Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Needed Revision to the Horrors
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2
JanessaVR
Let me start by saying that I’m fascinated by the Horrors. I’ve purchased every Shadowrun adventure and novel with them in it that I could find. I got into Earthdawn because of them – haven’t actually played it, but I keep buying the books…

I’m also fascinated by kaers and the technical details of them, but then I’m a geek and things like that fascinate me, so just go with it. smile.gif

Anyway, the biggest problem that I can find with Horrors is that, as presented, they’re an ELE. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELE for further details. If these things are really eating *the entire biosphere* every time they show up, there’s really no recovery from that. But that’s what they’re presented as doing, which means they’re a broken game concept. BUT, they’re too cool to lose, so they need revision. My take is as follows.

The real problem is the mega-hordes of “mindless eaters.? These have to go – there’s just no way around that. Humanity still has to hide from the more sophisticated “I inflict pain and misery on you and feed on it? types of Horrors, but those guys don’t seem to be interested in eating up the entire landscape in between periods of feasting on your agony and suffering. There could even be predatory horrors that do ravage *some* of the landscape, but their numbers are going to have to be reduced down from the billions/trillions level down to something the ecosystem can deal with, or at least eventually recover from (note that their ravaging is going to keep going on for 400 to 500 years…).

And I actually have another bit of a problem with the Shadowrun/Earthdawn timeline, which is (presumably) supposed to go like this:

1st Age: No magic, but presumably life comes into existence through whatever means.
2nd Age: Magic comes ‘round! And with it the first Scourge at the height of the cycle.
3rd Age: Cycle’s over, no more magic for a while.
4th Age: Magic’s back! And the Earthdawn era Scourge occurs.
5th Age: Our time, no more magic for a while.
6th Age: Magic’s back again, but it’s early in the cycle. Some nutjobs are trying to hurry the Scourge along, but they haven’t been successful. Yet.

The problem I see is – how did the 2nd Age survive the Scourge? It should have hit them with no warning. The second Scourge in the 4th Age had the Books of Harrow – described as unbelievably ancient and presumably left over from the last Scourge as a warning. I’m just wondering how anyone survived it to be able to write it (yes, I know it was dictated to a Dragon by a Horror), but how did the rest of the races survive?

My $0.02 on the topic, at any rate…
Ancient History
I don't think I've fallen off my chair laughing in quite some time. Thank you.
eidolon
QUOTE (Ancient History)
I don't think I've fallen off my chair laughing in quite some time. Thank you.

Care to explain? I've never followed the Horrors and ED connection all that closely, and have only recently actually started looking at any of it. The OP certainly doesn't seem to be joking, and so I'm missing the point of your post somehow.
Ancient History
I've just never run across someone that wants to "fix" this particular thing-that-doesn't-require-fixing before, and it amuses me. Also paraphrasing a line from somewhere you're probably unfamiliar with. There is a problem with the "Ages" as they currently stand, but they've been discussed to death already and nothing new has been added in this thread so far.
Zhan Shi
Hey! No paraphrasing The Laughing Man on this board!


I think you may be confusing "The Books of Harrow" with "The Book of Scales" (see Legends of Earthdawn). LRG says that in the East, the people survived the Scourge under the protection of the Great Dragons, although how is not specified (presumably a varient of the magic used to create a dragon's lair). As to exactly how the world survived the Second Age Scourge, that has been left mysterious. I just assume they created the Rites of Protection and Passage, and the Books of Harrow were their "notebook", so to speak.
Zhan Shi
Janessa: go to earthdawn.com, under "forums", then "for players". Look for a thread called "Accounting for geological history in earthdawn". I asked a similar question, and a fellow called Mataxes answered it nicely.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Ancient History)
I've just never run across someone that wants to "fix" this particular thing-that-doesn't-require-fixing before, and it amuses me. Also paraphrasing a line from somewhere you're probably unfamiliar with. There is a problem with the "Ages" as they currently stand, but they've been discussed to death already and nothing new has been added in this thread so far.

Ummm...how does this not require fixing? And can you point me to those threads where the Ages are discussed? I'd love to read them. Thanks.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
Hey! No paraphrasing The Laughing Man on this board!


I think you may be confusing "The Books of Harrow" with "The Book of Scales" (see Legends of Earthdawn). LRG says that in the East, the people survived the Scourge under the protection of the Great Dragons, although how is not specified (presumably a varient of the magic used to create a dragon's lair). As to exactly how the world survived the Second Age Scourge, that has been left mysterious. I just assume they created the Rites of Protection and Passage, and the Books of Harrow were their "notebook", so to speak.

Hmmm...don't own that one yet, but I'll add it to my purchase list. Haven't actually heard of the Book of Scales, but I'll look into it...
eidolon
Link to the post Zhan Shi mentioned: http://www.earthdawn.com/forum/index.php?topic=454.0

Thanks. The more I learn about the "meta-meta" plot the more fascinating it becomes.
Zhan Shi
Briefly: a horror took control of a dragon, forced him to rip out his own scales, and made him write all sorts of vile knowledge on them, using his own blood as ink.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Zhan Shi @ Sep 25 2007, 12:27 PM)
Briefly: a horror took control of a dragon, forced him to rip out his own scales, and made him write all sorts of vile knowledge on them, using his own blood as ink.

Ok, I have confused them then. Thanks for clarifying that. Ok, just looked over my PDF copy of the Earthdawn intro (the ED companies put some nice freebies on the net), and while it mentiones a blood-inscribed rune on the covers, the 6 books don't look they were inscribed dragon scales.
SonofaSailor
You might also want to check out this thread:

http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?show...pic=18748&st=50

Buster
You could just say that the last age was 5000 years ago, but not all ages are the same length of time. The 1st age could be the time when animated life first took over the oceans or when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, millions of years ago.

You could also say that sometime during one of the ages, the sentient races transported themselves from this earth into some pocket realm deep in the astral to escape the Horrors. Therefore no fossil records or artifacts. Nice and neat and fits all the facts. Maybe they never left their realm and only come here in soul form to be reincarnated as humanoids. I think there was a religion or a South Park episode that was kind of like that... biggrin.gif
Zhan Shi
If the "mindless eaters" (or any other horror) ran out of food, I would imagine they'd return home, then look for another world to devour. If you're planning on bringing the Horrors into your campaign, they would be from the Deep Metaplanes, and may not suffer evannescence; in Worlds Without End, I seem to remember Harlequin saying something like "They need a certain magic level to cross over; they don't need it to remain." Or perhaps they do suffer it, but have to use some special ability to keep their forms anchored in the gaiasphere; as I recall, the Rites disrupted the Horrors "concentration", and hence they had to run away or be forced back to their home metaplane.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
If the "mindless eaters" (or any other horror) ran out of food, I would imagine they'd return home, then look for another world to devour.

Well, my point is that after devouring every last scrap of life in the biosphere, there would be no campaign after that. Earth would be a totally dead world, with the exception of the kaers here and there. It would have no breathable atmosphere, and all the plants, animals, insects, and even micro-organisms would be *gone*. There's no campaign world LEFT after an event like that. After that, there would have been no Earthdawn after the Scourge, no 5th Age, and no 6th Age.
Zhan Shi
Just assume that the earth regenerated itself during the downcycle. Or maybe when the mana returns, it has a rejuvenating effect. Or maybe the dragons performed one of their Big Badass Dragon Magic rituals.
DireRadiant
Does every mystery need to be explained?

Maybe some horrors are smart enough to keep some food around for next time.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
Just assume that the earth regenerated itself during the downcycle. Or maybe when the mana returns, it has a rejuvenating effect. Or maybe the dragons performed one of their Big Badass Dragon Magic rituals.

Sigh. I seriously dislike such blatant "and the gods hit the reset button" explanations to cover up gaping holes in a storyline. But if it works for your campaign...
JanessaVR
QUOTE (DireRadiant)
Maybe some horrors are smart enough to keep some food around for next time.

The problem is, too many of them aren't presented that way, just as eating machines - with a 400 to 500 year, 24/7, all-you-can-eat-and-then-some banquet at their disposal. There's simply nothing left to regenerate the biosphere after an event that catastrophic. Barren rocks don't just start spouting plants and animals - unless that really is a side-effect of magic in the world, an explanation that strikes me as truly inelegant world design if that's the case.
SonofaSailor
In the Dragons book from ED they mention that he Horrors also devour themselves. In fact Big V ( The big daddy of all Horrors, and Dragons for that matter...) like to just sit back and watch everyone fight and devour themselves, and then just create more for them to fight/devour. So perhaps as some point the Horrors turn on themselves and enough of the the world is left to eventually repopulate/regenerate the world.

Zhan Shi
The is also a "species" of Horror mentioned in the Parlainth box set. It has found that other Horrors make more satisfying prey. Can't remember the name, but they were clearly influenced by Kali, the Hindu deity.

Well, until the Earthdawn developers come up with a concrete explanation, we'll all just have to wing it. It's fun to speculate, but don't let that gap ruin your gaming experience.
Lagomorph
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Sep 25 2007, 09:13 PM)
QUOTE (Zhan Shi @ Sep 25 2007, 01:51 PM)
If the "mindless eaters" (or any other horror) ran out of food, I would imagine they'd return home, then look for another world to devour.

Well, my point is that after devouring every last scrap of life in the biosphere, there would be no campaign after that. Earth would be a totally dead world, with the exception of the kaers here and there. It would have no breathable atmosphere, and all the plants, animals, insects, and even micro-organisms would be *gone*. There's no campaign world LEFT after an event like that. After that, there would have been no Earthdawn after the Scourge, no 5th Age, and no 6th Age.

Here's a theory that may help solve some things.

If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

Or the classic predator-prey relationship, that as the available prey declines from over hunting, predators starve and die off, changing the ratio of prey to predator and allowing prey to rebuild after the predator die off. Though they never specify what horrors eat when they aren't eating earth, so we can't really begin to speculate that far.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Lagomorph)
Here's a theory that may help solve some things.

If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

Or the classic predator-prey relationship, that as the available prey declines from over hunting, predators starve and die off, changing the ratio of prey to predator and allowing prey to rebuild after the predator die off. Though they never specify what horrors eat when they aren't eating earth, so we can't really begin to speculate that far.

Which is a totally interesting concept! One drawback I see - if there's billions/trillions of these things covering every square inch of the globe, the Scourge would have taken say, a year, tops before being over? Which could make for an interesting variant ED campaign, I suppose. I've just been thinking about the eventual ramifications for the 6th World.
Fortune
QUOTE (Lagomorph)
If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

I like that one. smile.gif
SonofaSailor
I'm not sure the billions/trillions number is exactly accurate. Unless you want to buy into the idea that they attack more then just this world.

I think the answer is a combnation of things mentioned here. That Many Horrors attack each other, that the smarter Horrors keep the dumper devourers in check to some extent ( everything I have read leads me to think that he devourers are at the bottom rung of horrorland, and those that feed on emotions are higher and more powerful ) as well as the fact eventually they will eat the mana levels low enough that they cannot function as well.

And then there is Big V, who love to see alot of death and destruction, even amoung his own horoi.

Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (JanessaVR)
QUOTE (Zhan Shi @ Sep 25 2007, 02:34 PM)
Just assume that the earth regenerated itself during the downcycle.  Or maybe when the mana returns, it has a rejuvenating effect.  Or maybe the dragons performed one of their Big Badass Dragon Magic rituals.

Sigh. I seriously dislike such blatant "and the gods hit the reset button" explanations to cover up gaping holes in a storyline. But if it works for your campaign...

Hey, man, the Deus Ex Machina has a long and respected pedigree in classical theater.
Lagomorph
QUOTE (JanessaVR)
QUOTE (Lagomorph @ Sep 25 2007, 03:34 PM)
Here's a theory that may help solve some things.

If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

Or the classic predator-prey relationship, that as the available prey declines from over hunting, predators starve and die off, changing the ratio of prey to predator and allowing prey to rebuild after the predator die off. Though they never specify what horrors eat when they aren't eating earth, so we can't really begin to speculate that far.

Which is a totally interesting concept! One drawback I see - if there's billions/trillions of these things covering every square inch of the globe, the Scourge would have taken say, a year, tops before being over? Which could make for an interesting variant ED campaign, I suppose. I've just been thinking about the eventual ramifications for the 6th World.

Well you'd have to take into account both number and size, if they're dragon sized, there may not need to be trillions, billions or even millions would be sufficient. Alternately, if they're bacteria sized, trillions wouldn't make a dent of difference. If they were human sized, low billions would cover the globe in about the same density that humans have but they would have a lot more available food.

I don't know enough about the main horror masses to know their size or numbers, but there would be an effective maximum density of horrors. I do recall that since they vary in power some can come early and start eating early, starting to weaken the mana sphere before other lower power ones can even get in. They don't all come in at the same time, so there's a definate entrance throughput, even if the exit throughput isn't limited (they go poof when the mana gets too low right?).
Zhan Shi
I agree with Fortune. Good idea, Lago. I'd never considered that.
JanessaVR
Hmmm...we never really get anything even approaching a hard # for these things, but the descriptions tend towards "incalculable," which is fairly bad. And actually I believe they just tend to be forced back home when the mana level is too low.
Synner667
QUOTE (Lagomorph)
Here's a theory that may help solve some things.

If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

Or the classic predator-prey relationship, that as the available prey declines from over hunting, predators starve and die off, changing the ratio of prey to predator and allowing prey to rebuild after the predator die off. Though they never specify what horrors eat when they aren't eating earth, so we can't really begin to speculate that far.

This is similar to the alternate world I run with..

Majik comes from life energy/nature
Being from other planes want that energy
Henges/etc are built to dampen the visibility of our planet to those beings
When the Henges are removed/damaged/destroyed, the dampers are gone
Majikal energy is abundent and people/creatures can use it
The very planet is changed by this
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Fortune @ Sep 25 2007, 05:54 PM)
QUOTE (Lagomorph @ Sep 26 2007, 08:34 AM)
If the mana level of the biosphere is dependent on the amount of living matter in the biosphere. Then as the horrors are eating their way through the biosphere, they would eventually eat to a point where the mana level can not support them. They would have to leave before devouring all life, because the remaining life can't support the mana level that they require.

I like that one. smile.gif

Agreed, it is such an elegant little theory that I feel kind of stupid for having never thought of it. If Horrors are tasty to other Horrors due to their magical nature, perhaps they prey on other highly magical critters as a matter of preference as well, leading to a sort of ambient mana level cascade failure that favors the survival of the mundane over the magical. I guess I've just always been one of those people who assumed that the lowered mana level results in less magical life rather than less magical life resulting in a lowered mana level.
nezumi
Another question that occurs to me, while we do have beasties which just eat everything, where does that substance go after that? Presumably its defecated out, so it's just turning rocks into pebbles. Depending on how its gut works, it could still support micro-organisms in there, or even more complex things like moss (or at least moss spores).

As has been said, large areas would be protected by horrors which rather enjoy having a healthy biosphere, or who feed off of creatures that need that biosphere. To a degree, I'd be more worried about an area of healthy animal life than a barren wasteland. At least with the barren wasteland you can be pretty sure the predator isn't especially discriminating and so isn't too specialized.
Grinder
QUOTE (Lagomorph)
I don't know enough about the main horror masses to know their size or numbers, but there would be an effective maximum density of horrors.

Classic mindless eating machines like Gnashers are no bigger than an average-sized human iirc, even though they can devour much more "food". Ad it's never stated where the stuff they have eaten goes, but it seem to simply vanish.
Grinder
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
The is also a "species" of Horror mentioned in the Parlainth box set. It has found that other Horrors make more satisfying prey. Can't remember the name, but they were clearly influenced by Kali, the Hindu deity.

Buualgathor, the Horror Hunter is one of 'em.
ludomastro
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Sep 25 2007, 06:24 PM)
Hmmm...we never really get anything even approaching a hard # for these things, but the descriptions tend towards "incalculable," which is fairly bad.  And actually I believe they just tend to be forced back home when the mana level is too low.

Emphasis is mine.

What does incalculable mean? The Million Man March was estimated at anything from 400.000 to 2.000.000 people. (The official estimate from the National Park Service was 400.000 while the organizers said 1.500.000 to 2.000.000. A Boston University estimate later put the total at around 840.000.) However, from my point of view while watching on TV, it was incalculable.

Now, imagine if a similar number of things that eat people are coming to town. Not hard to imagine people describing it as incalculable, limitless, without number, etc.
eidolon
Don't forget that Gaia/Earth is also considered to be alive by many people in the SR world (as she has an astral presence). If that's true, then she could potentially recover from anything but total annihilation.

I also like the theory proposed by Lagomorph a lot.
Cheops
QUOTE (Alex)
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Sep 25 2007, 06:24 PM)
Hmmm...we never really get anything even approaching a hard # for these things, but the descriptions tend towards "incalculable," which is fairly bad.  And actually I believe they just tend to be forced back home when the mana level is too low.

Emphasis is mine.

What does incalculable mean? The Million Man March was estimated at anything from 400.000 to 2.000.000 people. (The official estimate from the National Park Service was 400.000 while the organizers said 1.500.000 to 2.000.000. A Boston University estimate later put the total at around 840.000.) However, from my point of view while watching on TV, it was incalculable.

Now, imagine if a similar number of things that eat people are coming to town. Not hard to imagine people describing it as incalculable, limitless, without number, etc.

Especially since you are not going to bother standing around counting them while they come to devour you.

Reminds me of the scene at the end of Kung Pow when Oedenkirk is standing there counting the hordes of ninja charging at him.
JanessaVR
QUOTE (Grinder)
QUOTE (Lagomorph @ Sep 26 2007, 01:07 AM)
I don't know enough about the main horror masses to know their size or numbers, but there would be an effective maximum density of horrors.

Classic mindless eating machines like Gnashers are no bigger than an average-sized human iirc, even though they can devour much more "food". Ad it's never stated where the stuff they have eaten goes, but it seem to simply vanish.

I always assumed that they were creatures of such a highly magical nature that it put them so beyond the laws of normal physics that anything they ate was simply GONE.
JanessaVR
Re the incalculable thing, I've considered that - that the #'s were perhaps exaggerated by a bunch of beseiged people seeing a LOT of things coming to eat them, but the books tend to use words like "tide" and "vast swarm" that make you think these things are just practically covering the globe. Given that, it would seem that some leeway is very possible in deciding how many of these there really are to come through for a given campaign.

It does seem to be a tough # to hit, even roughly. Enough that people really need to get away from them, but not so many that in 400 to 500 years there is no biosphere left at all to regenerate from. A tall order. If you solve that one before me, let me know. smile.gif
Grinder
QUOTE (JanessaVR)
QUOTE (Grinder @ Sep 26 2007, 06:49 AM)
QUOTE (Lagomorph @ Sep 26 2007, 01:07 AM)
I don't know enough about the main horror masses to know their size or numbers, but there would be an effective maximum density of horrors.

Classic mindless eating machines like Gnashers are no bigger than an average-sized human iirc, even though they can devour much more "food". Ad it's never stated where the stuff they have eaten goes, but it seem to simply vanish.

I always assumed that they were creatures of such a highly magical nature that it put them so beyond the laws of normal physics that anything they ate was simply GONE.

That's what I wanted to say. smile.gif
fistandantilus4.0
Really? I looked at it completely differently. I thought of it as some horrible nasty littel thing, sinch, you know, their horrors and all. Now , bear with me and all, because I had the idea from going off the pic in Living Room Games Scourge Unending. I should probably know better, what with it being their excuse for art and all.

Any way, they gnashers don't seem to have very big bodies, just big mouths. So I always figured them like gold fish. ie they would eat and eat and eat everything around, completely gorgin them selves. If they couldn't process it fast enough they would just eat them selves to death. If they didn't die, they'd just eat, procreate, and move on and repeat. Keeps their number s in check, and to me, the idea of something devouring everything in sight until there's nothing left or it's stomach bursts is pretty disturbing. Again though, not really basing it off of anything.
Zhan Shi
Not as disturbing as stepping in big steaming piles of Horror doodoo. eek.gif
Jaid
just a thought, but i'm hearing a lot of "the people who saw them didn't count" or whatever...

precisely how many people do you think got a chance to count? because i'm thinking that the people who were around to see anything wouldn't have left *any* description of their enemies unless it was a relatively small number. the scourge is not known for leaving living witnesses around other than the ones who never actually see the scourge, per se, and who can therefore only describe what is left.
Zhan Shi
To my knowledge, the only mention of actual numbers is in Harlequin's Back. In the backround text, it says something like "thousands, perhaps millions of these monsters have invaded earth in the past."
Lagomorph
QUOTE (Grinder)
QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Sep 26 2007, 08:29 PM)
QUOTE (Grinder @ Sep 26 2007, 06:49 AM)
QUOTE (Lagomorph @ Sep 26 2007, 01:07 AM)
I don't know enough about the main horror masses to know their size or numbers, but there would be an effective maximum density of horrors.

Classic mindless eating machines like Gnashers are no bigger than an average-sized human iirc, even though they can devour much more "food". Ad it's never stated where the stuff they have eaten goes, but it seem to simply vanish.

I always assumed that they were creatures of such a highly magical nature that it put them so beyond the laws of normal physics that anything they ate was simply GONE.

That's what I wanted to say. smile.gif

hm, it seems we don't know much about horror para-biology.

I'd hate to say that eaten things simply vanish, but I doubt even great dragons and immortal elves stick around long enough to watch horrors poop.
Zhan Shi
Also from Harlequin's Back (I'm paraphrasing here): "The Enemy are not spirits in the sense that inhabitants of the Sixth World understand the term. They're much more physical." I take that to mean they have blood and have...um...certain biological prosesses they need to take care of.

Think these would count as "exotic materials" for enchanting?
Lagomorph
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
Also from Harlequin's Back (I'm paraphrasing here): "The Enemy are not spirits in the sense that inhabitants of the Sixth World understand the term. They're much more physical." I take that to mean they have blood and have...um...certain biological prosesses they need to take care of.

Think these would count as "exotic materials" for enchanting?

There's a run for ya, recover these exotic materials. Heres a baggie and a shovel.
Zhan Shi
eek.gif
tyweise
Horrors poop in the Astral. That's why it's so polluted in Earthdawn.

(Let's see how many ED mages will try casting Raw Magic now.)
JanessaVR
QUOTE (tyweise)
Horrors poop in the Astral. That's why it's so polluted in Earthdawn.

(Let's see how many ED mages will try casting Raw Magic now.)

The fact that that explanation possibly fits the ED setting is just...ewww!
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012