March 3, 2016 at 10:27 pm

Thuntonian magic permeates pretty much the entire realm. Although this magic is in abundance, great care and skill is needed to access it before it can be converted to energy and burned up to power spells or magic items.

IME Colour

As each person converts magic into energy, they unintentionally taint it with their own soul, which is itself, a form of energy. Since souls are different and unique, each person contaminates the energy they're creating in a different and unique way.

To better understand this, imagine magic as water and the energy used to power a spell, as coffee. The spellcaster is like the paper filter and the coffee grounds represent that caster's soul. Obviously, the water can't become coffee, without first passing through the coffee grounds, which need to be held in place by the filter. Now imagine that everyone's coffee grounds are a different colour. This results in each pot of coffee matching the colour of the grounds. But no matter what the coffee looks like, it's basically the same strength and taste for everyone. It's just a different colour.

This is basically how IME works. As the burning magic energy glows, that glow is a different colour for everyone. Of course, sometimes someone's IME colour may appear to match someone else's, but in ways that most mortals can't detect, they're always different.

How IME Is Affected By Levels

Ever wonder why a high level character has high bonuses in just about everything? Bonuses to hit, to do damage and even to display willpower. Sure, a lot of this is due to that character simply having more training and experience in the field, but characters can go up levels by doing things that have nothing to do with combat. Exploring the landscape, accomplishing tasks and "good roleplaying" all grant experience points and thereby higher levels. How can this affect stats and bonuses? Then there's the hit points. High level characters just have more hit points and as a result, can shrug off damage that would have killed them a few levels ago. Well again, this all comes down to the soul.

Continuing with the coffee comparison, as a character goes up levels, their soul becomes more powerful. This is like adding more and more coffee grounds to their filter. This results in a stronger, more powerful coffee. The added coffee grounds intensify the coffee's colour as well, but not in the way you might think.

Just as a dream produces imagery that deeply reflects that character's inner mind, IME can create imagery reflecting that character's soul. As a character goes up levels, their IME begins to show imagery specific to that character. At first, this imagery is faint and discreet, but eventually it can grow to something visually spectacular.

Let's use a hypothetical wizard as a typical example of how IME might progress. We'll name him Rudy. When Rudy was a kid, he fell into an ancient, mass grave of a long lost tribe and was momentarily buried in dusty, old skulls. As a traumatizing event, this left a mark on his soul which helped shape who he grew up to be.

Rudy - Level 1 As a level 1 wizard, Rudy's spells glow a deep green.

Rudy - Level 3 Rudy's magic begins to faintly take shape. Small, glowing, green orbs float around his hands each time he casts a spell.

Rudy - Level 5 The orbs of green light have begun to loosely take the shape of skulls.

Rudy - Level 8 Rudy's magic has become intense, life sized, deep green skulls of light that dance around his body, menacingly.

Rudy - Level 10 Large, terrifying green skulls orbit Rudy and glare at whatever he is focusing his magic on.

Rudy - Level 15 Rudy's magic now creates massive, deep green skulls with brightly glowing eyes that shriek at the wizard's target while he casts his spell. The shrieking is a ghostly, warped version of the screams he made as a boy in that open grave.

Rudy - Level 20 The intensity of Rudy's IME has grown to legendary proportions and is whispered about by townsfolk in taverns and around campfires. It is said that if he casts a spell in anger, the very ground he stands on becomes forever scorched with the haunting imagery of horrifying, dark green skulls. And if you put your ear to the scorched ground and listen very carefully, you can faintly hear the panicked screams of a little boy. No one except the dark wizard, Rudy the Green will ever know what it means.

Applying IME To Your RPG Character

Here's how I've used IMEs in my games of D&D...

The player decides the colour of their character's IME as well as what it would look like at higher levels. The DM keeps a record of this and dictates what the IME appears as at what level. The player can't decide at what rate the IME evolves. Although the player can choose the look and colour of their character's IME, the character has no say in the matter, anymore than they can choose the shape of their own nose.

Rudy is a loose guide to the rate of Thuntonian IME growth. It might be vastly different in your game.

Final Notes

Everyone has an IME, no matter what class they are. A fighter may not cast spells, but her IME still appears whenever she uses a glowing, magic sword or a magic ring that shoots fireballs.

Anyone can choose to suppress their IME down to a barely visual, dim glow but it takes conscious, mental effort to do this. Rudy doesn't want shrieking skulls to float around him every time he magically lights a candle in his study. But during battle, he's unlikely to devote any of his attention toward keeping his IME down.

In rare cases, IMEs can present more than sights and sounds (in fact, not all IMEs ever emit a sound, beyond a muffled "BAWUMF" or something). Some IMEs create smells, slight changes in temperature to the surrounding area or even mildly affecting the emotions of those who are nearby. Drastic events can change a character's IME, but this is very rare.

(PS - I'm hiding sneak peeks and other cool stuff under the vote button in the top/left corner of the site. You can vote for Goblins every day to help support the comic and see the good stuff, if you like. Thanks!)

March 3, 2016 at 7:20 pm
Let's see if we can retake the number one spot over on Top Web Comics. I just posted a sneak peek under the 'vote' button (top/left corner of the Goblins home page). Click it to check it out and push Goblins up the TWC list. My plan is to post a bunch of stuff throughout March, so check often. You can vote for Goblins once every 24 hours! And yes, the rules specifically say that you can vote from different computers (as in once as home, once at work, etc). Thank you! -Tarol
February 7, 2016 at 7:32 pm
5. Fluid Untitled-1 Firstly, let's clarify the line that separates fluid and organic kliks.   Blood is both organic and a fluid, but a klik made up of blood counts as a 'fluid type' and not an 'organic type'. This is based on the thickness of the liquid. Physically, blood reacts a lot like water, which gives that klik the advantages and disadvantages of a 'fluid type'. A klik made of a thicker material like honey, could fall into the fluid or organic category, depending on the consistency of that particular honey. A klik made up of an organic substance with a more 'gelatinous' consistency, would be counted as an 'organic type'.   Fluid kliks have the widest range of extremes when it comes to strengths and weaknesses. They require more food energy than other types, since they need to not only hover, but keep their liquid bodies together at all times. A healthy, well fed fluid klik won't drip or evaporate under normal circumstances. Their positive is usually the same material that they're made of.   Being made of liquid means that fluid kliks are immune to all non-magical slashing and stabbing damage. Swords and arrows simply pass harmlessly through them. However, blunt attacks like clubs and maces will do double damage to them as chunks of them can 'splash' away. If these kliks become too damaged or starved, they can lose the strength to hold themselves together. This will cause them to 'drip' themselves away until they either feed on their positive or die.   Within this type of klik are the two subgroups, hot and cold. This is not based on the type of liquid that the fluid klik is made of. One klik made of water can lean toward heat, while another water klik can lean toward cold. Each of these two subgroups follow their own rules.   A. Heat   A fluid klik in this subgroup doesn't take damage from non-magical heat. It can be heated up to boiling and even (liquid type permitting) evaporated into a gas and still function, unharmed. It can operate with the properties of a gas until condensation naturally returns the klik back to its liquid state. However, a heat tending fluid klik is vulnerable to cold damage and is automatically killed if frozen solid.   B. Cold   A fluid klik in this subgroup doesn't take damage from non-magical cold. If it gets cold enough to freeze (reacting normally within the logistics of the liquid they're made of), it will feel no ill effects or loss of movement or abilities. In frozen form, the fluid klik gains any advantages or abilities that being solid ice might provide. When the fluid klik naturally melts, it comfortably returns to its liquid form. The cold tending fluid klik is vulnerable to heat damage however and is automatically killed if boiled away or evaporated via heat.   There is no record of a fluid klik capable of leaning toward both heat and cold.   Kloks Untitled-2 Kliks have their own form of "marriage" that is difficult for most humanoids to fully understand. On rare occasions, a small group of kliks (usually two to five), will decide to merge themselves into one being called a klok. This irreversible process combines each klik's sense of individuality into one, equally shared consciousness.   Almost every aspect of each klik being merged is added to the newly created klok. Memories, physical traits, personality traits, etc. are all present in the new creature. Kloks can ingest any positive that belonged to the kliks who merged. However those klik's negatives no longer pose a danger to a klok.   Aside from the added freedom of being able to choose from a collection of positives, rather than only being compatible with one, the klok possesses the combined intellect of all the kliks merged into it. Kloks are also notably more powerful than kliks. They're able to use tools, wield weapons, cast spells and once old enough, develop powerful, magical abilities. It's these ancient kloks that are able to create gateways into different dimensions and realms, allowing the species to spread to different worlds.   Despite all of this added power, the concept of giving up personal identity is horrifying and difficult to understand for most humanoids. A common question humanoids ask is "Which klik has control?". The answer is equal parts "None of them" and "All of them". Here is an imperfect analogy...   When a human drinks enough alcohol, they become drunk and their personality changes. Their intelligence, dexterity and confidence are all changed. Now imagine that the alcohol ingested was its own creature and the human and alcohol were "merged". The alcohol's personality and the human's personality combined to form a new creature with a completely new personality. Yet, while the human feels their personality change and some of the decisions they make are made by the alcohol, they always feel control over themselves. It never feels as though another being has taken control away from the human, simply that the human has become something different than what it was. There are of course, a lot of differences between this analogy and the formation of a klok, but it gives a partial insight into what it feels like from the klik's point of view.   The main reason for kliks deciding to merge like this, is due to a powerful, family-like bond formed amongst the group.   Tics Untitled-3 Tics are the most mysterious aspect of the species. They're often mistaken as "baby kliks", but this isn't the case. Tics are sub-creatures that are comparable to plants or house pets. What they lack in consciousness, they more than make up for in power.   Tics are created seemingly from nothing, by very old kloks. Once a klok creates a gateway to another world, tics are sent to the new realm decades or even centuries before any klik or klok may enter. The reason for this is because tics posses so much power, that they gradually and discreetly alter the world's laws of physics. These changes in universal logic are what make it possible for kliks to populate the new world and maintain the seemingly impossible abilities like hovering, shape changing, symbiotic procreation, etc. Tics don't have positives or negatives. They exist on the massive amount of energy given to them at the moment of their creation. This energy takes a few hundred thousand years to drain, but once it's depleted, the tic quietly dies.   Procreation   Possibly the most notable aspect of the species is the way they procreate. Like most living creatures, kliks require a soul to exist. However, unlike most creatures, kliks can't create new souls for their young. What they do to get past this handicap is an extraordinary feat of symbiosis.   A klik wishing to create new life first finds a living creature with a soul of its own. This can be a humanoid, animal, monster... anything with a soul. Then the klik attaches a small orb of its own material onto the creature. Over time, that orb is considered by the creature's soul, to be a natural part of the body. If we think of the soul as a form of energy that radiates within every part of the creature, then we can understand why that soul eventually fills the orb as it would an arm or a leg. Once this is accomplished, the orb harmlessly separates from the creature, taking with it the small bit of 'soul' that filled it up. The new klik now has its own soul that although started as a "copy" of a section of the creature's soul, grows to become something unique as the klik gains its own experiences and memories. This process doesn't harm the creature or take anything away from it. In fact, once completed, the creature is left slightly healthier and with a slightly longer lifespan.   The creature chosen, can affect the klik being created in a number of ways. While a humanoid usually creates kliks with hands, a horse can give way to a klik with hoves. A fish can create a klik with fins, a bird, one with wings and so on.   Past generations can also affect the outcome of the new klik's physical and magical make up. If a klik three generations ago, was created from some inter-dimensional beast with twenty tentacles, the new klik that was just formed from a human, might find itself with twenty hands.   The creature chosen and past generations can all contribute to the material and type of the new klik. This allows a metallic klik to end up creating an energy klik, etc.   (I'll discuss warped kliks in Kliks Part III)
January 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm
1 The klik species are a genderless symbiotic race that have spread through multiple dimensions. They have a large amount of magical power but as a result, can at times, be dangerously volatile. There are five basic klik types, all with the ability to become various mutations of themselves. Some of those mutations are a healthy form of evolution, while others are twisted and dangerous.   Positives And Negatives   Each klik has its own 'positive' and 'negative'. The positive is what that klik is required to "eat". It's what provides the massive amount of food energy needed to not only stay alive, but to allow it to heal, hover and perform other abilities. The negative is that klik's main weakness. Contact with the negative rapidly breaks the klik down and ultimately kills it. While each klik's type may tend toward certain positives/negatives (a klik made of fire will commonly have water as a negative), there is no hard rule about this. With the exception of the temporal kliks (see below), any type can have any positive or negative.   The Five Types Of Klik 1. Metallic 3 Metallic kliks are the most common of the five types. They can appear as any sort of naturally occurring metal and even some types of stone. Along with the ability to hover that all kliks have, metallic kliks can polymorph at will, into basic shapes. When they are in any shape other than their natural form (usually a sphere), metallic kliks are unable to hover. 2. Energy 5 Energy kliks can be made of fire, electricity or certain types of magical or mechanical energy. They don't really have a solid form and as a result, are much faster than other types. Energy kliks can have their own unique sets of advantages and handicaps that are separate from the issues they have with positives and negatives. For instance, a klik made up of electricity (or "lightning" as most folks in Thuntonia would call it) can travel through a conducting surface like steel or water. A klik made of sunlight would have no problem killing off a group of vampires, but would be vulnerable to a Darkness spell. 3. Organic 4 Organic kliks are the most diverse. They can be made of skin, claws, plant matter (wood, leaves), insect legs, spider webbing, hair, teeth... this means that they can sometimes be kind of gross or terrifying to look at. Organic kliks aren't as strongly affected by their positives/negatives. While their positive can take hours instead of seconds, to heal their wounds, their negative will not be as damaging to them as it is with other forms. 4. Temporal 2 Temporal kliks are partially made of "time" and exist in 3 to 6 consecutive moments of time at once, thus the echoed imagery. While these kliks follow the same rules as other types regarding negatives, their positives are oddly unique. A temporal klik might know what you're going to do a few seconds before you do it, because it's partly existing a few seconds in the future and is already experiencing it. Naturally, this tends to lead toward the standard paradoxes that come with time travel and it's these paradoxes that the temporal klik "eats" as a positive. I'll give an example... Imagine that you are about to step on a banana peel, causing you to slip and fall. A temporal klik is hovering next to you and since it exists a few seconds in the past and future as well as the present, it is watching you slip and fall just before you actually do it. Since it also exists in the time frame in which you haven't fallen yet, the temporal klik grabs you by the shoulder and points to the banana peel, thereby stopping you from ever slipping on it. This creates a pretty standard paradox. The klik sees you fall, allowing it to stop you from falling, which stops the klik from seeing the event, which makes it impossible for it to have stopped you from falling. This of course, causes you to fall, which restarts the cycle of impossibility. These paradoxes create a kind of logical feedback that temporal kliks can absorb as energy. Once the paradox has been eaten as the klik's positive, it no longer exists. This cleanly sorts out the timeline in ways that beings who exist in only one moment at a time can't hope to understand. Different temporal kliks eat different types of paradoxes. Sometimes the paradoxes require conscious decisions made by other beings. Sometimes they need to involve the destruction of matter. Some temporal kliks can only absorb paradoxes that spread into tiny pockets of time, disturbing very little in a universal sense, while others need paradoxes that ripple outward, affecting events on a cosmic scale. Existing in multiple moments at a time, makes it nearly impossible to physically harm a temporal klik. Much like the banana peel scenario, these kliks will usually know that they're going to be attacked before it happens.   About Kliks Part Two   Aside from the five basic types of klik, there are also kloks (the larger, more complex looking guys) and tics (the tiny guys). I'll cover these in part two.
January 8, 2016 at 1:17 am
2016 brought some updates to my Patreon page. One of the changes, is that with each comic update, I'm now posting a blog bit about something in the Thuntonian Universe (which is a terrible name but around here, it's what we tend to call the realm in which Goblins takes place). Goblins is something I've been working on for a decade, but the world in which it takes place, is something that I've been writing for a total of thirty five years. You see, Goblins is based off of my D&D games, which I ran almost constantly for twenty five years before I started the comic. This means that an immense amount of detail has been put into Thuntonia (I know, it's just... just an awful name, but it's so damn convenient). You'll be getting info on things like 'how are Gods created', 'what happens if you're tougher than the Grim Reaper', 'why do goblin eyes turn dark', 'how exactly does magic work' and tons of info about the biology of Thuntonian elves, dwarves, etc. So if you're a supporter over on my Patreon page, thank. You. Seriously, thankyouthankyouthankyou! If you're not a Patron, but would still like to help me out, you could always go over to Twitbook or Faceter or whatever social media you like and just say "hey, check out this comic" or something to that effect. And if you don't want to do that, you can still support Goblins by turning off your ad blocker. And if you don't want to do that you can STILL support Goblins simply by reading it. And if you don't want to do that, you can STILL help me by not punching me in the face if you pass me on the street. If you're doing any of these things, thank you. Anyway, here's... Thuntonian Lore #1 - Demons (part 1) demons1 The AD&D Monster Manual lists demons and devils as two separate species. Some people have been a bit confused when they see me referring to 'devils' as 'demons'. In Thuntonia, they're all simply referred to as demons. Thuntonian demons live in hell and are animated by a form of magic that is more powerful, but more chaotic than the magic found on the prime material plane (that's where regular folks live). Thuntonian magic is actually a form of energy. On the prime material plane, spells and magic items tap into that energy and use it to power whatever that spell or item is designed to do. In hell, that magic is a massive amount of excess energy that constantly and violently generates various types of heat and radiation into the atmosphere it permeates. This is what gives hell its fiery state. It's also why demons have no problem with heat and fire. In the same way that sunlight would kill a vampire but feel quite comfortable to a human, fire would kill a human but feel comfortable to a demon. Since hell magic produces so much energy, demons don't require food energy to live. They get all the "calories" they need just by existing. But demons don't have souls and this means they need sustenance that mortals don't. To understand this, I need to explain how Thuntonian souls work. How Souls Work Souls are indirectly responsible for mortals dying of old age, instead of living indefinitely. Imagine the prime material plane as a dark room. In order for life to exist, it needs to shine through that darkness with light. Now think of a soul as electricity and a mortal body as a light bulb. The bulb emits light and we have a living creature. However, while the electricity (soul) can exist forever in one form or another, the light bulb (body) will eventually burn out. Hell is like a brightly lit room and demons are like bulbs that are not generating any light. They don't need to, since the room itself is already lit up. Without electricity (a soul) running through them, the bulbs (demons) never burn out and can exist pretty much forever. But just like breaking a light bulb, demons can still be killed. Souls are what make certain emotions possible. While souls have little to do with whether someone is good or evil, they're what generate love, empathy, passion, and other feelings. While a demon can experience hate, anger and lust, only a creature with a soul can passionately experience those emotions. It takes a soul to create and appreciate all forms of art. Being moved by a story, painting, song... this is only possible with a soul. It's this passion that sustains us. Without ever experiencing any of these feelings in one form or another, we're really not alive. But demons are living creatures, so how do they manage to exist without being able to generate any kind of extreme, passionate emotions? Well, they are forced to absorb the experiences of others. Why Demons Love To Make Others Suffer Demons are able to 'capture' the passionate experiences of other souls and use that as a sort of emotional food. While a number of passionate feelings can be absorbed by demons, suffering is by far, the easiest and most energy efficient state to take. This is why hell is known for capturing the souls of mortals and forcing them to suffer in various horrible ways. Souls are like never ending generators of sustenance for demons. Because of this, demons will often use souls as a form of currency in hell. And since some souls are more capable of suffering than others, some souls are worth more. This is where the whole concept of 'sacrificing a virgin' came from. In the rare times that a demon could reach the prime material plane, they might sometimes demand souls. The more innocent, goodly souls tended to be capable of experiencing horrible suffering to a greater extent. The demons honestly didn't care if the sacrificed person had ever had sex or not. But if the person being sacrificed to the demon was a virgin, there was a greater chance that they were innocent and "pure". For countless ages, mortals have misunderstood this concept and it has become fairly common practice to sacrifice virgins to Gods, the weather, volcanoes... I mean, if it worked to get the huge, fiery demon to leave the village alone, maybe sacrificing a virgin to improve the crops will work. Yeah... mortals can be dumb. Demons Have Shaped Our Nightmares Some of our instinctual fears are there for natural reasons. We fear the dark because there might be a hungry predator hiding in the shadows. We fear snakes and spiders because they might be poisonous and kill us with a single bite. But why do we fear monstrous things that don't exist on our plane? Well, we can thank demons for that. As a species, demons are much older than any mortal life that's around today and they've been pestering humanoids since the beginning. Demons and demonic imagery doesn't look the way it does because it's what mortals fear. Mortals fear those images because that's what demons look like. Demons Invented Swearing Why are some words forbidden? Why do certain words cause noble souls to gasp at hearing them or mothers to cover their child's ears? Demons have their own language and of course, this language is older than any mortal species that exists today. This language is so old, so drenched in nightmarish horror, that simply hearing a demon speak it, can cause mortals to go insane or become evil. Many ages ago, mortals would on rare occasion, witness a demon speaking in its hellish language. While telling the tales of their rare encounter to others, those mortals would try to replicate the words they heard. Of course, no mortal can properly speak the demonic tongue. However, just making the sounds to the best of their abilities, carried a fraction of the dark power that the language held. These mispronounced demonic words felt... wrong to hear and even worse to say. Over time a few of these bastardized, pseudo demonic words have become part of the common tongue. They're easily said by those who don't shy away from darker thoughts and sometimes, even uttered by the innocent in times of anger, shock or pain. Are Demons Evil Yes and no. Not having a soul means that demons are incapable of feeling empathy or friendship toward other demons or those they torture in their realm of fire and brimstone. It's this lack of empathy that has them betraying each other and conveying no sense of honour or compassion. Yet their cruelty always has a purpose. Demons by their nature, cause suffering in others because it's how they survive. A human who rips the wings off of a fly, simply to watch it flail about, does so without a purpose. A demon would never do something like this, simply because... well, why bother? Whether or not you think they're evil, they're undoubtedly horrible and scary. Angels Angels also have no souls of their own and are a lot like demons. Though instead of feeding off of mortal suffering, they feed off of mortal joy. This is why they tend to help out mortals in need and produce "miracles". Angels don't really capture and collect souls, like demons do. This is merely because a captured soul is harder to keep happy. It's better to visit the prime material plane, create some kind of joy and move on. And just as a demon can't care one way or another about the mortals themselves, neither can an angel. They simply want to feed. Comic Notes Let's answer some questions I can imagine popping up from readers after reading this... 1. Complains of Names still has his soul. His soul was... erm... 'dented' a bit when he became part demon, but he's still got one. The full extent of his transformation will crop up in the comic at some point. 2. Yes, Big Ears saying "shit", was him saying one of those words that sound like demonic but isn't. Swear words aren't actually evil, they just 'feel' kind of evil. So while a paladin can technically swear all they want, they tend to not want to do it much at all. 3. Yes, Not-Walter feeds off of suffering, too. I know. I try not to think about that, either. As always, thank you for everything. -Tarol
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