Friday, December 14, 2012

Secret Santicore: Paradoxical Daemons

Dallas M. asks for "an encounter based around a paradox." Through the magic of Secret Santicore, Gus L obliges: 

It's a fact known to devotees of the forbidden arts, cultists of the Church of Starry Wisdom, Psychonauts and others that have congress with entities and powers from beyond the realms of normal space and time; that the mundane world (despite its seeming absurdity) is an ordered realm amongst a vast sea of chaos.   The entities from the other worlds (especially those devoted to chaos and strife) despise the orderly nature of the commonplace universe.  Often when these creatures find their way through the veil of worlds they simply rampage, but others are more subtle and fond of paradox as the paradoxical reveals the universe's ultimate disorder and the futility of logical categorization.  Below are a few potential encounters with these paradoxical daemons and their handiwork:

Bridge - A stupid and malicious fiend by the name of Buri guards a narrow bridge over a torrent and asks the question "Answer me! Will I fling you from this bridge or let you pass? If you tell the truth you will go unmolested and if you lie I will dash you into the torrent below."  Of course Buri has no interest in letting anyone pass unmolested. If the characters answer his question saying he will allow them to pass the fiend will laugh, call them liars and fling them into the water preventing passage again even when they survive the torrent.  When he is in the right Buri is filled with supernatural strength and extremely powerful.  However, should the characters tell the “truth” that Buri will not allow them to pass, his power will be drained, as he can neither fling them into the torrent due to the truth of their statement, or allow them to pass as failure to hurl down the characters will transform their truthful statement into a lie.  Buri may be easily passed while he writhes in confusion, but will eventually figure out that to make the paradox work he can simply fling the characters into the water after they pass, though of course his power will be much lessened and they will have bypassed Buri at this point.

Sometimes a related, and even less intelligent, crocodile headed demon kidnaps children, damsels, youths or party members and offers to return them to someone who tells the truth to the question: “Will I refrain from eating my captive, and return him?”

Box - Some Daemons prefer traps and signs to direct intervention in the mundane world.  A common form that such paradoxical artifacts take is the twenty-two clasp box.  A chest of about 3' square and made of polished, engraved and detailed steel, with twenty-two locks on its front.  Each lock may be picked as a normal lock, but for every second failed picking attempt all previously picked locks will close and a blade, spike razor wire whip or saw will flash outward from the box inflicting minor injury to the thief attempting to pick it.  These traps are so numerous and cunningly laid that it is impossible to detect them all and a new one will be triggered with each failed picking attempt.  The box may also be smashed open, though doing so will require a blacksmith's shop and several days as the walls of the chest are almost a foot thick and lightly magically warded against direct attack.  Opening the box by force will destroy it completely. Beyond picking all the locks or forcing it open the box of twenty-two clasps can be opened only with it's bejeweled, solid gold key (which is valuable but certainly not worth the trouble of the box).  This key is always the only item within the box when it is discovered.  Magical attempts to bypass the locks (such as Knock or Dimension Door spells) will transport the caster and anyone within 20' of the box into a chaotic labyrinth guarded by the daemons who created the box, with the box key (and a portal back to the mundane world) at its center.

Should a character open the box without destroying it they will undoubtedly be frustrated to discover that the box's key is the only thing within; however, the box itself is a valuable extra-planar artifact and extraordinarily secure.

Beast – Taxidermy of Animalia Paradoxa or contradictory animals, are sometimes created by daemons of paradox, or animated from taxidermy chimera created by mortals.  These creatures tend to be found in the back rooms of dingy museums, as part of the wunderkammer of dissolute nobles,  decorating mad kings' treasure hoards or in the dusty laboratories of powerful sorcerers.   Each Animalia Paradoxa is unique (though several similar ones have been reported), but all appear and react generally the same.  An Animalia is a taxidermy, and usually a poor one, a assemblage of several quotidian beast masquerading as a magical one, or more rarely the remains of magical beasts stitched and stuffed into the shape of an unremarkable creature.   In every case the farcically bad taxidermy sits inanimate collecting dust until anyone within its ear shot (50' or so) remarks that the taxidermy is “fake” or was never a real animal.  Doubt of the Animalia's authenticity animates it into a violent frenzy where is rips and maims all life it can find for several hours, even after the original doubter is deceased or fled.  Animalia vary greatly in size and level danger, but all are immune to non-magical weapons, cold, electricity, poison and negative energies.

One of the most famous Animalia Paxadoxia, which has so far escaped destruction and left a wake of death behind it, is the four headed “weasel hydra”.  This monstrosity appears to be made of the stitched together skins and bones of several giant weasels, standing about 5' tall.  When aroused it attacks with its four malformed weasel heads and numerous claws, biting and tearing with all the ferocity the weasel displays during life.  Worse still, the interior of the creature is infected with a mold that produces hallucinogenic spores and the weasel hydra will blast a toxic cloud from its mouths  while it attacks, driving its attackers into madness and confusion.


John Arendt said...

Nice - the spore spewing Weasel-Hydra is truly inspired, and something I need to borrow for the depths of the Black City.

Gus L said...

Thing is it's real! Type Animlia Paradoxi into google and there's a wiki article on the thing!

The Angry Lurker said...

The weasel oddity is weasly frightening!

The Angry Lurker said...


Trey said...

@Angry Lurker - It is indeed. You have to wonder what's going on in Gus L's mind.

Gus L said...

I wish I could claim his weaselly majesty, but I can't. It's the Hydra of Hamburg - as debunked by Linnaeus.