Thursday, March 26, 2015

Plant Eidolons (Binding Universe)

For today's foray into the Binding universe the author has compiled a few of the more well known or interesting magical plants known in the first three timelines of the Binding universe. It does not include any native to the Second Timeline, and those will likely be the focus of a later post.

Bellweed is a small shrub, with tough, not quite barklike stems. It’s leaves, stems, and blossoms are all the same light silver green, and also small, round and boxy, it’s blossoms resembling sleighbells or paper lanterns. Its main feature of interest is the ringing sounds it makes, which imitate the emotions of creatures that get close, and induce them in others that hear it. This is its primary defense, alerting the presence of things that would eat it to predators.
It is very closely related to Chimeblossom, and they have been known to change into each other in the course of one generation, as appropriate to the environment, suggesting them to both be forms of the same plant.
They are valued for their application in telepathy enchantments, and are a common base ingredient in emotion inducing potions. Less frequently, they will be used to boost musical skill, although they are generally too small to craft instruments from.

Chimeblossom is a tree of moderate size, that very closely resembles Bellweed. The major differences are in size, as Chimeblossom can grow nearly as tall as an oak in the most extreme cases, and in the fact that Chimeblossom actually has proper bark rather than just a tough, leathery skin. Slightly more subtle is the difference in blossoms, which resemble pears or raindrops in shape more than balls, and the leaves also get longer and broader at the ends. The cadence and volume of their ringing are also different from Bellweed, but its effects are not.
Chimeblossom are a somewhat popular choice for carving instruments from, although many people prefer a more natural sound for their wind instruments, stringed instruments are considered far more compatible.

Willowvein, as the name implies, is a relative of the weeping willow. It has a clear skin, thin bark, and red sap. It can be eaten by carnivores, and has some use in healing potions. It is probably artificial.

Oreseeker is a plant that begins as a shrub and can grow into a tree, if it has sufficient materials. Its unique aspect is that it only grows in high metal environments, as it absorbs those metals through its very extensive roots, which actively seek out veins of ore granting it it’s name. When it absorbs metal, it purifies it and grows. It may be entirely metallic, with no organic portions at all, but either way they are highly prized for their rarity, beauty, and mining value.
They do not, despite rumors to the contrary, feed on the iron in blood, unlike some plants.

Widowroot is a mild toxin, a depressant, and has a death aspect. It is so called because it is traditionally gathered by widows and spinsters who can never bear children, and it carries aspects of loss and lacking. It can fetch a moderate price, as it is frankly one of the most benign things that can be found with a death aspect. It is also quite rare in the wild, and generally only shows itself to those who have lost something very precious.

Reclusive Breachweed, also known as Durnwort, is a small grass that grows in crevices. it hides from predators by turning itself invisible, and is sometimes harvested for this property, but is otherwise very benign and inoffensive. When all observers are properly concealed, it is a light, clear green similar to onion shoots, with light brown roots. Like many reclusive plants, it may be approached by most elemental spirits without triggering its defensive properties.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Project Bloodspiller's Kill Team (Binding Universe)

Hi. These are (some of) the guys Project Bloodspiller employs to hunt monsters and interesting mages who won't share their tricks. Because of course the logical thing to do, if you need magical research or crafting materials, is to hire guys to go hunt them down with magic weapons.

Silent- A red haired, probably female killer who uses a Muramasa II heavy assault katana. The sword has a Bloodforged Jet Stone in its pommel, this may or may not be a standard feature. Her default fighting style is hyperfast melee dueling, doing constant damage, using her superspeed to stay close, and denying opponents the opportunity to react. She can use her sword to deflect all types of stab wound she can see incoming, negating most types of ranged attack that can overwhelm Miracle Dodge, although she was still vulnerable to Electric Moment until she added gloves for the specific purpose of not getting electrocuted through her sword.
Her clothes are loose, sturdy, and black, and her gloves and hair are the color of scabs, and she’s not a Lord of Shreds and Tatters, although she has killed several. Her hair and outfit are implied to have been colored by the blood of many, many opponents, and true to her name, she never speaks or even grunts onscreen.

Liarboy: Takes the form of a stocky boy who appears to be between eight and twelve years old, but where he falls between them varies from moment to moment, although the change is subtle. He is both an accomplished illusionist and a suspected shapeshifter, and provides most of the support role for the team. He’s probably a large part of why Silent was able to corner Charnel, although he certainly had help.

Dreamer: Brown haired, heavyset man in his thirties. Mainly interesting for his ability to connect to unguarded minds by means of an inviting dreamworld. One of the closest things to a forcible telepath in the world, he is generally kept away from combat where possible. His face is quite plain, and he resents being called an incubus.

Waif: A dark haired girl in a suit of Wraith derived armor, with wings/scarf made of Bluefire. Fairly durable, can fly, enhanced strength, other powers mostly undeveloped. Armor is bonded to her, and makes her look thinner than she really is.

Shroud: Black haired, age and gender unknown. Bonded with their black cloak, which they can feel and move freely, and preternaturally light. Feels naked with the cloak exposed, at least initially, and probably related to research on Hundred Year Spirits. Probably not an actual member of the team, but rather one of the only prey that’s managed to stay ahead of them.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Legend Units (Awesome Normal Universe)

The author rejects the foolishness that is Daylight Savings Time, and insists that this means he didn't actually miss this deadline.

That said, he hopes to fix this up a bit later.

The Legend Units are a robotic army, designed as multipurpose, networked, extremely versatile combat androids. They have been remarkably successful, but this is mostly limited to their basic combat functions, and individually, they are exceptionally inept at most tasks. Said functions are the initial programming module, which amounts to being able to load, aim, and fire their custom Glock 20 handguns with reasonable accuracy, aim at areas their fellows aren’t, and get back off the ground if they fall over. More was planned for the core programming, most notably the ability to recognize and execute commands from authorized personnel, but this proved unexpectedly complicated, and had to be drastically scaled back from the initial concept.

In their first deployment, they had very limited programming, and their greatest capability was to cover a largeish area at least as well as most Slasher teams could with the same weapons. This is only possible by exploiting their primary advantage, which is to say their network. The network also allows them to identify friends from foes, albeit to a rather limited degree, and they were told to shoot anything on base larger than a small dog that moved and didn’t have a valid IFF transponder. They were capable of using slightly customized Glock 21s with speed and accuracy above the average for dedicated soldiers, and could use most handguns with a similar profile and caliber with much poorer reliability if directed to, although this never.came up. They were slightly more proficient with the police surplus Tasers they were being trained with at the time, chosen for their similar profile to their Glocks (as they were originally designed to fit the same holsters,) but this also never came up.

They had the basic grasp of how to maintain weapons with which they have been trained, initially limited to the Glocks customized for them and later expanding to several more types and models of weapon, but could not and cannot do the same for others without a great deal of trial and error, and in many cases cannot even load them.

Their hardware is simple enough, being primarily pneumatic in nature, and they are customized heavily in favor of dexterity, as such focus is critical to operating simple tools effectively. They are not expected to keep themselves maintained, let alone perform advanced tasks such as live capture or unarmed combat, alone. Their arms are, in fact, not mirrors of each other, as it was realized that some sections would require individual parts anyway. Hence, the left arms are customized for more rapid precision movement, and their right arms are designed for more brute strength and shock absorption. This allows them significantly better accuracy when using firearms with their right arms, and their left arms tend to be better at reloading or wielding melee weapons, as well as typing.

Many, many supplementary programming modules have been planned, including vehicular repair and driving protocols, advanced hand to hand, movement protocols for various situations and terrains, code optimized to condense coding of similar skills (beyond what’s already been provided by the Von Becker heuristic framework), a much wider variety of weapon proficiencies, allowing the Legend units to fulfill multiple combat roles, and the ultimate endgame of most AI engineering, which is to say an adaptive social skillset capable of passably emulating a human being.
The general consensus on the Legend units during their first deployment, an emergency sortie of all armed units immune to Lady Psyanide’s Miasma, was that they could hold chokepoints admirably but were embarrassingly prone to being squished by Mesh’s much simpler, significantly cheaper robots, which were also mostly immune to small arms fire.
In light of this, the project has been given significantly less hardware budget and a lot more programmers, with the orders to make their remaining prototypes worth the already massive investment. It was nearly scrapped, but their effectiveness against the human opponents they faced was enough grounding for the clever people in charge of the project to get it renewed.

This eventually brought dividends, some four years later, when they were next involved in a major incident. During the brief invasion of the city, the Legend units were deployed as disposable assault and heavy fire support teams, and did nearly as much per unit as the Slashers, albeit with significantly higher casualty rates. During this incident, they were able to use rocket and grenade launchers, assault rifles, and even cars, although they seem to have been limited to their own jeeps. Their battery life was not extensively tested, but it was observed that they could charge themselves with wall plugs or live wires connected to their new palm tasers.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Herbert and Koenig Pharmaceuticals (Binding Universe)

Herbert and Koenig was a small pharmaceutical company in the 1990’s. Their presence was limited to the cities of San Gregor and it’s nearest neighbor, Rentonsville. The attempt to turn themselves into a chain had stalled, and while it had yet to fail spectacularly enough to drive them under, they had still been barely breaking even for several years. Then the explorers from the First Timeline made their very public appearance, and Binding was discovered soon afterwards, rapidly destabilizing the market and severely threatening their position.
They were both desperate and fortunate enough to back Veronica Williams in her research, and were pretty much set to corner the market in biological manipulation when the the newly formed Department of Supernatural Administration attempted to detain her and steal her research. She fought her way out with Windblight, and took the majority of her recent work in order to keep it from them, but H&K managed to keep the bits she’d already given them.
These alone were more than pretty much anyone else had, and by a combination of business acumen, flexibility, and being larger than anyone else with the first two advantages, they were able to secure a deal to supply the newly formed Project Bloodspiller. This in turn led them to greatness as the largest supplier of biological modifications on the planet, and their Teratotech division maintains very close relations with Project Bloodspiller to this day. They also own the original patent for healing pills, which was the first patent in over a century that the government has used its authority to forcibly buy, although it’s far from the last, even in that decade .