Useful Exotics

   I’ve never quite understood why virtually every exotic creature or plant in any game setting seems to be implacably hostile; where are the useful, friendly, or at least benign ones?

   Well, at least a few of them are hiding out here. While this particular list was originally created for Rifts, it should require little or no adaption to use in other settings and systems: most of these creatures and plants – as noncombatants – have few game mechanics to convert in any case. The organic power armor described at the bottom is an exception, but the general idea should be clear enough.

   Where there are mechanics, it should suffice – even for those unfamiliar with Rifts – to note that “MDC” = tank- and castle-style durability, a hundred times the base damage scale. “SDC” and “Hit Points” = normal human-and animal-scale durability. ISP = Inner Strength Points, a reserve for running mental powers and PPE = Potential Psychic Energy or “Spell Points”.

   Please don’t mind any oddities: the original file is very old and the conversion program occasionally throws them up.

   Tholian Ironwood: This slow-growing tree produces a rather bitter fruit which makes good preserves (very rich in iron and vitamin c), but its most notable special adaption is simply that its wood is a natural MDC material – about as dense and tough as the better MDC plastics – and is thus incredibly resistant to blows, energy, and explosions. It can, however, be slowly abraded and shaped with SDC tools, much like jade or “earthly” ironwood. Once completed, ironwood items should be varnished or treated with a good wood sealant to prevent decay and further abrasion. While ironwood will burn, it generally takes days or weeks of exposure to high-intensity flame to ignite it. Once ignited, however, it is equally difficult to extinguish and produces a dull red heat similar to a normal ember, burning away at a rate of about a quarter of an inch per year. This makes it very popular in the colder areas of the world – and with cooks.

   Glow-Puffs: These dark green spheres are so light that they easily drift on the wind – although they are tougher then they look (about 20 SDC damage to break). They usually range from about three inches to six feet across. Larger glow-puffs will be filled with smaller ones which, in bigger specimens, may have even smaller ones inside them. Glow-Puffs are notable because they re-radiate a portion of the sunlight they absorb during the day during the night, shedding a lovely green-gold light. A single glow-puff suffices to illuminate a radius of 3 to 30 feet depending on its size. Unfortunately, such illumination isn’t true sunlight, but it is closely enough related to make vampires and similar daylight-sensitive creatures hesitate about entering the illuminated area for ID6 rounds.

   Ling Beetles; These large (around 6 inches long), colorful, scarab-like beetles are notable because they are natural empaths – both receiving and transmitting. They’re about as intelligent as a dog, and are easily “domesticated” by anyone who has a pleasant, upbeat, personality and who really wants to be friendly. Nasty or hostile people will probably never see one. In “captivity” ling beetles are friendly, soothing, cheering, and usually rather overfed. They’re also capable of creating a full-scale empathic transmission (a blast of raw emotion which can overwhelm the weak-willed) up to three times an hour, and will often do so to aid or protect their friends. Ling beetles have a MDC of 1D4, eat leaves and fruit (and sweets of all sorts as pets), and can pinch for one point of SDC damage if annoyed (E.G. if accidently stepped on. Doing so, or simply intending to do so, on purpose, is quite another matter). Ling beetles will rarely “accompany” adventurers for long. There’s just too much hostility.

   Challan Bush: A short, fat, bush with bluish oily-looking leaves, notable simply because it’s resin makes a superb varnish and MDC glue. It’s soluble in warm alcohol, but otherwise is pretty much impervious to other chemicals, scratches, and similar minor insults.

   Inferno Tree: These trees are extremely dangerous to have around. While their bark is tough. virtually fireproof, and an extremely good insulator, their wood is balsa-like, and their sap is every bit as inflammable as rocket fuel. In fact, it can be used as rocket fuel with minimal filtering. It can also be cut with water for use as a motor fuel, jelled as napalm/plasma, mixed with fine sawdust and used as a plastic explosive, crystalized into an extremely powerful explosive – or gasified and used for lighting, welding, and cooking. The wood can be cut into thin strips and used as long-burning flares, firestarters, and torches. While usually propagated by runners and cuttings, lightning, or a forest fire, can “set one off” in an explosion that inflicts tremendous (up to 5D6x20 MDC) damage on everything within a hundred yards radius – and will, incidently, hurl the seeds stored within the trunk many, many, miles. Some will be hurled into the freshly-cleared ground, to start up a new grove of inferno trees.

   Kathrin’s Flax; Like the leaves of a conventional flax plant, the long, narrow, leaves of this plant are reinforced with tough fibers, suitable for spinning – but in this case they happen to be MDC fibers and can be made into MDC thread, cloth, rope, and resin composites. This is especially handy because, while such cloth only offers 4-10 points of MDC “armor”, under normal conditions it will never wear out. It may need cleaning, fresh dye, or re-waterproofing, but clothing, work gloves, friction belts, curtains, or bicycle tires made from Kathrin’s Flax will last for decades.

   Toywood: This broad, low, tree slowly shifts it’s leaves to face the sun. It’s wood is similar to pine, but is notable for it’s sensitivity to psychic energy. While fresh, it will twist, flex, and move in response to someone concentrating on it. Dry, it will no longer bend, but it will still “telekinetically” respond to anyone who concentrates upon it – especially if they have ISP to expend. Toys (puppets especially) are a major use, and can also be used to sort out children with high psionic potential – but mentally-controlled switches are a minor one and even those with minor psi-talents can use items like ISP-powered wheelchairs, potter’s wheels, and lathes. High-powered items, such as plows, electrical generators, and flight-harnesses, are usually limited to major or master psionics. While the tree itself has a simple “nervous system”, it’s only about as complex as an insects. It can pull away from threats, reach for water and fertilizer, turn towards the sun, and so on, but it isn’t sentient. Toywood also makes good target-shooting arrows, but most sentient targets don’t want to get hit – and thus tend to turn the shafts away (nice try guys). On the other hand, with proper jointing, it makes a good prosthetic limb.

   Glowvine: This curious creeper actually thrives on radiation, as most plants thrive on sunlight. To this end it concentrates radioactives in it’s tissues, and hence is virulently poisonous. It’s distinguished by it’s blue cherenkov glow (the berries are especially bright). While it still requires light, water, and soil, Glowvine can get along on a lot less then most plants can as long as radioactives are present. It’s useful in many ways; it scavenges radioactives which would otherwise leach into the general environment, it’s very good at containing and shielding radiation sources, and it provides an easy way to gather radioactive materials; simply extract the metal grains from the berries.

   Scaly Oak: A definite misnomer, as the plant isn’t related to any earthly oak – although the leaves and the overall “look” show definite similarities. This plant protects itself by extracting metals from the rock and soil it grows in and secreting them in veins and nodules throughout it’s tissues. While tough, the tree is only an SDC structure, and a few minutes work with a vibroblade (or an hour or two with a crowbar and hacksaw), can result in a fair harvest of metal and some spectacular pieces of wood. The exact appearance and alloy depend on the local soil. The tree grows best in metal-rich soil or along ore veins, and can be “harvested” once a year or so without serious harm. It’s not the fastest way to extract metals, but it is dependable, low cost, and requires relatively little effort. Secondarily, the wood makes lovely, unique, carvings and panels.

   Glitternode: A relative of the Scaly Oak (above), this tree secrets silicon, rather then metal, nodules. While most of the nodules are “merely” electrical and/or electronic-quality crystals, about 10% show energy-refractive properties. Properly cut, such crystals can be used to focus energy into tight beams and/or to accumulate it – releasing a portion of their accumulation when electrically stimulated (a piezoelectric effect). Such crystals can be used to construct fairly powerful energy weapons – although firing them at a Glitternode is a definite error.

   Paper Tree: A result of genetic engineering, this plant grows a thin, tough, wooden core, and then grows a spiral layer of smooth “bark” around it. Once cut and dried. the “bark” can be peeled off the roil as a long coil of fine, tough, white, paper. This can be used as-is, treated with alcohol to loosen the fibers (for use as “paper towels” or to make cardboard and such), or impregnated with resin to make laminates (transparent or not depending on the resin or plastic used). It grows very quickly and tolerates a wide range of conditions.

   Pikan Airwood: This curious tree can be full-grown in about a month, mostly because the wood is primarily made of air. It’s an aerojel infiltrated and enclosed by a network of fine fibers. The stuff is primarily an airplant, grows at an incredible rate (several feet per day), and falls apart into nothing just as readily. If carefully cut, treated, and sealed immediately, it’s about as tough and strong as pine – and weighs virtually nothing. Unfortunately, if it takes any serious damage it will crumble away in a week or two, and there’s not much to be done about it once the process starts.

   Oil Cactus: Apparently from a world with extremely long, dark, winters, this cactus-like succulent stores up energy as a thick and waxy oil. The stuff is edible, and has a “nutty” flavor, but its primary use is as a substitute for petroleum products. It can be converted into a variety of plastics, lubricants, waxes, resins, and polishes with relative ease.

   Heaven Thorn: This banyan-like tree is definitely a thing of magic. It’s a minor MDC structure itself (1d6x100 MDC), but, far more importantly, it’s dagger-like thorns are capable of damaging MDC beings and structures as readily as SDC class creatures (inflicting 1d4 damage in either case). Creatures of magic must also save against lethal poisons or take an additional 6d6 points of damage. Most supernatural beings find even the scent of the heaven thorn utterly repulsive, and will refuse to have anything to do with it. The magical “toxin” is carried by the sap, but the penetrant effect seems to be limited to the thorns. A few experimenters have tried making wooden bullets out of the thorns; This works to some extent, but the range and damage are both halved and such bullets are much too fragile to use in weapons which would normally inflict MD. The wood reverts to an SDC structure shortly after being cut, further evidence of its magical nature.

   Running headlong into a Heaven Thorn will generally cause the rash attacker about 6d6 points of damage. It is possible for man-sized and smaller beings to “take up residence” in one, although it requires a fair amount of caution. Almost uniquely, SDC strength bonuses translate directly to MDC damage when using a thorn or a weapon carved from one against a MDC target. It does not work the other way.

   Breathmoss: Apparently an “escapee” from a dying, thin-atmosphere, world, breathmoss is black. Durable, and nearly 100% efficient at using available light, carbon dioxide, trace minerals, and moisture. While it’s slow-growing and apparently used to far more ultraviolet light then is available on earth, it’s also extremely good at filtering contaminants (raw materials as far as it’s concerned) out of the air. A helmet-lining of it backed by a couple of ultraviolet panels provides padding, oxygen, and air purification, all in one.

   Watergrass: This handy, bamboo-like, plant may be a genetic construct or it may simply have evolved to suit a lengthy dry season somewhere. Whatever it’s origin, it stores immense amounts of water in it’s barrel-like joints. A single plant can store hundreds of gallons, and can renew it’s supply of clean, mineralized, near sterile, and slightly sap-scented water within a week if its taproots can reach a water supply or in a wet environment. Its water reserves can be readily tapped by drilling into the lower joint of the stem, and the plant lives for decades. Unfortunately, the water extraction slows down in winter and the plant cannot tolerate lengthy freezes.

   Iceflower Vine: This bizarre plant acts as a heat pump, chilling the area around its roots to, or even well below, the freezing point of water. Nobody knows why, although most speculations center on periodic exposure to intense heat since the effect becomes more notable as exterior levels of heat and light increase. Regardless of its origin, Iceflower Vines are commonly cultivated as a substitute for refrigeration facilities.

   Invar Fungus: This fast-growing mushroom is quite tolerant of environmental conditions, thanks to a natural ability to channel small amounts of ‘ambient” PPE into maintaining a comfortable temperature and moisture level around itself. It’s edible, highly nutritious, stimulating – and slightly addictive. Its spores tend to get carried around by any being that eats it, sleeps in it’s “environmental field”, is smart enough to recognize just how handy it is, or has gotten fond of it’s coffee-like effect. It’s currently found all over the world, and can be a major source of food and warmth during the winter.

   Whispertrees: These modest, elegant, willow-like, trees are sentient, possess vast psionic powers, and are quite endlessly curious (especially about mobile intelligent beings, such as humans). They speak by vibrating their limbs or by telepathy, depending on the distance. They seem to be fond of both hearing and telling stories, and apparently like children, who they tend to teach, care for, and tell stories too. They occasionally form a mental bond with one of those children, or simply with someone who’s going somewhere unusually interesting or especially dangerous – especially if they intend to do something nice when they get there. Such bonds bestow various psychic powers, ranging up to the full talents of a mind melter (a master psionic) of equal level. The trees themselves seem to be “roughly” equal to 30’th level mind melters with at least 1000 ISP and personalized disciplines. They live for centuries, and small villages tend to grow up around them. They’re nice people.

   Denill Weed: This drifting freshwater plant grows in massive green “rafts”. It’s notable simply because its leaves are filled with tough, fluffy, insulating, and extremely water-repellent fibers. They’re commonly used in foul-weather clothing, cushions, and insulating gloves.

   Steam Pipe: The spiky central tube of these weird plants is actually an organic rifle barrel, mounted on a nearly-indestructible reaction chamber. The plant’s seeds are “fired” by a tremendous pressure build-up in the reaction chamber and deploy a “parachute” of silky strands after their speed falls to a point that allows them to spread. Small steam pipes may achieve riflelike speeds. Larger specimens are capable of firing seeds into interstellar space. While it takes special cutting gear, magic, psionics, or waiting until the plant dies naturally, to harvest the spikes and reaction chambers, they retain their properties for many years – providing safe containment vessels for dangerous substances and reactions, weapons barrels, and similar supplies.

   Velan: These curious animals most closely resemble giant snowshoe rabbits – albeit rabbits about the size of a donkey. Velan are about as smart as dogs, readily domesticated, and are MD creatures possessed of supernatural strength. They make excellent pack animals in cooler climates, but are too small for riding (except, possibly, by children), tend to dive for cover if/when startled – and are terribly curious. Velan have never been known to kill anyone – but they are quite willing to knock the wind out of anyone who offends them.

   Woundrose: This useful plant grows slowly, but is almost impossible to eradicate once established. as it somehow draws on ambient PPE to vastly accelerate and enhance it’s natural healing processes. It has roughly the same effect on those who eat it, causing rapid regeneration, recovery from the effects of illnesses and toxins, and the destruction of minor parasites. While this is limited to a maximum of 4D6 Hit Points, 6D6 SDC, and minor injuries (such as a lost or mangled finger), it’s still most impressive. The major limitations seem to be that the plant must be fresh – and that using it too often provokes cancer, various autoimmune disorders, and metabolic imbalances. It’s far too powerful for casual use, but is still a potent and useful addition to any healer’s pharmacopeia. It’s been reported that the scent of the (roughly once a decade) flowers is even more potent, capable of exorcizing evil spirits and curing insanity – but this is a bit much to believe, especially since it has nothing to do with the plants apparent properties. Still, there are botanists who insist that the plant was magically engineered, and thus might be capable of anything.

   Numbvine: This creeper produces a powerful neural agent distantly related to curare. In very small doses it numbs. Larger doses can paralyze or kill. It’s usually turned into a topical spray or ointment, in which form it’s safe to use and kills pain for many hours. A few people use it as a “general anaesthetic”, but this can be dangerous unless the user is both very skilled and very careful.

   Creditweed: This stuff is a powerful aphrodisiac. It was probably inevitable that, if anything would work that way, then people would find it. It brings in a very good price on the black market, less legally.

   Chatterbirds: Apparently a magical creation, these plump, colorful, little creatures remember and repeat things with remarkable accuracy. They are also capable of receiving telepathic impressions from human and near human minds, an ability they use to get directions, to locate people, and to help keep their messages straight. While they do get distracted at times, they’re usually fairly fast and reliable messengers. In exchange, they fully expect to get plentifully fed, sheltered, warmed in winter, protected, and liked. They’re not sentient, but they are cunning, communicative – and remember being annoyed or mistreated for a long time.

   Mindspiders: These hefty spiders live in colonies of about a hundred – spinning an interconnected web of considerable size and a fluffy communal nest. This would be of small note save for the fact that the colony has a form of group mind – and that mind is psionic. Each colony will possess (1d4+8)x10 ISP and 1d4 disciplines (Bio-manipulation, Hypnotic Suggestion. Mind Bolt, and/or Telekinetic Force Field). While non-sentient, the group mind is fairly cunning, and can readily be made to see the advantages of having a large, mobile, partner, who can help the colony catch more bugs (despite rumors, a mindspider colony eats nothing larger then mice). It can even be persuaded to “trade” quantities of webbing for such aid. Such communication, and the motive for it, is more easily understood when it’s mentioned that the strands are telepathically conductive – and will relay thoughts between any beings touching a web or strand. Those with psionic powers find them even more useful: cloth woven from mindspider silk acts as a “battery” for psychic energy.

   Tarnwell Warhorse: Unlike most new species, these have a precisely known origin: Jason Tarnwell’s breeding farm, where his herd was apparently exposed to the energies of a wild rift. Jason was delighted simply to find that they’d survived. Finding out what they’d become left him near delirious. The Tarnwell’s are MD creatures (4D6+60 MDC), regenerate 2D6 MDC per minute, and can regrow lost limbs and organs within 48 hours. They get +3 to all combat rolls and get three attacks per round (a kick to the front for 2D6 MD, a kick to the rear that counts as two attacks for 5d6 MD, or a shoulder block for 1D6 MD and a knockdown). They only need to eat and drink once a week, are immune to toxins, and are virtually immune to fatigue. They run at up to (61+ 4D6) MPH, can carry up to 3 tons or pull up to 12, and apparently live for about a century. 90% of all other horses they sire or bear will be Tarnwell’s. Otherwise, they’re simply horses – albeit ones of high intelligence and quality. They’re quite coveted – and rightfully so.

   Stagin Root: This plant is normally highly toxic, as it quickly takes up poisons from it’s surroundings. This becomes extremely useful if it’s raised in a low-toxin environment, as using it as a poultice or taking and vomiting a dose effectively counters many poisons.

   Vulcanroot: This short, fleshy, tuber grows in the edges of geysers, toxic pools. and volcanic streams. It survives by secreting an oily coating that’s virtually impervious to heat, corrosives, and poisonous chemicals. Refined as an ointment, the stuff provides superb protection against such effects (1d4 MDC against them). A good coating should suffice for several hours – but it does take quite a bit of scrubbing to get the stuff off afterwards.

   Yogin Pollen: One of the rarest and most valuable plant products in the world, yogin pollen induces low-level psionic abilities in anyone who takes it – including 5D6+6 ISP, Bio-Regeneration (Self), Resist Fatigue. Impervious To Poison, Resist Hunger, and Resist Thirst – as well as one other ability chosen at random for each user (super psionics are possible) and the ability to resist aging (halves the aging rate). A tiny pinch suffices, and remains effective for 6d6+12 hours. Those who already possess psionic talents gain (3d6x10) ISP, but the effects are otherwise quite identical. Massive doses are hallucinogenic, and have unpredictable psionic effects – sometimes permanently. It’s also about as addictive as nicotine is. There is some evidence that long-term use can lead to obsession and/or paranoia, but the sample size is very small.

   Medwinweed: A mild euphoric and stimulant, this has a far more drastic effect on those with psionic or mystic abilities: inhaling the smoke forces them to make a save against “harmful drugs”. Failure indicates that they will be unable to properly focus and employ their abilities for 1d6x10 minutes. A success allows them to tap an extra ld6x10 ISP or PPE and increases the effects of their abilities by 50%. In reality, the stuff seems to be nothing but hemp that’s grown in the vicinity of a ley line nexus.

   Darkbane: This small, bushy, tree drains PPE from the immediate vicinity – an effect which can be a real shock to a mage or rampaging supernatural horror. Such beings are reverted to SDC status immediately upon entering a darkbane grove – while a spellcaster will find that his magic is similarly affected and takes twice the usual PPE to invoke. Many spells and curses can be broken by a few days in a darkbane grove (hours if the trees happen to be in bloom). Surprisingly enough, the wood can he very useful to a mage. Once it’s been cut. it’s possible to withdraw a part of the PPE it stores. Sadly, only one piece of wood (be it a staff, wand, or a canoe) can be bonded to any one mage at a time – and the bonding process requires several days. Wands can hold up to 30 PPE (60 if stored as spells), staves up to 75/150, and larger items (canoes, trunks, and what-have-you) up to 150/300. Items are charged with raw PPE initially, but may be recharged with whatever is desired.


Green Knight Organic Combat Armor

   This environmental combat armor is made of ironwood fastened to “rubberized” KFlax cloth. it’s powered by a glowvine-and-steam pipe nuclear battery, held together and finished with challan glue, fueled with inferno sap, equipped with glitternode laser weaponry, controlled and driven by a toywood exoskeleton and switches, and provides air via breathmoss. Conventional “advanced technology” is limited to the helm’s standard electronics package. While the range of the weaponry is admittedly limited, it’s still quite impressive for something assembled by a woodland village using hand tools.

   The helm’s electronics provide standard power-armor Radar / Computer / Targeting / Communications functions, as well as a +1 to strike with ranged weaponry. Unlike most power armors, destroying the helmet has very little effect. It takes out the electronics package and leaves the users head exposed to damage and to the environment, but the armor, weapons, and exoskeleton will work perfectly well without it.

   Environmentally, the heating and cooling system is a bit primitive (a basic thermal tap on the power core for heat and a gas-expansion system for cooling), but the air supply is good perpetually thanks to the UV panels under the helm’s airmoss lining.

   MDC; Main Body 125, Helmet 50, Grenade Launcher 25, and Plasma Flamer 40.

   Modifiers: 65 Lbs. Prowl -5% (+15% in the woods). Exotic organic construction reduces the radar signature and makes it difficult for missiles to lock on or maintain a lock; the wearer may attempt to “dodge” volleys of up to six missiles – and receives a +3 bonus on any attempts to dodge smaller volleys. It’s also extremely difficult to detect in the woods, negating the bonuses which most other armors provide to long-range fire.

   The Glitternode Laser Array is actually a series of crystals set across the suit. The system will absorb the first 10D6 / 35 points of MDC energy damage taken each melee round, channeling it into recharging the laser system. Further energy attacks during a melee inflict half the usual damage. The laser reserve holds up to 60d6 worth of potential damage and can be discharged in blasts of 3d6, 6d6, or 10d6 MD with a range of 1200 feet. Only “aimed” shots are possible and the suit’s nuclear power core can recharge the reserve at a rate of up to 10d6 per melee round.

   The Plasma Flamer fires high-velocity streams/blobs of ultra-napalm, inflicting 1D4x10 MD. The system can fire volleys/sprays of up to four shots as one attack, but cannot fire more then 8 shots per melee round, as the fuel reserve requires several seconds to repressurize after an attack. The system has a range of 240 feet and carries enough fuel for 40 shots.

   The Mini-Grenade Launcher works much like the flamer (above), but fires standard mini-grenades instead. 1200 Ft range, loads 2 “clips” of 12 grenades. fires singly or up to four in rapid succession (this counts as burst fire if directed at a single target, wild if spraying an area). The user may switch between clips as desired, and so may mix types.

   The Heaven Thorn Finger Blades inflict 2D4 base damage, plus any strength bonuses (QV; Heaven Thorn).

   The Toywood “Exoskeleton” is actually just a set of rings and plates set under the outer armor. it’s effect depends on how powerful a psionic the wearer is. Along with the mentally-directed toywood control “switches” this provides the following bonuses for:

  • Non-/Trivial Psionics : +2 attacks, effective weight of the armor is neglegible, +1 to strike and parry, may employ normal HTH techniques without penalty. Add one additional attack at levels six and twelve.
  • Minor Psionics: Str +3, Spd +12, +3 to “roll with the punch”. can expend 1-4 ISP to pull off fantastic acrobatic feats, avoid falling damage, and make incredible leaps. Otherwise as above.
  • Major Psionics: Str +6, Spd +24, +2 to dodge, and Flight (1 ISP point per minute, maximum of 10xMental Endurance MPH). Otherwise as above.
  • Master Psionics: Str +9, Spd +48, +2 to parry and strike, double flight speed. Can inflict ID6 MD using blows and kicks, but not with the Heaven Thorn Blades; they’re too fragile for such use. Otherwise as above. Note that MD strikes from wooden gauntlets can be a bit hard on vampires.

   Special Modifications: Since these suits are made by hand, quite a few of them have minor modifications. A few extra points of MDC is most common, but some are fitted with techno-wizardry enhancements, holsters and special attachment points, crests, spotlights, spikes, a larger fuel tank, or – rather commonly – an enhanced visual system.

   Repair Kit: This box includes enough KFlax cloth, challan bush glue, MDC putty (KFlax fiber in resin), and ironwood patches to repair a total of around 60 points of damage to the armor. However annoying it may be to high-tech junkies, the skills required are only simple carpentry and a knowledge of how to sew.

   Optional Accessories: Characters equipped with the Green Knight armor are generally from resourceful, if rather low tech (at least for Rifts), communities out in the deep wilderness. Other items typically include a conventional (SDC) assault rifle (supplied with both normal and heaven tree thorn clips), a bow (and assorted ultra-tech arrowheads), tools and survival gear, a selection of herbal supplies and possibly even some herbal magic items (Rifts: England).


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6 Responses

  1. It is my opinion that exotic things are hostile/dangerous to keep them exotic. If something is useful with no real drawback, it becomes commonplace.

    Most GM’s I’ve found can’t handle the unusual or fantastic unless it has already been done for them or takes a form they are more familiar with (i.e. glowing mushrooms used as street lights).

    I may see what of this I can meld into my campaign. There has got to be somewhere in the greater multiverse this is being used, question is whether the party will ever go there?

  2. In this case it’s a technical term in botany and zoology: an “exotic” is a species that isn’t normally native to the area. For example, Kudzu is an “exotic” in the US, no matter how annoyingly familiar it may be. Several of these are, indeed, likely to become commonplace – as they should. If you unleash millions of exotic species into a setting, at least a few of them are bound to be useful.

    On the gaming side, nothing conveys “strange” to the players like giving the locals a few peculiar creatures, crops, and living arrangements.

  3. Thank you, this is very useful! I also find that there is too much emphasis on hostile plants and critters and that other flora & fauna can lead to much more interesting and quirky adventures!

    • Well, I’m glad you find it useful! And I must agree, the complications that arise when you want to deal with a creature WITHOUT blasting it into oblivion tend to be much more interesting than yet another fight scene.

  4. In one campaign we had a scary-looking water-based plant (lots of tentacle-like roots) that was hardly known but was bred and introduced by druids on a massive scale to purify water supplies in slums. People were totally freaked out by the presence of the weird plants once they noticed them and thought they were poisoning them etc.

    • Sounds like a nice plotline. I think the last time around here it was a a group of scientists spreading a selection of organisms designed to live in rice paddies and improve the harvest – but not wanting to have to deal with the legalities and explain. Of course, that was a Champions game, so secret organizations carrying out weird undercover experiments as pretty much a given.

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