Thursday, September 22, 2016

Once Human

Humanity, too, has been changed. The changes are widespread, and the causes have been difficult to determine and impossible to reverse. These changes have caused more dread and anxiety among humanity than all the other monsters combined.

Zombies (aka shadows, echoes, hollows, or blanks) are those whose conscious minds seem somehow to have “burnt out.” Zombies will maintain basic instincts, behaviors, and powerful habits, but nothing complex. They are often seen wandering in groups, moving away from danger, towards food and warmth. They do react with some intelligence towards their environment, for example, taking shelter from rain. In green zones, zombies usually survive about four months, or until winter, whichever comes first. What turns people into zombies remains a total mystery, but the phenomenon is global and constant.

Ghouls are habitual cannibals that have fallen prey to a mysterious disease, warping their features, and rendering them obligate carnivores. Their jaws lengthen, forming a short muzzle, their backs hunch, and their eyes become highly sensitive too light, forcing a nocturnal lifestyle. The disease is passed from mother to child, with affected children having all the associated changes at birth. Such children are perfectly healthy, but must suckle on blood to survive until they can handle solid food. The most popular hypothesis is that the changes are caused by prions, much like kuru, but gathering enough samples to test it has proven difficult and dangerous.

Transplants are intelligent, well-educated, and rarely with a previous history of mental illness. Every so often, these sorts of people become possessed with a powerful new drive, pushing them to abandon any previous responsibilities and delve deeply into historical, archeological, or paleontological mysteries. This lasts from five to ten years, at the end of which their old personality returns, with no memory of what had happened or why. Its cause is unknown: it is associated with a distinct pattern of neurological changes, but they seem caused by the illness instead of vice-versa.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Giant Insects Brought to Heel by Clockwork and Spikes

On display now next to the grand pavilion, the greatest insects of our world, tamed for your use by our fine clockwork!

Our insects may be large, but they will not act against their programs, guaranteed. A permanent spike destroys the escape reflex and anchors the rest of the mechanism, the remaining spikes pithing the beast in accordance with their punch-card program or your on-the-spot instructions. As sections of its nervous system are disabled and reactivated it will carry out its instructions exactly.

The NYMPH! The nymph provides a smooth seat for its rider even as it strides upon the very water! Mirror striders possess a speed and ease boats can never attain. The perfect gift for an avid fisherman.

The WEAVER! The source of that fine, inexpensive spider-silk clothing you are wearing! Just like an auto-loom, a weaver can be programmed to create any number of patterns, and don't worry, as frightening as a giant spider can be, all ours are de-fanged and non-venomous.

The DREADNOUGHT! You can enjoy the height of opulence and look out on the countryside from a luxurious howdah! An elephant beetle makes a fine platform for sightseeing, picnicking, hunting, and for our military patrons, sharpshooting and even light artillery!

The DRAGON! You'll have the best of views, safe in the grasp of the legs of one of our great dragonflies! The glass dragonflies of the south are unparalleled in their aerial agility, coursing powerfully forward, darting to and fro, or hovering in place.

The CARAVAN! The steadfast companion of every merchant! The long, sturdy millstone millipedes are capable of carrying as much cargo as three wagons, but with no need for roads. Know that your valuable cargo is safe, for nothing with this many legs will trip!