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Author Topic: Of Ideas & Imagination  (Read 2299 times)

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Offline MyrleenaTopic starter

Of Ideas & Imagination
« on: May 18, 2011, 12:42:14 AM »
Of Ideas & Imagination

Pardon me if I ramble a bit, I'm afraid that I just need to get things out at the moment, and I'm sure you'll see why in a moment.

I am a fairly imaginative person.  I would say more, but then I would be getting into assumptions on other people's imaginations, which would be poor form, and likely inaccurate at that.  But my issue isn't getting ideas.  No, that would be too simple.  Instead my problem is that I have far, far too many ideas.  Now, there are a number of ways to deal with this, but I find that my best way of dealing with them is to simply get them out, by telling people about them, using them in games I run, or simply by writing them down.  That's the real purpose of my post here, you see, simply to get them out.  If people are interested by them and use them...great!  That means that they helped people.  But if I don't get them out, I might explode or implode, so...I suppose I ought to get on with it.  Ideas!  I have too many.  But I can get a start at least.

Card magic.  This idea was vaguely inspired by a picture from one of Paizo Publishing's adventures.  What kind of world would occur if you had cards of power, similar to the Tarot, that truly tapped into the deepest layers of reality and were unfailingly accurate, even if you didn't realize how convoluted the path it took might be?  Or if you could use such cards to draw on supernatural forces, and even manipulate reality itself?  But, yet another option, what if you used such cards to summon beings within the cards?  What if one could create new such cards, and utilize them to craft monsters of power, in a concept vaguely remnicent of Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon?  There are enormous possiblities within this, including the question...where would such beings be between being summoned?  What happens if someone gets sucked into a world where these beings reside?  And what if one could capture another living being in a card, and learn to summon them?

Blood magic.  Yes, I think about magic a lot.  So sue me.  How does this work?  Is it something where one stores magic in their blood, and thus the worst enemy they could encounter is a vampire?  Or is it the shedding of the blood of others, in the vilest sacrifices that makes blood magic what it is?  Or is it whom one's family is that determines ones power, passed down through the bloodline?  In the latter case, could one steal their blood and gain their magic?  What about blood transfusions?  Would blood-links be the most dangerous to the one who lost their blood, or the one who acquires it, as the original mage uses it to channel their own power?

Elves.  Ah, elves...that which fascinates me and focuses my attention more than almost anything else.  Short of magic, really.  When elves come up, I tend to get lost in thought and excitement.  What makes an elf an elf?  For me, for some reason they embody beauty, magical power, and longevity.  Yet, somehow they also tend to attract some of my most malevolent thoughts.  Elves, in many of my stories, come up with the worst of atrocities and disasters.  Sometimes it's for 'the long view', but other times it is awefully petty, for they are unwilling to let minor slights pass.  Their long lives lead to minor slights festering and growing, until the resulting disasters far outweigh the original cause.  They are a dichotomy, both beautiful and horrible, wise yet foolish, and they rarely can see the truth of what they are.

Collapsing Empires.  As some people would say, 'And now for something completely different!'  In a world of science fiction, where humanity expanded out into the stars and created a great empire, what would happen if the ruler and the entire homeworld perished in a single cataclysm?  What would occur if they had never had any outside pressures, such as hostile alien races or other factions of humanity that had split off?  What if they had mastered biotech to the point that one could customize their body to the point that no one had to be sub-par?  Would it change the way beauty was viewed?  Would everyone take advantage of it?  Would that world fall apart into different factions, and maybe almost into barbarism again?  For some reason it has been something I've been pondering frequently of late.

Okay, that's all that I can get out right now.  I know I have tons more ideas, but at this point I think that my post has almost been counter-productive.  Now I have more ideas taking form, as all of the little bits and pieces combine.  Gah!

In any case...I'll likely post more tomorrow.  If anyone even cares about my rambling, that is.

Offline MyrleenaTopic starter

Re: Of Ideas & Imagination
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 08:35:25 PM »
Eternal Seas.  Imagine a world where there was no such thing as dry land, as the world had been flooded ages and aeons before.  Where cities were built on landscapes beneath the sea, with glowing mystic barriers keeping the water at bay and providing air for the inhabitants.  Where ships travel on the surface or in bubbles of air all around them.  Where magic is the lifeblood of the world, and the unquestioned masters of travel are those beings native to the seas, merfolk, krakens and all.  Where the danger of a crystal shattering, one maintaining the dome over a city, is the greatest fear a person could have.  Where one could travel the depths and see the wonders of forgotten ages, beneath the thousands of feet of water above them.  Is it more dangerous than ages past?  What would it be like to live in such a world?  And how would it feel to explore, knowing that one accident could send you falling into one of the chasms of the deep places of the world, the light slowly vanishing and knowing that you likely would never be found?

Without God nor Hope.  Inspired by the Midnight campaign setting.  A world cut off from the gods, or one where the gods of light were destroyed utterly.  A place where demons and undead, orcs and goblins, villains and cutthroats rule the day.  Where the bastions of light and freedom are slowly, methodically overcome.  Where each defender dies hard, but one by one, they die, becoming heroes that are all too often forgotten.  But is hope truly lost?  What if there were a way for the barrier cutting off the deities of light could be breached?  What if a new god could be born?  How would heroes in such a lost, doomed world react?  What would they do?

Succubi.  It seems I lied indirectly earlier.  Elves are not quite the beings that attract my attention the most.  That would be succubi.  A succubus fascinates me.  Beings of the Hells or Abyss, must they be truly evil?  Do they have a choice?  But that isn't what fascinates me.  No, it is the sheer...vibrant nature that they seem to imply to me.  Succubi are beings of lust and desire, yet they are shapeshifters.  They can take the form of whomever and whatever they please.  In my worlds, there are only succubi, not incubi, yet that is partially how I see them.  Succubi are created to make love to both men and women, and as such are able to bear or sire offspring in their natural form.  Those succubi with a more masculine outlook often shapeshift, effectively permanently, to gain a more male body.  While those who are more feminine choose to shift toward their own preferences.  Succubi can inspire lust with a touch, and they are known for seducing others to darkness, that truly what they desire?  What if what succubi truly desire is love and kindness?  What if they believe such to be a lie, something to make the desire more acceptable?  Can such beings truly be fully evil?  Can anything be truly irredeemable?  To me, succubi are beings of magic and change, and perhaps that is what attracts me to them.  It might explain why I am obsessed with the idea of an 'elfcubus' as well...

Offline MyrleenaTopic starter

Re: Of Ideas & Imagination
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 08:11:23 PM »
Dreams.  Are dreams truly something that isn't real?  What if they are another layer of reality themselves?  I find the idea of someone's mental landscape a fascinating thing.  And another aspect of this is the fascination with going into the dreams and mind of another.  How better to tell what someone wants or needs?

Further than this, there are the idea of games based around the concept of reality being based on dreams.  What if when you were sleeping you were reinforcing your own mental image of whom you were?  What if another who somehow, with great difficulty could tap into these dreams of others?  The concept of going into someone's dreams, and should you manage to change them there, it also changes them in reality.  A dream demon turns the mortal into a replica of it's desired demonic body and possesses them.  The jealous husband tweaks his wife to be even more beautiful and faithful.  The villain destroys the ability of a foe to resist them.  There are many possibilities of where this could go, and I find the possibilities dizzying.  But then, I'm strange.

Immortality.  The great curse, in my view.  The mental image that keeps coming to mind is the individual walking across a featureless white plain, with ghostly images of others passing by.  How would someone deal with immortality?  How would it feel to see people, make friends and then slowly watch them pass by or die?  To watch those you cared for and loved die one after another, yet you could not die?  Would the individual throw themselves into even greater efforts and passions, or would they retreat into themselves, trying to hold themselves away from others for fear of being hurt again and again?  And what could bring such as the latter out into the world once more, to make them see those around them again?

Offline MyrleenaTopic starter

Re: Of Ideas & Imagination
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 07:49:53 PM »
This one is a campaign setting, a magic system, and a story idea all in one.

Soul Taps.  In a world of fantasy, let's call it Nadir, there are many, many races.  Elves, dwarves, and humans are the predominant mortal races, but they are far from the only beings in reality.  The Fae, both light and dark, exist in the shadowy, untamed realms of the world, and dragons and demons, angels and demons, all of them walk the world.  Or rather, once they did in far greater numbers than they do now.

Mortals were all born with magical conduits throughout their bodies, conduits much like another nervous system within them.  These conduits start weak in all magi, but through practice and dedication they could be expanded through training to allow the mortal to channel greater amounts of magic.  Yet all magi had limits to how much they could expand these conduits, one that was inborn.  A mortal might reach the limits of their power after only a few years of training, or they might find it only after decades.  These limits frustrated many aspiring magi, for they never new how far their talent might extend.  So many magi continually searched for ways to increase their power.  The search for more power is what led to the first soul tap.

The first soul tap was an attempt by a mage to store power from a ley line within a gemstone, in the hopes that he could draw upon that energy.  However, when he examined the result closely, he was astonished to find that he had created a miniature world within the gemstone, as the energy from Nadir formed into a familiar form.  It was tiny, only a few hundred feet across the tiny world, but its time flowed more quickly than that of the outside world.  The mage was distraught, however, when the tiny world collapsed only a few weeks later.  He obsessed over it, and at last he decided that the reason the world was collapsing was the lack of a living mind within the world, maintaining its form.  So he sought out a weak faerie and trapped the creature within his jewel-world.  The results of this exceeded all of his expectations.

The world was easily maintained by the trapped faerie, which could not escape, but the mage didn't care about that.  Instead he simply focused on studying the gem and the world from the outside, knowing that he could enter or exit the world at his will.  It was a decade later that he realized the other effects that the gem was having.  He was aging more slowly, and over time he realized that, since the faerie was moving in time at ten times normal, he was aging only a year for every ten.  So, in effect, he was aging proportionally to how fast the fae should be aging, if it weren't immortal.  This might have excited him on its own, but it was hardly the full extent of the benefits the jewel provided.  The mage was also able to draw upon the magic of the fae to amplify his own powers, something he'd desired for much of his life.  Certainly, it only worked for the portions of magic that the faerie could use naturally, but that was a minute consideration.  No, the important part was that, upon learning the faerie's True Name, he could summon it out of the gem as a servant, much like the fabled genie in a lamp.

While the mage was delighted by his discovery, he was hardly willing to go without testing further.  So he created a new jewel, and this time he went out and captured a young fire dragon within it.  Much like the previous gem, it began to grant him additional powers with fire, as well as a great resistance to fire.  And thus he discovered the way for him to increase his powers beyond anything he had ever imagined.

However, such a feat could not be kept secret.  Before long another mage, more powerful than the first, killed this mage and stole his secrets.  Along with the secret another was learned when one of the gems was shattered accidentally.  The faerie was not released from its prison, rather it was destroyed with its miniature world.  But such didn't deter the new mage, who went out and began to harvest his own creatures and to amplify his own powers.

The secret spread, and many new effects were found.  A dragon's soul tap could grant one the presence of a dragon, and if attached to armor it could make one nigh invulnerable.  A salamander's tap slotted into a pommel could grant a weapon a fiery sheath of flames.  A woman who wore a nymph tap would slowly take on the beauty of a fae, and a young woman who wore such as they were growing up would grow still more beautiful in perpetuity.  Soul taps that had time flow normally would not decrease the aging of an individual, but they tended to grant greater powers to their wearers.  On the other hand, multiple soul taps could not reduce the aging of an individual below one year for every ten.

In only a few years the knowledge spread, and dozens of groups began to create soul taps, and adventurers would go out into the wilds to capture immortals for the unimaginably valuable soul taps.  Few cared about how the immortals felt about such, and those few were all but ignored.  In only a century the numbers of immortals found were lessening.  In two centuries, only the most powerful of immortals were still free, immortals powerful enough to shatter any gem that one attempted to trap them within and escape, or powerful enough to destroy any mortal who dared challenge them.

Five hundred years have passed, and still some of the original magi live.  On rare occasion a new soul tap is created when an immortal is careless about hiding, but for the most part the number of soul taps is static.  Magi who possess collections of soul taps are power brokers, able to command vast forces and earn the loyalty of kings for the mere loan of one of their taps.  Many vie for their favor, and for the most part the world is at peace, at least on the surface.  Many great magi vie with each other via strategy and proxies, not wishing to risk the destruction that would be caused by direct conflicts.  Amongst the weaker magi, such soul taps are passed down from master to apprentice, and their powers often give mortal commoners vast luxuries.

But they are luxuries purchased at the price the the freedom of the immortals, many of whom have now lived over five millennia in captivity.  Five millennia in which many of them have never seen another soul or had another to speak to.