Sunday, January 26, 2014

Brightshadow Memos: Digger Spawn

Certainly sir, I am happy to provide more background. In recent years, the proliferation of the Digger (or Spawn of the Digger, sources vary) summoning ritual continues to frustrate efforts to suppress it. The widespread appearances of sinkholes only increased when a form of the ritual appeared on the internet several years ago. While most traces have been subsequently removed from the public network, occurrences continue. While as many or more summonings occur due to ignorance or pranks as can be attributed to malicious intent, our agents have an extremely difficult time determining which is which after the fact. I continue to believe that our best bet is to actively track down the true Digger cultists and unravel their networks, as well as focusing on removal of the summoning ritual from the public eye whenever possible.

In reference to your inquiry about a worst-case scenario, the obvious fear would be the focused use of Diggers to destroy infrastructure. The most famous example is the destruction of the walls of Jericho described in Joshua 6. We believe the odds of such a targeted attack are essentially non-existent at this time as the organized cult cells remain too small. The use of the Ark of the Covenant in the description also implies such a controlled effort required channeling enormous amounts of energy. In any case, it is our belief that the greater threat at the moment remains the random element.

Digger Spawn can be used in a variety of ways to provide surprise obstacles, introduce an underground venue, or just as another world-ending cult to hunt down. Here are a few ideas in adapting them for different game types:

  • Fantasy: Diggers are creatures the size of a bull (or bull elephant if you prefer) with a gaping maw filled with endlessly grinding teeth. Their appearance can be altered to suit the environment, but they should at minimum have tough (armor-like) skin and be able to burrow quickly through soil (and slowly through rock if you prefer). Their preferred attack method is to dig out a well-traveled area and wait for something to trigger the surface collapse, attacking after the collapse when the target is stunned and/or injured.
  • Lovecraftian: Digger spawn consist of the gaping maw as above, but dozens or hundreds of feet wide, attached to a tough tentacle that leads further into the ground.  Killing the thing always severs the tentacle, and the ground always collapses as the uncut remainder withdraws. What might be found attached to the other end of the tentacles is unknown, as is the vastness of the thing's appetite, and what must be done to sate it should someone be foolish enough to summon it.
  • Modern: Diggers in a modern setting are perhaps better played as surprise traps or a threat to subways, bridge supports, and other infrastructure. They/it may be almost impossible to catch, so the emphasis becomes preventing it from being summoned in the first place.
  • Pulp/B-movie: You didn't think I would write this without mentioning the movie Tremors did you?
  • Substitute whirlpools for sinkholes and you have Children of Charybdis and their corresponding cult for your seaborne or mythic game.

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