Mutations


    In Araea, mutations are a fact of life. From industrial pollutants and twisted magic to Blight and Far Deep dangers, there are any number of things that can twist the flesh of mankind into new and bizarre shapes. Humanity has in turned learned to live with these deformities as just another aspect of a hard life.      

Twisted Flesh

  According to both leading medical thoughts in Araea, mutations come in four grades of severity: minor, deformity, aberrations and abominable. These term are less scientific classifications and more descriptors. Even so, there are substantial disagreements between Atma and Deva about the exact classifications of some mutations.   Minor mutations are unseemly, painful and inconvenient, but they are never dangerous. Somewhat common, especially among the poor or the Exiled, minor mutations are often just seen as the mark of hard work in dangerous places. Both schools agree on this much: any mutation that does not significantly deform or impair the mutated, or threaten her health falls under this category.   Deformity are less common and these mutations are visible and significant transmutations. They are, for the most part, not a threat to the mutated's health. If it does not change the persons function but is of such extent to be obvious and ugly, it is usually classified as a deformity. With medical science being what it is, telling exactly when a deformity is harmless or not can be guesswork.  
Mutant   With familiarity comes a certain degree of understanding. The term "mutant" is sometimes used by medical experts to refer to particularly unfortunate individuals or beasts that have warped beyond their norm, but it is not a common term outside these scholarly circles. Mutations is something that you acquire, like a cold or a bad rash, it isn't something that you are.
  Aberrations are anything that is neither minor nor a deformity. Mutations that cause disease, weakness or debilitate the mutated are all considered aberrations. Things that interfere or warp the functionality of the mutated's body also qualify as an aberration. At this point, many of the mutations are not only life-threatening but often strange.   Abominable mutations are in essence everything that defies the other classifications. Flesh that is turning to stone or bone, mushroom-like growths across the arms and back, entire extra limbs are all abominable mutations. These never have simple causes and most are the results of either Thaumaturgy or visits into the Far Deep.    
Homo superior   Very rarely, mutations can prove useful - even beneficial. But mutations are never pleasant or desirable, more often than not they are debilitating and sometimes crippling afflictions. Even a mutation that seem useful at first often progress to a point of becoming a danger to the health and sanity of the mutated.
   

A Medical View

 

The Atma on Mutations

  The Atma believe that mutations are a manifestation of extreme internal imbalance, permanent afflictions brought on by too much imbalance for too long a time. Exactly what is where their theory gets muddied but the Atma Medikari try their best to assign most mutation one or two traits that they embody; tumors being wet, an extra finger being warm. It doesn't always make sense, but that doesn't stop them from trying. The Medikari advice that the best way to avoid mutations is to avoid imbalance: diet and careful environmental immersions as required.   Read more about Atma - the Science of the Balanced Body

The Deva on Mutation

  The Deva theorize that mutations are brought on when external elements infiltrate the body and grow inside of them. They are unnatural invasions of the human body, akin to parasites or infections. As the premiere surgeons of Araea, they are more willing to deal with mutations in a more aggressive manner, believing them to have a cure just like any venom or illness. They haven't found it yet, but they have grown skilled at amputation and reconstructive surgery for minor or sometimes deforming mutations.



Read more about Deva - the Art of Healing

   
   
The Exiled   One group of unfortunate souls bear particular mention as it related to the topic of mutations: the Exiled. Forced to spend generations on the Surface, living in Blight and under malignant stars, the Exiled often showcase an impressive array of mutations. There are not many elders among the Exiled.
   

Example Mutation: Minor   Growing (or losing) a finger is a common example of a minor example. If the sufferer it lucky, it will be on her hand. Many chose to amputate the offending aberration, but those too poor to afford proper treatment risk infecting the wound and so many simply chose to live with it.
   

Causes

  There are many things that can warp a persons body. These are the most common and the most well-understood by the people of Araea.     Blight - the name given by the denizens of Araea to radiation and radioactivity, it is one of the most common causes of mutations and by far the leading cause among any Exiled.   Pollutants - the working poor often find themselves handling dangerous industrial alchemical componds or wading hip-deep in strange offal that mix mushroom, fungi with dangerous toxins. Much more vague than Blight, it is a convenient scapegoat for doctors if no other source seem obvious.   Thaumaturgy - power has its price. Theurgs possess the power to warp reality and often find that it warps them too. Channeling the power from beyond through their own flesh, Theurgs inevitably begin to change. Into what depends in large part on what sort of magic they have chosen to wield.   Thaumaturgy... As a victim - Less common, some Theurg sculpt flesh like others sculpt stone or shape fire. These theurgs are sometimes known as Mutatomancers for their propensity of afflicting their enemies with terrible, debilitating mutations.   "Others" - Araea is a world of many unknowns and everything from the reality-rending visits of the Q'x to strange primordial things in the Far Deep can cause the human body to change.    
Example Mutation: Deformity   Persistent and ugly skin-rashes and tumor-like growths can be an example of a deformity mutation. While not yet life-threatening, they set the mutated apart from others.
   

Cures and Treatments

  Minor mutations and sometimes deformities can be treated, but such treatment take the form of surgery that cuts away tainted flesh and hope it will regrow healthy. For aberration and abomination mutations, the best a mutated can hope for is the false hope of some snake oil.   Theurgs, on the other hand, can offer things no surgeon can.    
Example Mutation: Aberration   The left eye can no longer see, as the tumors that cover the mutated's face have grown bulbous and swollen enough to cover it. They bleed often and reek of decay - the result of extended immersion in Blight.
       
Example Mutation: Abominable   This patient returned from the Far Deep, gibbering of things too terrible to recount. His arms have grown hard chitinous scales, which he insists are growing to cover more of his skin. The nails have elongated and become hard claws.

Comments

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13 Dec, 2018 10:00

I like how the basic premise of the opening line is, "Hey get use to mutations cause this place sucks.".It's crazy that such a place can have that many mutations. It's really just a part of their life. Even the form of "oh no big deal" mutations.   I like that there are two different schools of thought when it comes to mutation. Are their clashes between the two? Or is this more of a philosophical difference?   It does kind of suck that there's no awesome and good mutation. They all suck, even the awesome ones apparently. Lol.

13 Dec, 2018 10:28

I didn't want them to be something desirable, so I made the choice that even the ones that are beneficial have a cost and a consequences, much like thaumaturgy :)   And the relationship between Atma and Deva is philosophical in that they have fundamentally different ideas of what causes illness, and they also have an air of how rival kung-fu schools might interact. Shouting, posturing, occasional brawls and lots of "my style is better than your style" kind of shenanigans

13 Dec, 2018 14:39

When Mutations become normalized, you know something has seriously gone wrong. O,o   I like it, the structure keeps you reading as each point where it drops slightly picks right back up with a new part of the topic! I like the classification and how it looks at how the world sees these. The contrasting views of Deva and Atma really delve well into societies solid understandings of the issue.   Finally I love that you included example mutations! Really gives a solid feel of the topic on top of everything else!   Thanks for sharing!

13 Dec, 2018 16:20

Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it <3

13 Dec, 2018 18:06

How can one who brings such light to the community have such a dark world?   Wonderfully written, with a lot of detail. I do enjoy the fact that you have made even beneficial mutations a negative thing thst gets worse over time. I am a little confused about whether these are caused by magic or something else, but the general feel from the Atma and Deva makes me think thats a purposeful choice.   As the creator, what is your favorite Mutation to have designed for a character in your world?

13 Dec, 2018 19:57

Some are caused by magic, others have mundane explanations (as mundane as "radioactivity" gets, anyway) - Atma and Deva are just the extend of medical knowledge in Araea, which is to say its 80% guesswork and superstition. :D   I don't have any, yet. Haven't really thought that far ahead. The Theurg who's gradually turning to stone, maybe?

13 Dec, 2018 18:54

This really puts it into perspective just how long these people have lived in a world covered in radiation with how commonplace mutations seem to be. I noticed a couple things in the writing, but otherwise it was pretty good.

 
  • 'Exactly what is where their theory gets muddied but the Atma Medikari try their best to assign most mutation one or two traits that they embody' - The start of this sentence reads a little awkwardly and I thought a word was missing at first.
  • 'it is a convenient scapegoat for doctors if no other source seem obvious.' - Either 'source' or 'seem' should have an S at the end - 'No other sources seem obvious', 'No other source seems obvious' (Seem compares a plural noun, while seems is for singular nouns)
 

Are there any mutations that change someone's psyche? I.e., the brain itself becomes mutated or damaged, or hormones change and cause someone to behave differently?

13 Dec, 2018 19:18

It's all about that delicious context. How would we really react in a world full of weird stuff, aliens, reality-warping terrors in the far deep and all the extra toes they cause. Thank you for taking the time to read it and to comment and like! <3   Yeah, that first sentence needs a bit of a re-write. Though I'll have to give it a pass after WE; my aim is definitely higher than "pretty good" ;D   I had thought about it but wanted to avoid them. They're probably there, but they always feel kind of like a cop-out in RPGs when you have a mutation that just is "crazy". I'll have to consider it though. It makes sense that they would be there, but I've not yet decided if they would fit the overall world.

13 Dec, 2018 19:19

There are definitely mutations that border on supernatural, though. Particularly the ones causes by the weirder stuff or thaumaturgy.

13 Dec, 2018 19:42

You could take a look at Fallout's feral ghouls (This is what inspired my question in fact) - The radiation affects them in such a way their brain starts to rot and they lose higher order functions, becoming more animal like in behavior as just an example.

 

I'm sure there's some information on the effects of radiation or other forms of hormonal imbalances or foreign substances that affect the brain that could be used for inspiration as well if you do decide to go that route :D

13 Dec, 2018 19:56

It's unlikely the medical technology as it stands in Araea would have much more insight then "his brain is rotting and has a big buldgy tumor thing on it. That's probably it" :D   It could be interesting for some of the Exiled. I guess you kind of see it a bit in the degeneration of the third eye tribe, in fact... You've given me food for thought