Natural Wonders of Creation
A source of information on the natural plants, animals and exotic materials found across Creation. Blatantly magic plants, animals, etc don't go here -- this is more for flavourful bits, in other words. Magical such things go at Creatures.
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Spider Orchids -- by Telgar
These plants are quite common in the forests and jungles that range from the Pole of Wood to the Southern Boundary Mountains. They grow in the bottom branches of trees and feed off both the nutrients of their host tree and the sunlight. Spider Orchids get their name from their roots, which are thread-thin and hang down from the branches, reaching the ground and tunneling into it, where they form a complex and very sturdy underground system. The root-filaments between the plant in the tree and the system underground are stretched taut and happen to be as strong as good steel wire. Because of their thinness and lack of color, the root-filaments form a web of nearly invisible deathtrap. For this lethal web, the Spider Orchids gained their name. Some savants theorize that the Spider Orchids use their root-webs to kill passing animals and let the blood attract insects, which pollinate the Orchids.
Siren Plant -- by Telgar
The Siren Plant is a deadly thing. Found in the deep jungle, it’s stunning crimson blossoms have been measured at over two yards across. The petals are, on average, three inches thick. The plant gets its name from its pollen, which contains a very potent drug. The drug, Sirensong, induces euphoria and compels anyone affected to seek out more, drawing them closer to the plant. When pressure is applied to the petals of the Siren Plant, they quickly fold up into a leathery prison, which secretes digestive acids while squeezing its prey to death. The stamens of the Siren Plant are covered in a sticky ooze that paralyses the victims so they cannot escape the Siren’s deadly embrace.
Shock-tangles -- by Telgar
Commonly found in swamps of the Southeast, these plants are large leafy spheres about a foot across. They have several tentacle-like extrusions that they dangle either from trees or in water to attract prey. When an animal comes too close, the tentacles whip out, snare the unwary creature and send a powerful jolt of electricity into it. The electrical charge kills most small animals, which are the plant’s preferred food. Against a large animal or human, it can cause unconsciousness, but not death.
Mercury's Blossom -- by CrownedSun
This small yellow blossom grows in large scattered clumps, isolated from each other by many miles in some cases. While the flower itself has few properties, it is widely regarded as a good omen by Mercury, marking a safe or important trail. Often, indeed, if one looks near where a patch of the flower has taken root you will locate some kind of passage or trail -- many travellers swear by them, and always follow the new route revealed to them by the Goddess of Travels. The Chosen of Journeys deny this bit of folklore, noting that peoples propensity to 'look for a trail' whenever they see the yellow flower creates the trails in the first place. None the less, trails revealed by the yellow flower do seem to be safe, and a few Sidereals buy into the folklore as well.
Ironvine -- by CrownedSun
Devilishly common in the environs of the Maruto River, this tough green vine is stronger than most ropes and often used for such a purpose by those in the region. Even once cut, the vine remains alive for years at a time -- maintaining its tensile strength and it's flexibility. Strong enough to hoist heavy loads, its used for all manner of purposes ranging from clothesline to mooring ships. A few enterprising souls in the region have even begun harvesting the vine (with a machete, a tiring job due to the strength of the vine) and trading it to caravans. This trade is likely to be hampered by the fact that the life of the vine is severely lessened away from the River (a few weeks, at best).
Beast of Resplendent Roads -- by Telgar
Giant snail-like creatures, these marvels were engineered by the same Exalts responsible for the creation of the Beasts of Resplendent Liquids. Instead of processing drugs, the Snail Creatures were ment to consume a wide varietiy of objects and materials, blazing a trail across the wilderness of Creation to make way for the roads they create. The slime trails produced by normal slugs and snailes are modififed in these creatures to produce a fast drying cement-like substance that will harden over a period of five hours to form an almost indestructable road wide enough to permit entire caravans to pass without problem. Only two dozen of the so-called "Road Snails" still exist with 7 of them in Guild hands and the rest wandering creation. By nature the road-snails are incredibly lethargic and require little nourishment. Their lairs are often secluded, but always paved with the snail's own slime.
Beast of Wood and Stone -- by Telgar
These huge lizards, sorcerously mutated versions of komodo dragons can eat any material known and digest it into materials which can easily be used for building and other purposes. The products are excreted in normal form and must later be shaped to construction purposes. Few of these beasts still exist as they require vast amounts of resources to survive unless fed certain sorcerous potions reguarly. Without the potions, they strip the land around them bare of nature and replace it with processed and workable material. Many settlements in the Far East and Far South have been built with these mysterious beasts' help.
Black Lotus -- by Telgar
A species of lotus that grows in the Southeastern swamps and streams, this plant has an especially interesting method of spreading. Its seeds grow in a sponge-like pod in the center of the black-petaled blossom. When the plant reaches maturity, the petals are fully extended and begin to absorb sunlight. After they have absorbed enough, the stored heat ignites the central seed pod, which explodes. Small clumps of ash spew from the charred plant, sending out pre-fertilized seeds. If harvested just before it explodes, a black lotus can be consumed by any being able to channel Essence and converted into 10 motes. Eating a black lotus can inflict minor heart burn and in some cases cause a health level of lethal damage if it was harvested too late and explodes inside the stomach.
A mushroom found growing only in circled deep within Eastern forests able to alter the size of those who consume it.
Fire Blossom Petals -- by CrownedSun
Native to the furthest reaches of the South, where the Wyld and the Elemental Fury of the Pole converge, Fire Blossoms are regarded as one of the wonders of the South to all those who see them. They are tiny delicate flowers, with reddish stems and unfolding petals that seem to consist of a flickering sheet of solid flame. Wild beds of Fire Blossoms often grow in distant parts of the South, especially around the shores of the few rare Oasii that lurk that far to the South -- great care is cautioned around such massive growths. While individually, a fire blossom is a bit of a stinging firey pain but easily snuffed (like a match), in large beds they can almost be bonfires. Anyone who falls into a bed of Fire Blossoms takes anywhere from 7L to 15L of fire damage, depending on the size of the bed.
They would be quite rare, except for the popularity they have gained throughout the South -- resulting in their being cultivated by Nobles in Gem, and even along the Inner Sea. Working with Fire Blossoms is quite difficult, however, and requires a good deal of care and practice. In addition, they are just as fertile as any plant and will spread unheeded -- a few small villages have burned to the ground due to careless attempts to cultivate fire blossom. Much of this attention is gained due to the properties of their petals -- when taken from the stem, and cooled with water, the petals become soft and exceedingly delicate folds of red much like any petal. Sun-dried and ground into powder, they serve a few purposes. First, this powder is an exceedingly fine grade of fire dust -- Chiaroscuro maintains a few gardens of Fire Blossoms for this purpose. Second, they are incredibly intoxicating to Fire Elementals and can be used for pacification or various summoning rituals. Lastly, mixed in with a bit of saltwater which is then set to flame, the dust can produce a fire that can last weeks without any further fuel -- once it finally burns out, you then get a small harvest of salt from the water.
Fire Iron -- by CrownedSun
If one searches the South in certain parts of year, during a certain season, one can find places that were once covered in flame during other parts of the year but which are now bare except for black ground, flaking away from creation like burnt flesh from Gaia's bones. The learned know of these places as deposits of Fire Iron, rare in this age due to the difficulties of locating it and mining it. In the First Age, many states on the borders of Creation would specialize in mining such exotic materials, that they could trade them with the states of the Solar Deliberative.
Fire Iron can only be mined with great difficulty, using techniques known only to some few barbarian tribes on the edges of Creation, passed down in oral tradition from father to son. In two of these tribes, the methods are still in use. Youths of the tribe dig into the dark earth of the South during the ordained times of the year, pulling up the burning red ore with heavily padded gloves. Tribal smiths heat the ore, alloy it with regular iron and beat it into fine weapons for the tribe.
Any weapon made from Fire Iron is hot to the touch, inflicting an extra 1L damage from the heat of the iron which is soaked seperately. It can be worked exceedingly easily, coaxed to take a variety of shapes; all craft rolls using Fire Iron gain +3 dice. By itself, the material is somewhat weak and does not hold a shape very well -- if alloyed with iron, however, it creates 'fire steel'; this maintains the other properties of the mateiral, and in addition is unusually strong and tensile, much stronger than steel -- making weapons just as resistant to breaking as Artifact weapons, though it cannot be used for Armor (for hopefully obvious reasons). Magical uses of the ore are even more common, and the material was used quite often in the First Age with Red Jade alloys. A number of Jade Daiklaves that survive from the pre-Shogunate Era example this technique, though they are almost impossible to replicate in these fallen days.
Stun Dragons -- by Telgar
One of the more dangerous inhibitants of Southeastern and Southwestern swamps, Stun Dragons are huge lizards, adult males reaching lengths of 16 feet and weighing several hundred pounds. Strict carnivores, these huge reptiles present such a danger to nearby villages that they are the subjets of near-constant hunting. A Stun Dragon is slow, but its natural armor provides protection equal to the best Superheavy plate. Villagers fear the Stun Dragons not for their formidable armor or weaponry, but for their unique power. A Stun Dragon can inflict crippling mental wounds on their prey with their gaze and overwhelming mental presence. Highly intelligent, Stun Dragons will sit in wait for a victim and then emerge from cover only enough to catch the eyes of the target. When another creature moves in to rescue or dispatch the mentally crippled bait, the Stun Dragon emerges form hiding and quickly devours both victims. It has been whispered that the Stun Dragons may be remnants of the Southern Dragon-Kings, even more degenerate then the Eastern Stalkers of Rathess.
Beast of Immaculate Mining -- by Telgar
Giant rock-skinned badgers created by Southern Exalts in the early First Age, these creatures devour rocks, sand and minerals with a voracious apetite, digest the material and excrete it in purified and seperated piles. It has been thought they may also excrete a liquid form of natural gas. Their urine coagulates into a jelly like substance which can be burned to release the gas. Only three of these creatures remain, feasting on the deserts of the Far South.
Sunspiders -- by Telgar
Tiny and innocent in appearance, Sunspiders are more prized then silkworms and every year hundreds of tribes travel to the deep deserts where the Sunspiders live to gather them for trade in Chairoscuro, Gem, the Lap and other major cities. Sunspiders are small, adult females growing no larger then an inch long from leg tip to leg tip and they have carapaces of a drab orange-mottled brown to blend in with their sandy habitat. After sleeping all day, when dusk falls Sunspiders spin their webs between the thorns of large, water-bearing cacti. They hope to catch the animals that attempt to drink from the inner reserves of their home plant.\\ The unique properties of the Sunspiders, and the origin of their name, becomes obvious only at night when the Sunspiders turn black and their webs come alive with light. While they sleep, Sunspiders absorb the sunlight and store it within their bodies, processing the solar Essence into a material form: their silk. Sunspider webs glow with this stored Essence and can illuminate several square yards with their light, tricking the spider's prey into thinking dawn has come and feeding time has begun.\\ When processed, Sunspider silk is extremely valuable because of its vibrant gold color and the luminence it retains. With only a simple blessing, material made from Sunspider silk will act as strong wards against unclean creatures. Any armor made with Sunspider silk gains an additional 4 soak against attacks made by unclean creatures and should someone improvise a weapon from Sunspider silk, its damage is increased by 2 when used on unclean beings.
War Coral -- by Telgar
Responsible for a number of deaths, War Coral is a rare life form that dwells along the shore of a number oceans. It appears to be normal corral growths that might appear in the area. In reality, War Coral is a Wyld-touched menace. When it senses the approach of a boat or slow-moving animal, the War Coral grows toward the victim in a lightning-fast surge. These coral ‘spears’ are able to pierce wood and flesh easily, skewering the War Coral’s victim. The Coral is actually not attacking, but defending itself, although overzealously. It does not eat, or in any way gain nourishment from the victims it impales, it is trying to prevent them from attacking it. Because of the method of it’s defensive attack, old colonies of War Coral often resemble gigantic sea urchins. War Coral is easily defeated. Once extrusions are separated from the main body of the colony, they are no longer able to draw on conserved energy to accelerate their growth. The colony, once deprived of its attackers, is slow to re-grow new limbs.
Sky Lizard -- by Telgar
Popular as pets and couriers during the first age, these creatures have for the most part gone feral during he Second. Only a few Air-aspected Dragon Bloods train and keep them. They are believed to be related to the flying snakes of the Eastern jungles, being about two to thee feet long and possessed of a 5 foot wingspan. Notable only for their tendril-like beards and their incredible speed, they are rarely hunted or bothered by humans. Sky lizard hides are normally white or blue and hey range across the East and Northeast. Unless provoked, Sky Lizards are not hostile to humans.
- Gargoyles: Tough, stony creatures that are next to invincible against mortals but easily slain by the Exalted.
Neat! Mercury's Blossom is especially cute, but they're all interesting flavor additions to the setting. More please! - Quendalon
It strikes me that Fire Iron (credit to CrownedSun) would actually make excellent armor for fire aspecteed dragonblooded (grappling them just became even more painful). - Rathmun