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Old 09-08-2018, 10:27 AM   #1
Railstar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Default Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Once upon a time, I had the idea of an organlegger necromancer. I love the idea, I find it nice and spooky. The problem is, the concept is fairly modern day.

For various reasons, I need to know what the same character would be doing from around 1920 onward. On one hand, I don't want her to be doing the exact same thing, since I'm not sure the business would make as much sense in an earlier setting with less developed surgery.

I would, however, like the foundations to be there. If you're a necromancer with the Evisceration spell in the 1920s, what do you do with all of those disembodied organs you can collect with it? What would be regular benefit you get from such spells? Alter Visage & Alter Body have been used to avoid appearing identical across the centuries, but I don't want the necromancer to be too reliant on them yet either.

What makes it worth developing that area of magic further? The necromancer has no idea that they're going to be an organlegger or magic surgeon 100 years in the future. So why is this magic something they work on?

I feel like zombies are less useful in the 20th century than they used to be, since obvious monsters without independent thought are too difficult to do much with in an urban environment. Maybe that makes flesh-warping magic less valuable (because you can't do as much with monsters as you used to) or more valuable (because it can get around some of the frightening parts).

I am toying with the idea of linking to the Brotherhood of the Skin (Cthulhu Mythos and Cabal are fair game to include in this), but I'm unsure.

Let me know what you think, and thank you in advance.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:39 AM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

"Goat glands"—transplant of testicles into elderly men for rejuvenation—were briefly a trend in the early 20th century. And psychic surgery seemingly goes back to the stone age.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:14 PM   #3
William
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

First, he might simply be studying them to advance his medical and magical knowledge, much as real doctors did with cadavers (stolen or legally acquired). A large library of organs from many different races, ages of people, genders, etc. could be a useful reference.

Are there any magical beasties running about with useful organs? Eye of newt, heart of manticore, and all that. Come to think of it, the whole organlegging might have some history if there's any way that chimerizing oneself with exotic organs is possible and conveys some benefit.

Flesh golems are mentioned in passing under the description of the Golem spell in Magic. Your necromancer might have had an interest in constructing these as servants a bit sturdier than zombies. You'd certainly need a steady supply of organs, preferably as fresh as possible.
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:06 PM   #4
SilvercatMoonpaw
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Supplying magical creatures and other wizards with human meats. Does mostly organs because it's harder to tell they've been taken out just by glancing at a corpse.

Those human meats might be magical components or just lunch.
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
The problem is, the concept is fairly modern day.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published in 1818. Perhaps she started out making golems.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Embalming has been around for millennia. Evisceration is a nice head start for the entire process.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Quote:
Originally Posted by edk926 View Post
Embalming has been around for millennia. Evisceration is a nice head start for the entire process.
Mummy Preparation.
But yeah this could be just an interest along with medicine, surgery, physiology, etc. He doesn't have to be a nice doctor, maybe just fascinated by life and death and how things work.
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:48 AM   #8
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Even children take things apart just out of curiosity and to see how they work.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:46 AM   #9
Railstar
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Thanks for all the ideas so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post
First, he might simply be studying them to advance his medical and magical knowledge, much as real doctors did with cadavers (stolen or legally acquired). A large library of organs from many different races, ages of people, genders, etc. could be a useful reference.

Are there any magical beasties running about with useful organs? Eye of newt, heart of manticore, and all that. Come to think of it, the whole organlegging might have some history if there's any way that chimerizing oneself with exotic organs is possible and conveys some benefit.

Flesh golems are mentioned in passing under the description of the Golem spell in Magic. Your necromancer might have had an interest in constructing these as servants a bit sturdier than zombies. You'd certainly need a steady supply of organs, preferably as fresh as possible.
I can absolutely see her keeping an organ library, I definitely like the idea. She's definitely the type to keep the organs to find a use with, perhaps even animate them just to see how they work. On a somewhat macabre note, would an animated heart be viable as an autonomous pump of some kind? I like the idea of a semi-organic laboratory.

Magical beasties could work. I imagine there'd be rituals that use the body parts of such creatures. Or rituals that use human body parts. For whatever reason I can't think of them just now, but ideas of that nature could make a good reason to be collecting body parts.

Flesh golems are probably the least likely possibility: Improved Zombies (Pyramid 3/01) are both generally better and far easier to make than corpse golems - so I'd need to find a niche of what the flesh golems can do that the Improved Zombies can't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
Supplying magical creatures and other wizards with human meats. Does mostly organs because it's harder to tell they've been taken out just by glancing at a corpse.

Those human meats might be magical components or just lunch.
That is a good starting point! I think she'd be able to summon a Mi-Go, and they are interested in the whole brain-in-jar thing. It could work as a form of brain-library. That could be a good place to learn more surgery from. Allying with a Mi-Go outpost definitely feels like her sort of thing.

We could also combine with the GURPS Horror Brain In A Jar as a psionics-developing experiment.

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Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published in 1818. Perhaps she started out making golems.
I can definitely see scientific value for that idea. Perhaps combining with the Mi-Go idea, trying to build a functioning body for a brain-in-jar as a science project relating to something approaching resurrection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edk926 View Post
Embalming has been around for millennia. Evisceration is a nice head start for the entire process.
I know when she embalms the Improved Zombies that leaves plenty of leftover organs to find a use for. It could explain the leap from embalmer to surgeon.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:14 AM   #10
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Pre-Organlegger Wizard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
On a somewhat macabre note, would an animated heart be viable as an autonomous pump of some kind? I like the idea of a semi-organic laboratory.
I don't see why not. A mechanical pump would probably work better from a physical standpoint, but using a heart might be more amenable to working magic through it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
Magical beasties could work. I imagine there'd be rituals that use the body parts of such creatures. Or rituals that use human body parts. For whatever reason I can't think of them just now, but ideas of that nature could make a good reason to be collecting body parts.
It doesn't even need to be actual rituals - plenty of strange animal body parts are used or consumed by humans for some sort of perceived health benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railstar View Post
Flesh golems are probably the least likely possibility: Improved Zombies (Pyramid 3/01) are both generally better and far easier to make than corpse golems - so I'd need to find a niche of what the flesh golems can do that the Improved Zombies can't.
In the webcomic Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire, the titular character's brother is a necromancer who creates a flesh golem so that he can combine the special abilities of a number of powerful people. That's in a fantasy setting where super powers are fairly common amongst various flavors of magic users, and where a sufficiently skilled necromancer can make zombies that retain such abilities, which may not be the case in your setting. Note in the above we aren't just talking about physical abilities either - one of the principal abilities Jacob opts to incorporate into his golem is the "Sight" of seers. Jacob is also able (IIRC, the comic's site is really slow right now so I can't check the archives to confirm) to temporarily use some of the special abilities of character's he is carrying around the organs of, which could be another possibility for your organlegger. I don't know if your organlegger is your PC or in a setting you're making - if the former, you'll want to find out from the GM just what is and isn't fair game in a zombie/golem, if the latter you'll want to figure that out for yourself.
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Last edited by Varyon; 09-12-2018 at 09:20 AM.
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