The world of Nausicaä is a vast and terrifying place interspersed with intense natural beauty and majesty. No place exemplifies that more than the Sea of Corruption (Toxic Jungle in the film), an ever expanding forest of giant fungus, killer insects, and deadly air.
It’s not the bugs that make the Sea so deadly though, it’s the toxic Miasma that seeps out of every tree and toadstool. Human lungs immediately hemorrhage when exposed to stuff and without immediate medical aid suffocation and death are virtually guaranteed.
Luckily the gas is relatively easy to filter using mask technology. With training and proper care a masked human can survive indefinitely even deep in the Sea of Corruption.
In NPbF Miasma is an Aspect attached to every Sea of Corruption Zone. It can be invoked by the GM against PCs at any time because the gas is so distracting and deadly. PCs can also invoke it against opponents at any time for the same reason. A mask is basically considered an Aspect itself which protects the character from taking automatic shifts of harm (see below). A temporary mask can be created via Technology using the Create an Advantage action but it’s always only a stop gap measure.
An unmasked human will automatically take increasing shifts* of harm every turn they’re exposed to Miasma without a mask.
- Turn 1 – +0 shifts of harm (holding your breath)
- Turn 2 – +2 shifts of harm (Miasma is starting to seep in)
- Turn 3 – +4 shifts of harm (lungs start to rot)
- Turn 4 – +6 shifts of harm (spewing blood)
A human Taken Out via Miasma is dead unless they get medical assistance in the form of clearing out the blood and providing fresh air. It’s a harsh world so don’t go unprotected!
Forest Insects and Scale
Update: A full list of Forest Insects can now be found in the Bestiary.
I’ve mentioned the giants insects before but it’s time to get some details on how they work and how they fit into NPbF’s mechanics. The insects that live in the Sea of Corruption are alien creatures that seem to attack or ignore humans for arbitrary reasons. Few people claim to understand the minds of the bugs and the best policy is always to just to stay out of the Sea of Corruption. That would be fine if the bugs stayed in the forest of the sea wasn’t also growing.
Insects range in size from human to castle. The Scale extra is used to reflect these differences in size. The larger something is relative to its target the more it can impact it and the more resilient it is from harm from smaller things. NPBF’s scale breaks down as follows:
- +0 Human (typical person sized; Royal Yanma)
- +1 Forest Insect (most vehicles; Wing Worm)
- +2 Giant Insect (massive transports and buildings; Ohmu)
- +3 God Warrior (the warriors that destroyed the old world)
When two entities enter into a conflict with one another, the differences in their Scale come into play. For every step that separates them, the GM applies one or both of the following effects to the larger of the two:
- +1 to the attack roll OR +1 to the defense roll
- Deal +2 shifts of harm on a successful attack OR reduce incoming harm by 2
How to apply these effects depends on what makes sense in context.
If a gang of Wormhandlers (scale: +0 Human) tries to capture an Ohmu (scale: +2 Giant Insect), the Wormhandlers will have a hard time of it against such a powerful defender of the forest. It’s reasonable to give the Ohmu +2 on attack rolls and reduce all shifts of harm from the Warmhandlers against it by 4.
A more complete Bestiary is in progress but in the mean time here’s an example stat block for a typically encountered Forest Insect the Wing Worm (built as a Good Nameless NPC)
Aspects: Tough bugger!, Always hungry
Scale: +1; typically the size of an old world car
Skills: Fight +3; Physique +2, Notice +2; Empathy +1
- Eat: The Wing Worm’s massive jaws can reach out and eat anything human sized or smaller in a single gulp. Anything of smaller scale than the Wing Worm that’s successfully attacked via Fight gains the Eaten aspect. While this aspect is in place the target takes 2 shifts of harm each turn while the Worm tries to chew and digest it. The target can remove this aspect via a contest between the target’s Physique (or Fight if armed) and the Wing Worm’s Physique. Only one target can be Eaten at a time.
*Big thanks to ConDar15 over on the FATE RPG reddit for the escalating shifts of harm idea.