Thursday, 25 March 2021

Velvet Hooks: Xaxavraznazak

  • fast and back
  • long body like a seahorse
  • galloping legs
  • it is LATE
  • it has a schedule planned
  • worried, afraid, talking to itself about its thoughts
  • recurseively
  • does not feel inertia (hw?)
  • often goes the wrong way
  • wants to be faster
  • has multiple schemes
  • a horde of enchanted objects related to movement, flying shoes, any-door-key, teleport spell, magic horse
  • does not use them, just ponders them
  • it thinks it is a scientist
  • tends to destroy its subjects, especially those which are alive
  • hates magic, steals spellbooks
  • a materialist
  • turns the spells into equations and those into little men and eats those
  • no ecology, no reason for being, simply IS
  • eats spells baked into little men and only this NOTHING ELSE
  • breathes prismatic fire
  • breaks things into miniature versions of themselves
  • (there are multiples of this thing?????)
  • puts tiny people in huge mazes
  • sometimes the tiny people escape
  • it might know how to reverse the breath
  • it says the breath thing is simply a technique (because magic isn't real)
  • sometimes shamefully uses magic items to steal other magic items (relating to speed, travel especially)







SO


The Xaxavraznaak, a Beast Inconceivable. 

Onieric, thaumaturgic, exotic, Extra-Cosmic (perhaps), interruptive, its method of generation unknown, its method of subsistence known, but inconceivable. Is it a passenger from some other Realm, or a product of this one? does it have a soul? Does it have a name, other than 'Xaxavraznazak'? Is it a creature of natural science, unnatural science, impossible science or inconceivable knowledge?
Like an interruption in reality, madness given form.

Clearly a solid and coherent living thing, and one that can be encountered in a way regular enough that its worthwhile finding out facts about it.

It doesn't seem to be a devil, demon or angel. At least it doesn't go around persistently doing super good or super-evil things, and has no known relationship to any particular god or faith, its not the only Xaxavraznazak ever, (unlike say, the Eno@ian Wyrm, a singular and legendary entity), there are rumours, stories and records of Xaxavraznazaks in distant places and long ago times.

Neither is it entirely a natural creature, like the Zug-Zug, (a Beast Material, yet Rare,) for it can move faster than most things bound to physical laws, feels no inertia, has a strange power of breath. Its only food is magical books, though we do not know how many it needs and when.

It is also self-aware, intelligent and has long-term goals, though its not clear if it is a Named Person. 'Xaxavraznazak' may be a title.

What makes sense of this insane being? We have only theories.

Most suppose that magic is the cause. Perhaps a certain spell that all magicians inevitably try to perform, or the result of circmventing the laws of speed too much and getting bonked by Reality. Another theory; this is what happens when a High Level magician goes totally nuts. Or; this is what crawls out of the corpse of a high-level magician, (or its a spell given form, which is why it needs to eat spells).

is the Xaxavraznazak a self-closing wound in reality? Something left behind when a great mage ascends, dies, or simply exits this world? Or a long-term plot or tool left by powerful mages specifically as a spell-collector and destroyer, something to make sure no other mage ever follows in their path, or at least, that only the subtlest ever do...



ITS MEANS OF PROPIGATION


There is the possibility of a curse. Perhaps the creatures bite. Or perhaps the killer of the creature takes on its aspect. Perhaps some artefact in the creatures collection is the true source of the curse, or some particular _form of knowledge_, there are rumours of a pattern of knowledge which is itself infections and transformative, and the inference that the Xaxavraznazak is a kind of container for this knowledge, making sure it does not spread, and that this is the source of its neuroses





ITS EFFECT ON SOCIETY


By collecting these things, it is slowing down the world, and likewise, by collecting spellbooks, it acts as a limiter on magic.

This is one reason magicians hide the fact that they are magicians, and why those with spell books will always lie about the fact that they have them. 

That might be one reason why society, cities, kings and tribes, don't really mind the fact that it is around. Simply by existing the Xaxavraznazak limits the explicit power of magicians, limits the buildup of magical knowledge, forces them underground and likewise it prevents the breaking of boundaries, the crossing of spaces at impossible speeds, the breaking into well-guarded zones, the breaching of borders, the entry into prisons, towers, etc. In some ways this is a limit on human ambition but it also strongly shifts power away from classical spellcasters and towards governments and societies which wield material power. Its strange aversion to using magic itself, or even admitting to its use, also helps. 

So, we imagine the minister or Vizier might think; let this child of chaos, itself limit chaos.






KILLING THE XAXAVRAZNAZAK


On the OTHER hand, if one WERE to ... incapacitate, perhaps kill the Xaxavraznazak, then all of its collected artefacts would fall to the posessor, and with such tools and wonders the posessor would be perhaps akin to a kind of demi-god, able to travel wherever they wished, as fast as they liked, (surely), so it is a wonder, really, that no-one has managed it so far, (that we know of).

Really, most state groups are more likely to be trying to defend the Xaxavraznazak. Or at least to limit the ablity of others to grab its treasure.

Its fine if they (the government) grab those treasures. But since that can't be absolutely guarunteed, you would have to work through intermediaries and whomever actually gets their hands on the stuff first would actually have it, and by having it, be eaily able to escape with it, then it might be better not to even try.

Honestly, the only people with something against the Xaxavraznazak would be those it steals from, and those trying to steal from it.


THINGS IN ITS HORDE


  1. the worlds fastest horse
  2. other fast animals - cages full of birds
  3. road-runners, emus, kangeroos
  4. imagined steam engines
  5. da-vinci flying machines
  6. new forms of ship, say an entire tea-clipper
  7. ten mile boots
  8. door to anywhere
  9. key to any door
  10. rideable cloud (trapped in a jar)
  11. moon cannon
  12. ancient von danekin class condor-style solar airplane
  13. flying sandals
  14. mirror of journeys
  15. actual time-sand (time-travel being the ultimate travel accelerator)




POSSIBLE HOOKS


- "I was robbed by the Xaxavraznazak - get my book back before it eats it." A simple task from a simple magician, but there is nothing wrong with the classics.


- "I was blasted by its breath and made tiny by the Xaxavraznazak, get me its guts!" - The Raging Mage Swarm. This would actually be a pretty horrific thing to encounter, a person-shaped swarm made up if identical and individually-tiny people. Worse still if they are a magician, what happens if they all try to cast the same spell? Do you get a swarm of smaller spell effects? Impossible to nullify them all.
With some gigantifying magic, this swarm of mini-wizards could become simply a colony of identical wizards..

The whole 'colony-swarm mage' thing is more a potential villain or major setting element that could possibly be resolved by killing the Xaxavraznazak.


- "I am the Grand Vizier, someone is trying to rob or kill the Xaxavraznazak, we want you to stop them, or at least, make sure they don't succeed (without leaving a trace)."

The idea of the PCs playing potentially traitorous hirelings to a super high-level party is a so-far unexplored possibility in D&D I think.


- "I am the High Chancellor, we want you to rob the Xaxavraznazak of this very specific item but you have to switch out the items so that it doesn't know it has been robbed."

(Only stealing one thing hopefully won't trigger the intervention of other states and hiding the theft hopefully won't trigger the Xaxavraznazak.)



- "We are trying to trap the Xaxavraznazak so we need to assemble a library of magical books, or, more likely, create the impression that we have assembled one. Then we need to find a way to trap and contain the creature when it comes.


- "I am a secret master of magicians and we already have a super-secret library of magical books and/or speed-imbuing magical items for study and we are afraid the Xaxavraznazak has found out about them, or is about to. We need someone to defend the collection!






FLAWS


Gotta say I wrote a pretty weird monster. I have no idea where this stands in the system of adventure. The closest thing to it in other games is maybe something like the Jabberocky? A creature of near-dragon power, but very highly conditional, and with a highly specific range of threats and flaws.


It really is more like a Lewis Carrol monster than anything else. I wonder how many of these I made?

I also feel like I didn't do a great job on the Hooks, despite all the verbiage above. Sigh, things were simpler in the Yam Lands. Perhaps you sweet souls can do better.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the hooks here. It is certainly a similar niche to a dragon, but the added layer of "authorities want to keep it alive" adds a nice way for interacting with this creature to be more engaging and interesting.

    ReplyDelete