Two left. The two hard ones.
First, a Mammoth Lord.
From the Pathfinder wiki:
Nope. Nothin’ yet.
Maybe I should work on that Assassin/Bard first? Yeah. I’ll get back to this one.
And that’s how it was for the whole week. "Maybe I’ll get back to that one." Well, now there’s only two left and it’s time to start really thinking. So, to inspire myself, I pulled out the most primitive music I have on my iTunes: Tom Waits’ album, Bone Machine. With this album, Waits became a kind of post-apocalyptic beat box. I think the only "real" or "legitimate" instrument on the entire album is his piano and that makes rare appearances.
And once I hit the right track, I knew exactly who I wanted to write about.
If we’re gonna get primitive, let’s get primitive. We’re going all Joe Campbell up in here.
He’s not more than a boy. Barely a man. The tattoos on his skin–the ones that prove he’s a man–are still red and fresh. He’s walking up to a city, full of decadence and sin, and he’s carrying with him a tiny bag. A bag his shaman gave him. A bag to protect him from evil. He walks to the city gate, but he doesn’t know the language. He just knows what the shaman told him.
"Go south and find help."
See, this boy, barely a man, has been sent on a quest. His village is sick. The crops are dying, the men are dying, the children are dying. There’s a curse on the lands and our boy is the one the village sent to heal the sickness. The shaman can’t do it. Only the boy can do it. He needs to go out into the wasteland and bring back the medicine that will heal the village.
Sounds simple right?
Try doing it when the greatest technological advancement you’ve ever seen is a lever. Not saddles. Not stirrups. Not iron working or even bronze working. Maybe someone’s figured out the wheel.
And you don’t even speak the language.
You are there in your animal skins with your tattoos and your little bag of magic and you need to find the magic potion that’s going to save your people from the Sickness that’s rotting them away. You have nothing.
Oh, wait. I forgot. You do have something. You’ve got a wooly mammoth.
There ain’t no way the city guards are letting that thing through the gates.
So, anyway, here’s our little man. And he’s got a particular affliction we from the Great Midwest like to call "Minnesota Nice." He’s from a primitive culture where people need each other to survive. We have a saying in MN: "We’ve got to stick together because the Winter is bigger than us all."
Our boy doesn’t understand poverty. He doesn’t understand how anyone could allow that to happen. Isn’t there enough food to feed everyone? And you can’t eat gold, right? Can’t we just all go out and hunt deer until we have enough food for everyone? And if you have something someone else needs, you give it to them. Eventually, you’ll get it back because you’ll need it, too. Isn’t that the way things work?
He gives food because people are hungry.
He helps because people need help.
He doesn’t think about it. He just gives.
And someone is gonna let this sucker walk in to the city.
Every single one of my NPCs has a "boon." It’s something you can do to get that NPC on your side. It’s a story hook. Imagine throwing this poor kid at the party. What would your "merry band of adventurers" do with him? Think about it. Think good and hard.
And when you’re done, take another look at their alignments.
I love this kid. He doesn’t understand anything about "civilization." He’s good and pure. And he’s got a wooly mammoth for a friend. Yeah, he talks to the mammoth.
Wanna know a secret? The mammoth talks back.
And so, for my little hero, I have a song about the dangers of civilization. Time to start up your Apocalyptic Beat Box, Mr. Waits.
- The Paizo Project, Part 6
- The Paizo Project, Part 8 (The End)