Three More Decanters

Here are three more containers I found images of on various auction sites that look like they should either contain some special sauce, or have some mystical powers associated with them. Conjure waves, grant fiery breath, produce elixirs of water breathing and/or swim speed... 

Vase of Waves
Dragon Pitcher
Sea Horse Flagon


Decanter of the Cloud Dragon

Source culled from G+
This begs to either be made into a bong, or a magic item.

My thought:

When uncorked, it will rapidly vacuum away all mist, fog, clouds, and smoke, including noxious vapors and poisons while breathing out fresh air from the dragon's mouth, maintaining a five meter radius of fresh air around the decanter, save for the gentle vortex drawing down into the top.

While corked, the dragon's mouth will breath forth one of the following when prompted with the correct command word or phrase:

  • A quick burst of pressurized water effective at up to 10 meters: capable of blinding, disorienting, or knocking over an object or foe.
  • A brief, blasting cone of steam, 20 meters long with a 5 meter radius at it's extent, that causes temporary blindness, blistering of exposed skin, and damaging throats and lungs of those caught in the blast.
  • A sudden cloud of obscuring fog about 10 meter radius around the decanter, that can be expanded by 5 meters of radius every minute, up to a maximum 50 meter radius.
  • Creating a cloud bridge, capable of being walked upon. This bridge will only last for about 5-10 minutes
  • Creating a small cloud capable of being traveled on, akin to the divine clouds of chinese myth or a flying carpet for the chinese myth impaired.
This item probably has charges, and if it does, it might be rechargeable, perhaps simply by absorbing clouds or mists, or it may require more effort, filling it with water from a special pool or font, divine liquor, the blood of a cloud dragon, etc...


Xiombaca WiP

As detailed elsewhere, Xiombaca. This is a WiP, started in '92. Yes, some projects move very slowly.


The Hunt

“Hound!” Whipping robes stirred dust as a tall lean mage strode hastily into the weapons hall where the young mute was looking up from his reading, waiting expectantly for orders. “My old enemies have an agent in town again… are you up to another hunt?”

Setting his book aside, the tall youth grinned in affirmation as he stood up. The scant details of his victim’s identity were provided while he donned his heavy cloak, hooked sword to belt, and pulled on his boots. As the patriarch of the guild provided the last of the details, the mute was stepping out the door.

The silent killer stalked the streets, intently seeking the subtle signs of his quarry. For the years preceding his acquisition and training by Master Fraekryss, these hunts were handled by the master himself.  The agents of the dark mages that pursued him were not easy prey for the ill prepared, and the mute knew that his assignment on these missions was a mark of great distinction.

He stopped as he stepped into a large cobbled intersection. A trickling fountain babbled in the center of the circle as the twilight sun left its pale orange signature on the high stone and plaster walls of the buildings, while the cool shadows crept ever upward. The clattering city sounds of a chill fall evening faded as the mute hunter’s senses bent on the identity of his prey. The mark was close.

He quietly made his way down the shadowed road to his right as he loosened his sword in its sheath. His fingertips trailed along the rough stone of the walls as he stalked up the road, his pace slowing as he sensed his quarry close by. He leaned back against the cold stone wall next to a doorway and prepared himself. His senses tuned, he heard through the thick wooden door the unmistakable mutterings of the dark mage’s secret tongue. Steeled to the violence he was about to commit, he slowly pulled his sword free.

In one motion he stepped into the doorway and threw his weight at the door, causing it to shatter off its hinges, exploding inward. He stepped in and saw not one but two shrouded mages look up alertly from their huddle over a glowing crystal ball on a table askew with scrolls and books. The intruder silently cursed at the unexpected double threat as he continued into the room toward the mages, who straightened and began to chant.

Taking the hefty sword in a double handed grip, the stoic swordsman swung it backhanded in a giant arc, bringing it up into the nearest mage’s groin.  Bone, cloth, and tissue rent as the mightily swung blade tore up through the torso of the mage, finally swinging free of flesh as the blade cleaved the breast bone of its victim. The assassin’s stroke continued fluidly as he spun to face the other mage, the graceful arc of his sword spraying a trail of blood across ceiling and walls.

The dark, bloodshot eyes of the remaining mage fixed intently on the killer’s as his chanting stopped, and a burning surge of energy tore into the warrior’s body, followed by an explosive blast of fire. The mage laughed in triumph as the room filled with smoke and the wreak of seared flesh, but his cackle was cut short as the warrior emerged from the smoke and vapor, bloody sword arcing toward a shocked face.


A Little More Pentimo

As the 'default' rules stand, placing a Quint (5 of the same) or an Ouroboros entitles you to play again. With a one-tile (small) hand, making a strategic play with only one tile is functionally impossible.

Optionally, one could draw a second tile before placing the Quint or Ouroboros, but that seems clunky, and reduces one's time to plot or anticipate.

A two-tile (small) hand solves that problem, and introduces a modicum of strategy for all moves by giving more options for scoring potential, and increases the penalty for loss (by roughly doubling the unspent pips in hand).

I think a three-tile hand is too large, but I haven't had a chance to gauge the two-tile hand yet, let alone three, so that is where it is at now.


Pentimo Playtesting

This first image is from a 'large hand' (5 tiles) playtest. With so many Pents in the hand, it was easy to make optimal plays at every turn. Only late in the game did it start to become challenging as the tile selection waned, but even so, it was a fairly flat experience, in my opinion.

 This next image is the conclusion of a 'very small hand' (1 tile) playtest. There was always a valid move, it's unlikely there would not be, but the emphasis focused more on extracting maximum point value from each hand, and trying to limit the opponents scoring options on their move. This was a more thoughtful game, and probably the shape of things to come. I think maybe two or three tiles is about as large a hand as is reasonable before it suffers the same flat challenge as the larger hand..

Another rule adaption made, the Ouroborus are still wild, but can only be played out of the hand, not built upon or stolen.

Things are coming along nicely, going to have at least one solid ruleset written up soon (in my time, that means within a year...)


Pool of Wonders

Herein I play with a 'bullet point room presentation' technique I had suggested in a recent G+ discussion:
  • A natural cavern of irregular shape, roughly 20' e-w, 30' n-s.
  • 2 Exits, S and NW
  • In the NE Corner: A pool about 10' across and several feet deep has formed in a depression.
  • Irregular, natural ceiling is up to 20' high with small colorful stalactites dripping into the pool.
  • The bottom of the pool is stained in brightly colored strata, the water appears to be clear and smells faintly metallic.
In total darkness, the colored stalactites the bottom of the pool glow softly, but inadequate as a light source. The pool is filled with a mix of water and other runoff from a lab or storage area someplace above, and drinking from the pool will cause a random effect.


Snail Maids


From the waist up, snail-maids have the appearance of a humanoid women with attractive features, while the lower body is that of an enormous snail, complete with shell. Snail-maids tend to have tawny to pinkish skin tones with a sheath of thick, textured, darkened skin in place of plaits of hair. Their lower body is usually slightly darker, with the frill of the foot being slightly more colorful, often with hints of red or yellow. Their shells are usually yellow to brown, sometimes with dark mottling.

Lacking bone structure, they are able to change the size and morphology of their body from that of a true snail to their preferred womanly aspect. Snail-maids have some chromatic and textural control of their soft-tissue similar to octopi. The slit containing their genitals and love-dart are housed in a location corresponding to genitals on the human torso, which is also where the 'foot' of their snail body begins. The foot's frill, when they 'stand upright' resembles the ruffled front on a dress, or grossly exaggerated female genitalia.


The snail-maid is a highly evolved form of hermaphroditic gastropod, living principally in temperate rain forests. Snail-maids have human-like intellect and life-spans, living alone in simple shelters built from natural materials. They are principally herbivorous gatherers, maintaining territory for growing and collecting their preferred foods, including leaves, bark, nuts and berries. They have a particular weakness for calcium rich stones, needed for strong shells. Territories are marked with pheromones and carved or painted markings on trees and stones. They make and use simple tools, traps, and fire. They may have access to shamanic or natural magics.

Young snail-maids or those that have lost their territory may wander searching for a suitable new home. In such situations, battles over a territory may occur, which are similar, if not identical to mating duels, as the typical result of such a duel is the impregnation of the loser. Snail-maids that inter-breed produce only giant snails of limited intellect and no ability to assume a humanoid shape. Those clutches are laid in damp soil while wandering in search of a new home. No sensible snail-maid wants to be burdened with such dim creatures in her territory.

The notorious 'love dart'.
Such shameful breeding gives a snail-maid a strong biological drive to produce 'true' snail-maid spawn, making dispossessed snail-maids particularly dangerous to humanoid males:

 If, before settling into a new territory, a snail-maid discovers a suitable humanoid male mate and incubator, they will stalk them, possibly setting an ambush or luring them away from others and deep into the woods using their comely appearance and intoxicating pheromones. Once safely alone, they beguile them into their arms, kissing them deeply, overwhelming their senses with the chemicals in their skin and saliva. The snail-maid then copulates with their drugged victim at length to fertilize her eggs*, which are then injected into the incoherent man's pelvic cavity using her love-dart.

Victims normally awake disoriented in an isolated, serene woodland locale; their clothing in disarray, tenderness in the loins, and a lingering recollection of a wonderful encounter with a beautiful woman. Men so affected normally become obsessed with finding the woman, wandering the forest desperately as they experience chemical withdrawal symptoms, while the tenderness in their abdomen increases. After several weeks of aimless wandering, they collapse from exhaustion and expire, allowing the maturing clutch of snail-maids to hatch, consuming the man's body as they emerge and begin to forage for more food. Once they have grown sufficiently, the snail-maid young migrate in search of their own ideal territory.

10.5.2013 Update

Snail-maids travel no faster than a typical human's walking speed, and can maintain that speed at length. They are able to ascend sheer or inverted surfaces with modest effort. Snail-maids are not susceptible to salts.

Snail-maids often have traps around the perimeter of their territory, and hide or disguise their home to avoid detection. They will use their natural camouflage and mobility to remain hidden while observing intruders. If forced to attack, they prefer ranged combat, and are often adept with small bows or atlatls. If they deem intruders to be no threat, snail-maids may communicate with intruders. They are able to communicate with other snail-maids, woodland creatures, and speak one or more of the languages of their humanoid 'father'.

* To be clear, the humanoid incubator is not a biological father, perse. Their seminal contribution is critical to the process, but the snail-maid actually self-fertilizes her eggs, using the humanoid contribution to modify her own seminal fluids appropriately.


Mystic Hot Plate


A volcanic stone slab shaped and sized to accommodate one or more cooking pots. The simplest are squares or circles about one foot across and several inches thick, ranging up to about three feet across and six inches thick. Other shapes and sizes are possible but rare. The upper surface of the stone is engraved with meticulous channels forming labyrinthine patterns of symbols and line work, inlaid with metal. At some point along the perimeter of the glyphs and lines is a small circular depression designed to accommodate a power stone. 


The hot plate is activated by placing a charged power stone in the receptacle. The power flows out and traces through the pattern heating the stone slab to a temperature suitable for heating or cooking (like an electric hot plate or cup warmer). The temperature is determined on each slab according to the symbols and density of line work. The active cook time is determined by the potency of the power stone used.

These plates are uncommon, and typically made to be used in environments where fire is impractical or dangerous. They were undoubtedly first made eons ago by Dwarves to use for cooking in the deep warrens of their mines and caverns where both fuel and oxygen are rare enough to warrant such a device. These devices have become popular gets for well heeled crews of sailing vessels of sea or sky, adventurers, and anybody with resources and a taste for such luxuries.


These items are typically produced by stone shapers of considerable savantry who meticulously create the patterns and inlay it with the proper alloys while stitching subtle elemental anima into the metals to properly conduct the energies of the power stone.
The power stones used must be properly attuned to the plate or it will not activate at all, rarely shattering either or both the stone and plate.

The charging of power stones is another matter entirely.


Elemental Axes

The alchemical symbols of the four elements: earth, water, air, fire.
The underlying assumptions of many magic systems stem from the ancient philosophy of the four elements: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Sometimes, you find those stark elemental hues blended into half-tones (Mist, Mud, Magma, and Smoke), or even smeared into chromatic gradients of varying magnitude like colors on a wheel. That array of elements can be imagined as occupying a single plane defined by the X and Y axes, if you are into the geometry of things. A relatively recent addition to this arrangement is a Z axis, where authors and creators have place the dark and the light hues of Life and Death, or positive and negative energy, or whatever other labels have been slapped onto the concepts, like so many port-of-call stickers on an old-fashioned steamer trunk.

Applying that to my setting:

The Enfae dreams are parallel realms arrayed along that Z axis. The Enfae's native realm is closer to the white-anima realm of life-force than the principle realm of the setting. Because of that proximity, the Enfae (and most fae beings) have strong affinity to the forces of life, while at the same time, their ability to transit through realms along the Z axis also reveal a potent affinity. Their ability to transcend realms in that axis strongly polarized the fae, making the ability to manipulate or control the more conventional elemental energies difficult if not impossible. While the Titan and their minions had strong elemental mastery in that aforementioned XY plane, but lacked any affinity on that Z axis.

So what does all that mean? 

Not a goddamn thing... just another way of looking at things, or more to the point, how I tend to look at them.


A Not So Chance Encounter

A chill was settling in as the heat of the day wafted off the streets.  The yellow haired boy was off again in search of a cloak or blanket to wrap about him to fend off the sea air’s nightly chill.  He cautioned himself not to wear such a pilfered wrap in public again, lest a replay of the days events unfold again.  Even with the natural smoothness he inherited from his now jailed charlatan father and dead gypsy mother, he would not be able to escape from many more such entanglements.

His movements took him towards the docks, where it occurred to him a less distinct class of wrap might be found hanging from a balcony or inside a loose door.  It was, he reminded himself, his expensive tastes that made his last acquisition so easy to pick out on his back. As he rounded a corner of a narrow alley, he was knocked to the ground as the weighty mass of a drunk and overdressed merchant was hurled onto him.

The well to do merchant was pounced on be three thugs, crushing the wind from the boy under him. The ample man pleaded with the tuffs to take his purse and jewelry, and leave him be, but that only invoked a menacing cackle from the men as they dragged him up off the boy and pinned him to the wall. Hysterical pleadings went on deaf ears as the men stripped purse and finery off the swilled man, chiding him for his foolishness all the while.

As he lay stunned, the boy planned to stay still and act dazed, hoping for nothing more than a once over for coin, but the pain of air back in his lungs belied him, and he coughed and gasped as he regained his breath. The startled thugs spun, having almost not noticed the child in their eagerness to deal with the merchant.

“Wat are we gonna do wit’im?” one of the grimy men questioned in alarm.

“Grab ’im up, we’ll take ‘im back with us,” replied one.

“Wat! Are you mad? We're gettin’ paid to kill this guy, I don’ wanna be takin’ off with no squeal!” the third barked.

The merchant started to struggle in earnest at the careless announcement, causing the last speaker to draw out a small knife and slit the overdressed man’s throat as he stuffed a dirty rag violently into his mouth.

The boy was grabbed up fiercely by another of the tuffs and spun around just as the sound of a cracking skull resonated in the narrow alley. A thug’s shout of surprise was cut short by the shattering of his teeth and bone as the boy was dropped back to the ground, only to be followed down by the man who had snatched him up in the first place, as the headless haft of an ax crushed the vertebrae of the man’s neck.

The boy, unharmed but shaken, looked up in mixed terror and hope at a young man holding a bloody and unfinished tool, who was extending his hand in friendship, offering to help him to his feet.


Gnomes and Goblins... the Fallen Fae

Eons ago, when Anderth was only one of many pearls in the string of worlds moulded and patrolled by the legions of Titan and contested by the Enfae, great changes took shape that would destroy two empires, and condemn the victors to live in the dwindling shadow of their greatness:

The Enfae'Envorae were a noble race, brilliant, ambitious, and masters of anima and attuned to flora and fauna. Their mercurial nature allowed them to live without end, adapt to their environments by changing their physiology, and manipulate the minds and natures of other living things. Their perception was so keen they could sense the ley-lines that separated parallel worlds they called dreams, and their mastery of body and mind was so great they could pass through the dream between dreams or into those other worlds. They discovered seven dreams, named them, and assigned purpose to each. From their native dream, basked in the potent glow of life; to the darkest, thick with the miasma of black anima, where they condemned the darkest fiends, both criminals of their own brood, rare as they were, and the failed and miserable results of their experiments manipulating the forces of life.

Eventually, they looked to the sky. Their greatest minds could sense the anima on the spheres of the heavens, across the expanses of the deep void, and their curiosity compelled them to reach those places. They postulated that those distant worlds could be reached by traveling across the expanse while in the dream between dreams, or the deep veil as they called it... and so they crafted great ships rigged with sails that caught the dream wind to propel them across the timeless void to reach those living things that sang out to them in the night.

Time passed, a flicker or an age - the minds of the eternal did not notice, and the Enfae explorers reached a distant world where strange things lived around and amongst the ruins of an ancient race. In those ruins they found something for which they had no immediate understanding. Outwardly it appeared to be a freestanding doorway constructed of a black stone or metal of a type they could not describe. It was inlaid with symbols, it's posts slanted at unseemly angles, and the lintel across the top appeared balanced precariously between the posts. The Enfae's great minds saw other things however, not in the dreams they understood, but in a space outside of space, not of their dreams. Turning circles like cogs, energy of a sort they could not manipulate or precisely fathom, pulsed and slowly churned in the space around the doorway, and whispering into the depths of space. They studied this new puzzle, and together with the clues found in the ruins, eventually decoded its primary functions, but failed to discover the dark secret that would befoul the Enfae forever.

Having learned all they required of the nature and construction of the black gate, the explorers returned to their home as another eon passed. They shared the knowledge of the black gate, and built their own portal in the fifth dream of their home world, for the portal was attuned to the fifth dream alone. When the ley-lines of the black gates aligned, the Enfae activated their portal, and created a bridge between the gates that did not take an eon to transit, but a moment. And as both portals slipped from alignment, and then aligned to others in turn, the Enfae learned that the lost race of that ruined world had built black gates across many worlds... and the universe opened like a flower at the dawn of a new age.

The last of the of the lost race was stored in the portals they had called Soul Gates, and it was their hope that someday, the gate would be discovered and used. And so the preserved minds of the lost race came to share the minds of the ancient Enfae who carelessly passed through the portal. Those lost entities began to manifest in their hosts as lust for power, corruption, and avarice. When only a few worlds had been rediscovered by the Enfae, a long and bloody civil war broke out pitting the possessed and their minions against the traditionalists. It was eventually won, but it's hard to say who the victor was: Lust for power and fear of betrayal motivated the Enfae ever onward; had they lost or simply become like their foes?

To avoid the risk of future Enfae explorers becoming corrupted by alien influence, or discovering some way to threaten the balance of the now militarized empire, the Enfae used their power of nature to form a sub-Enfae species, nearly identical to them in every way, lacking perception of all seven dreams, barely able to manipulate mind and nature, but most critically lacking the rejuvenating powers that allowed the Enfae to remain eternally ageless. These second-class beings were named Elvorae. The Elvorae were deployed from world to world, adapting themselves to local conditions, bending indigenous life to their truncated though still potent wills, enslaving entire planets and sending the spoils to the Enfae home.

The Enfae overseers continued to study the portals and their capabilities. They discovered how the lost race possessed the minds of the early explorers. They found functions that could manipulate the physiology of travelers. Even functions deemed forbidden that could bend time and probability to twist or unravel reality. Enfae overseers, commanders, technicians and other imperial envoys began once again using the portals, though not without much concern and oversight. New portals were built and more connections were discovered as expansion continued. Then a powerful new empire was discovered who were using similar portal technology to tack across the universe. Neither empire thought to parley, for both believed themselves superior, dominating every species they encountered... And so began the Enfae-Titan War.

The war raged for ages. The Enfae manipulated the minds of their foes, but the Titan legions manipulated the physical world and it's elements. Where the Enfae would manipulate perception and gain the initiative, deciding battles against the fodder the Titans deployed, the Titan and the Giants, their elite troops, would turn the world against their foes, driving winds, hail, and lightning would rain down on their foes, fiery stones and magma would erupt about them, and the ground itself would swallow up entire armies of Elvorae and those poor beings bent to their will. The Giants outmatched the Elvorae at every turn, eventually forcing the Enfae into battle to best the giants with dream shifting assaults and perception clouding cunning, but then the Titans themselves entered the fray, and they were more than a match for the Enfae.

Knowing the war would be lost in time, and fearing the Titan would eventually find and attack their home, the Enfae overseers embarked on a mission to manipulate their own natures to assume the elemental mastery of the Titan legions. Captured giant were manipulated with the combined power of the Enfae and the black gates, and after much trial and grizzly error, they successfully fused Enfae and Titan powers in their Giant test subjects. They extracted the stabilized essence from the Fae-Giant hybrids, and refined it into an essence suitable for enhancing the Enfae.

In their lust for power and abject fear, the overseers of the Enfae not only infused themselves with the Fae-Giant essence, but they manipulated the forbidden functions of the black gates to bend the flow of time and infuse all living Enfae who had ever traveled via the black gates (mainly the overseer and soldier castes) with that hybrid essence. The Elvorae were not affected however, as they were not truly Enfae. The newly empowered Enfae elite troops, or Gnuae'Moblae, as they came to call themselves, held themselves as gods among the Enfae, and with their powers, turned the tide of the war and put the Titan legions on the defense, slowly driving them from contested worlds.

As the war was finally turning to favor the Enfae, the enhanced and still captive giants, imprisoned in the sixth dream began to change and corrupt as their polarized essence began to fray and tear. While the Gnuae'Moblae were winning battles in contested worlds, the overseers were trying to stabilize their slowly corrupting physiologies. Because of the processes used, and the forbidden functions of the black gate, the corruption defied Enfae regenerative abilities. Unable to either reverse or halt the process, they infused other strains of Enfae essence into their own, using the same forbidden gate functions, slowing the corruption while progressively diluting their essence.

The overseers eventually thought to use this problem against the Titans, hacked a captured Titan portal, and used it to corrupt the Giant troops of Titan using the forbidden functions of the black gates. The Titan legions fell into disarray as their primary troops were felled by physical disfigurement and rapid decay of their natural powers. The Titan secured their portal network against future assaults of that nature, but the damage was already done and the war was soon lost. Sadly, for the Gnuae'Moblae, victory was fleeting.

While the domestic castes of the Enfae Empire remained uncorrupted at home, the military and technical castes continued their decline. The technical castes of the Enfae were eventually able to stabilize the reaction with cross-infusions of Elvorae essence.. The remaining Gnuae'Moblae castes were unable to stabilize as further efforts ceased to have noticable affect. The chief overseer attempted one last dramatic gate operation, which not only finally and irrevocably sealed the Gnuae'Moblae fate, but caused widespread continuity shifts in the Enfae gate network, laying the foundation for the cosmos as it is now.

Those fully corrupted Gnuae'Moblae are, in their twisted and coarse mouths, now known as Gyo-blunn or Goblin. Their ancestral Enfae castes helped determined their goblin kind, by strength and stature. The few original Gnuae'Moblae are still immortal and possess many of their abilities, but over the eons most have died. Those left are revered as gods by common goblin kind. Their goblin descendants are short lived and have little ability either Fae or Titan in nature. The old Gnuae'Moblae god-king of the goblins dwells in the shadow dream of the Enfae still, where he holds court in a palace surrounded by an enormous briar maze. To this day, he searches for a way to become Enfae once again and return his long lost home.

The Enfae caste who were able to stabilize the degeneration came to call themselves the Gnyomen, or Gnomes. They are a somber lot with sardonic humor. While there are a few immortal elders left, most descendants are still long lived. Gnomes that live deep in the earth tend to be more attuned to their lingering titan essences, while those in the wilderness are far more attuned to the Fae powers of the living world. All gnomes capable of bending the will and perception of the weak minded. Most gnomes know the dark secret of how they came to be and are humbled, if not bitter, for it.


Hexagonal Cities:

Here is another massive image dump, This one is hexagon themed city planning and architecture:

I will start out with a hexagonal pyramid/temple complex I designed a long time ago and recently modeled in Sketchup.  It isn't a photo-quality render, but its modeled with some attention for exterior details, such as individual steps. The overall structure is about 360 feet high, and there are a few human cutouts on there to give it some scale. Look close!

The rest of these are historical record images I have acquired from around the internet as inspiration. I never had any intention of sharing these, so I never bothered to keep track of the sources. As always, I will gladly include attributions or delete images upon request. 

Sorry for the lack of commentary, but I don't have anything to add.


More Black Anima

Black Anima is energy steeped in demise... As the lighter anima are manifestations of life force, black anima is the antithesis of that. In the larger scheme of cyclical birth and death, black anima is the remains of life that lingered and either refused, or were bound from cycling back into the God-Wall, the font of all things from which all life energy emerges and returns. Life-force so denied, or otherwise corrupted, becomes a strange and erratic force, filled with loathing toward the living, a desire to consume the life forces of things still alight with anima, to absorb it as a tantalizing taste of life departed, and/or destroy that living spark to quell the agony of the soul that the living induce upon those denied rest. Those sentient things animated through the auspice of black anima rarely opine on their moods and motivations, and the few who have are typically ones who sought the power and longevity black anima grants; so their testimony is clouded by their own corruptions and motivations. Just so, they present little consensus and cannot be relied upon to speak for the hateful motivations of lesser abominations bound with black anima.

Some things that thrive in rot and decay can become saturated in black anima, and it can be harvested from such things... the most common source of black anima to be so harvested are fungi that grow in dark and rotten bogs or upon corpses, but it can also accumulates in things that feed for prolonged periods on carrion, rot, and decay. Aquatic bottom feeders, rodents, and many vermin accumulate black anima over time, although harvesting black anima from things is normally impractical. These absorbers of black anima often are transformed over time into dark things, and this is the true source for many strange abominations that lurk in the remote and dark bogs, crypts, and caverns. Malevolent oozes, slimes, and fungi; aquatic monstrosities, strange vermin and carrion beasts; all often blamed on mad wizards, but most all have been borne out of humble creatures corrupted by black anima.
I see correlations between black anima as a magical concept, and petroleum... both are created through a corrupted or incomplete decomposition process that forces the stored energies of the source material to be transformed instead, as a toxic corruption of what it began as.


Xiombaca and the Garden of Thorns

Xiombaca and the Garden of Thorns...
The x, pronounced as a nearly silent z, EYE-ohm-Bah-kah.

She is an ancient manifestation of chaos; destruction through rampant, unbridled creation. Typically, as in this decaying sketch, she is depicted nude on a throne, her true face disguised in her own growth as false faces both beautiful and grotesque manifest about her true face. She is crowned with a halo of thorns, and is adorned only in the thorny vines that grow from her womb, engulfing her throne and court, choking and destroying all around her.

Her throne is made of suffering, depicted as men or angels bent into subservience at her whim to provide comfort at their own expense, as Xiombaca's garden of destruction wraps and racks their bodies with pain.

The vines as depicted are both emerging and entering, aspects of both the intrusive and expulsive acts of procreation, but thorned as they are, demonstrate the wound of sundered purity, the violence of rape, and the pain of birth; all made grizzly and undeniable. She is a twisted and dark fertility goddess, a furrow in which only ill seed grows.


Soviet Architectural Dreams

I have collected some interesting images from around the web over the years, and keep them around for inspiration. I have just moved most of those to Picasa and off my PC, and now that they are in the cloud, I thought I would share them here as well:

I am not going to even try to attribute these images, but I believe these are various concept drawings of proposed urban glory projects of the Soviet Union. I apologize for the wall of images; it's a pet peeve of mine, but I have nothing to say or add to the images, and so unfortunately, must simply provide them as is.