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Author Topic: Crude Oil Brownies/Darklings/Piscinites/Cavern Brownies...  (Read 9129 times)
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Rookie Brownbark
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« on: 04 October 2008, 00:57:28 »

Well, these are the thoughts I've had so far on this little project you suggested to me.  Please add your ideas and comments guys.  I'm not entirely sure what the place is like, so if I've made any huge assumptions which won't work, let me know :P.

A. What have these Brownies got going for them?

1) Crude oil.  Lots and lots of crude oil.

What can you do with crude oil?
Used for – fire – heat, light, warmth – all things which could be used to attract fish and encourage plant growth.  I quite fancy having a huge cavern filled with plants and produce deep down under the ground where nobody ever sees it.  It’d make a wonderfully eerie description.

2) Natural Gas?  Can we collect this? 

If so…some sort of weapon to scare fish?  Or a flare to attract the attention of other Brownies.

3) Water? (They’ve gotta have some somewhere.  Mutating them can do so much, but if I make them able to drink Crude Oil I can’t see why they would even be the same shape any more, or recognisable as Brownies in any way.) Where do they get it from?

Idea No. One – there are sources underneath the crude oil (does crude oil float on water?) and they delve deep for it. 

But!

How did they then begin to live in the caves then before they had found it?

Idea No. Two – some kind of plant which secretes water.  Possibly developed (or helped to develop) by the Brownies themselves using life magic?  Or else it works with another organism which needs water which it then eats the poo of, some sort of beetle or grub would be ideal.

I like the plant idea.

4) Rock.  Can’t really think how that would be useful for anything in particular on its own, but I’ll get back to it.

5)  Fish – Lots of weird crude-oil-living fish.  Possibly with lots of teeth and ugly faces.  Possibly used by the Brownies for more than food – can you train them?  Probably, if you can train a goose or an owl.  If you try hard enough.  Especially if you yourself are slightly..fishy….and with the next thing coming up that may well be possible.  You could also use any conveniently-shaped exoskeletons as boats or weapons.

6) Knowledge from Birni Era (specifically life magic, but other developments could be attributed to this too) - they came straight from the break up of it to Nybelmar so haven’t been through the harsh years like all the others. They have to travel a long way, but a large group of them make it there together (too much to believe that several groups make it to the same place in Nybelmar :P)

But!

Not too much life magic knowledge because that level of control available in the Birni Era should stay firmly in the past (IMHO).  Would be good to still have some when they first start to settle the tunnels though.  They could make themselves like the fish living there (a little, not fully) in order to survive.  I’m thinking larger-than-normal goggly eyes, slim bodies with webbed hands and feet, an ability to hold their breath for a long time (they could learn this, doesn’t have to be life magic-based) and (most importantly) the ability to sense hot and cold in water, as well as to sense movement in it.  Then they would be able to navigate under the surface of the crude oil.  They’d have to be able to close their nostrils to it too, but I suppose some type of covering made from some plant would work too.  I wouldn’t have them quite as mutated as the Rat Brownies though, who are a different shape altogether in some cases, more….enhanced?  Still recognisable as a Brownie, but with the large eyes and webbed hands.  I have a great image in my head. 

Hmm, about having a bit of Life magic but not too much – they could simply have not had any particularly great life mages with them.  This would make sense as the Birni were split up into factions according to skin colouring, and the best life mages were Redbarks.  They could have had a couple of non-redbark magi, who could do some things, but didn’t have as much power.  And eventually they found they didn’t need life magic really (all the potential predators are going to be in the crude oil I would think, so if they built their home in a cavern above the surface, they should be safe from most things and not need the protection).  So life magic fades out, but they keep the effects.

B. What still doesn’t make sense?

1) Why did they go underground in the first place?

Idea No. One - Something religious? –  Ok.  You’re a Brownie.  You’ve had to flee your home where the system has completely broken down – the system which prevented you from being eaten by any small predator which happened to come along.  It would be realistic to believe that the nature spirits who you’ve always worshiped have forsaken you (for whatever reason) and have now turned against you.  So you go somewhere as far away from them as you can think – you hide from them underground in a big black cave which seems about as far away from them as you can get.  There you forge the means to survive from the meagre resources around you, even changing your own body to adapt.  You prove you can live without gods, without help from anyone. 

Hmm, could this be the first tribe who don’t worship gods/spirits?  They know they exist, they just don’t want anything to do with them?

Idea No. Two.  – They are forced underground by the creatures living outside.  They hide in the tunnels to escape and find the water-plants down there as well as hunt some fish which leads them to decide they must be able to survive.  They gradually penetrate further and see the fish who manage to survive so well down there.  They use the fish as a model to make themselves better adapted.

Hmm, a combination of the ideas could be good.

2)  How did they get so far from home anyway?

They could have wandered there, but this seems a bit convenient to me – weren’t there any other caves before then?

How about some kind of weird primitive hot air balloon, which they tried to get away from the Birni chaos in (they were desperate).  They crash landed not too far from the caves and then retreated underground for those reasons above?

3)And how do we know any of this?

The history could be changed into a myth-type-thing, thus making it a little more unclear.  We still need someone to tell other people about them though, one of the dwarves maybe?

Ok, so to summarise!

The idea I quite like is to have some slightly fishy-Brownies which large eyes, slim strong bodies and webbed feet and hands, who live off fish and produce they grow themselves (any plants which they find in the caves they’ve been cultivating for years).  They can swim very well, underneath the surface of the oil too, and hold their breath for a good amount of time.  They therefore have a good knowledge of the caverns, and can fit through very small gaps too.  If the dwarves were to pay them (in food and metal weapons maybe) they could give them some idea of where to mine next?  Point them towards areas of ore?  (If the dwarves taught them how to look for this first). They could sell gemstones they’ve found too. Any rare fish the dwarves call a delicacy?
« Last Edit: 05 November 2008, 22:01:05 by Rookie Brownbark » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 04 October 2008, 01:41:24 »

I... wow.... i see i weas right to leave this idea completely to you! I'll try and write a coherent response somewhere over the weekend!
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« Reply #2 on: 04 October 2008, 01:48:38 »

It all sounds a little Smeagol/Gollum -ified at the moment.

And yes, Rookie, crude oil does float on water.
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« Reply #3 on: 04 October 2008, 01:53:27 »

Hmm, I guess that was where the idea for the eyes came from, but they don't walk hunched like gollum does or move like him when swimming (in my head).  I think we can make sure they're not that gollumish.

Oh, cool.  I had a sudden thought it might be too dense.
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« Reply #4 on: 04 October 2008, 01:58:14 »

in that case santharian crude oil would just have to be a bit different :P
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« Reply #5 on: 04 October 2008, 02:06:26 »

Lol. I'm taking it that this Santhrude Oil doesn't then?  Btw, is there any standing water as well as the oil?
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« Reply #6 on: 04 October 2008, 02:09:57 »

They border on a siver and an ocean.. i'd say its a safe bet most oil lakes have  fresh water underneath them.. the problem is of course the getting there, the oil layer is not equally thick in all places...
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« Reply #7 on: 04 October 2008, 02:43:06 »

Sounds like the brownie version of the mullog to me.  :D


Note the Easter Egg in the name mullog (hint: read it backwards), Tharoc, and you'll see I agree with you.

Perhaps you could change them a bit, maybe make them very dark brown/black (which would be an advantage to cave dwellers)  give them exotic features like purple eyes, high cheekbones, ears with extra long lobes...I don't know, something to distract from the "Gollum" image, anyway.


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« Reply #8 on: 04 October 2008, 02:47:07 »

Or, alternatively, people would automatically ignore the comparison if they had a picture to look at. An image always over-rides a written description, I find.
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« Reply #9 on: 04 October 2008, 02:56:58 »

I like the sort of fishy-look to them, but maybe we could make them fishlike in a different way.  Eyes on the sides of their heads rather than on the front for example.  That would probably make them poor hunters though, as they wouldn't have the depth of vision.  I suppose they could still live mainly on farmed plants, and fish using bait and traps.

Reading Mira's post in the intergration made me remember the idea of having them have something to do with bats, possibly riding them. That could be another non-gollum-like thing?  Erm, what's giving the gollum impression apart from the eyes and living in caverns?  Anything else?

They could be any colour you liked really, especially if it's a Brownie colouring (green, yellow, blue, brown, white, black).  I was thinking a fishy blue-green, but black or blue-black would work fine too :).  Actually, that would be better because they would be camoflaged when swimming in the crude oil then.
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« Reply #10 on: 04 October 2008, 03:06:25 »

I think it was a combination of the eyes, the fishy-stuff, living in caves. Just a general impression, really.

How about giving them scaly skin? It could feel cold and wet, as well. Or down-turned mouths? Or little gills on their necks? Google an image of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (comic version) for some ideas.
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« Reply #11 on: 04 October 2008, 03:07:00 »

@ the name:


Cave or Cavern Brownies

Darkling Brownies

Goblin Brownies

Fish Brownies (yuck, what a concept!  Maybe Piscine Brownies or even Piscinites?)\


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« Reply #12 on: 04 October 2008, 03:10:41 »

Or you could make up a name for the caves where they were first discovered and use that?
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« Reply #13 on: 04 October 2008, 03:15:17 »

Scaly skin would be very sea-monster/man/brownie, and I like the mouth idea too.  *giggles at mental picture*  No gills though, I'm not sure how you would breathe Crude Oil but having gills just seems too simple a solution!  Now I'm thinking of a certain episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with fish-man monsters.  They weren't that good though.

Ooo, I like "Cavern Brownies", Or "Darkling Brownies", or "Piscinites", or even just "Darklings" on its own.  Any preference from you Mira?  And do the caves have a name yet?  I think they should have at least two names - one which the Brownies call themselves and one which the dwarves call them.
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« Reply #14 on: 04 October 2008, 03:26:24 »

I like the idea of fishified Brownies, though the image of Caliban from The Tempest comes to mind now.  (laughs)

Ask the Bard for a Dwarven name, she'll have a few good ideas for sure.


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