleshforgers to give themselves relaxing massages. Shared with the slaves because once they existed, there wasn't any reason not to spread them around?

Ioun Rodents: They don't provide any magical benefits to their wearer, but walking around with 3 mice and a rat orbiting your head is a fashion craze that comes and goes, never completely dying out. Can't fly when not placed into orbit. Very vocal about when they are hungry, thirsty, or need to eliminate. Sleep, on the other hand, they will gladly do in mid-air, regardless of noise levels or temperature.

Parasitic pets: (the best detail, and creates a very interesting dicohtomy of the Alien and the Familiar when one considers what such a creature says about the fleshforger's)
Pre-spell information: The males of these species are useful only as normal pets and as breeders. The females are the valiable ones. Species include mice, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets, guinea pigs, sugar-gliders, rats, and (for size large and larger hosts only) weasels. Some dragons are rumored to wear dire-weasels.

Spell Transformation: The females are sensitive to a specially designed spell which induces a false pregnancy, then a X days to Y weeks later (need to look up rodent and ferret gestation times, then divide by 4 or something) the resulting placental material is transmuted by the second stage of the spell (which is probably around 2nd or 3rd level for a single pet), effectively spaying the pet. The results of this transmutation are tendrils on the belly that are strongly linked into the pet's nervous and circulatory systems. If a tiny amount of metal is included as a material component in the transformative spell, that metal is transmuted into the tips of the tendrils, this allows the parasitic pet to bypass metal-based damage reduction. I think that for especially hard-bodied creatures (such as dragons) the inclusion of adamintine as necessary would make sense.

Attachment: If pressed against a living creature the tendrils will burrow in, connecting to the capillaries and sensory nerves in the area. The capillary connections handle hydration, nutrition, respiration, and waste removal for the pet just as if the pet were in its mother's womb. The neurological connections mean that any sensation (heat, cold, pressure, pain, etc) felt by the parasite's skin is mapped onto the patch of skin that the tendrils penetrate. This prevents accidental injury to the pet. The host has the "Share Spells" ability with the parasite(s) just as a sorcerer or wizard has with their familiar, except that this also applies to any spell cast on either of them by a third party (always the host's choice, never the parasite's) Any affection shown by the master/host (the same thing as far as the parasitic pet is concerned) is reciprocated in a fluffy of squirming (remember the chest is free to move, just not the belly), licking and happy vocalizations (which may be rather faint due to the disused state of the lungs). An attached parasitic pet is fearless, since they can't run away or fight very well anyway and the design is based on the assumption that the master/host will protect them. A parasitic pet can be induced to eat with treats, but has no appetite really, and most hosts prefer to avoid being excreted on, and thus do not feed them. Note that Heal, Remove Curse, Remove Disease, etc can NOT be used to remove a parasitic pet except in cases where a host has enough that it actually has a mechanical effect on their constitution.

Removal: A level 0 spell (on any spell list that includes either arcane transmutation spells, or curative spells... 1st level for spell lists without a 0th level) is known to remove a LIVING pet touched. If the pet has been attached for an extended period of time (which is often the case) the pet begins to suffocate (as if drowning), and if it is not attached to a new host quickly (as determined by the usual fortitude saves) it will die. A parasitic pet dying of old age also detaches (this is a precaution to avoid gangrene of the tendril-penetrated site). In the case of the violent death of a parasitic pet, Heal checks to remove the tendrils are indicated, and even then a Remove Disease is generally a wise precaution.

Temporary Pets: The "Temporary Tattoo" version of Parasitic pets, these creatures merely secrete a sticky substance from their hairless bellies, allowing them to be placed on, or peeled off. They give the same warning vocalizations about their needs as Ioun Pets, and, if in familiar surroundings will even use their limbs to peel themselves off if the matter becomes serious enough.

Note: Should most or all of these come in unusual colors, or are fur-dyes sufficient for those purposes?

EDIT: Added in Ioun Rodents, temporary pets, and kept working on the parasitic pets. I THINK the parasitic pets are done now.

EDIT^2: Moved to new thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161890).