Note: This is for a blog festival on prognostications and prophecies in fantasy RPGs. Check out the other essays on the subject.
This post is about a magic item for fantasy RPGs. This item can see beneath and into an object and was originally used to discover who would be the best subject for divination. Then a priest started asking, ”If they’re such good candidates, why are we using them up?”
There were some who protested this idea, for isn’t part of the purpose of consulting a young woman’s entrails to cut her up as she screams and thrashes?
But others pointed out that all that screaming and thrashing actually made it harder to read her guts and rather ruined the validity of the divination. With a tool that could be used to reveal the patterns in her intestines, there really was no need to slice, and with her calm and composed — even conversing with the priests, you could actually get more out of a session than you could otherwise.
Better yet, with a good subject you could consult her a number of times to see what she had to ”say” on numerous subjects.
Then they learned that there were things wrong they could see. An obstructed bowel, a cancerous mass, a cyst or internal bleeding. Then there were the pregnancies, for the ladies do have a tendency of getting with child given the opportunity.
And it wasn’t just the women, it was men as well. As well as children as young as just born, and even before. A lot was learned about fetal development, and when the priests in question learned how to magnify the images they got through the device they were able to learn how an embryo developed, and even how the whole thing got started.
And this newly gained knowledge meant that the society in question made substantial advances in mundane and magical medicine. Life got a lot healthier for people and life spans improved.
It also meant changes in material science, for what was used to explore the body could also be used to explore things such as metals, crystals, fluids, and other things. Mining and treasure hunting became a lot easier and thus a lot cheaper. Rescue missions worked a lot better, and young acolytes found themselves earning money for their temple finding lost items.
The glasses — as they became known — also started being used to find what certain parties would rather were not found. That led to magics being created to keep certain matters hidden, and that in turn led to things being hidden that harmed others. The glasses were a boon in many cases, but they were also used to harm certain parties.
This is an example of how working divination could be used to the benefit of others, and to remind us that such abilities can be used to harm. You are welcome to invent other ways of using such as accurate fortune telling and reliable astrology. Just remember that any tool that does it’s job as promised will change matters immensely.
Also published on Medium.