Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Velvet Horizons SNAPPING DISASTER

We are sort-of almost half way through the latest Scrap Princess/Patrick creation. Though Scrap is taking the lead on this one so really it should be 'Scraptrick'.

Anyway, its a beastiary, mainly, called I think something like 'Velvet Horizons' except not becasue that will change. Its very different in tone than DCO or Veins Of The Earth. It's much... brighter? More lively? A bit more surreal and fleshy and less sad and sorrowful.

(This isn't really that great an example but it is the rough half-way point.)



50 SNAPKEG
or SNAP-WAGGON
or SNAPBARREL
or just SNAPPING DISASTER

This Hippo-sized omnivorous creature is feared, respected and scrupulously avoided by all.

The Snapkeg is a freshwater beast moving in herds through swamps and rivers. It is very large, very heavy and, when it chooses to be, very fast. Each Snapkeg has a huge, round bluegreen body with three legs on each side. These legs are usually curled up by the Snapkegs side as it floats gently with only its upper head and back above the surface. Each has a large flat tail which it uses to gently propel itself around. The Snapkegs head is very like that of a snapping turtle, except much larger. Its turtle-like beak curves round in two jaws of smooth sharp bone. It cannot chew, but its enormous, rough and mobile tongue, which can project far outside its head, does the work that molars do in other animals. Often they lie semi-sleeping with the tongue hanging trailing in the water like a large rough mat.

The jaws are incredibly strong and sharp and if anything moving comes within range the Snapkeg will rapidly retract its tongue and bite violently at whatever is nearby. It will rarely hunt or pursue prey, being mainly herbiverous and snapping away at watery weeds, its flesheating is mainly opportunist, or in response to territorial incursion.

Herds of Snapkegs are often sleepy and slow, but at night, or if roused, they can become very violent very quickly. On land they cannot run for very long distances but the space they do cover is swiftly and unstoppably traversed. If the herd alpha feels its territory or dominance is being challenged then it will rouse itself and attack straight away and at extreme speed. Once stimulated into a combat state the rest of the herd will usually follow.

Snapkegs play a major part in the religious myths and oral tales of certain cultures due to a number of interesting physiological quirks. Firstly, they cannot dissolve metals and in fact find them very toxic, and they find it very difficult to vomit, doing so only in situations of extreme stress, usually if cornered. If a Snapkeg accidently eats anything with a certain content of metal, that meal will be diverted to a kind of bile duct or appendix where the meal in question will be coated with a kind of preservative slime and stored in perpetuity. This same slime has a preservative effect on animal flesh, meaning, if a living being is swallowed whole it can sometimes survive in a kind of suspended animation for an unmeasured period of time.

Snapkegs can grow to be very old. Sometimes they puke up gold and iron tools.  Sometimes they puke up ancient men swallowed long before, bearing iron swords. Sometimes the men are still alive. Some faiths think there is a timeless world _inside_ the animal. A world like ours, but frozen in time. It plays a major part in the creation and afterlife myths of several cultures. Many tales begin with an ancient hero being vomited up by a Snapkeg. it is popularly believed that *anyone* vomited up by a Snapkeg who still lives, has a destiny as a hero of some kind.

Some say that only Kings can ride the Snapkeg and that to be able to ride one is a sign of royal birth. others say no-one can ride a Snapkeg and this story is used by kings to get rid of challengers, many hero tales include the challenge of riding one as a subtle death sentence, often dodged or re-interpreted by trickster hero’s favoured by the common man.

Others say the call and clashing jaws of the Snapkeg warn of danger. Again, many (usually the same people who didn't believe the stuff about kings and hidden worlds) point out  that because the Snapkeg *is* unbelievably dangerous, if you can hear one that’s not good.

The skin of the Snapkeg is highly resistant to the slashing and piercing damage of edged weapons. A cloak made from this skin is extremely valuable and useful. It's jaws can be made into a kind of Scimitar of bone, incredibly sharp. The feared nomads of the Mistwarren Moors use the reputation of the Snapkeg by wearing these cloaks and using these bone scimitars on their raids, they are said to be 'one with the swamp'.

In fact the nomads of the mistwarren moors are as terrified of the Snapkeg as everyone else. Most of the cloaks are fake, the swords are often metal painted white. Even the real versions are often recovered from bodies killed by some natural event.

Everyone is fucking terrified of the Snapkeg and they should be because they will bite the living fuck out of you and it takes a small army to stop a herd of them once they get riled up. The fact that they are so slow and indifferent and do not predate on man means people ignore them and let them migrate close to settlements. Then, if they go crazy in the night, or decide to hang out in the centre of town, there is not much people can do. Added to this the fact that many local religions regard them as semi-sacred makes people very leery about even trying to kill them. And people do want to kill them. They will bite your fucking legs off if you get close.

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