Thursday, May 5, 2011

Don't Eat the Worm

In southern Zingaro, bottles of cheap local liquor are often garnished with a worm. More accurately, this is a larva of the astral moth, an insect (if the stories can be believed) with a peculiar life cycle.

The succulent whose juice nourishes the larva and is used to make the liquor is said to be the remnant of a goddess that pre-Ealderish Natives believed fell from the stars. It’s juice was believed to enhance fertility and passion, and bring vivid dreams.

Legends suggest that the larvae that make it into the distillate aren't dead but merely quiescent, waiting to begin the next stage in their life cycle. Eating the worm produces a pleasant, mildly hallucinogenic experience--but also allows the larva to continue its metamorphosis inside the etheric body of the consumer.

The astral moth will emerge from the host in d100 hours (saving throw halves duration). From a few hours after ingestion until that time, the host’s suffers a different effect from the following chart every 2d6 hours:

1 - Wisdom temporally reduced 1d4 points
2 - Character becomes convinced they have obtained some deep insight into the nature of the universe, but find it impossible to convey in words to others (15% chance they actual have)
3 - Character experiences 1d4 paroxsyms of uncontrollable laughter (similar to hideous laughter) lasting 1 round, interspersed with periods of relatively normal behavior.
4 - Character experiences visual hallucinations like scintillating pattern (as they had 7 hit dice)
5 - Character goes on an ethereal jaunt--or perhaps (50% change) they only believe they have.
6 - Character experiences powerful deja vu giving an insight bonus of +5 similar to moment of prescience.

Once the moth emerges, the host returns to normal, though is quite fatigue and not good for much of anything for a period of hours.  The moth, its etheric wings shifting through colors and patterns like a liquid projection lightshow, flies off to the Astral, taking some imprint of the character's psyche with it...

And a Happy Cinco de Mayo!

15 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

I like that, how does it exit the body and any chance of death to the host?

Trey said...

I envision them sort of phasing through due to their insubstantial, astral nature. I suppose it disrupt auras or something and harm the host, but otherwise no physical damage.

Risus Monkey said...

I really like this one because it is a truly light-hearted parasite. Not everything has to be weird and deadly. Sometimes weird and wondrous is better.

Johnathan Bingham said...

Trey - great stuff! I agree with Risus Monkey - weird and wonderous is pretty damn cool too.

Lee Reynoldson said...

That's a suspiciously 'realistic; table yah got there. :D

Good stuff.

http://redwald.blogspot.com/

Trey said...

@Risus and Jonathan - That was sorta my thought--just let it be weird. Glad you liked it.

@Lee - Here at at FtSS we strive for scientific realism through rigorous research. ;)

Dariel Quiogue said...

Nice and weird! I bet any players you hit with this won't stop bugging you until you've satisified them that the infection really has no lingering after-effect. :)

NetherWerks said...

So, what does the astral moth actually do with this imprint out there on the astral? Does it lead to anything that a player might have reason to worry about possibly? Does some doppleganger capture or harvest these moths in oder to have access to new identities to use that they don't have to steal directly? Maybe certain wizards know how to capture these moths and extract the imprint to use in the creation of sapient weapons or golems or homunculi...

christian said...

I went to a hippie college so anything dealing with hallucinations is right up my alley. I rolled a 4 on the table and am now tripping balls.

Well done, sir!

Trey said...

@NetherWerks - Very good question, and thoughts. I suspect much of this would only get revealed in the fullness of time, in play.

@Christian - "Turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream. It is not dying. It is not dying..."

Trey said...

@Dariel - Ha! Yeah, it probably does have the added affect of increasing player paranoia.

Needles said...

You do realize that moths are the "souls" of men according to some folklore! ;0
Some of those ghosts out there might not be Uncle Smith!

Trey said...

@Needles - Hey, you're right! Good thought.

YouKnow540 said...

Queston wouldnt the acid in our stomachs kill it before it ever got a chanhoce

YouKnow540 said...

Meant chance