Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Magic of Macramé Mastery

There you go, another form given life... in some sense.
As you can see I have also made some changes to the general appearance of the blog here. It is not ultimate, in any way, but I thought it was time for the classical 'new wrapping' that most products go through as a mandatory part of any marketing strategy. In a world where all things change fast, people get bored very easily... so perhaps an aestethical shift once a year or so is in order.

I have also made a little flash-application to make the 'Creature Archive' more user-friendly. The many strange names of these creatures are hard to remember, and say very little unless you actually get to know the critters. I hope the application work as intended on all browsers, but if you have problems with it please report them to me.

The google 'Follow'-widget seems to have problems loading, ever so often. I don't know if that is the case everywhere, or if it is due to my disturbing of the initial code of the blog. In any case, here is the Jhorlar now. I hope you like it.


CATEGORY: Two-legged Mammal
TERRAIN: Forests
FOOD: Omnivore
SIZE: 5 feet (150 cm) tall without crest

CHARM: 3-9
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 0,5
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The skin of the Jhorlars, which ranges from muddy green to clay red, is thick and provides some protection from the sticky branches, insects, and the general hardships of forest life.

2 FISTS: 1–3
(If a Long Sword causes 1-8 points of damage)

Though able to throw an awkward punch, the Jhorlars trust mainly to magic for protection. They are tough and resilient creatures but have virtually no means of physical combat.

MACRAMÉ MAGIC: Though this skill is passed down from parent to child, it is so central to the life of the Jhorlars, that all adults master it. Through complex and intricate series of knots, made of straw, leaves, and vines, the Jhorlars access the force of magic, and control it with their craftsmanship. By releasing single knots, making new ones, or breaking the straws of these structures, they are able to wield strange powers. Typically these are spells of concealment, and distraction, used for the protection of their lives and homes, but these macramé works of the forest undergrowth, may be used to invoke or conjure magic or true power. Some of the elder Jhorlars know the ways of this mystery well. Long structures, or webs of macramé work, may be hanged from the trees or bushes, to make spells affect larger areas. Smaller series of knots may be shaped into figures for voodoo-like powers, or tied into strange symbols and used as amulets. Bizarre masks or robes may be produced, to affect the abilities or psyche of wearer. Though all Jhorlars are proficient with the knot-work, the strength and width of their magic skills vary. (The exact spells and kinds of magic available to any Jhorlar is up to the Game Master.)

ATTRACT INSECTS: In the tunnels beneath the huts of the Jhorlars, are chambers, where the creatures store up grass and leaves of various kinds. Here they slowly decompose before they are mixed together with yeasts and consumed. Inside the Jhorlar body these mixtures produce a luminous and radiant gas that gather in the nose and tail ends of the creature. As the Jhorlar moves its tail along the ground, or rubs the underside of its nose against the bark of trees, insects are lured to the surface. These constitute the primary source of food for the Jhorlars. Normally, with a careful caressing of the ground, the tails glow weakly, and cause myriads of insects to surface. When agitated, or in real danger, the Jhorlars can enhance the power of the glow, by more violent movements. The radiation then goes deeper, and the larger and more dangerous bugs of the earth may be summoned to the surface. The Jhorlars can't control these, but will not be harmed by the insects, which take an instant liking to their glow. Any threats to the radiant creature, is likely to be treated as hostile.

Like strange lizard-like gnomes, the Johrlars move through the woods with their hands in constant contact with the ground. Their fingers work nimbly through the moss, grass, and leaves of the forest floor, to feel out the kind and energy of the undergrowth. They seek out plants for the production of luminous gas, and the materials from which to create their mysterious knot-work (see 'Powers')

The size of their crests reveal their age, and if their tails or noses glow red, one can see that they are hunting. They live alone or in small families. Couples never keep more than a single child at once, but the Johrlars live for 200 years, so as one child leaves home, birth can be given to another. They live in huts of grass or moss, and beneath these are extensive cellars. Most Jhorlars are peaceful and quiet creatures, but can be over-protective, and resort to needless force, when frightened. Few have been known to turn greedy, but in rare cases ambition have made individuals leave their homes to pursue interests of power in the wider world.

Though the creatures move slowly, their fingers are fast and dexterous. They smell like dry old earth, and speak with series of grunts parted by fairly long pauses. The creatures use no written languages, and no other race has ever learned their macramé magic. Their language is still a mystery to the sages, and the creatures are truly hard to find. They tend to live in places where the woods are dark and secret, but longer excursions are frequently made to gather plants in the larger forest.

There seems to be very little communication between Jhorlar families, and no tribes have ever been spotted. Ancient stories mention large woods completely covered by labyrinthine weaves, even towers, of macramé structures, but no such phenomena have been witnessed for ages.

The large crests of the Jhorlars have no other known function but to attract a partner. The creatures cannot swim. They lose this ability at the age of three, when their legs and arms grow longer, and their two tails fatten. The initial lizard-like appearance of their young, then becomes a more up-right figure, whose dark eyes start glimmering with the intellect of larger brain mammals.

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister

Monday, April 4, 2011

The silent slaughters of the sea

The flu, which peaked two weeks ago, has yet to let me fully out of its grip. Reality presents itself behind a hazy layer of "tired heavyness", but I know it has to yield some day soon.
Speaking of soon, I can now confirm that I will spend much of this year teaching (Multimedia, Media Communication etc), and I start in May. This will make RPG-Creatures slow down, but new creatures will continue to show up, now and then. Bread, I here, is more vital than imaginary beasts. ; )

To be honest, I will enjoy another round in the class rooms. Freelance illustration can be a bit too solitary in the long run. Schools, though not always the most stimulating of places, do at least present a certain movement, and faces of real animated flesh. A Crombhala would move eagerly through the corridors...


CATEGORY: Crustacean
TERRAIN: Salt water
FOOD: Carnivore
SIZE: 7 feet (210 cm) tall

(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 0,5 (In water x 2)
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The exoskeleton of the Crombhala is tough, and gives good protection. The belly is softer and vulnerable to spears and long swords.

1 BITE: 1–6
2 HOOKS: 1-8
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

Though equipped with four powerful legs, the Crombhala is too heavy to use these for kicking.

The Crombhalas are hunter-scavenger creatures that have specialized in attacking surface-swimming prey. Their antennae are sensitive and pick up all surface disturbances, even in the unsettled waters of storm. They generally keep to the shallows, where from the bottom they can strike upwards to penetrate the creatures and small vessels above. The spikes on their heads are only used for the initial surprise and puncturing. The hooks and and the hideous mouth are their primary tools of killing.

Rarely do they venture on to the shore, but can breath air without problem. The heavy bodies of the creatures slow them down on land, so they only briefly come out of the water. Stranded whales and other feasts, may tempt them to linger.

The beasts are ferocious and hungry by nature. They rarely miss a chance to feed, and do so with great fervour. When there is no large prey or carcass about, they move around very slowly to save energy, and lazily pick a snack or two in the form of clams and starfish from the bottom. As winter comes, and sheets of ice claim the coastline seas, the Crombhalas seek out warmer areas, or move temporarily into the unknown depths of the ocean.

In stories and myths Crombhalas are mainly known for their eyes. These are unique constructions whose outer layer is hard as glass, and whose interior liquid is a mystery. Sorcerers have found that by gazing into these globes, one may witness long and clear episodes from the life of the Crombhala to which they belonged. The creatures are thought to preserve memories inside their organs of vision. Staring into the eye of a dead Crombhala is not an activity suited for the weak-minded and sensitive. The memories emerging are mainly the highlights of killing and feeding, and some say the mood and blood-lust of the Crombhala is somehow communicated through these biological “crystal balls”.

According to some scriptures, there are complicated rituals, in the case that one manages to steal away with a single eye of a living Crombhala, that enables the gazer to gain access to the live sight and mind of the giant crustacean, and thus control the beast through telepathy.

The creatures grow to be several centuries old. In some cases their eyes have revealed the locations of wrecked ships, taken down long ago by groups of hungry Crombhalas. Though events like these are rare, and the crustaceans typically hunt alone, they are not unheard of. Once dozens of small holes are made in the hull, the creatures clamber up the ship and gunwale to come down upon the crew. As they attack they cough out water and let out series of course and loud hissing sounds. In the sea, they kill silently.

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister