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Old 12-02-2020, 10:38 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Corpse wax candles

Bodies buried in humid, oxygen-poor environments can have their fat converted to "adipocere", or corpse wax. This can be used to make candles. How would you use such candles in DFRPG? What kind of magic could you make with them?
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:25 AM   #2
Polkageist
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Corpse wax candles

DEFINITELY necromancy related stuff.

They'd make a good carrier for alt-potion style effects. Lighting the candle initiates the effect, and the candle burns as long as the effect lasts. Some fun and interesting spells that a candle would thematically work well with:
Astral Block: Area is the candle's lighted area (~3 hexes?)
Command (target): Esp. thematic if the spirit commanded is related to the corpse the candle came from.
Repel Spirits: As above, lighted area effect
Summon spirit: Again, very strong thematic link to the candle source, possibly giving bonuses to summon a specific spirit.
See invisible: "Lights up" invisible things, either generally or specifically only ghosty things.

As a power item, they can be restricted to only power necromantic (or similarly eeevil) spells. Ignite it to use it, or perhaps using it causes it to ignite and the amount of power points you suck out of it is how much it burns down by.

I'm sure there's some ritual path stuff you could do with it but I'm not so familiar with that.

As a candle, it's probably more stinky than most.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:35 PM   #3
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: Corpse wax candles

Oooh, that's an evocative idea.

I like Polkageist's ideas of using the candles as alternate potions or one-shot casting items. I would add Astral Vision to the list.

Could be darker, too, with the candle sucking life (HP or FP) from living creatures within the radius and feeding them to the person who lit the candle.

The candle could provide a way to speak to the spirit of the fallen (or could simply be a conduit for speaking across the veil between life and death).

There could be different effects depending on the nature of the fallen individual. I can imagine a quest to find a great wizard's corpse or a dragon's corpse, etc. Or a quest to stop the Evil Cultists of Badness who have suddenly become much more powerful because they are making candles from some especially evil adipocere.

In many traditional settings, I would imagine that collecting adipocere and/or using the candles would be aligned with Evil. One could imagine, however, a place along the lines of ancient Egypt with a more positive relationship with death. Perhaps families like to have adipocere candles from multiple generations of ancestors that are lit during special holidays.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:49 PM   #4
Yssa
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Default Re: Corpse wax candles

I love all of this.

The thing that is a cool and logical difference between candles and potions/scrolls is that there is a very tangible duration but it can be meted out at will -- perhaps you need to spend the night in a haunted graveyard and you have an spirit candle allows you to command the undead around and has 3 hours of burn time, you could spread the usage out throughout the night as needed by snuffing and relighting it at strategic moments.


I'm also imagining how candles would work in the environment. I could see a room filled hundreds of candles keeping various spirits animated or sapping life from PCs or whatnot, and PCs need to split their energy between fighting the ghosts and putting out candles.

Or, one giant 5 ton candle that could burn for a year (a hundred years? Forever?) if you don't find a way to destroy or snuff it. Using any magic that would hasten melting (flame, heat, sunlight?) would hasten melting and shorten the duration, but could intensify the effect in the moment.
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Old 12-02-2020, 02:10 PM   #5
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Corpse wax candles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yssa View Post
Or, one giant 5 ton candle that could burn for a year (a hundred years? Forever?) if you don't find a way to destroy or snuff it. Using any magic that would hasten melting (flame, heat, sunlight?) would hasten melting and shorten the duration, but could intensify the effect in the moment.
Yes! It would have to have one of those trick wicks that relights itself after you blow it out...
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Corpse wax candles

Obviously it's the purpose for which a wealthy merchant was seen transporting corpses to an underground factory. It's too bad the PCs didn't figure that out before they broke in and slaughtered a leading member of the local community, mistaking him for a necromancer.
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Old 12-03-2020, 04:56 AM   #7
Anders
 
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Default Re: Corpse wax candles

Love the idea of candles as potions. A lot could be done with that. Maybe a candle that emits a smell that repels some class of creatures (probably undead). Or attracts them...
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:51 AM   #8
Dalin
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Maybe a candle that emits a smell that repels some class of creatures (probably undead). Or attracts them...
The attraction of undead could be the price you pay for whatever positive power you get from the candle.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:57 AM   #9
Imbicatus
 
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It may attract carrion feeders as well. Swarms of rats, beetles, centipedes, or ants, or maybe larger scavengers like carrion crawlers, vultures or hyenas.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:05 AM   #10
Anders
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
The attraction of undead could be the price you pay for whatever positive power you get from the candle.
Either that, or it could be a way to lure undead into an ambush.
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