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Seethyr
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The Relic

Post by Seethyr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:45 am

Spoilers here for the 1997 movie The Relic, if for some reason you still want to see it and haven't...

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I'm working on a session for my players right now and I was using the movie The Relic as inspiration. I've wanted to do this before in Maztica, but never quite hit the ground running. Now the group I have is in Chult getting ready to go full steam ahead into TOA, but I wanted a decent sized side adventure in the jungles beforehand using this concept. Of course, at some point, I'll change all the names and make it Maztica, but that's not this upcoming weekend like my gaming session... :o


What I am having troubles doing is turning the creature into more than just an encounter and I am looking for some inspiration. As a brief plot synopsis of the movie, a ship that was intended to bring back cultural relics from an indigeonous South American tribe (known as the Kothogo) was found empty of its human inhabitants. The relics made it to a museum where one by one (yeah, typical horror movie trope) people start going missing.

The cool part is the backstory. The kothogo fed one of the relic seekers a mold-like substance that replaces human DNA with a mixture of gecko, insectoid and other strands of DNA that force a metamorphosis into this thing. The creature can survive on the chemical in the mold indefinitely, but once it runs out, it must find it in the only other place it can, the human hypothalamus. The tribe would use it to basically send smart bombs into rival tribes as they hide out and wait for the creature to starve to death after it's done its work.

Anyway, my adaptation so far has a nearly identical backstory - but I cant foresee any other way to make this something more than just an encounter. Should I have a player guide in Chult eat some of the mold at some point on their journey into the jungle? Should they happen upon a village under siege? Again, both those ideas describe a single battle. Is that the limit of this concept?
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Re: The Relic

Post by Seethyr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:56 am

Just for fun, here it is applied to Maztica...

KOTHOGGO

Kothoggo are weapons of war among the Green Folk in the southern jungles. They are insatiable creatures that can wipe out entire villages, but are doomed to die only shortly after their creation.
Chimeric Beast. A kothoggo retains some of the worst features of a giant reptile, an insect, and even some vaguely human or ape-like features. They do in fact contain parts of all these creatures, having been transformed at one time from a normal human.
Brain Eaters. Kothoggo must eat the brains of sentient creatures to survive. If they go a single day without doing so, they die quickly, and because of this, their lifespans tend to be limited. They have been known to wipe out an entire village, only to collapse upon the headless corpses a day later as their food supply runs out.
Transformation Magic. The lands of the Green Folk are known for the strange ruins of societies that none can remember. These ruins are universally considered taboo, but not every Green Folk has followed tradition throughout time. In one instance, a foolhardy and curious hunter entered a small pyramid and found nothing but hundreds of tiny red mushrooms inside. Taking some with him, he eventually consumed a small quantity and within a tenday, he transformed into the first known kothoggo. The hunter was slain before he could devour all of his kin, but the Green Folk figured out what had caused the change. They realized they had a very effective weapon that they could use against their rivals.



Image
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Re: The Relic

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:24 am

Seethyr wrote:What I am having troubles doing is turning the creature into more than just an encounter and I am looking for some inspiration. As a brief plot synopsis of the movie, a ship that was intended to bring back cultural relics from an indigeonous South American tribe (known as the Kothogo) was found empty of its human inhabitants. The relics made it to a museum where one by one (yeah, typical horror movie trope) people start going missing.

The cool part is the backstory. The kothogo fed one of the relic seekers a mold-like substance that replaces human DNA with a mixture of gecko, insectoid and other strands of DNA that force a metamorphosis into this thing. The creature can survive on the chemical in the mold indefinitely, but once it runs out, it must find it in the only other place it can, the human hypothalamus. The tribe would use it to basically send smart bombs into rival tribes as they hide out and wait for the creature to starve to death after it's done its work.

Anyway, my adaptation so far has a nearly identical backstory - but I cant foresee any other way to make this something more than just an encounter. Should I have a player guide in Chult eat some of the mold at some point on their journey into the jungle? Should they happen upon a village under siege? Again, both those ideas describe a single battle. Is that the limit of this concept?
Interesting. I've not seen The Relic, but I wonder if looking at D&D monsters that have a similar backstory could help.

In 3rd Edition terms, this monster would probably be an aberration. Perhaps Lords of Madness could help you.

Bionoids (from Spelljammer) are people (usually elves) transformed into shape-changing creatures by magical eggs. But they don't feed on brains and can revert to the shape of the original elf.

Illithids are monsters created by putting a tadpole into a humanoid victim. They eat brains.

Vampires drink blood. That's not quite the same as eating brains, but it's a "hunger" for some sort of substance from living people.

I think if you look at the ecology of these three D&D creatures (and any other similar ones you can think of) you will see that they all have a reproduction method of some sort). With the bionoids they have the magical eggs. With illithids they create tadpoles that can get into other creatures. And with vampires the act of biting can turn a creature that does not die into a new vampire.

What I think you need is a way for the mold to get spread naturally. I like the Maztica back-story in your second post. I think that the ecology should be that the "host" creature that goes on a murderous rampage and eventually dies contains mushroom spores and that the mushrooms spread to dead corpses creating a forest of mushrooms. An ecology like that, would make this mushroom spread fairly well, so might be why it doesn't have the sort of ecology of other mushrooms and toadstools.

As for the original mold concept, that you were shooting for in Chult, I'm not so sure. They are fungus too, so I guess the creature in your picture could be an intermediate stage before it dies, decomposes and turns back into a colony of mold.
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Re: The Relic

Post by Seethyr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:48 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Interesting. I've not seen The Relic, but I wonder if looking at D&D monsters that have a similar backstory could help.
I recommend watching it. It's not fantastic, but definitely an entertaining movie.
Big Mac wrote: In 3rd Edition terms, this monster would probably be an aberration. Perhaps Lords of Madness could help you.
Hrmmm, maybe the origin of the mold is the Far Realm. That really makes a lot of sense considering its transformative powers, connection to brains, etc. That's certainly something to explore in the future. ZeromaruX has been playing with possible Far Realm/Maztica connections with the star Caiphon and perhaps he can expand on this connection. For my adventurers though this Saturday, I'm going to at best hint at this though.
Big Mac wrote: Bionoids (from Spelljammer) are people (usually elves) transformed into shape-changing creatures by magical eggs. But they don't feed on brains and can revert to the shape of the original elf.

Illithids are monsters created by putting a tadpole into a humanoid victim. They eat brains.

Vampires drink blood. That's not quite the same as eating brains, but it's a "hunger" for some sort of substance from living people.

I think if you look at the ecology of these three D&D creatures (and any other similar ones you can think of) you will see that they all have a reproduction method of some sort). With the bionoids they have the magical eggs. With illithids they create tadpoles that can get into other creatures. And with vampires the act of biting can turn a creature that does not die into a new vampire.
Vegepygmies! Your connections to other creatures got me there. They just showed up in Tomb of Annihilation and what could be more perfect? I mean, they are "mold men" after all. Perhaps the mold has spawned vegepygmies and now the PCs have to prevent them from starting an outbreak of Kothoggo?

No that's not quite right, but headed in the right direction...
Big Mac wrote: What I think you need is a way for the mold to get spread naturally. I like the Maztica back-story in your second post. I think that the ecology should be that the "host" creature that goes on a murderous rampage and eventually dies contains mushroom spores and that the mushrooms spread to dead corpses creating a forest of mushrooms. An ecology like that, would make this mushroom spread fairly well, so might be why it doesn't have the sort of ecology of other mushrooms and toadstools.

As for the original mold concept, that you were shooting for in Chult, I'm not so sure. They are fungus too, so I guess the creature in your picture could be an intermediate stage before it dies, decomposes and turns back into a colony of mold.
This really works, thank you.
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Re: The Relic

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:13 pm

Vegepygmies? I don't think I've heard of them yet.
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Re: The Relic

Post by Seethyr » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:10 pm

Big Mac wrote:Vegepygmies? I don't think I've heard of them yet.

Yeah the name is moderately silly, but I believe they’ve been around for a long time. ToA updated them. I think I’ll use their moniker of “mold men.”
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