Monday, October 20, 2014

Colour Out of Space

How do we know the colour out of space is a monstrosity beyond all reason?

It spells “colour” with a U.

(That sound you hear is all of my British Commonwealth followers unfriending me at once.)

So, another Lovecraft creation imported into Pathfinder courtesy of the Carrion Crown Adventure Path and the Bestiary 4.  The colour out of space is an alien predator that feeds on the vitality of living things around it until they glow with the same sickly light, then fall into ash.  Eventually it reaches truly monstrous proportions (25-30 Hit Dice), after which it rockets back into space (though possibly leaving spawn behind).

Then again, you don't even need the stellar origins.  Plenty of fantasy novels feature strange radiances and life-leeching entities emerging from blasted cities and shards of obsidian.  Call it a radiant shade, a vampiric hue, or a brightblight and you’re good to use the colour out of space in even the most diehard medieval campaign.

A sickly turquoise colour out of space has decimated the mining town of Severed Gulch.  Adventures won’t find that out immediately, though. First they will have to navigate the ashen landscape and contend with starving stray coyotes, worgs, and colour-blighted settlers.  Undead, especially allips and wraiths, lurk in the mines as well, the result of suicides and accidents suffered in the early days of the colour’s predations.  The incorporeal ooze is particularly deadly if faced in the tight confines of the mine, but recently it has become fascinated by a chamber of aquamarines and spends most of its time examining itself in their sparkling facets.

Reports come in of a distant town where all the inhabitants have turned a glowing gray-green.  The cause is a young or perhaps stunted colour out of space, whose feeding spreads the usual weird glow but causes fewer deformations or ashen deaths than a typical adult specimen.  Nevertheless, the glowing locals are quite addicted to the ooze’s aura of lassitude and do not take kindly to strangers’ questions.

After a meteorite crashes into the City of Cathedrals, chaos reigns, with doomsayers prophesying the end of the world and conservative factions blaming the displeasure of the gods.  In the confusion, no one notices a colour out of space slip away from the meteor and into the crypts by the Pages’ Wing.  Soon close to a dozen aspiring paladins are dead.  Only one adventurer, a former resident of the Pages’ Wing, knows the cause—but not why he knows it.  Over the course of the adventure, he will have to face not only the colour out of space, but also the revelation that a yithian has been riding his consciousness, littering it with knowledge from the far future.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #46 76–77 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 38–39

I haven’t mentioned bleachling gnomes because I believe they’re Golarion IP.  That said, if your campaign features bleachling gnomes, perhaps colours out of space might be involved in their origin story, or the colorless gnomes might have some power to defy the alien oozes.

Over the weekend I finished Occult Mysteries.  Other people have done far more comprehensive reviews, so I don't need to, but my general feeling is similar to the review I gave The Harrow Handbook—it’s not a book for everyone, but the right group will quite enjoy this.  The sections on astrology and using Harrow cards as plot twist cards could easily be dropped into most campaigns.  (The sections on numerology and arithmancy, on the other hand, seem best reserved for GM/one-player solo play or side quests—that’s a lot of numbers to crunch.)  I always like descriptions of magical (or at least disturbing) tomes, so the section on occult books was a pleasure.  And I like the multiple choice “answers” to Golarion’s many mysteries—like many World of Darkness books I used to read, OM is happy to serve up four possible answers to every mystery without ever revealing which is the “true” one.  I have this problem (and I suspect many fans are in the same boat) where I love canon and want to know everything about a setting, yet paradoxically hate when all the gaps get filled in.  Giving me four conflicting “right” answers is just the right solution for players like me.

I should have Pathfinder Adventure Path #86: Lords of Rust finished by the end of the day.  Its looser structure means it’s not quite the page-turning read that Fires of Creation was, but I suspect it will be more fun to play.  (Light spoilers ahead, so beware.)  FoC was a GM’s dream—a new town to explore, a new ecology (of a PC race to boot), alien familiars, etc.—all on top of a really fresh-feeling dungeon.  LoR, in the hands of the right GM, offers players a chance to hang out with the Rippers from Tank Girl, fight chainsaw-wielding bad guys in the Thunderdome, then duke it out with GLaDOS in demon drag.  My guess is FoC is going to be the book you’ll enjoy re-reading down the road, but LoR is the adventure you won’t stop talking about for years to come.

Since WMUC's website was down this Saturday, here’s a Spotify playlist with (most) of this weekend’s edition of The New Indie Canon.  So it’s everything you love about my radio show without stupid me talking.  (Which is best for everyone, really.)

What’s missing?  Half Court Press” by Kitty Craft started off the show.  I played “Lizzy Come Back to Life” for soaply (yes, I take Tumblr requests/inspiration!) on the air, but since Spotify didn’t have it I added “Laura” to the playlist instead.  A Hard One to Know” by Benjamin Gibbard and “After Dawn” by Itasca should both come after Pinback.  Learning Slowly” from Purling Hiss should come after Dogbite, and Randy’s Marsh’s “Push” and Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” should sandwich Lorde to close us out on a ridiculously pop note.

Anyway, sorry about the technical SNAFU, but enjoy a solid 90 minutes of mostly new music!

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