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earanhart

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  1. Necromancy, but because Steam has a habit of breaking direct links into their forums (and just made me go on a 10 minute search for this), I'm copy/pasting the above mentioned Steam solution here (at least I think it's the same one, works on my copies of GF1-GF3, haven't tested A4 but I have no issues there so cannot test). Hope someone else benefits from this. Step 0: Make sure you don't have any compatibility options enabled, or anything that you tried to alter the .exe file of the game, since it might cross with these settings, making the settings I'm giving you not work as intended. Step 1: Download the ADK (Assessment and Deployment Kit) for Windows 10 https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/dn913721.aspx Step 2: Install it (Remove anything that is not related about ADK (compatibility assistant) by unchecking the other tools that appear in "Select the features you want to change" Step 3: Open the 32-bit version (If you open the 64-bit one, it will tell you the executable (example: Geneforge 1) will not work for that version of the ADK, and you need to go to the 32-bit version anyways) Step 4: Select "New Database" from "Custom Database" in the middle left of the program box. Step 5: Click on "Fix" Step 6: In "Program File Location", search the game you want to fix (example: Geneforge 1), also, type the name of the program to be fixed in "Name of the Program to be Fixed". Step 7: Click Next. Step 8: Click Next. Step 9: Search for "ForceDirectDrawEmulation" and tick it. Step 10: Click Next. Step 11: Click Next. That should finish the custom database settings. Step 12: Click on Save, ADK will tell you to name the database created. Name it "Geneforge X (the version that you want to fix.) Step 13: It will then open a "Save as..." for the .sdb file that is going to be created, name it again "Geneforge (X)" Step 14: Click on "Save". Step 15: Now we need to run those changes, right-click on "Geneforge (X) [Program File Path], and select "Install". Step 16: The database should have made the changes now. Step 17: Now you can try running the game via your library in Steam, the changes are automatically made everytime the game is run. Happy shaping!
  2. I actually did a 20 ft cone with 8d6 fire damage, DC 19 Dex for half. Drayks are kings, but they also have a chance of going Rogue every time they roll initiative, so players have to decide if it's worth the risk. Edit because I thought I said this in the original post. Blargh. That's been in the system since the beginning, using the DMG targets for spell damage and reducing for 3 rounds of duration (with exception for Drayk who is overpowered but chancy, and Mindstealer Vlish (in lieu of Terror Vlish) who do less damage but come with a Charm effect on their attack). I wanted a single creation to feel less useful than a same-level spell across a 2 round combat, but feel noticeably more useful by the start of the 5th round of combat that day. It also enables the party to go longer without needing a long rest or other form of spell recovery, and my table is used to my dungeons being long enough that they run out of spells if they don't ration (two of my players especially enjoy the tactics of rationing their long/short rest features, one of whom loves the theme of the exhausted hero emerging from the fight/dungeon only to pass out as soon as he finds safety, so I play it up for them when I can and it makes sense). My Meteor Swarm equivalents are for a Shaper who does devotes everything they have to this ability, so they no longer have any spell slots above 5th level because they are walking around with 6 high-level Creations. At this point, across 4 rounds of combat, the total army needed to feel similar to or better than using at least the following: a 9th level spell, an 8th level spell, a 7th level spell, and a 6th level spell, even though it costs two more spell slots beyond that. That's why I felt using Meteor Swarm was a decent yardstick, because doing that amount of damage every round is worth the cost if battle goes beyond the third round. If anyone prepared Meteor Swarm they would probably find a way to use it by the third round of a combat, if they don't open with it. Since I have the total damage from a 6 Creation army at similar to damage to what Meteor Swarm does to an individual target, I think I have it in the right spot. They can do that damage every round (assuming they can position all 6 Creations correctly) but only the Drayk has any AoE capabilities.
  3. I feel the Trakovites are a different enough creature, as their philosophy is that Shapers should be denied Shaping. That is a direct attack (even if just philosophical) against the Shapers, not a mere NIMBY. As for other rebellions being mentioned, I can only think of one mention of that, in the Shaper ending to G4. A lot of ending text gets ignored by the next game(s), but that one I think is different because it's history. We don't know if those rebellions involved Shapers or were attempts at wholesale war against the Shapers. They might have been exactly what I was imagining, but the only thing we know about them is that they exists. As for opening intro texts, we don't know if those wars were rebellions or expansion on the Shapers side, nor do we really know how long ago those were. Given where Shaping started, what the first three creations were, and where the center of Shaper power has been for recorded history we know they started out as a warring tribe who developed a better weapon than anyone else. At some point they became a power both on Sucia and the mainland. After this the Council was made, after this Sucia was banned, and somewhere in there the Shapers forgot where they came from. That's a big thing to forget over just a few centuries. When and why the Council was made, how old the Shapers are, how the Guardians and Agents came to be, when Shaper Law was codified, most of the contents of Shaper Law, all of these things we simply don't know and they would shine a lot of light on this topic. I'm not saying they wouldn't simply curbstomp anyone who tried to leave their control peacefully or only with traditional weapons, I'm just saying the Shapers during GF1 live in a world where they have been the power for a VERY long time, with no threats of any kind that we know of. After so long and so much evolution, we don't know that the Shapers are the same war-tribe they used to be. They certainly don't seem to care about bloodlines very much. That would explain why they are so slow to respond to this rebellion: they aren't used to actual war. If they were, then at the first sign of something wrong they would have sent out an Agent, and when she didn't return a squad of Guardians, probably backed by a Shaper or two. Where do we learn this? In Mera-Tev it is implied that the only reason the natives aren't talking about their history is because they are scared it will label them rebels somehow. The fact is in GF5 we see more cities that show signs of the original inhabitants architectures than not. If Shapers were strongly encouraging conquered people to forget their history, they could easily have destroyed and replaced all original buildings over the course of a generation. They've had hundreds of years to not do this in both Mera-Tev and the Storm Plains, places with easy access to building materials and good climates.
  4. Huh, I can see that, but for me Icy End was the point that said "Drakons are just Shapers 2.0," especially with the cake sidequest. I don't think that was the intent of that sidequest, but it's how it comes across to me. Icy End made me want to see the other intelligent creations rebel against the Drakons and the Shapers, or set up for an Astoria-style faction. The later alignment lock was better in G4 (and a bit of an overreaction to G3s early lock, IMO), but I think there needed to be one more minor event on the Shaper side just before the final battle. Even just the General being gone from his office after you turn in the quest before. I'll agree with this. I think the largest alignment hole is that until the end of GF3, and I mean the western side of the Isle of Spears, the Player doesn't really have a sense of why any non-ego-maniacal Shapers enforce their laws the way they do. From an outsiders point of view, who cares about a strong other faction? Lets trade with them, similar to how the Scholai get treated after GF3. Shapers don't have an issue with Scholai who don't learn Shaping (from what we can see). The problem comes when the laws that govern the Shapers internally are ignored and their magic is used. Until you get to the End-game of GF3, the only thing you really see that hits this is the Spawners. GF3 did attempt to show some of this "Benevolent Shaper Rule" with the necromancers zone at the end of Island 2, and then the series enforces it a bit as practically every bad thing in the series comes when someone ignores the Shaper rule of "Don't go here." Even after GF1, ignoring Shaper law is the direct cause of almost every problem in the game, beyond common banditry which if the Shapers weren't having to fight a rebellion they could afford to go stamp out. We have indications from GF4 and GF5 that that used to be one of their public services: keeping the roads safe. Are they heavy-handed, absolutely. Probably too heavy-handed. Look at a Gazer and you understand why Shapers control their arts. Look at the bugs from GF5. Look at the description of giant rats from GF2. But until the end of GF3 you never really get a slap in the face that says "This is what Shapers want to prevent!" I wonder, if the Rebellion had happened without any rebel Shapers, if canisters could not give the ability to Shape, how would the Council have acted? I imagine that at least two of them would have been "Wait, what? Umm, okay. Give us back all of our serviles and ornks. You can buy batons from us if you really want." There would be some war, but at a certain point the Shapers would ask if it was really a worthwhile war. Killing the people who would be paying your taxes. We do know they conquered most of Terrestria through war, but that was centuries ago. Even the "Recently settled" lands have been under Shaper control for long enough that the locals say "centuries ago." And they stopped at some point, because Drypeak Mountains are a "Distant colony."
  5. Yeah, 3 has a lot of flaws. But the story aspect you suggest is decidedly one-sided. It paints the rebellion in too good a light. This is a world of Grey vs. Gray morality. If we see servile families flee (and note we haven't seen any children in GF yet, since you can kill anyone), then we need to see the flip side as well, as either those same serviles are pressed into the war and we find them cowering in a mineshaft somewhere or we see serviles burning down human houses. Jeff has been careful to always show conflict of the rebellion from the point of view of the armies, with the civilians being the backdrop. They're there, we talk to them, we might even rescue their ornk, but they aren't important. The key feature of all but three of the factions throughout the series is that a phyrric victory is preferable to compromise. Since in GF3 we really only see two-and-a-half factions, they must both be painted equally ugly by the end of the game. The chief problem with adding a servile plotline to GF3 is that you don't really have a chance to see any rebel serviles (rogues, yes. Rebels, not so much) until the fourth island where they are already freed (and those that aren't are described as having been rescued from the war). You're right, it would be a beautiful addition, assuming both sides get a chance to look like heroes and both sides are given the chance to look like monsters. The question is where do you put that? On the first island the Shapers had absolute control until their school got nuked. The second island is about the pettiness of Shapers, to counterpoint them being good-guy cops on island one, and is the first real look in the series at how outsiders are treated by actual not-crazy not-criminal Shaper. Island three has had a war going on for long enough that they built a fort at the staging area, with an implied Dead Man Zone just beyond it. And then Island 4 is already conquered by the rebellion so there's not a whole lot of opportunity to rescue any mistreated serviles there. Island 5 shows that the Drakons treat serviles effectively the same as Shapers, leading to the question of what is the rebellion actually about. Put another way, the islands are on a scale for who controls them, with 1 being fully Shaper and 5 being fully Drakon. Islands 2 and 4 show the problems the two orders have with outsiders/civilians. Where do you put a servile escape scene? Where do you put the servile execution? It would be beautiful, but it doesn't fit into this game as Jeff wrote the plot. The rebellion has never been pro-servile the way the Awakened or even the GF1 Takers were. It has ALWAYS been anti-Shaper. This is why in GF4 we see what we do in the rebellion. As to you final point, I personally enjoyed that everyone on every island actually knew the way around their island and could give realistic directions. Its the thing that allows me to forgive that game for the boats (and their equivalent zones in the later games, but those were less bad). Especially on the second island, every one of the natives SHOULD know exactly where the 'rebels' are hiding, they've all been there at some point in their lives. It's only their fear of rogues and the BritiShapers that keeps them from heading down there with beer and jerky. These are SMALL islands, notice that from the testing grounds to the shaper school is short enough there are no campsites or beds at the testing ground. Compare the the testing grounds in GF5. This implies that the human and servile workers at the testing grounds (someone has to feed the servant mind) went home at night, possibly though the mines. If your island is that small, you might not know where everyone lives, but you know every landmark on the island.
  6. Yes, I am currently limiting to just the G1-era creations (mostly because I feel the document is already oversized for a player supplement). And I'll admit, the way I currently have them the top-tier creations are . . . not that interesting. Gave Betas and Alphas a 10 ft reach, with Betas having the Sentinel feat, thereby creating a large meat-wall for my party to hide behind.Their damage becomes less important because they can lock down an area. My Drayks are the most damaging creation with four options for attacks (one cone, one line, a ranged attack and a melee attack) (I didn't make Cryo-drayks for lore reasons, but maybe should and de-power the Drayk a bit), with Ur-Glaahks not far behind them. Betas would only be used for their battlefield control, which I think matches with the lore as well. I cannot think of any examples of Battle alphas/betas being shaped for use in anything except large-scale battle and guarding areas. I think I will also allow for humanoid creations to wield weapons, if given any. That may push them up in terms of utility, but also might not. That's a playtest thing and will need to be evaluated as we play. I am also trying very hard with this to prevent having Shaping become so powerful that it completely overshadow other party members. I may have a barbarian or fighter in the party and need to keep them relevant to the game. Rogues and Monks should be able to stay relevant through their mobility and ability to get to the enemy mage/Shaper, Paladins bring defensive options (and Smite) to the table, and Rangers (and I suppose ranged Fighters/Rogues) deal damage from much farther away than I have allowed Creations to function at (only Artilla have an attack with a 60 ft range in my system.) Hmm. I need to cogitate on this a while. Thank you for that perspective, it's a different direction than I was looking from. Yeah, in the GF games Alphabet Brutes were underwhelming. Honestly, for the first 3 games everything except the Vlish was underwhelming, in my opinion. Drayks had a coolness to them, but cost too much, Glaahks were too fragile, and melee damage required SO MANY AP OF WALKING that they often lost turns of damage output, Eyebeasts were Drayks turned to 11, in both coolness and cost, and Drakons were merely balanced between their cost and effectiveness. Again, merely my opinion. Edit: I think I have answered the Guardian/Agent issue here with another overpowered feat. It's in the Google sheet linked at the top, but I'm going to post it here for ease of discourse: Shaping (Essence Manipulation) Since I am adding the Creation spells as canister/special training rewards, they are available even to non-spellcasters. This feat allows for non-spellcasters to gain significant benefits, and by taking the Shaping (Lifecrafting) feat as well allows for the Guardian theme of a few Creations alongside the Guardian himself (I imagine only fighters will have enough disposable ASIs to take both feats, but could be surprised). If taken without the other feat, this allows for potent self-healing and a noticeable but uncommon damage boost. I think it also fits with the lore of Shapers filling themselves with Essence and using that to sustain themselves, seen mostly in G4. I do expect everyone at my table will take one of the two feats, and probably one will take both.
  7. I'm operating off the idea that no one leaves the Shaper school until they are already level 7, scale another 8-12 levels for the standard campaign length (at least with my table) and it's on the table. Table differences make this a world of difference. As to the Battle Betas damage, it's not the individual creations I am balancing for, but rather the available army of Creations. Because I've limited party-controlled creations to needing to use both their reaction and the Shapers bonus action to attack, resulting in the entire army attacks at once, I need that nova of damage to be similar to the highest level slot available. Meteor Swarm has a max of 240 damage, and my (rough build, I'm sure a player invested in it could do somewhat better) of the largest army a Shaper can make caps at 246 (assuming no criticals). Granted, Meteor Swarm is an AoE, but it is the max damage for single target as well (oddly, WotC didn't follow their own advice in building it). Meteor Swarm also has one save for half, where this would be between between 6 and 10 individual attacks (some Creations have multi-attack), with the possibility of crits but also likely that some will miss (that's actually my current largest concern: their to-hit rolls may be off). Any individual Creation is worth far less than the spell slot, but the ability to do that damage every round becomes the value. As for Shaper/Agent/Guardian differences, yeah, I broke the Geneforge system there. Agents would be those who didn't take the Lifecrafter feat, or else don't want to learn the spells for the Creations (classes with Spells Known, for instance). Shapers are almost exclusively Wizards, Clerics, and Druids, as they don't need to worry about spell selection. Guardians are the rest. It's not as true to the original lore as yours sounds, but only one member of my table has played the games and he is mature enough to accept that my take on the world isn't identical to Jeff's. Having the three sects at current is mostly my way of justifying having Fighters and Monks in the Shaper school at all. For plot I'm going with an kind of merger of GF2 and GF3 stories, ehh... kind of. Pre-game story will be almost identical to GF2, right up to the Agent taking them for their field work. Tomorrow is the final showdown of the current campaign, then we'll take a short break from DND and probably start this up in a months time, so I've got time to fix any issues.
  8. Locking it down to a single class won't work with my table. The players would see that as me forcing them to take this class, and then all but one of them would take it while complaining about it. It might work for a different table though. As to "most abilities are locked down that way", they really aren't. Sure, specific spells may be locked to one class, but what the spell DOES isn't. Bards, clerics, druids, paladins, rangers, and even some sorcerers and warlocks get spells to heal others HP. Every full caster gets some form of combat summons, and every half-caster has access to a long-term summon (animal companion, paladin steed). In 5e, any character can get a familiar for the cost of one feat (and there are two feats that will work for that). How many characters get a way of inflicting paralysis on a target? Of increasing the damage of another character? How many classes get an ability that is Wisdom Save or lose next action? How many classes get a bonus action that adds 1d8 or 1d6 damage? Sure, the names change (Hex, hunters mark, divine smite, sacred weapon, planar warrior, etc.) but the actual ability is still "one more die of damage per turn." Wizards and Druids both do the self-transformation play-style differently, but the actual ability of "I become a monster" is shared between them. The "hidden attacker" play style might work best with rogues or rangers, but warlocks also fit the bill, and a crafty fighter or bard can also play that way. The 'tank' play style is so spread out that I can't even decide on which two classes are the stereotypical two, but I want to say fighter and barbarian, as opposed to paladin and cleric, but druids, monks, and even a rare sorcerer can all use that play style because they all have abilities that say "+AC," "-damage incoming," and "heal yourself a bit." Sure, the specifics of how they do a given thing changes from class to class, and from subclass to subclass (the new version of PRCs are subclasses. Every gets one at a level determined by the main class, but each is tied to a specific class), but the actual abilities are fairly well spread out. No play-style has only one class that can do it. Even at the single ability scale, once you pull fluff out and look only at effects almost everything is shared by four or five classes.. Because Shaping opens up a new play-style, I didn't want it locked down into just one class. Sure, it is done best by a full caster, so bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, or wizard, but the half-casters and even the third-casters CAN use it. I don't expect any third caster to take the feat because it won't add much to them, but I also don't expect a third-caster to try for the healer role. Alhoons method with having drafted up a few different subclasses is a different answer to this problem than my system, and it comes from a different theory of gamecrafting than I do. At a glance it sounds functional. but also sounds like more effort to implement than mine, since he allows for adding modifications to individual Creations, while I only allow them to be advanced along two lines (spell level and shaper knowledge) which both typically amount to adding +1s to stats or +1dice to damage. (a few rare other things, but they are all listed on the creations stat blocks) This was why I want my system to reserve the spell slots used to make the Creations. "Do you want a Battle Beta, or do you want to be able to cast Meteor Storm?" There is no way that a single Battle Beta will outperform Meteor Swarm in terms of simple damage (at least in my system), but a dedicated Shaper can deal comparable damage every round through their army. That was my intent. This should be our Holy Mantra. Nothing else really matters at the end of the day.
  9. Does it seem to be working? I initially thought about doing that, but didn't want to lock Shaping down just Wizards, and couldn't see any Wizard subclass being equivalent to a Cleric, Druid, or Sorcerer subclass. The classes as a whole are fairly balanced, but each one gets a different amount of power from their subclasses versus from the base class itself.
  10. Much as I hate double posting, I think I have enough new material to justify it this time. Please see my system at the link below or in the top post and let me know what y'all think. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TjZNq3oshG2KqCYE_rW08r9yWbcZex0_DvDabCptUPo/edit?usp=sharing
  11. Great, the forums are now old enough to be drafted! Just in time for the Third Vahnatai War . . .
  12. I'm not sure I'd put Cryoa at 2nd level, because that doesn't let me make it enough better than Fyora other than the reskin to cold from fire, but otherwise yes. Still correct. Yes, but you could recover either the 1st or 2nd level slot (but not both), since you used a 2nd level slot to cast "Summon Cryoa." Realize that (according to Sage Advice and me as DM) you cannot recover a spellslot that you haven't expended, so you wouldn't want to absorb a Creation before you have cast a spell you could recover that day. You are reading this mostly correctly to how it is in my head, but realize the 'reserved' spell slot is one level higher than the one used to summon the creation normally. It may seem a small cost, but realize that is normally going to one of the highest two spell levels the character has, in order to get a creation that is more valuable than the spell slot itself. As for consistency sake, Geneforge splits "spell slots" between spell energy and essence, both of which are used to cast spells and balances (I think mildly poorly) between the two, but Geneforge balance isn't the important part here, DND balance is. The four balance parts I am envisioning are: 1) the time to summon (which I may need to extend to a short rest from 10-minutes) which would make Creations very difficult to create once you know what you are up against, 2) that every time the creation takes damage (or sees itself being abused (no making the Vlish face-tank the trap)) it makes a Rogue save (which I obviously need to balance to their uses, giving tank-types a bit of a bonus above their Geneforge story in terms of tendency to go Rogue due to how often they will roll this, maybe give them immunity to this roll until they reach 1/2 max HP), 3) it requires giving up an Ability Score Increase to use creations at all. Sure, above 16th level the cost of it being a feat may be minimal, but at those levels the players are basically demigods anyways. At low levels, the loss of 2 points to your primary stat can be significant. Even if you NEVER use a Creation, merely the ability to do so lowers your attack and either damage or save-DCs by 1 until at least 12th level. In 5e, that's actually a meaningful loss. 4) I'm not going to make the Creations as powerful as they are in Geneforge, versus the player character. I think a single Fyora should be somewhere around CR1/4, with a 1st level spell. Yes, if it gets lucky a lone Fyora could kill an adventurer, but even the 1st level rogue has a decent chance of taking it in 1v1, and should reliably win if he gets the drop on the lizard. I think this is actually the biggest balance issue, because how balanced shaping is depends on how useful the Creations are. I need them to be worthwhile, but at the same time of limited value so they do not overshadow the players, of similar value to a spell of the one-higher level after ten rounds, but less valuable than the same-level spell below 4 rounds. This means their damage output needs to be limited somewhat (I think the easiest way would be to limit their range, actually. If the Fyora and Artilla can only spit 20 feet, it puts them close enough to action to be vulnerable. If protecting or healing the Creations takes actions from the party, the effective cost of that Creation goes up, allowing their power to also increase somewhat.) Also, I think the generally fewer spell slots of higher levels in this edition helps. With the exception of Warlocks (who only ever get 4 spell slots at all) no one ever has more than 3 spell slots of any level higher than 1st, and a maximum of 22 spell slots total at 20th level. The loss of even one of those is significant, but I'll think about doubling that cost. Unrelated, but for fluff the difference between a Shaped Creation and a Summoned One would be that normally summoned ones are unstable, a thing that already exists in lore. I may gate these spells behind the feat as well, but that is a fluff restriction for spells I am intending on being behind their spell level in terms of base power anyways, so I'm not sure if it's needed. Certainly it would be illegal for non-Shapers to know how to make even unstable Creations, but since when have laws stopped murder-hobos? And sorry for the somewhat rambling post, I'm still figuring this out and so having a mild case of "brain vomit". Edit: Another thought for a very different balance. Controlled Creations cannot attack on their own, but at the use of the Shapers bonus action all Creations under their control make a single attack each. This still allows the Shaper to sling spells out, encourages them to have more than one Creation (which may cripple their high-level spell slots), and decreases the value of Shaping due to action economy. As for balancing against the army of Creations, I think I would say that if you ever control more Creations than your proficiency bonus, all Rogue saving throws made by your Creations are made at disadvantage. This can still get big at higher levels, but at those levels it should be a big army and I merely need to balance damage against the fighters 4 attacks a turn. If individual creations never do impressive damage (or the damage will be resisted too often) then the fact that the Shaper can make 6 a turn through their creations becomes less of an issue. I need to start writing stat blocks for Creations, and then assign those to spell levels before we can truly decide what is and isn't balanced. I'll probably come back tomorrow or Monday with some basics for that. Edit2: looking at when it would be possible to make one, I decided to add all G1 creations into the list. The ability to shape a SINGLE creation from an 8th level spell cannot come until level 17, and I can balance the Dryaks power against the Rogue Saving Throws. I Still need to stat all of these creatures out, but I'll work on that over the next couple days. Edit3: added link with Creation stat blocks to top of first post.
  13. No, at that point the Creation would be dead, and so at the next long rest the Shaper will recover the higher level spell slot. I may need to reword that to be clearer.
  14. Link to Google Sheets with creations: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TjZNq3oshG2KqCYE_rW08r9yWbcZex0_DvDabCptUPo/edit?usp=sharing The system is now in a usable and presentable fashion. Not a 'final' fashion but possibly close to that. I would appreciate it if some of y'all would give it a glance and inform me of any concerns or possible improvements you see. Now for the stuff that has been previously posted, I'm maintaining this mostly so the thread makes some sense to people checking it out later.
  15. So, predictably, my rogue/wizard decided to research it a bit once a different player caught on that the minions were modified and mentioned it to the party. Having rolled really well, I gave him most of the data on it. For anyone interested, here is my "Crucible of Life." Feel free to steal anything you may find useful for your own campaigns. _____ Known by different names through the ages, this depression is ancient beyond measure. The artifact is capable of changing a living being into something completely different, or, as the long-dead elven arch-druid Elriath is said to have managed, creating a living creature from nothing. Some believe it to be the original tool used by the gods or primordials (or whatever entity surpasses them in power and age) to create the first mortals. A perfectly circular, shallow pool, only two feet in depth, with a diameter of 15 feet. Made from a form of terra-cotta, there is no ledge around the pool. Whatever once designated its barrier, or allowed its users to utilize it has deteriorated into dirt. When filled with pure water, the pool glows slightly blue. The colour changes as other material is added to it. Whatever effect his may have is uncertain. If any inscriptions or decorations at one point may have existed to tell its function or instructions for use have been erased by time so long ago that even the most powerful of divinations can only tell that there once was something, but cannot tell if it was pictures, script, runes, or something else altogether. Attempts to move or destroy it by any means, magical or mundane, have invariably resulted in the deaths of everyone in the neighborhood. The method by which some success with the Crucible has been attained is to prepare a creature with heavy protective magics and have them dip a part of themselves into the pool. Powerful Transmutative magics must be used to guide the magics of the Crucible to the parts of the subject that the mage wishes to change. Failure is frequent, and typically results in the subject being reduced to a puddle of reddish mud. Rarely, the creature continues to survive in this puddle-form, its mind shattered by unending and all-consuming pain. When the subject does survive, the changes can be unpredictable. Some subjects grow in size to double or more their original mass, others become entities made more of astral essence than physical matter, others gain newfound magical powers, still more are merely stronger than they went in. Controlling or guiding these changes has been done with very limited success by legendary mages of the past. Typically though, even when the subject survives, the mind of the subject is shattered by the invasion of energy. The water, when removed from the pool, remains highly magical but experiments to use it as the pool can be all result in messy failure. When drained, the pool can safely be walked through, though the enchantments within it are powerful enough that even the least magically inclined can feel the energies within it pricking at their skin. Powerful magi are instantly afflicted with indescribable sensations of pain that leave them unable to even scream their pain, much less walk out of the pool. If not removed from it, they will soon die from the pain itself. Other than this pain, there appears to be no effect from being inside the Crucible while it is dry. The Crucible lies in the deepest catacombs beneath The Grand Library, and is in fact the reason The Library was built upon its location. It is thought that a similar pool may lie buried deep in the Singing Deeps, based on occasional references to "The Pool of Creation" or "The WorldWomb" in the writings of ancient magi from there. If more than one exists, what that means is uncertain, though some scholars have presented that it may mean that different entities were involved in the creation of the mortal races, and that that may explain the different forms mortal life has taken, plant and animal, carnivore and herbivore, aquatic and terrestrial and avian.
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