I would like to propose a Chaos Features Competition.
We have, in the RQ rules, lists of chaos features found in Glorantha and these are a fine example to work to but..
I thought it might be fun and informative to follow up my '100 words for your campaign slot' with a competition to find out the _top 10 best chaos features_ everyone can think of.
Here's how it will work. Everyone can suggest up to 3 non-list features (we can reduce that if necessary) and we all have 2 votes each (only one of which can be given to our own entries). After we think we have enough entries, people can send their votes to me off-list and I'll collate the results and post them. We could use a forum voter but I think with chaos quick and dirty will be most apt.
So, let the entries flow!
Matthew eventually received 106 features from 56 people.
The winning feature (as voted on by those going to his website) was:
Takes damage from insults – David Dunham
Schrödinger's Chaos Creature - David Lloyd
Only Visible in Reflections - Jamie MacLaren
Appears closer to you than it actually is - Bruce Mason
Fabian Küchler wrote a critique of the submitted Chaos Features called "Amidst the Chaos", printed in Issue 2 of Rule One.
Below is the entire list of submitted Chaos Features:
- Only susceptible to indirect attacks. You can write down or draw damage, but not harm it with a weapon.
- Healed by any magic, empowered by wounds. Wounds strengthen its magic, spells cast upon it heal its wounds.
- Takes damage from insults. Words *will* hurt it, sticks and stones don't
- Conduct to the Ultimate. Will make illuminated and occluded characters face a major crisis, and might illuminate others.
- Appears closer to you than it actually is. Whenever you try to touch it you realize that it's too far away. If you turn around and it's behind you then *IT IS OMG BASICALLY BREATHING IN YOUR EAR* Possibly the most dangerous missile weapon user in the world..
- Insensible. When the creatures is first encountered, and at random intervals thereafter, roll a d6 (1=creature cannot be seen; 2=creature cannot be heard; 3=creature cannot be smelled (not very useful in combat); 4=creature cannot be tasted (ditto); 5=creature cannot be touched (very handy in combat); 6= creature cannot be sensed magically (may have interesting side effects)).
- Burrowing Teeth. When the creature bites an opponent, if it does damage, then 1d6 teeth break loose and burrow into the target, eventually reaching an internal organ and killing the target.
- Duplicator. When it is "killed" it takes on the form of whatever killed it (sword, wolf, fire..). You can't ever really get rid of it, but you can contain it.
- Done By As You Did. What ever is done to the beneficiary of this chaos feature is instead done to the doer. Over a certain distance away the influence fails to reach it's target and snaps back on the chaotic.
- Slick, entangling hair covering body. Weapons might slide off or get entangled.
- Merely a Puppet. We may speak of being merely a puppet in thrall to higher powers. In this case it's true. On close examination, the creature proves to be made of wood, wire and paint. Fine strings control its movement but seem to fade into nothingness a few feet above the body.
- Vomits Fruit. Vomits up perfectly edible (non-chaos tainted) fruit when frightened.
- Chronovision. Victim's right eye sees everything aging and decaying while their left sees things grow younger and more vital. While using both eyes, vision can be normal. Careful use of closing one eye lets creature see future or past of a given target. The left eye appears decayed to observers, the right appears oddly young and bright.
- Emits clouds of powerful hallucinogenic gas. To which it is not immune
- Smokey skin. This creature has skin that is like dark smoke. It drifts sluggishly and you're not sure what it is but you *don't* want to touch it. It's greatest use is sneaking into steads - it doesn't reflect or gleam, it blends into shadows and it disguises movement. Its feel causes dread.
- Sounds Extremely Dangerous. This Chaot can only speak Chaos Speech, but anyone meeting him will hear him mention secrets about the person, including things that nobody else knows. " Hi there! How was Storm-Roarer's wife? Is she as good in bed as they say she was? What about that Ogre you let live last week? How is he? Does Orlanth mind that you also worship Krarsht?"
- Invisible tentacle. Think about it, don't YOU want one now?
- Two or more souls in one body. They struggle for control if they disagree about what action to take. Mind affecting magic affects only one at a time (unless it would affect multiple targets.)
- Bowels of Chaos. The Void exists where your bowels are.
- Translucid body. The skin and muscles of the creature are semi-transparent, you can see all of their internal organs and its veins. And whatever it has eaten too, half dissolved in its digestive system. You better have a strong stomach.
- Enticing smell.. The creature smells like the most fragrant, sexiest perfume you have ever known.
- Noitarapes. The creature radiates a field where separations are broken down. This can take any number of forms: things blending together physically, the dead appearing to bother the living, family ties reasserting themselves mythically/magically. In a way, it is an anti-Humakt power, restoring the confusion before things were separated into their proper categories.
- Schrödinger's Chaos Creature. The creature is simultaneously both alive and dead and thus cannot be killed or restored to life until hit with an appropriate detection magic (e.g., detect undead turns it into an undead, detect life turns it into a living creature, etc.).
- Ages backwards. The creature is born as a frail, wrinkly, grizzled oldster, grows younger into adulthood and adolescence, to finally die as a mewling infant.
- Overwhelming Delusion. The creature firmly believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that it is something it is not. e.g. a scorpionman believes it is a Storm Bull khan, a cave troll believes it is Queen of Tarsh.
- Only Visible in Reflections. The chaotic can only be seen by his reflection in other objects. You can glimpse him in that puddle, or in that metal bowl on the table or perhaps a polished sword and shield.
- Devours Emotions. The chaotic can feed on and relishes emotional energy, and in doing so removes the capacity for that emotion from its victim (I would leave recovery options up to the story).
- Self Cannibalism. The chaotic appears with bite marks all over it, some healed, some partially so.
- Deadly sonorous eructations or flatulation. The bodily emissions of the creature are extremely loud and dangerous in some way, belches emit deafening noise like a super huge cathedral organ, musical farts emit toxic gas or flame..
- Bowel Scream. The beneficiary of this chaos feature can scream or howl from the very depths of it's chaotic soul; the resonance and fearsomeness of the sound loosens an audience's bowels and nerves.
- Can temporarily absorb disease spirits. The being can cure any disease by absorbing the spirit into themselves. The spirit is apparently banished or destroyed, being no longer detectable. After a while (which is shortened for every absorbed spirit) the spirits are released, first infecting the being (inflicting symptoms but causing no permanent harm) and quickly spreading to the surrounding population.
- Any Chaos Feature You Haven't Thought Of. Thanks Grant Morrison.
- Unwilling shapechange. Takes the form of the last being it has killed, but keeping its original abilities and size.
- Imitation. Takes on the looks of someone else in the battle, may be friend or foe
- Emotion Vacuum. Sucks the emotions from a person. Games like HeroQuest or Pendragon would work best mechanically, as they quantify emotions. The effect is like an aura - come within X yards/meters of the creature, and it automatically "feeds" on your emotions. It's a always-on, area effect Tap [Any Emotion].
- Rebellious Limbs. Subject's limbs are somewhat self-aware - and self-interested! In extreme cases they may actually hold a plebiscite and depart the body en masse. In lesser cases mistreated members of the limb classes may attempt to secede alone - typically while the subject is sleeping.
- Turns To Jelly At Slightest Provocation. Subject turns to a basically indestructible chaos ooze when prompted by *something*.
- Emotional Vision. Subject suffers from a kind of aphasia, combined with the ability to perceive visually the emotional makeup of others.
- Rubber away soul Touch feature. Spirit combat by touch.
- Scolding voice. Sounds just like your Mother when speaking.
- Speaks any language.. Somehow, the creature can communicate with anyone, regardless of what languages the other speaks.
- Randomly produces sensations. Randomly produces a sensation to every living being at 100 metres from him, including himself. For instance, he could produce pain, hunger, fear or love. He could also produce multi-sexual attraction which would surely end in an orgy. The creature can't control what or when it happens.
- Skill Swap. Randomly determine 1d8 skills and swap them.
- Aphrodisiac Ingredient. Random body part becomes easily recognized as the principle ingredient in a much desired aphrodisiac or similar potion.
- Personal reality glitch. Probably best used for a sentient Chaotic. The being has a belief which differs sharply from reality in one narrowly defined but crucial way. They might, for instance, believe that the sky is green, or that water is dry, while otherwise acting normally. If others argue with them about this, their attempts to justify their belief in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are wrong will gradually become more and more frantic and obviously insane. Minor things such as the colour of the sky can be harmless and pass unknown for some considerable time (it isn't something one often discusses), a belief that water is dry can be masked by a tendency to drink beer instead and not wash (both habits sadly all too common), but someone who suddenly starts believing that all Humakti are pacifists is probably in trouble, especially if this happens mid-fight. It seems possible that several cases of this illness (for so it is often regarded) are present in most Lhankor Mhy temples, and dismissed as normal eccentricity.
- Plague of Altering Size Breath. Plague of Altering Size Breath
- Thought leak. People in range of the creature begin to hear each other's thoughts. This can be surface thoughts, emotions, deeply hidden secrets, what have you. Who is thinking what thoughts isn't easily discerned. It is possible to get thought leak with non-sapients, although it is not particularly likely. In such cases, what is shared is often a scent, a hunger, or an instinct. Needless to say, this has a tendency to cause quite a bit of disruption and paranoia.
- Inconceivable. People cannot accurately describe the creature to others.
- Rubber Soul. Other spirits that engage you or are engaged by you in spirit combat simply bounce off. ie, you're immune to spirits.
- Devour Words. Or Reverse Meanings of Words in a Radius, if you prefer.
- Part physical, part spirit/soul/essence. Only part of the beneficiary is corporeal. The other part is purely insubstantial.
- Half-a-creature. Only 1/2 of the creature is present in the physical world (the other is… somewhere else). For Example, if it's a broo, then you have the right side of the broo, and a view of his insides at the "split".
- Gestalt Body Sharer. One soul spread among two or more different physical bodies. Mind- affecting magic(or mind-affecting anything, really) that affects one affects all.
- Spiritually Conjoined Near-Immortal Twins. On contracting this chaos feature, the beneficiary immediately splits into two seemingly identical beings, each taking the other's vulnerability with it. Each being has only one weakness but is otherwise not vulnerable to direct attack. Theses weaknesses are actually the only way to hurt the being's twin but the hurt doesn't show until the point of death - when both twins expire together. They need each other to live but believe they are both immortal - they don't know how their chaos feature works!
- Aura of peace. No one is able to hurt this chaos creature directly, at least not without suffering mental pain which kills the aggressor. Unfortunately for the chaos creature itself also can’t harm anyone.
- Lascivious. No matter how ugly and compelling the chaos creature looks, everyone of the opposite sex can only think about to find a way to have sex with that creature.
- Elastic tendons. Most obviously allows jumping like a grasshopper. But also consider the application to thrown weapons and escapology (not sure why anyone would tie up a Broo but if they do..).
- Magic Birthmark Companion. Meet my brother. He's called 'Strawberry'. Careful he may bite!
- Limbs Detachable. May be traded with others like you.
- Disassociated. Limbs and organs are only loosely connected and may swarm apart.
- Reincarnated in you. Its killer/eater becomes the creature. Its memories may be transferred.
- Doppelganger. It takes the form of the last being it has eaten, but not its size we can have very short dinosaur or very large humans..
- Hollow shell of skin. Interior filled with hundreds of crawling poisonous vermin that fly or scuttle out when skin is ruptured, while spiders try to sew it back together again from inside
- Born after death. In infant form back at the nearest chaos pit but remembers how it died. It has to grow up again and suddenly, a few years on in the campaign, IT RETURNS! "I know you. We killed you!"
- Cause stammering. I-In range we h-had t-trouble speaking.
- Tap Sanity. If it touches, you might start seeing/hearing things, believing strange contradictory ideas or even laughing a bit too long after the joke is over.
- Amalgamation. If it loses a body part, may replace it from a victim.
- Can't move when anyone is looking at it. However it can't be physically or magically harmed while anyone is looking at it. Add it to lightening fast speed for extra plagiaristic goodness :)
- Left and right reversed. Hit its right arm, the left takes damage.
- Sprout New Dialect every minute. Highly contagious at hearing.
- Completely hollow. Handy for storage.
- Inverse Swelling. Grows bigger when it is hungry, shrinks as it feeds.
- Goey Flesh. Flesh becomes goo, all the skin and muscle of the creatures becomes a sack of transparent goo, which shifts and oozes to reveal bones and internal organs.
- Indestructible Flash Sleeper. Falls asleep at random intervals, then emits a deafening snore. Immune to mundane damage while asleep ("immune" includes not being woken by it).
- Causes excessive body hair growth. Exposure to this chaos monster causes excessive body hair growth.
- Causes sunburn. Exposure to this chaos monster causes acute sunburn.
- Radiate Acceptance. Everyone within range receives a warm and fuzzy feeling when the chaotic is around.
- It is your child. Everyone else who can see it knows exactly what it is but to you it is your child. You carry it with you, suckle it (regardless of whether or not your female) you love it and care for it and can bear to see no harm come to it. When you finally die, worn out and shriveled, it will be someone else's child.
- Transfers own image. Every time someone fights it, that person looks like it to others for the duration of the fight. An observer would see two identical broos fighting, or two gorps, etc.
- Weaken separation to Otherworlds. Encounters with the creature tend to move in and out of Otherworlds, for which this creature suffers no Otherworld penalties. Struggles that move into, and then back out of, the Spirit Plane can also shift the combatants across long distances. Those that flee the fight might find themselves in some alien Hell. Hopefully heroes can hold out until they intersect with the Hero Plane (and, ideally, a heroquest that they know).
- Able to absorb the skill of anyone in their presence. e.g. can use a swordsman’s skill at their ability, only lasts while person is in their presence.
- 1000 Arms. Disturbingly, also possessed by some Mystic beings..
- Eyes shifted into spirit/gods/essence plane. Disturbing hollows in sockets
- Changing visage. Creature's facial features constantly undergo a slow morph. Time to completely change features could be minutes
- The Thing. Creature has chaotic holographic consciousness and replicating infection. Anything it kills it can transform into. Can only be destroyed by fire, acid, magic etc. If any of it survives (e.g., an arm etc) it can transform to a creature of equivalent SIZ. Transformation between species takes 1 round (e.g., from a human into a dog).
- Wormy. Covered with small red worms, which squirm and wriggle through the slime covering the Chaos creature. Disgusting to see - roll against Con to look at without vomiting.
- Everything you touch turns invisible. Clothes, weapons, armour etc
- Reversed digestive tract. Censored.
- Legs facing the wrong way.. Cannot walk forwards.
- Sarcophagy. Can only digest dead or necrosing tissue. When found in a gorp, means that body parts can be immersed safely in the gorp, which will cleanse the wound. (Wonderful for confusing players who think that all Chaos is evil.)
- Two random body parts are made of gorp. Body parts affected change frequently. If abdomen or chest, can excrete or vomit micro gorp. If limbs, can elongate, attach, whip, throw micro gorp etc etc (depending on gorp type). If head, becomes 'Brain of Gorp'.
- Part of the crowd. Appears so normal and part of the surroundings that observers don't realise they've seen it. This ability can be invoked at will, and the creature only detects as Chaotic when it's in use. This may result in an enraged Storm Bull being certain that something Chaotic is right in front of him, and brushing aside the irrelevant person standing there to go and look for it.
- Gift of Colour. Anything touched changes permanently to it's complimentary colour. The players find an apple tree with blue apples (blue being the complimentary of red). A track of magenta grass is found crossing a field.
- Sticky skin. Anything that hits the skin of the creature adheres (with some high strength needed to tear object away - and if it's your flesh that's stuck, then you're going to leave some behind!)
- Look like you. Anyone that sees/touches/interacts with the creature senses the creature as a duplicate of themselves. Multiple targets would see/hear/sense completely different things, but that's the way with chaos, isn't it? This is not an illusion of any sort. It's more like simultaneous physical mimicry that breaks all the rules.
- Merges with Mount. Any creature that the chaotic can sit on or ride becomes an extension of the chaotic, if the 'mount' is intelligent then there is a continual power struggle for dominance between the two parties requiring concentration and strength of will.
- Changes colour. Another less extreme version of Changing Visage.
- Improbable Voice. An opportunity for the narrator to use his best impressions (e.g. a feral broo speaks like Marilyn Monroe, a Thanatar Priest speaks like a pirate. A-harrgh!)
- This monster uses D&D rules. All characters must be converted for this encounter.
- Sneezes balls of explosive snot. Achoo! Whizz! Bang!
- Eye Spawner/Remote Viewer. Able to tear out eye (which regenerates) and implant on another creatures body. Creature can see through up to 2 'extra' eyes.
- Skin Graft Healer. Able to tear off strips of own skin, that when wrapped round wound of another chaotic creature causes it to have temporary regeneration.
- Changing features. A less extreme version of Changing Visage.
- Regrow body slowly. A feat matched against the ability used to destroy it. You chop off a bit and it regrows, unless it is burnt, dissolved in acid or whatever the GM has it being vulnerable to. This might be the same or very similar to the old RQ2 regeneration. How much the GM wants him back will depend on the feat's rating and difficulty. As the regrow is slow adventurers returning to the same area will see the same broo again and again.
- Edible Excretions. +10 Camping for your companions.
- Love Darts. (Excellent for dragonsnail) Shoots love darts into its victims, which causes them to love, protect and obey the Chaos creature.