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Thread: A living world
- Join Date
- Feb 2019
A living world
For my biotech ideas
Gel'kar. The symbiote. The key to power.
Humans had no magic.
Oh sure, they could manipulate it. Even animals could, but they couldn't generate it. No source of their own, their magical prowess was stunted and weak by the standards of the world. Drow called them 'drowthers', and only considered them good for eating or as toys. Demons felt they were interesting pastimes. Animals enhanced with magic killed them with ease. Fair folk considered them to be playthings.
There were several sources of magic. Pacts. Sacrifice. Mutations. All with their own problems.
Pacts involved deals with multidimensional entities, often requiring you to carry out nonsensical actions or inactions. A deal may require a man to always walk backwards, or make a clucking sound before attacking. Or dying upon being struck by starlight. The entities could always withdraw the providing of mana, so the deals were always unfair.
Sacrifices were morally suspect and unsustainable. Sacrifices involved killing living life to extract their mana. Cattle were valuable, and so humans were used. But using humans as a power source meant that your population either started dropping, or you needed a steady supply of slaves. None of which solved the problem that continuously killing people for power slowly drove anyone with a hint of conscience mad, and those who didn't, generally weren't the ones you wanted with power in the first place.
Mutations. Much like muscle babies, these were people with the rare mutation to spend their own magic. Weak and efficient, with an immense lack of stamina. Their rarity meant that their institutional knowledge was sparse compared to other races, and so they were not that useful. Worse, it was recessive. Which meant inbreeding. The resulting backlash, their privileged position and their power transformed them into arrogant, capricious, callous and unreasonable *******s.
It seemed that it was humanity's place to be the playthings of the undead, the damned, and the fair folk. It seemed that the majority of mankind was to be put under the boot of terrible, overpowered thugs. It seemed that it was their fate for their lot to never be improved.
It came from a man, name lost long ago. A runaway slave, who had been caught reading his masters libraries. He had fled into the wilderness, hiding in the caves. Having run out of supplies, he grew hungry. So hungry, he ate the moss on the side of a cave.
It should have killed him. But it didn't. And what came next, changed the world. The moss entered his stomach, somehow resisting his stomach acids, and took residence within his guts. The moss was one that fed on dead matter, and as a byproduct releasing mana, the fuel of magic. Like endosymbiosis. Like the relation between coral and algae. Ancestor cells entered eukaryote ancestors, which had devoured them, and in exchange for not being destroyed, transformed light into food. Coral provided a safe home to algae, while taking 90% of their produce for themselves. And the man.. He provided a safe home and more raw nutrients than the moss could ever take from a dark cave in the wilderness. In exchange, the moss gave him mana.
When he came to, he realised that mana surged through his veins. And using his knowledge from the books he read, he practiced. And one day, in a dark and stormy night, he entered his masters Manor and slew him and his retainers, freeing the servants and slaves, stealing the books and bringing them to the caves.
There, he fed them the moss, and fed them Gel'kar. The key to power. Mana thrummed through their veins. And they too, could perform magic.
It would take too long to talk of how they took over the human kingdoms. Of how they selectively bred and altered the moss into stronger and more efficient forms. Of how they made breeds that infested blood and flesh, increasing their mana capacity. Of how they finally crushed the lost and the damned, the fair and the foul, finally paying back millenia of torture and mistreatment with the greatest punishment possible.
All was possible with gel kar. The source of mana. The bringer of power. That transformes humans from hairless apes into the masters of the world.
- Join Date
- Feb 2019
Re: A living world
Starts with a plant or fungal extract. Maybe some leaves/ bark/ seed pod/ fungus cap. It is taken out, pounded, and then dried. The resulting powder is then poured into water, and then expands into a gel. Kinda like this:
Typically, a hagfish will release less than a teaspoon of gunk from the 100 or so slime glands that line its flanks. And in less than half a second, that little amount will expand by 10,000 times—enough to fill a sizable bucket
So a teaspoon of powder will fill an entire bucket with glowing, sticky, soft, gel. Then the resulting gel is then poured into specially prepared glass jars or bowls or tubes, which are then sealed afterwards with wax or glue. The resulting glow easily matches a torchlight or a light bulb, and silvering can amplify it even further. The entire lamp can last for several years.
There are several other additives, expensive one, that can be added to it. One can triple its life span. Another, alters the chemicals so that they only work when a small charges passes through them. Such 'switch' lights, are placed in glass tubes with metallic tips, connected to a potato or lemon with copper and iron, allowing them to be switched on and off, enabling power saving. This extends the lifetime from a decade, to potentially hundreds of years. The slime is chemically and biologically stable, with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties within that prevent it from rotting or being consumed by bacteria.
Such lights see massive use within the setting, from lights within villages, to lamps within mines to prevent detonation of explosive gas, to places like ships where a single flame could send the ship into ash, or in old underground mines, where banks and banks of slimelight lamps let loose their soft glow over rows of vegetables, letting people grow food in the most unlikeliest of places. Alternatives are decorations, where slime is poured into coloured glass or small transparent tubes sewn into clothing.
A/N: Please review. I thought this up in 5 minutes. Anything I might have missed, or any new uses you think of?
- Join Date
- Feb 2019
Re: A living world
The rebellion against the major powers of the world was hard. Lack of land. Lack of sanctuary. Lack of a base of operations. Lack of a place to rest and recover. Most lands were taken over by mage lords, who, by dint of their actions, did not welcome them. And no fae or daemon would let them rest in their territory, knowing that they wished to free mankind from its position at the bottom of the totem pole.
And so the nameless man and his followers fled. Experimenting on their magic. And during their experimentations, they realised that their source of power gave them unique skills. Usually altering, crafting or granting organisms mutations was a difficult task, fraught with risks and failure. But because their source of power was a living thing in and of itself, they could alter life itself far easier than normal. And so they fled, and developed their magic. And, having outstayed their welcome in the more civilized and temperate lands, they fled, to the edge of the world. To a land of always winter. To Vantus. The frozen lands.
There, the land was filled with biting winds. The light was swiftly fading, and the snow was falling. Winds stole the heat from their bodies, and soon, their march became slow and trodding. The great beast they had created, a mixture between horse, tortoise, and boar, slowed, and died. And there, at the base of a plateau that was also the nexus of a leyline, where there was no living man for thousands of miles, where no life was left.... they set up base camp. The starting point at which mankind will overthrow the tyranny of the non-humans, and take over the world.
But such a thing was difficult. The darkness, the lack of food, the lack of shelter, all caused immense problems and difficulties for them. And so, the power and skill of the newly born mages were tested, again and again, hardship and difficulty forging them from a band of scattered and frightened refugees into iron-hard men and women as harsh and unyielding as the snowstorms itself.
It is in the crucible of catalysm, that the strong are tempered, and the weak perish.
Their location and its harsh conditions allowed them to create creatures and beings, that would allow them to prosper. Here is a list of them.
Life was small and weak, and yet in some way, thrived, in the cold. enzymes and chemicals, designed to ward off the cold and prevent death by freezing. The mages took these lichen, these bacteria, these extremophiles, and took them in, taking their useful traits and incorporating it into their creations and themselves, allowing them to survive the biting chills
Some of the refugees were doctors or nurses, and so knew of the dangers of malnutrition. With the lack of plants, fresh fruit, and meat, the survivors were in danger of dying from scurvy. And so several parasites, found within their beasts, were altered. First of all they sterilised it, altering it so that only a certain mixture of chemicals, administered at certain times, let it reproduce by budding. And then they implanted it within themselves, allowing it to automatically produce vitamins, nutrients, and various chemicals they had previously obtained from food, allowing them to survive on nothing but hardtack. A vital ability, for the harsh first years.
The digging breeds
Shelter was paramount, and there was a plateau. All they needed to do, was dig one in. And that was hard, with no tools, biting chills, and rocks long since frozen. And so the digging breeds were made. Such creatures ranged from insects not dissimlar to ants and termites, with jaws and acid spit adapted for stone, to mole-like creatures, to horse-sized dogs of living stone that devoured stone. Such creatures, empowered by gel'kar, enhanced by magic, had capabilities no living creature would normally have. Moles could have hands tipped in diamond-hard claws. The termite breed had queens that could pump out a dozen termite children in an hour. The dogs could survive on stone alone, using internal organs of infernal acid to pull out sustenance from the unliving rock. And so commanding these creatures, the refugees hammered a home through the plateau.
A great danger of any digging or underground caverns, is the danger of collapse. Loosely packed soil, loose stones, or just minute vibrations meant that roofs could collapse, killing dozens at a time and destroying vital equipment. Living cement was made, to fix this problem. Composed out of a mixture of soil bacteria and fungi, Living cement was spread over walls, caverns, and tunnels that needed reinforcement. The bacteria, feeding on atmospheric mana, mana powered by the mage, and the nutrients in the rocks itself, spread throughout any surface, guided by the mage, uncannily swift, several meters a day. And when they formed a surface, they began to extrude mycellium and fungal strands into the depths of the stone and soil, each strand further branching out further, until the soil and stone were trapped in a dense network of fungal fibres. Then, as one, as the last act it would do, each portion would release a glue, derived from mussels, bone cells, and barnacles, mixing in with the rock. The resulting mixture was not dissimilar to modern concrete, allowing even the most untrustworthy and unsteady caves to become safe havens.
Yorik Coral (check star wars)
With no equipment, no trees, no stone-carving tools, and not much learned craftsmen, life was inconvenient for the first settlers. There was no chairs. No wooden shelves. No tables. No plates nor boxes nor crates. No staircases. All of which made life rather... inconvenient. Yorik Coral was made as a substitute. Always dependent on the mages. First, the mage placed it on a source of feedstock, mostly stone or crystal. Then, he decided what form it would take. Whether soft and shining porcelain, easy to move and hollow concrete for tables and chairs, or other forms.
Then, he would leave it to settle, and let the Yorik Coral do its work. The coral's complex biomagical metabolism letting it accomplish miracles. If the mage were to specify that the product must be light and easy to move, the coral would take the lightest elements of stone, spin them together with super stong glue, and then leave a large honeycomb of air pockets to keep it immensely lightweight, not unlike foamed concrete or metallic foam. If it was to become a column to support a cavern, the coral would simply take the feedstock, breaking it down and remaking it into stronger forms, creating chains made of fibres and protein filaments criss-crossing like mad, to make it nearly unbreakable.
There was a problem with any plants seeking to live on the plateau. The wind was chilling, the soil was hard, and they were in danger of being squashed by snow or hailstones.
There was a problem for any animals living on the plateau. The wind was chilling, the soil was hard, and there was nearly no food, since no plant life would survive. Most starved to death within days.
The solution was to combine both of them. A mixture of boar, cow, and sheep, the hybrids had a body shaped not like a cow, with a thick woolen fleece and a layer of blubber. Their feet were splayed and wide spread, allowing them to walk atop the snow, with hollow bones to reduce their weight. Within their bodies, was a firey furnace, letting them melt the snow they gulped down as a water supply. Their lungs, adapted and altered, so that they absorbed carbon dioxide and nitrogen, along with oxygen, at a far higher efficiency, letting them take a breathe once every hour.
Atop their backs, was a single bulb. The moment the winds died down and the sun was up, they would nestle atop ridges and outcroppings, and then open it. Like a flower in bloom, dark petals would open up, spreading and folding, twenty times its previous size. Trapped in the membrane was hyper efficient algae, that absorbed all wavelengths of light, turning it black. The hybrids had hypersensitive senses, and at the first sign of strong winds that could potentially damage their bulb membranes, they folded them in, and dug in to avoid any snowstorms. The membranes could regenerate, but why take the chances?
Glucose and proteins were synthesized this way, and such things were excreted out, not via crude measurements, but via specialised organs. Some had teats, that could be milked, letting them excrete nutrient-rich fluids. Some had specialised ovipositers that produced giant eggs, that could be cooked and fed a man for a day.
Ordog Pok, the demon spiders
There was food, most definitely. Within the frozen ocean, where nutrients were brought up from the depths, great shoals of fish and squid and sharks appeared. But such things were hard to access for the land-bound humans, and even if they did, it was slow going to capture fish without any boats or equipment. And so the Ordog Pok were made.
The Ordog Pok are a horrid mixture of spider, crab, squid, lantern fish, ordinary fish, and jellyfish. They were capable of travelling on both land and sea, using a system that could extract oxygen from both air and water. For land, they used legs, ultra-strong muscles letting them drag their catch onto land. And for sea, they used an adaptation of the squid's jet system, allowing them to move as fast as any fish. But they did not catch them, one by one. That was too crude.
Each Ordog had a telepathic connection to the other, letting them coordinate with perfect synchronisation and teamwork. Ordogs have a ancestry to spiders and jellyfish. Specialized organs on the tips of their legs, allow them to spin silk from internal reserves. The silk, like hagfish slime, take in water to increase its bulk, increasing its mass and length by a hundred times over, letting the creatures create large amounts of material with comparatively little effort. They could alter the silk both during production and after. Sometimes, silk is produce with bioluminescent bacteria. The light attracting the fish, entangling them, allowing the Ordogs the capture the fish. Other times, the silk is sticky. It would float in the water, held aloft by several Ordogs floating in concert, while another would drive an entire shoal of fish into its waiting embrace. Once caught, the Ordogs work in concert, spewing out chemicals to stick the net together, entangling it, allowing no escape. Beforehand, they would attach this to a stone or rock above the surface, preventing the fish from escaping. When the fish have finally tired themselves out from their attempts to flee a telepathic signal would be sent out, and Ordogs on the surface would work in concert, using their limbs to pull out the net, in some parody of a tug of war. The net dries out several hours after being struck by UV radiation, disappearing. One Ordog party can capture several hundred fish at a time, allowing the refugees to live without any fear of running out of food.
Of course, heat is important, no matter what adaptations you have. And so certain organisms were created. Particular chemical solutions, where they thrived. Drawing mana and power from the air, and tapping from the leylines, these extremeophiles were not quite unlike those that thrived in volcano vents and hot springs. Such creatures drew power from the leylines, pumping out heat energy in response. The temperature they survive in was quite high. Roughly, 80 Celcius in temperature. They were responsible for keeping the temperature at an optimum, pumping out or drawing in heat when needed. Other organisms were created, for the same function. A particularly popular breed was a shaggy wolf, various head production structures along its body, with a docile and obedient personality and a pleasant smell. Often, it was used as a living blanket in cold, dark nights, as well as an.... ahem, companion. Taking advantage of their wolf-born stamina.
Servants and reproduction.
It would be remiss to talk about how they deal with their lack of numbers.
The homunculi were made as servants. Living creatures, born from a central bulbous structure in the center. Fed by fish, artificial light, and snowfall, the tree grew bulbs that grew, ripened, and fell to the ground. A newborn homunculi was stupid, unlearned, and two feet tall. And as they grew and grew, they reached 3 meters in height. Each had untiring stamina, with massive muscles, a low intelligence and initiative without someone directing them, as well as a weakened hive mind, that let them move in sync and let them complete any task, as long as one amongs them knew how to do it. Stupid, not particularly skilled and requiring a skilled overseer, these homunculi however made sure that the refugees could compensate for their lower numbers
Artificial birth wombs
A mixture of human, pitcher plant, and many others. A bulbous plant, fed by specialized feeder organisms, with several pitcher-shaped leaves. Blood is donated, and spilled inside, the resulting child being a combination of all parents. The plant itself is mildly sapient, crafting the off spring such that it contains the best traits of all parents. After 3 months of development, the central bulb splits, showing a child roughly 6 months old. The increased speed of development, lack of vulnerability during the pregnancy and early birth period, and lack of deaths from childbirth, allowed the refugees to begin increasing their numbers far earlier and easier than if they had been using conventional methods. In fact, natural births were later outlawed, stating that such processes were too dangerous and too risky to use, and was a sign of domestic abuse.