Saturday Seed ~ 136 (Stormbringer)

This week’s seed is a grisly little item for Stormbringer. It is not much more than a rumor, but deployed skillfully, can twist itself into a long-running quest, full of the ambiguity and mystery for which the Elric saga is famed.

The seed

The seed is nothing more than news that an item known as the Self-Sustaining Blessing exists. Few know of it, but those passing the rumor are among the learned few that do. These small groups of wealthy, powerful, and/or learned men are hoping to secure it for themselves in hopes that they can turn the power of the blessing to their own ends – bettering their position.

Planting the seed

The seed is appropriate for any group of characters, particularly those with goals that seem hopeless. Planting the seed merely requires hearing rumors of the Blessing, or being involved peripherally in the circumspect movements of those seeking it out.

The Details

Depending on your campaign world, various cults and powerful individuals may have gotten wind first that the Blessing exists, and later that it has been stolen from its place of hiding. Quests to obtain it, return it, steal it, and otherwise obtain it or keep it from being obtained will be launched with varying degrees of secrecy.

Over time, the characters will learn a wide variety of lies, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations about the Blessing. No one really knows what it does. Few even know what it looks like. Mentions in story and legend are rare, and of differing details.

The threads that can be spotted running in all the tales and over time may come to ring true is that the Blessing is activated in some way by knowing how to read an ancient runic script, and that is employed to undo great evil.

While this idea could be a single adventure travelling across the Young Kingdoms to track down the thieves and deal with the Blessing as the characters see fit, it has great potential to be a supporting theme in a campaign.

What is going on

As this is Stormbringer, the blessing is not so much a blessing as a terrible curse to cast on someone to the great satisfaction of the caster… at least initially.

The Self-Sustaining Blessing is a small bag of rust-colored powder which when touched by flesh immediately seeps under the skin and forms a spray of rapidly rising boils. These boils will split into gaping, toothed mouths after a few brief moments of seeping pus. The mouths will start the process of consuming the person infected mouthful by tiny mouthful, slowly eating and spreading their way across all surfaces of the body, radiating outward from the initial point of contact.

As the mouths chew, crumbs fall from the rubbery red lips. If these are collected carefully and placed in the bag, the caster need never worry about running out of this cruel powder. The crumbs will seep to the bottom of the bag, decompose and take on the same properties. If no powder remains in the bag, no reaction will take place.

The bag holds 5 pinches of powder. One pinch is enough to consume all but the largest creatures… it just takes time.

The other requirement of the curse is the need for the owner of the bag, identified as the person who holds it and reads the small rune inscribed on the fabric, to share in the feast of flesh. As the mouths churn and chew their way through the victim, the owner’s mouth will fill with morsels of flesh and bone which they must chew and swallow in rhythm with the mouths. Ceasing to eat, will cease the spread of the infection. A long enough delay will cause the mouths to choke on flesh and die, leaving horrific scars behind. This process of choking can take hours and causes raking pain to both the caster and the victim.

If the caster can maintain their resolve and eat what the mouths share of the victim, the entire body will be consumed, leaving only gear and personal effects behind.

While not a blessing in the traditional sense, the full and satisfying vengeance it offers can certainly be seen by some as a blessing….



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