"I curse you, sages! I curse you, hero! This is not over! My hate will be born anew!!" - Demon King, dying curse (Apocryphal)
The Demon King's Malice, or informally simply Malice, is a corrosive spiritual phenomenon native to Filgaia. Although fundamentally a thing of spirit and magic, Malice's effects are almost entirely physical, making it quite unlike the Lunarian phenomenon known as Malevolence. Both spiritualists and victims will find that Malice and Malevolence are quite different beasts.
Origin of Malice
According to legend, mostly known among the Baskar and Zortroa tribes, Malice came to Filgaia thousands of years ago, in a time of myth. A thief from the deserts is said to have come into Filgaia's most fertile kingdom and stolen the light of the gods, using it to conquer all that he found. In time, that thief, now a Demon King, was slain, but as he died, his rage and his malice, his wish to conquer and to destroy all that he could not conquer, ripped free of his corpse and became a blight of its own upon the land. That hatred became the Malice.
More science-minded researchers have relatively little to go on, as Malice has been mostly dormant since the Day of Collapse. Tattered records pulled from pre-Collapse libraries and ruins state that Malice emerges from Filgaia's leyline, and so speculate it may simply be an entirely natural, albeit magical and very dangerous, phenomenon. Some Baskar spiritualists have proferred a similar possibility: That the Malice is that of Filgaia itself, the anger of a wounded, tired planet, lashing out at its own self.
None can quite explain why it would have been dormant since the Collapse, though, nor why Malice blights have recently resumed.
Nature of Malice
Malice appears on Filgaia in the form of swiftly-worsening blights. Malice blights surge up from the leyline, mostly in places that have known a great deal of suffering, and occasionally in the vicinity of powerful magic. Malice's true form is spiritual, a sort of leyline corruption, but its brutal power quickly transforms the land.
The most obvious results of a Malice blight is the transformation of even the purest reservoirs of water into a toxic sludge that glows with a pink-red internal light. This sludge burns like acid to the touch. Minor blights may be touched if needed, with painful burning sensations; but the most powerful blighted waters can strip flesh from bone in under a minute. In the stronger blights, this sludge gradually begins to creep onto land and over structures.
The other most common effect of a Malice blight is a drastic increase in aggression from local animals. Animals in a Malice-blighted zone become feral and violent, particularly to people. They spare none of Filgaia's modern races their wrath.
There is a third effect, only found in stronger blights: Monsters spawned entirely from the Malice. These beasts are still being catalogued by monster researchers but most often take the form of monstrous humanoids - not even quite man enough to call beastmen - who resemble pigs, chameleons, lions, and more. Some blights at this level also gain a sort of rudimentary intelligence - glowing eyes bursting from the muck, watching interlopers and attacking with conjured spirits and blasts of power.
Unlike Malevolence, Malice rarely corrupts or possesses people - indeed, it almost never appears with any strength in populated areas. People exposed to Malice do exhibit an increase in aggression, over time, but Malice's dangers are primarily physical.
Although Malice's core cause is a spiritual, magical one, most of its effects are entirely visible to the unattuned eye. Spiritualists may have a sharper sense for the raw spiritual form of Malice, swimming motes of pink-purple light similar in hue to the toxic waters it creates, but even the most unenlightened farmhand can see the blight in the water and land.
The monsters created from Malice blights are not transformed people or animals. They instead condense out of the ambient Malice. Malicious beasts of this kind tend to come in a few standard varieties:
- Bokoblin - A short, imp-like creature with a vaguely pig-like snout and a single, centered horn. Come in a variety of decidedly inhuman colors. Not especially threatening, but they are more bloodthirsty than Filgaia's more familiar Gobs. They fight mostly with swords.
- Miniblin - Even shorter, even more imp-like creatures than Bokoblins, miniblins bear a passing resemblance to mice thanks to their long front teeth. They almost all wield tridents for weapons, and invariably attack in swarms of at least eight. Mischievous and stealthy creatures, miniblins can climb walls and ceilings to sneak up on victims, only announcing themselves with a devious chuckle shortly before attacking.
- ChuChu - Slime creatures that come in a variety of colors. They attack by hopping toward adventurers who come near them, and will by that same coin tend to quietly dissolve into the floor if outpaced. Different colors of ChuChu have various elemental traits that make them dangerous to attack, but the common green ones have no special defense.
- Armos - Animate, hostile statues, Armos come alive with a glowing glyph of an eye, spikes protruding out of their bodies as they begin to hop after adventurers. Their bodies are almost totally immune to attack except for a seam of crystal on the back. A larger variation, informally the Armos Knight, doesn't have the seam, but does have a mouth that explosives or other destructive Tools can be deployed on.
- Peahat - Plants mutated by Malice, these creatures have leafy, hatlike protrusions that spin around like propellers, allowing them to fly to pursue adventurers.
- Poe - Spectral foes that resemble hunting ghosts carrying ghastly lanterns.
Drifters are still rediscovering the powers and secrets of Malice. Other types of monsters are both possible and likely to still be discovered.
OOC Guidance: Malice creatures are generally enemy types that appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and most anything from that game's theme is valid for a Malice-themed dungeon. For the time being, please avoid using the more intelligent types of enemies like Moblins, Darknuts, or Wizzrobe. They are not currently appearing in Malice blights for IC reasons.
The origin point of most blights is protected by a Malice-infused beast, and killing it can weaken the blight. Blights also typically degrade on their own over a period of months, slowly evaporating as the spiritual source leeches back into the leyline.
The purification rites of Filgaia's Shamans can be used to reduce the power of blights, accelerating their evaporation. A shaman acting to preserve key water supplies can make the difference between a blighted settlement's life or death. The Silver Flame of a Shepherd's Purification does not do anything special to a Malice blight, but does cut into its power in a manner similar to a Shaman's rites.
Malice on Filgaia
Malice stems from Filgaia's spiritual ecosystem, but various combinations of factors has meant that very little information on it has survived past the Day of Collapse, and nobody's been in any great hurry to study it anew. For the last several hundred years, Malice blights have been uncommon to the point that even experienced Drifters may not have encountered the phenomenon before. It seems - like much else that now plagues Filgaia - to be a threat from long ago, somehow renewed.
Malice on Lunar
Malice is wholly unknown on Lunar. Lunar carries a different spiritual affliction known as Malevolence, but they behave as differently from each other as cholera does from measels; it can at most be said they are both terribly serious diseases.