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A Geneforge by any other name . . .

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I'm running a DND campaign with friends, and realized as I described several of my BBEGs minions that I had basically made a Geneforge in the background (magically altered minions to be stronger, faster, hardier, but prone to rage and more vulnerable to mental magic). Now the concept and name are stuck in my head, and thus the campaign. The concept is a good one to work with, I like it. Especially given that for a long time I have had this BBEGs main power be an ancient artifact that can't be moved (in my original plans it was an underground, inverted pyramid, but now I'm thinking he discovered a Geneforge and figured out rudimentary ways to use it). The name though . . . doesn't work so well for me. And for some reason my brain refuses to conceptualize anything else to label the thing with.


Help me out here? Truly just looking for something different to label the pool with. What would it have been named if no one had found Sucia Island for another thousand years and whats-his-name the proto-creation guy was killed. Magic Pool? Accurate, but imprecise and boring. Flesh-shaper? Lifespring? My brain refuses to help me this time.

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"Crucible." I like that word. I can work with it. Thank you. Why I couldn't get it from my own grey matter, I'll never know. Scatter a few half-remembered myths with a longer name, "Crucible of Life" or somewhat like that, but let this BBEG only speak of it as his Crucible. That name even has a preexisting concept of removing aspects of the source material and a minor negative social response (at least in the USA).

Thank you Alberich. This is why I came to y'all.

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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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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.




I got an e-mail from Nigeria promising something similar.

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Knowing the people I have played with in the past (and the way they completely disregard advice and would attempt to move/destroy the pool) I spent a happy 5 minutes in my own imagination thinking of all the ways I could punish them for tampering with that thing.


I'd make an evil DM.


Nice lore by the way.

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