Goodman Games

Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar
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Author:  Oaksoul Elite [ Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

Somewhere topside in Edge, an elf walks into a makeshift classroom. Is he young or old? Is any elf truly young these days? The loss of their forests weighs heavily on them. And even those born after the lunar rain know the struggle to survive. But judging by his weary stride, he knew the full majesty of the eastern forests. "You know the drill, class," he says. "No magic in this room. Leave your wands at the door. Magic rings and whatever else too. It's under lock and key, so don't worry about it." He walks to the chalkboard and notices that there's still writing on it. He begins to motion as if he were to cast a spell, but then he catches himself. With a sigh, he grabs an eraser and cleans the board.

"Now then. I see we have new students today (as always. *sigh*). So, let's begin with a basic review. Over many years, I have fought my share of lunar creatures. I have learned a lot about their life. I'm here to share what I've learned. And you? You're here so you can learn their weaknesses and exploit them best. You are here to learn to continue the fight for me.

The basic biology of lunar creatures is, quite frankly, fascinating. As a . . . hrm - student of life - I've already learned considerably about terrestrial life. Lunar life is extraordinarily different. As you may not know, we are made up of many cells. We rely on numbers rather than size because past a point food and waste cannot cross the membrane at a sufficient rate. Lunar creatures have taken a completely different route. If you ignore specialized cells, their body is just one enormous cell perforated like Swiss cheese. The increased surface area accommodates for the increased size.

That can't be, you say? I'm nuts? Ah, surely you would expect to see these holes. You do, in a way. Who here has seen the veins swimming through a lunar creature's skin? Ah, most of you. I'm glad to see it. These veins fill the holes. Rather than have a set circulatory system like our own, they have a mobile pipeline exposed directly to the inside of the megacell. The "holes" I spoke of are filled with these blood vessels.

Aside: There's actual precedence for this in certain pufferfish cells.

A side effect of their unusual design is a paucity of specialized cells. Lunar creatures lack skeletogenic cells, for example. What this means is that they lack a true skeleton. But I'm sure all of you have seen lunar skeletons. They're actually a network of blood vessels woven together with cytoskeletal structure (not to be confused with a true skeleton). Most of the rigidity of the "skeleton" comes from pressure. Bleeding out the skeletal structure will cause the monstrosity to lose firmness. For those of you technologically minded, this is like a hydraulics system leaking. For the rest of you, imagine a plant wilting. Wilting is the result of too little water and the loss of the same kind of pressure. Lunar creatures, too, can wilt. When engaged in combat, throw out your normal intuition - against these beasts, the skeleton is a vital area vulnerable to attack.

New Feat:
Favored Sneak Attack
(new name pending) [Ambush]
Sneak Attack +1d6, Favored Enemy (class feature or feat)
Benefit: Your studies of your hated foe have focused on weak spots, allowing you to strike for more damage.
When you deliver a sneak attack against a favored enemy, apply your favored enemy bonus to the attack and damage roles.

Well class, that's all for today. Next time I'll cover metabolism and the quirks that can aid tracking and identification. Before I go, are there any questions?

Author:  Laughingcarp [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

In the back of the class, three students converse quietly; A slender Spirit-Bound (kalashtar) youth with glowing blue eyes, a spotty fur shirt that seems to appear and disappear in patches as you watch, clutches the glowing outline of a blade that also appears and disappears randomly tightly in one hand.
A burly man with sparkling skin and a controlled demeanor sits in the middle. He wears a heavy smith's apron, and carries the tools of a mech crafter. At his feet rests a small humanoid formed of glistening ectoplasm, awaiting command.
On the smith's left sits a stunning woman cradling a wicked looking flame nozzle. Her smooth red skin flickers with phantom echoes of dancing flames. Combined with a twitching tail and a vicious sneer, it is apparent she has demonic heritage.

You recognize the three, Spindrift, Forge and Firebat, for they come to you often enough looking for advice on how to battle various lunar opponents, which they hunt with ferocious abandon.
Forge raises his fist, and when you acknowledge him he asks in his gravely voice;
"How is it that they survive with a support structure based on hydraulic pressure? Would not a single leak lead to complete collapse? One solid rupture should be more than enough to devastate such a being."
Spindrift adds "Are there any specific exposed sections of this cytoskeleton that I should be targeting?"
Firebat leans forward to voice her question "More importantly, how can I really make them burn?"

Author:  Oaksoul Elite [ Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

During his response, Prof. Willowstar itches himself absentmindedly and occasionally coughs.

"Ah, a very good question, Forge. The answer is a common one to biology: redundancy. Indeed, it would be very simple to bleed out a creature if a central pipe burst. However, there isn't such a central pipe. In its place are a series of many smaller vessels woven around each other. A larger number of them must be compromised to achieve a similar effect. In short, no blood vessel carries enough fluid on its own to leak out the system. Perhaps if blood didn't clot, but the cytoskeletal element of the central support structure can rapidly polymerize and roughly seal a leak. In their case, the wound scabs over before blood clots. The initial scab isn't completely tight, so some blood loss still occurs, but it prevents a rapid depressurization."

"Another good question, Spindrift. And exactly what I'm here to teach. Unfortunately, there aren't any large sections of this support structure immediately accessible. If you're feeling particularly daring (or foolish), there are two locations closer to the surface than the rest. They are the nutrient exchange center and the primary excretory membrane. You see, lunar creatures lack a continuous digestive track like we have. Food enters the mouth and is digested in an open pit. Though comparable to a stomach, the design is actually far more primitive. After partial digestion, the "stomach" absorbs the nutrients by phagocytosis. The inner skin surrounds the food and inverts in, forming bubbles near the stomach. Cytoskeletal elements carry these vesicles to the vessels of the nutrient exchange center for dispersal throughout the body. More accessible is the primary excretory membrane. Old skin membrane, as well as other bodily debris and waste products migrate toward the rear end of the beast via the skeletal network. In a process known as exocytosis, the outer skin and this waste is ejected. To limit unnecessary tissue loss, the blood vessels are particularly concentrated in this area. For the trackers in the room, here's an easy way to know you're following a lunar creature: look for the waste. It will be coated with dead skin and mucus."

Prof. Willowstar concludes his response with a coughing fit. By this point, he has a couple of hives. He reaches into his desk and takes out a syringe and some unidentified cocktail. He injects himself with the medicine and looks around. He notices Spindrift's shifting clothing and flickering blade. He narrows his eyes. "Spindrift! I said no magic in this classroom. I know, I know, psionics, not magic. Arcane, divine, psionic - it matters not. They're all magic. And I'm allergic. There. I've said it. I didn't want to, but apparently I need to give the incentive. Like some other unfortunate elves, I've developed an allergy to all forms of magic. Receiving a simple healing spell could kill me outright. Even from this distance your mind blade makes me itch. Please, put it away."

Prof. Willowstar continues, quite likely lost in memory. "Such a sad story, really. A curse followed by a contagion. The druid objected to my methods - a "perversion of nature" he called them, and sought to destroy the village-mech I called home - "tainted by the hands of a necromancer," he said. The one-two shot must have primed my immune system. The healing afterward nearly killed me. Had I not been in need of emergency healing, the allergy would have been fully developed, and I certainly would have perished. A sad day it was. I had saved my home only to lose it. How could I stay? The very air made me itch, heavy as it was with the animating magic. And it was all the worse because I had also lost my profession and my quest. I trained as a wizard, and now magic is death to me. But I can share my experience. If I can't bring the fight to the lunar menace, I can help others to do it in my stead."

"Oh yes, Firebat. Well, I haven't yet figured out how to make them burn. It's a very tricky task, and the research delves into magical nature, which, as you now know, I can't study anymore. You see, all of us are elemental in nature. We are combinations of earth, fire, air, and water, tied together uniquely into one whole. Lunar creatures, too, are of elemental combinations. But different elements. Some sort of lunar analog. When we burn, the fire is released. Lunar creatures don't have fire to release. After eating us for so long, there's a tiny amount of fire now, but it's not intrinsic. What we need is to research what coaxes out their elements. Until then, just douse them in oil and then light 'em. If you have the patience and the stealth, petreat them with a source of fire. Food, injection, whatever. Just fill them with something of terrestrial origin, and there's more fire to release."

New Feat:
Furious Enmity
Prerequisite: Rage class feature, Favored Enemy (class feature or feat)
Benefit: The sight of your most hated foe drives you into a frenzy, and you strike out all the harder against the abominations and all who ally themselves with them.
When your favored enemy is within sight, you can enter a rage as an immediate action (including on your opponent's turn, as the Instantaneous Rage feat). Additionally, you add your favored enemy bonus to the STR and Will save bonuses from your rage.

Author:  Oaksoul Elite [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

After a brief pause, Prof. Willowstar speaks up again. "While I don't know of a way to make lunar creatures burn better, I do have a hypothesis that I would like to test. I've hesitated to mention it without testing, but maybe you could let me know. It's been established that lunar creatures are particularly vulnerable to earth-based attacks. It is quite likely that the earth element interferes with the binding of their own elements - the extra damage occurs because earth literally makes them partially disintegrate. This release of native elements is conceptually similar to burning. Weakening these bonds with earth may set them up to burn better. Might I recommend trying to lure them into lava? Let me know how that works."

Author:  dulsi [ Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

The constant clicking of a tik'tok sitting on the left side of the classroom increases and speeds up. Whir'Tik'Tik'Klop raises his hand. Technically he isn't the right pronoun but most people think of the young wizard as male even if the gearmen have no such distinction. After catching Prof. Willowstar's attention, he speaks. "Not logic correct," he pauses as he tries to phrase the thought in the common tongue. "Cold hurt creatures lunar. No explanation your element theory give. Vulnerability earth not abundance earth within. Earth will be alien to moon creature. Lunar rock was not earth."

Whir'Tik'Tik'Klop shakes his head in frustration as he watches other people try to understand his comments. Near as the professor can figure the tik'tok disagrees with the premise that all creatures are combinations of the four elements. If they were cold shouldn't hurt the lunar creatures as much as it does. The gearman wizard suggests that the vulnerability to earth is because the substance is completely alien to the lunar beings. He doesn't think the moon rocks are not actually earth material and therefore the inhabitants of the moon have no earth elements inside them. Earth ends up being more like a poison to the lunar creatures instead of the element release that Prof. Willowstar believes.

Author:  Oaksoul Elite [ Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

"My apologies, Whir'Tik'Tik'Klop. It seems I haven't made my view entirely clear. Creatures native to our own planet are made of the four familiar elements. I too was positing that lunar creatures are composed of entirely alien elements, and that the earth element is poisonous to them. From what I've seen, it may be that the earth element breaks the bonds of their own elements, essentially dissolving lunar creatures at the most fundamental level."

"You do raise a good point about earth being harmful because it is completely foreign to the beasts - it may offer an explanation as to why lunar creatures exhibit ordinary tolerance and vulnerability to cold: cold is not likewise foreign to them. The emptiness of space is deathly cold. That is why they couldn't invade before Moonfall. Tough as they are, and even lacking the need to breathe, they still can't fly through empty space for long - the chill would get them in time."

Author:  Laughingcarp [ Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

Against one wall, a brooding hulk of a man with an aura of calm efficiency has been sitting quietly. He wears heavy armor and has a chattersword strapped to his back. The shimmer of a protective psionic power engulfs him.
The human Kallor is gaining impetus as a new warlord, uniting all the terrestrial peoples in defense against the lunar invasion.

With a raspy voice used to shouting commands on the field of battle, he ponders aloud. "Could there be a way to increase the strength, the power of the cold separating us, as a defensive barrier? Or how about us taking the battle to them? Fight them on their own turf, destabilize their troops and morale. And what about the summoning of elemental allies? Earth elementals could rivals the lunar dragons, and Ice paraelementals must have great effect."

Author:  Oaksoul Elite [ Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Lunar Biology 101 with Prof. Willowstar

"I take it, Kallor, that you mean increasing the cold between the earth and the moon? It is an interesting concept. It would certainly prove easier to achieve than to push the moon back to its original location. I wonder as well if a spell could be designed akin to steamward or magic circle against evil. By invoking the powers of elemental earth and in fact using the earth itself as a focus we could invent a magic circle against lunar taint. Certainly more powerful creatures could cross the barrier, and the lunar deities would put it under constant assault, but it would reduce the influx of new foes, and attention put to bringing down the barrier would siphon off our enemies' resources. However, I doubt even Tannan could manage this feat with the aid of his entire circle of archmages. It would take the combined efforts of a few deities to create such a ward. Perhaps it would be easier to invoke the elemental power of the earth right here on land, making simple contact anathema to these abominations. If we can't beat them straight out, we can make the conquest of our world pointless, because they can't get near it. If we spoil the . . . spoils of war, they will have no more reason to fight."

"If we were to try this method, I would advise waiting on taking the war to them - if someone can devise a method of reaching them. Bringing the fight to them would give them a reason to fight back - simple self-defense. I would wait to see if they give up once the war becomes pointless. Of course, this assumes they would reason as we do, which we do not. It can be quite frustrating to predict their responses, when at the most basic level their thoughts are so alien. Still, it may be worth a shot, although the magic of the barriers would likely prove fatal to myself and other elves with my allergy."

"Indeed, earth elementals ought to be our greatest allies in this war. If magic still were used as much as it once was, summoners would be our weapon of choice. As is, it surprises me how few L'Arile mechs make use of elemental binding. To date I have heard of only one mech that employs elemental binding. Earthblood the Mighty is probably the single greatest threat to lunar creatures short of mechs double its size. Ice paraelementals too could be handy. They are certainly cheaper than an Icicle mech."

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