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BECMI Cinnabar Poisoning

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:36 pm
by Argentmantle
So, a thought and some questions about BECMI cinnabar poisoning...
Heard, B. ( 1991, July). Voyage of the Princess Ark #18: The Slagovich Affair. Dragon Magazine, 171, 43-44. wrote: Red Steel
What makes this region stand apart from the other places is the fact its land bears a poisoned soil. It affects everything and everybody, from the color of the people’s skin to their society, right down to their money. It is the source of wealth and power, but also of rivalry and, ultimately, grief and destruction. This poison is called “seed of cinnabar.”

Seed of cinnabar: This poisonous mineral compound exists in everything at varying concentrations, including in food and water. It impairs the mental performances of contaminated people, limiting them to Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 3d4. A spell-caster is limited to spell levels equal to his appropriate ability score (Intelligence for wizards, Wisdom for clerics) minus 9. The poison also reduces the life expectancy of all life forms by 20%.

Seed of cinnabar is a very slow poison, needing a week of cumulative exposure per point of Constitution to affect game attributes, and a month of exposure per point of Constitution to affect longevity. Native life is automatically affected at birth. Animal and vegetable ecology maintained its balance with quicker proliferation.

Effects on mental performance subside within 20 weeks (minus one week per point of the character’s Constitution score) of avoidance of contact with the poison, but the shortened life expectancy is permanent. Seed of cinnabar can be made into a powder and stored in a pouch.
So, in short, characters generated from the Savage Coast, are significantly limited in ability from the get go. Playing a wizard, cleric, or elf is a bit restricted as characters are limited to casting no higher than 3rd level spells in the best of circumstances. Paladins and Avengers are unable to cast spells. There are would also be no mystics in the region. Since the characters are considered native, they don’t have a 3d6 stat to fall back when they are cured of contamination. They are contaminated at birth and hence limited? Or do you generate them with 3d6 and then reroll with 3d4 if they are not using Cinnabryl?
Heard, B. ( 1991, July). Voyage of the Princess Ark #18: The Slagovich Affair. Dragon Magazine, 171, 43-44. wrote:Cinnabryl: The Savage Coast harbors a rare fossil ore deriving from millions of years of awesome telluric pressures and volcanic temperatures applied to seed of cinnabar beds, deep underground. When properly extracted, the ore produces a shiny, red metal, called cinnabryl. Pure cinnabryl has the consistency and weight of lead.

When touched to fully contaminated people, cinnabryl negates the harmful effects of seed of cinnabar. Cinnabryl must be worn directly against the skin, as a bracelet or medal, for example. When wearing cinnabryl, the mind-altering effects of seed of cinnabar recede in 20 weeks, minus one week per point of Constitution.

Full life expectancy is restored as long as the metal is worn at least 20 months, minus one week per point of the character.s Constitution score. Going more than one week without contact with cinnabryl cancels all accumulated gains and benefits against the poison.

Contact with the skin, however, causes cinnabryl to slowly lose its properties. Depleted cinnabryl appears as a dull red metal. Some sages say that contact with life energy provokes the oxidation of cinnabryl. Depleted cinnabryl can be forged into steel with half the weight and three times the value of normal steel. This red steel makes fine weapons permitted only to the local royalty, nobility, heroes, and (sometimes) elite troops.

Undepleted cinnabryl cannot be forged into steel without a clerical or wizard wish. It also is poisonous to people uncontaminated by seed of cinnabar, causing them to lose one point of Constitution per week of exposure. Death occurs when Constitution reaches zero. Constitution is otherwise recovered at the same rate if the metal is discarded or depleted. Its depleted form is harmless.
Phew, that doesn't seem to cause any problems.

However, considering the 3-12 Wisdom and Intelligence scores. Lizardmen would actually be the intellectual giants of the region (some of them can intelligence scores of 14!) We have some severely limited characters though. In fact, if using the General Skills... its most likely that the Savage Coast would collapse as a society. The lack of skilled (by skilled, I mean people with stats capable of succeeding 50% of the time on a statistic check) professions for boat building, farming, blacksmithing, and similar would force the area back to a stone age hunter-gatherer, nomadic hunter, or subsistence farming level of civilization.

Is this an incorrect interpretation of the 3d4 Intelligence/Wisdom cap for the region? Do areas without cinnabryl mines suffer form the effects as written (the entire Savage Coast), or are those areas unaffected? No more wine from Renardy due to an inability of people to remember recipes?

Re: BECMI Cinnabar Poisoning

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:16 pm
by NPCDave
Is this an incorrect interpretation of the 3d4 Intelligence/Wisdom cap for the region? Do areas without cinnabryl mines suffer form the effects as written (the entire Savage Coast), or are those areas unaffected? No more wine from Renardy due to an inability of people to remember recipes?
You are correct in all aspects of the reading but I think the intention is that most everyone above destitute levels of poverty has access to cinnabryl. That there is enough of the material that even most infants get access at birth and never suffer the handicaps described, allowing a medieval or renaissance level of society in the Savage Baronies and later most of the Savage Coast except in isolated, poor areas.

But nothing stops you from making cinnabryl more rare and limited.

Re: BECMI Cinnabar Poisoning

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:51 pm
by Argentmantle
Thanks, I didn't know if the "Native life is automatically affected at birth. Animal and vegetable ecology maintained its balance with quicker proliferation" meant that the characters were all born with significant stat penalties that couldn't be cured.

I'm working on something more akin to the 2nd Edition Red Steel/Savage Coast, where the penalties are a bit different.

Re: BECMI Cinnabar Poisoning

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:20 pm
by Havard
I had forgotten how complex this was...

Re: BECMI Cinnabar Poisoning

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:52 am
by Sturm
There was also this thread about the topic some time ago: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=18897