For this post I’ll be showcasing a new method, slightly unusual but it’s a variation on the World Tags concept that expands upward from details rather than a downward from overviews.
First I will be opening with a pretty basic statement and highlighting certain key words, the recognition of plot hooks is an important part of the method and this post should actually help you get a feel for catching them.
Thousands of different species of boreal reptilians stalk the outer forests.
This is paraphrased from the post they were originally mentioned in and as you can see I’ve highlighted two phrases. As a straight-up rule of thumb, a plot hook is anything that has more to say, ie something a player could ask a question about and get some interesting story over, usually these questions are why, how, which, or where but they can vary heavily.
A few example questions and answers:
Why are there thousands of different species? The Qzotl (Or Chameleonmen as most people know them) have secret – as in unknown to any but them – programs dedicated toward breeding and engineering (through stolen Magos Gignomai magics) living siege and war engines, failures or otherwise useless creatures are dumped into the forests, which supports rumors that the creatures intend to wage war – a terrifying concept – on the rest of the continent.
How can these forest-dwelling reptilians thrive in a barely habited portion of a freezing continent? One of the earliest Ozotl experiments was with metabolic control and their living weapons quickly became able to alter their internal temperatures quickly, often instantly. This allowed the creatures to become effectively immune to extremes of cold and heat, enabling them to be active at all temperatures, which when they were released lead to them breeding much more often. Of course the fact that they could breed at all was an accident the Ozotl made and one they haven’t made again.
Where are the different species of reptilians located in the forests? A great deal of them reside within the overly common bore-holes scattered across the forests and occasionally within the trees or in their foliage.
As you can see the method quickly expands the penumbra of information about a given topic just by asking yourself questions you’d ask about different topics mentioned.
What are the Chameleonmen/Ozotl? They are a fairly large empire of scaled-humanoids with bulbous eyes and the ability to generate a mental camouflage in those that lack a specific pheromone they exude, undetectable by non-Ozotl olfactory glands. Their society prizes genetically-modified slaves as valuable property and often they’ll capture creatures to experiment upon them.
How did the Ozotl steal Magos Gignomai magics? It was a long process but suffice to say the Ozotl had mastered a particular ritual that modified their mental camouflage to make them feel, smell, appear, and sound like the species of observers – in other words, if you looked at one it would be of your species. They used this to infiltrate the Magos Gignomai compound in Den An Taerfwyl and although caught in the act, escaped quickly with what they needed, leaving in their wake a scattered set of bodies, all with their blood drained and replaced with venoms most foul somehow.
What sort of living siege/war engines? For the rivers they’ve crafted great beasts from crocodiles known as Tzedhri which share a physical camouflage akin to real chameleons. These Tzedhri leap from the riverbeds and tear apart boats carrying vital supplies. Meanwhile the slithery Werdl burn their ways through the earth with saliva so acidic it can dissolve men in seconds, leaving naught but bone. The Werdl’s task is simple, they collapse walls as normal miners would. Of course there are subtler weapons wielded by the creatures, along with the Magos Gignomai modification rituals was the preliminary notes from experiments for symbiote creation. These symbiotes would blend with the organism attached and form a bond that benefits both of them, often for battle purposes. Few – if anyone – can differentiate the symbiote from its host when the blending has completed until they demonstrate their capabilities.
What do the rumors say the Ozotl’s motivation for war is? They vary, often anywhere from ‘they want to eat everything’ to ‘their dark god compels them to’ and as per the norm with rumors, none are truly dependable.
Why is war a terrifying concept? Because the Races of Eredea have abandoned overt war, often only resorting to small battles to determine the holder of larger tracts of territory rather than battling for every step.
While there is much MUCH more to go into about these creatures, this is a pretty sizable demonstrate of what the technique can do and how you can use it to craft anything from cultural foods to worlds.