Mutations

Introduction

One of the greatest driving forces of evolution in Lyra are the rampant mutations caused by the Seeding. Those spectacular events of green-purple comet-like pods falling down from the sky, and the clouds of spores they release when they impact Lyra, have brought to life the most amazing and most horrifying creatures currently alive.

Due to a Seeding thousands of years ago, the Vulpe rose up into sentience and built one of the greatest civilizations to ever walk the planet. Also true, is that most of the monstrocities that inhabit the Duskbelt, as well as the terryfing Saurian and Megafauna living in the vast jungles of Nyria, were also created when pods fell deep into the darkest ocean or in the thick jungle.

 

In the civilized lands of the Old World ( Thebia, Viliria and Azun) it is common practice when a Seeding occurs for the spores and the pods to be burned to a crisp the moment they are detected. The Theban Empire has a dedicated watch scanning the skies when Achelois, the green moon, is ready for a seeding, and a specialised force of knights protected by custom-made armour, weilding flame producing weaponry to destroy the affected area and everything else several hundred meters around it.

  But things do not always go as planned...  

Mutations in Lyra

Once an organism is affected by a mutation, either during its life or at any point during the evolution of its species, it can no longer be affected by the seeding. There are some exceptions to this rule but they are extremely rare (see Wild and Forced Mutations). Humans, being the only species in Lyra that has not been affected by the seeding throughout its evolution, is the only species with access to mutations.

Contact

Mutations are the will of the planet-goddess Achelois manifested. Once an organism inhales a spore, or a spore comes in contact with an open wound, the mutagen will start taking its course. The spores look like a purple-green irridescent, rather sticky, dust that it is described as smelling like sweet wine.

Incubation

The Mutagen works almost in an intelligent fashion. It sits with the organism it has infected for anything between some hours to several months learning from it and trying to understand what is it that this organism needs the most. For example, if the creature is a grass grazer often hunted by predators, the mutagen will alter the physiology of the creature to make easier for it to survive. That might mean faster running speeds, harder skin, or even a way to actively fight against the predator.

Manifestation

Once the mutagen has concluded its incubation period, the creature will enter the manifestation phase. This phase normally takes 1 to 3 days. During this stage, depending on the type of mutation, the creature will experience incredible pain, fever, hallucinations, coughing and other symtpoms. Its body will twist and warp as the mutagen runs its course changing every single cell of the body it infected. A good part of the creatures affected will die during this stage, but those that do survive the process will come out the other side of it stronger and better adapted to the environment they inhabit.

Genetic Lineage

Creatures mutated by the seeding have their genetic code forever changed. Further more, the mutations take precedence and when the creature procreates, these are passed on to their genetic descendants without modifications. In the very special case that a creature is the result of two creatures carrying separate, non-overlapping mutations, that creature will in fact attain both mutations.

Wild Mutations

As with everything in nature, there is always an off-chance that a mutation will take place even if another is already in place. Although the chance is very low, when it happens it's always to the detriment ... of others. All recorded wild mutations exclusively cause the creature affected to become maddened, almost rabid, and lose any sense of itself. In sentient creatures that is known as "Verda's Madness" and in most cases it is the cause of havoc and murder.

Forced Mutations

One of the most lucrative illegal compounds is the practice of gathering mutagen spores before they are exterminated or consumed. "Goo-hunters", as they are commonly known, scour the open valleys and mountains of Thebia in search of the comet-pods and once they find them, collect as much of the mutagen as possible before the "Cleaners" come in to burn the whole area down.

Once someone has procurred a vial of a mutagen they can consume it and enter a state of training that forces the mutagen to mutate the subject in a particular way. In many cases, those who consume the mutagen also practice meditation in order to speak to the mutagen. As astonishing as it sounds, reports seem to indicate that this is successful. For example, consuming the mutagen and spending the coming days fencing, running, training and using mantra-like meditation such as "I want to become the best fencer I can be", is known to have given the subjects incredible, somewhat supernatural, reflexes, strength and prowess.

Althought the practice of procuring and selling the mutagen is illegal, consuming it is not. In some places the practice is shunned but, due to the fact that this is a rather common practice for the nobility and the really rich, no law has ever been enacted against it.

Many alchemists have managed in their labs to procreate creatures to carry in some cases 8 distinct mutations. The practice of experimentation with the mutagen is highly illegal, so most of those experiments never see the light of day.

 

In-game Rules

A small amount of the Ogres, Orcs, Goblins and generally horrible and disgusting monsters of the world are people affected by the mutagen. The rest are just greedy nobles with no morals.
Ealari Old Man
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Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
25 Dec, 2021 10:29

This is fascinating! I really love the idea of people voluntarily taking up spores and talking to the parasites to control the mutations! Since you said that mutations are hereditary, does that mean that a lot of nobles carry some kind of mutations like that, making them great fencer or something similar? Do the rest of the nobility shun them and refuse to marry them or do they see it as an advantage since the risks have already been taken for them?

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
25 Dec, 2021 16:20

Yes absolutely. Mutations are one of the two factors that keep the nobility in power :) In truth they are not really talking to the mutagen. Lyra is all about self-will being manifested. What they are actually doing is convincing themselves and then enforcing their will onto them.

Join me, become a Sky Pirate in the world of Lyra!

25 Dec, 2021 13:19

Oh, this is nicely done, Dimi. Love the angle on the mutations with spores to control it.

30 Dec, 2021 09:06

I like this. I enjoy when stuff like this is given an elusive intellect, because just pure, rampant mutation is usually just straight up fatal. I did the same with my toxic Shade for Dark Shadows and Cinders. It also cause seemingly "intelligent" mutation in creatures.   It's also a really neat explanation for why you have anthro species. Well thought out!

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
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