The House of Shadowed Corners
A door of living wood offsets the corridor, and a faint musk like that of a forest after the rain emerges from it. The door bears a green jade plaque on the front, not nailed or bound to it in any conventional manner, but held in place by vine-like tendrils emerging from the wood of the door. On the plaque are simple ideograms indicating various living things—flowers, trees, and assorted animals.
Opening the door reveals a chamber that resembles a forest glade more than a room within a manse, as it is overgrown with all sorts of vegetation. Suspended between the various trees that reach up through towards the chamber’s high ceiling are a number of strange pods, webbed over in a strange membrane that seems somewhere between leaf and skin.
The Flower-and-Beast Cauldron is an arcane engine of First Age magic that draws upon living Essence to create new species. Deciphering the operation of the Cauldron requires a Difficulty 7 Intelligence + Occult roll, although observing it in operation (either at the control of another character or undirected) at least once reduces the difficulty to 5. Once the operation of the Cauldron has been learned, it counts as a Means for sorcerous workings intended to create new life.
The Flower-and-Beast Cauldron can also generate new life forms on its own, if provided access to “raw materials” in the form of living things. The pods throughout the chamber can draw on living Essence to sample it for the creation of new life, with pods appropriate in size for most creatures, although those with the Legendary Size merit cannot fit into the pods. Living things placed within the pods are assaulted with a sedative secretion (treat as poison dealing 1i/round [bashing in crash or outside of combat], a duration of “until removed from the pod,” and a penalty of -2 to all actions taken while affected). Exiting a pod after it has closed around a subject requires a Strength + Athletics roll of Difficulty 2. Creatures subdued by the pods are eventually digested and absorbed by the Cauldron, an invariably fatal process.
Once the pods have absorbed at least two new subjects within the span of a week, the cauldron begins drawing on the manse’s Essence to create new life, the exact form of which is determined by the GM, but which draws on all of the creatures from which the pods recently drew Essence.