Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Living Mirage

To someone seeking far-off wonders or desperately needed water, mirages already seem cruel.  So a living mirage—a creature that not only misleads such seekers but also feeds off them as well—is downright horrific, siphoning streamers of blood and fluids from its confused and terrified victims, who die in agony just as they reach the objects of their desires.

Most explorers never reach the Blackstone Sphinx.  Magnetic deposits in the sand befuddle lodestones, and landmarks are few and far between.  But really it is the explorers’ own hopes and dreams that do them in.  Many spot the Sphinx miles before they should, and rather than question their luck they run straight into the desiccating embrace of a living mirage.  Worse yet, their dying frustration and desperation often traps their spirits in undead forms of fear and confusion, such as allips and worse.

An enchanted isle lies at the tip of the Finger Bone Keys—according to rumor that is.  But sailors had best beware, the stories go, because fierce seaweed (treat as Advanced) kelpies protect the island’s secrets.  Actually it is the island itself that is deadly, for it is the home of a living mirage.  The kelpies are merely opportunists who try to snatch a share of the mirage’s victims.

Exploring a giant vessel that fell from the sky long ago, adventurers come across a kind of nursery chamber in one of the habitat pods.  Adjusting a dial causes the picture-walls to show a variety of fanciful and exotic scenes.  Soon phantasmal images begin appearing in the room as well—animals and fey with whimsical shapes that match the scenery.  These are actually holograms projected by a field of tiny nanobots.  Unfortunately, the nanobots have not been charged since the crash, and after five minutes the nanobots’ programming switches to molecular harvest mode, consuming all those in the room in the same fashion as a living mirage.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 159

Everyone like the reference to Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” there? #thanksmiddleschoolenglishclass

Also props to Bestiary 5’s authors for Ooze-type creatures that aren’t oozes—a smart move.

Regarding yesterday’s post, a reader alerted me to some of Pogo’s recent (2015) writing.  Sigh.  And sigh again.  (Nope, not linking.  MRA stuff.)  Given the amount of time he’s spent with Disney heroines, let’s hope he’s spent some time with—and learned something from—some flesh-and-blood women in the years since.

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