Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Bit of Inspiration

Being a collection of random things from the internet and real-world news sources that have triggered my "I have to put that in a game" reflex...

This issue is brought to you by the letters 'H' (for honey) and by the ancient evils lurking beneath our feet...

1) Mellification or "The Honey Mummy"
There have been many cure-alls and mythical remedies known in history, but none so strange (and game-worthy) as the mellified man: a human mummy steeped in honey.
Always a voluntary process, mellification begins when a ‘donor’ eats nothing but honey until death from the process. Some legends tell that all their bodily fluids would begin to turn into honey before their bodies finally gave out. After the initial month of a purely honey diet, and the donor’s death, the body would be placed in a coffin which was then filled with honey. Only after being steeped in honey for over one-hundred years would the coffin be opened once more...
The date is mentioned on the coffin indicating the year and the month and after a century or so, the coffin would be reopened and the contents would then be turned into a kind of confection which would be capable of healing broken limbs and various other ailments. 
This confection would be sold in the street market as a most precious item which would be difficult to obtain and at a very high price. It was prized for its curative properties, and could heal just about any affliction. It would be either rubbed into the affected area or taken orally. Orally was the best method, as legend states it would cure the complaint instantly.  
There are plenty of other examples of honey used in death rituals. The two things that sets Mellification apart are the aspect of self-sacrifice, in that the process was done willingly and initiated before death, and eventual cannibalism, in that the honey-mummified corpse was eaten as a confection. As most of the people I play with regularly know, Self-Sacrifice and Cannibalism are two things that really appeal to me and are regular themes both in characters I play and games I run.
So perfection!
And here are a bunch more crazy cannibalistic cures: 

2) Giant Bees and their Magical Honey

Going right along with the mellified man, honey has figured prominently in my most recent campaign, as a weapon (pouring boiling honey on the heads of invaders in place of boiling oil), as a magical ingredient, and even lauded in song. So it only makes sense that honey-based stories get a couple of shout-outs here:
So, how about this one? Mountain villagers in Nepal collecting "Red Honey" from cliff-dwelling "Giant Bees" that is said to have medicinal and psychotropic properties. You've got a whole adventure (cool terrain, interesting monsters, and a unique macguffin) right in that one sentence. Also, since the treasure (honey) is so dangerous to harvest and has special properties, it sells for about 4 times the price of regular honey, making the honey hunters willing to take absurd risks to get it.
This 26 minute documentary about it is awesome: 

There are some amazing photos of the Gurung honey gatherers on The Bee Photographer
Now...go mummify someone in that stuff! 

3) What Lurks Beneath Alaska?
I don't play a lot of Call of Cthulhu, but this NPR report about ANWR struck me as a perfect setup for a modern CoC game. "The so-called KIC well...was drilled in the 1980s by Chevron, and Housenick says,
"No one seems to know what they found. When you talk with people from even the companies that were involved with drilling it is a significant secret within the company and only two or three people have ever gotten to know what really was encountered in the well..." 
This article about the KIC-1 Well has even more to say:
"It was drilled into the coastal plain southeast of Kaktovik...On April 24, 1986, according to state court documents, they reached a depth of 15,193 feet at a cost of $40m. Then they quit..."
"The oil companies capped the well and dismantled the wooden drilling platform...
Eventually the tundra healed...
The companies won't discuss what they found at the bottom of KIC-1. Ten years ago, Chevron won a lawsuit upholding KIC-1's confidentiality.
It remains a secret."
And, as Radsaq pointed out on G+, "the Chernobyl accident occurred around midday on April the 25th (Alaska time). <insert conspiracy theories here>".
I dare someone to tell me that they did not find a great old one sleeping in the depths of the earth beneath the Alaskan tundra...

4) More Cthulhu Fodder?

Courtesy of BT...
Dubbed the 'Cloud House', due to the cloud topped mountains that surround it, is in a remote location which has no accessible road. Inside the house are trinkets and artifacts ... all from decades ago.
Photographer Dan Circa said he had a feeling visitors "Once inside, it did feel a little creepy - but I had a feeling visitors are welcome, as long as they behave themselves". 
A house cloaked in clouds, on a high mountain top, trapped out of time? There are definitely some Death, Frost, Doom echoes in there too.
So what happens if they don't behave themselves?