Short Seeds for RPGs – Hippos, Masks and Dire Rats

The wizard Mazzaem kept a diverse menagerie of animals that they used as practice targets for their magical experiments. After Mazzaem was arressted and imprisoned for animal cruelty, the collection ended up at Farnsharp Sanctuary. Most of the animals were suffering from treatable conditions but there was little that could be done for the hippopotamus. The recipient of the most magic, the animal has become inherently magical due to the number of spells cast on it. Though just as intelligent as the rest of her species, Kyou can now cast most low level spells intuitively to solve her needs. Water spells help her swim and ability boosts are used if she feels threatened. Last night thieves broke into the sanctuary looking to steal a prized singing parrot. Kyou killed them all when they wandered into her enclosure, but she has since escaped via the thieves way in.  A hefty reward is offered.

Copy masks are fragile things that only last a few years under careful care. It’s not just their paper construction that fall apart, the duplication spells are unstable and will unwind under stress. When worn the masks let the user access the powers, skills and ever memories of the person the mask represents. The mask are not perfect physical copies of the original face. Instead they are a caricature of appearance, personality and alignment. There is technically no limit to what the masks will allow the wearer to mimic but any effects are fueled by the wearer’s energies. An inexperienced apprentice trying to use a mask of an archmage would quickly find themselves exhausted. The masks creation spell require the presence of the original person but not their cooperation.

Two decades later and Gridda City is still plagued by dire rats. The creatures were unleashed on the city by a besieging army. Lord Arrud, bored after only a week of the siege had the rats snuck into Gridda City’s food stores. With its food stock either eaten or spoiled, Gridda City surrendered but Lord Arrud had no interest in fixing the problems he caused.  The sewers, the basements and even some ground levels of Gridda City are all but abandoned as they aren’t safe from rat attack. Any food brought into the city has to be eaten immediately to avoid it attracting the hungry rodents below. All those with the resources to have left and half the city is now empty and falling into ruin.

Image Credit – Hippo by LongitudeLatitude – CC-BY-2.0