4 hours ago
Monday, November 29, 2010
The Muto-Scope appears as some version of kinetoscope or early motion picture device. In reality, it is a magical artifact created for unknown purposes. It is often found in aging, second-rate arcades, or in the hands of collectors, where it’s true nature will often not be recognized.
Looking through the viewer and turning the metal knobs (marked with arcane symbols and metrics which no one is able to decipher) will allow the operator to focus in on any individual within a twenty mile radius he or she thinks of. The operator need not be aware that it's his or her thoughts bringing the target into the viewer for the scope to work.
Once a target is the viewer, turning the crank will cause mutation. Nothing short of magical shielding can protect a target from the effects. If the crank is turned clockwise, the target will evolve to a form in some (teleological) way more suited for their current environment. For example, intelligence might increase if that is what’s needed at the current time.
Turning the crank counter-clockwise will lead to devolution to a more primitive, ancestral form. First, more bestial, protohuman characteristics will appear, then baser mammalian ones, followed by reptilan traits. Fifteen seconds of scope operation on a target will lead to some minor atavistic traits emerging. A full minute will total transform the target physically into a more primitive, humanoid form.
In either direction, the duration and degree of change are related to the duration of crank operation. A minute of operation leads to changes lasting 1-6 hours, whereas ten minutes leads to changes lasting 1-6 days, and possibly (if a saving throw is failed) permanent. Both directions of change are ultimately dangerous, with clockwise ultimately resulting in a coldly intellectual, sociopathic, post-human monster, and counter-clockwise leading to a primitive beast of some sort.
Inspection of the device will reveal nothing about how it operates. Even disassembly (an action with unpredictable repercussions) is unlikely to provide any useful information. A small brass plaque low on the machine's back suggests it was manufactured by “Coppelius Novelties”, but a corporation of that name has been difficult to locate.