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Teratogeny: Practitioners and Subjects

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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:24 pm    Post subject: Teratogeny: Practitioners and Subjects Reply with quote Back to top

"Teratogeny" is a word derived from ancient Greek elements meaning "monster" (terato-) and "creation" (-geny). It can be applied to any abnormal or aberrant lifeform, but within this Forum it is generally applied to the magical (and scientific) art of transforming one creature into another. This process is somewhat more complicated tban that wrought, say, by a Shapeshifting Potion. A simple transformation is simply a change of exteriors, but teratogeny alters the very nature of the subjects, so that they cease to be whatever they were before and become something else. It is a kind of magic-enhanced form of genetic engineering.
A "teratogenitor" is someone who practices teratogeny. Usually renegade Wizards, they pursue their Forbidden Art in secret, fearful of the wrath of Sovereigns, Wizards' Guilds, and the Gods. They catch test subjects when they can, and generally flee an area when the number of aberrations grows to a suspicious level.
"Teratogenic" can either be an adjective, meaing "ideas or things related to teratogeny or teratogenitors," or a noun, meaning "one who has been changed by teratogeny."
The usage of this last sense has become quite common in the story "Apocalypse" as the number of teratogenic races grew throughout Ardania. Feared and hated by ordinary people, the shortenened term "terry" was used as a generic, derisive name for any creature altered by magic. However, as teratogenics became to be accepted, the term lost some of its maliciousness and simply came to be a useful word for describing one of these changed beings. Of course, certain bigots continue to use the word in its original sense, and relations can sometimes be strained by an incautious usage of the word.
Methods of Teratogeny
Methods used in teratogeny can very from more ornate (and final) versions of the transformation spell, to gene splicing and selective breeding for generation between members of a single races or multiple races. Often a variety of methods are combined, and magic is always used to make sure the creature's body does not reject the changes, which would result in death.
Thus, a certain knowledge of body chemistry and genetics is needed for a teratogenitor to be successful. Lore in these areas was slowly gathered over time through trial and error, and is shared among the teratogenitors whenever the shadowy Wizards chance to meet. Legend has it that a vast Library, filled with the arcana gleaned through centuries of experimenting, exists somewhere in Ardania, though this may be untrue. Certainly, though, a good teratogenitor knows at least as much as any Healer about the workings of the physical body, and could learn a great deal about the mind and spirit as well, if they cared to. Unfortuantely., they do not care to, andthis callousness towards their subjects is one of marked evils of this practice.
Ideally, teratogeny results in creatures that are stronger in one or more characteristics, or have new abilities. However, there are side-effects. In "unique" transformations (those where the teratogenitor radically changes one being), the subjects are almost always unwilling to undergo the transformation, and the trauma of having their will overriden and their bodily nature changed often unhinges thier minds. Even for willing subjects, the process inflicts great pain both mentally and physically. Often, the subject is disoriented, and sometimes pains can last for years before the body fully adjusts.
In cases of racial transformation, where breeding and subtle manipulations are preferred over drastic magiks or engineering, the process is easier to undergo. Often in these cases the subjects are willing, and the process is so slow that the physical changes are merely an inconvenience. The companionship of others also makes the change easier to bear. Still, it can have its shortcomings. Races that are created in this fashion are often emotionally unstable, with a tendency towards madness or blind devotion to a single cause. Also, in some cases they are infertile, and can only be propagated by magic.
In both cases, teratogenitors and their teratogenics are linked by an empathic bond. It is far stronger in "unique" transformations than in racial ones, but it exists in both. The weakest bonds can transmit basic emotions and pain, whereas the strongest can transfer thoughts and mental images. Some have even been known to maintain over hndreds of miles, and many allow the teratogenitor to mentally dominate his subject.
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Joined: 01 Apr 2005
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 PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Teratogenitors As Mentioned in the History

In the History of Ardania, two Wizards stand out as models of the dark spell-caster who practices this Forbidden Art. Known to later teratogenitors as the "Ancient Masters", their names are Andravus and Pyrog the Shadowed.
Andravus is famous for his creation of the half-bestial warriors known as Minotaurs. Devised by him as shock troops, he eventually lost control of his creations. Although on average the Minotaur is a brute governed by animal desires and blood-lust, occasionally a more intelligent individual will rise among them, becoming a clan chieftain and a warlord of both power and cunning.
Pyrog the Shadowed had a more extensive career. His first documented success was the creation of the Flowering Strangleweed, a deadly plant with a sentience that grows the more Strangleweeds are in an area. Later he created the Evil Oculus, a mixture, so some say, of draconic essence with his own. The Abomination, a massive monstrosity responsible for the death of more than one champion, is also attributed to him.
Another act of teratogeny connected to the history should also be mentioned. A certain band of Goblin Priests, in an effort to create mounts for their tribe, used Grum-Gog's unsavory power to mutate ordinary arachnids into the Giant Spiders that plague the land today. As to why the two are never seen together, it should be noted that the entire clan perished, devoured by the monsters they created. (Can it be any wonder Goblins have never conquered Ardania?)
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