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Old 03-16-2022, 04:06 PM   #21
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I have GMed a couple of AD&D PC wizards who thought "Making weird magical creatures? That sounds like fun!" and set off to develop spells for the job. The rust-sparrows are probably the most useful product, provided you make sure they are always under control.
I somehow missed this before. The term 'rust-sparrows' brings to mind 'rust monsters as small birds that dodge well,' which is a pretty scary thought - especially as keeping them under control would be much harder. I'm imagining them having a 2d or more Corrosion Attack with Contact Agent and maybe Ferrous Metals Only, but that's not the only option.
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Old 03-16-2022, 05:01 PM   #22
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
The term 'rust-sparrows' brings to mind 'rust monsters as small birds that dodge well,' which is a pretty scary thought - especially as keeping them under control would be much harder.
That's pretty much what they are. Controlling them is what the permanent version of Charm Monster, which only works on creatures of "low" or lesser intelligence is for. "Fly, my pretties! Fly!"
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I'm imagining them having a 2d or more Corrosion Attack with Contact Agent and maybe Ferrous Metals Only, but that's not the only option.
You don't send them up against adventurers, who will just kill them. You use them on people's mighty iron gates, robot dinosaurs and so on.
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Old 03-16-2022, 09:11 PM   #23
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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My preferred explanation is "whatever created the 'non-magical' ones": I find the assumption that anything not found in reality needs a special explanation to be annoying.
In one of my fantasy settings, the magical/fantastical creatures had to have a different explanation from the natural ones, because they notably did not exist until some fool ripped a hole in reality in the New Mexico desert. I've described it as "Technomancer, but almost everyone died."

Fortunately, said hole serves as adequate justification for the appearance of (or mutation into) any sort of creatures I cared to include.
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Old 03-16-2022, 11:07 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

You don't need "crazy" wizards to be making things. You just need critical failures on Animal spells.
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Old 03-17-2022, 03:53 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I have GMed a couple of AD&D PC wizards who thought "Making weird magical creatures? That sounds like fun!" and set off to develop spells for the job. The rust-sparrows are probably the most useful product, provided you make sure they are always under control.
AD&D actually had several spells designed just for that, I remember them from some book who (I think) were appropriately called Encyclopedia Magica and looked a lot like spellbooks.

As for the OP question, I usually have "all of the above" as an answer to the question. Sometimes it's crazy wizards, sometimes magical radiation/accident, sometimes the work of the gods.
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Old 03-17-2022, 04:02 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

There's also war as the driver of technology. Eberron has more than a few magical creations of all kinds initially developed as weapons.
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Old 03-17-2022, 05:19 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

I've previously used the wide range of D&D monsters specifically designed to guard dungeons (mimics, that thing that pretends to be the floor, the one that pretends to be the ceiling, etc.) as precisely that - biothaumatologically engineered security systems purpose built by a precursor culture. Likewise, weird stuff like gryphons, manticores, chimerae, hydrae ... as engineered war machines. Ghouls were also a bio-weapon.

That said, we can overdo "a wizard did it" ... the owlbear was always said to be such, but in the real world, evolution gave us a furred, beaked, egg laying creature with venomous spikes in its butt, so why shouldn't another world have a furry, beaked, egg laying primary carnivore?
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Old 03-17-2022, 08:06 AM   #28
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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You don't need "crazy" wizards to be making things. You just need critical failures on Animal spells.
Or critical successes.

For GURPS you could easily introduce a variant of Create Servant where you can add an extra ability (at 16) for each animal heart you use as a material component, provided you don't mind the servant having other animal traits. On a critical success when the duration ends the servant is no longer under your control but does not disappear...
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Old 03-17-2022, 09:48 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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in the real world, evolution gave us a furred, beaked, egg laying creature with venomous spikes in its butt
"Well actually" they're on its legs. But only on hind legs, and only on males. Which to me is a little weirder. Also, it sweats milk instead of having nipples, fluoresces under a black light, and detect electric fields. Which is like the list of little secondary powers monsters seem to get randomly for color :D

Owlbears therefore have crop milk, can twist their heads 270 degrees, and need at least one other super odd little feature. *nod*.
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Old 03-17-2022, 09:59 AM   #30
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Default Re: [Fantasy] On the Origin of Magical Species: A Wizard Did It

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Or critical successes.

For GURPS you could easily introduce a variant of Create Servant .
There already is Create Mount. That produces a variety of upgraded beasts of burden including winged.

They have the base stats of a pony but can look like anything, A normal casting produces something temporary with a base "Spirit" Template but it'd be no big deal for a Crit Success to produce a permanent physical beast.

On a natural "3" add a Trait based on some Spell. A "Wyvern" could be a Brute Winged Mount with a scorpion tail from Partial Shapeshifting from the Animal College.
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