The thing came in a jar. Maybe the jar was copper, textured like snake scale. Maybe the jar was clay, painted with black figures of surgeons and their heroes. The jar was full of liquid. The thing sat in the sludge like an embryo in the yoke. It was inert, perfectly so.
You kept the jar in your saddle bag, it bounced with the bolts of linen and the sacks of spices. Your camel didn't seem to mind, it was just a few more pounds to carry. Later, when you had the time, once you had eaten the camel and the spices and sold the linen, when you lived in a house with clay walls right near the temple, you kept the jar on a shelf. A curiosity from the old days, you told guests.
That much was true. You were still quite curious. You didn't tell guests about the other jars. The growths that covered the wall, like tumors turned to stone with age. The vaulted ceiling from which the desiccated bodies hung, tubes pouring from their dry orifices. All that you neglected to mention. But you were still curious.
Cane in hand, you went to the temple. The initiates had no clue. They reminded you to seek fullness with the Lord and washed your feet and meekly speculated about what the words of the Prophetess had really meant.
With your finest robes, you went to the house of wisdom. The historians were full of clues. The jar certainly had telling but strange designs. The anatomists were confused, they took a sample of the fluid. You declined to give them any more. The astronomer did your horoscope and you left.
Putting a veil over your face, you went to the back of a house near the bazaar of irregularities, closed by an agent of the Commander of the Faithful when you were still nimble in the saddle. The Surgeon was pleased. She smiled wide. She brushed the dust from the Codex Universae Medicus and read. She read with a fervor, greater than reciting priests or debating scholars.The tantalizing words flowed down, forming summary and quotation. You could only grasp the important bits.
"The flesh and spirit have always been at odds." You heard "Their method was flawed, they looked out instead of in for the answer... The Complete Supremacy of Flesh... the mystery in ligament and spinal fluid... The flesh will prove to be the cure to itself...to bring about its own perfection.... I cannot imagine any way but the through the Exquisite Organs... there will be a great and primal healing."
She took the Exquisite Organ from the jar, the inheritance of the Primordial Flesh, the glory of the unbroken lineage of Sublime Surgeons dripping in its carefully synthesized amniotic fluid. She counted the lobes, tested the membrane, she saw that it was ready to live again. It was time to operate.
Illustration from a 14th century edition of Mansur's Anatomy
Find Me the Primordial Flesh
The genesis of the Exquisite Organs is unknown. They have may have been fabricated by the Surgeon-Priests of antiquity, torn from the carcasses of mythical giants, bred over generations for greater and greater perfection. They can be found in specialized jars or preserved in mummified corpses or harvested from the bodies of living hosts. Each is worth its weight in gold to anyone who knows what they're buying.
Find Me a DoctorWe live in a time of great medical marvels but Sublime Surgeons are hard to come by. They may be found in the halls of schools of medicine and anatomy, or as practicing doctors in slums and border town, or as the personal physicians of amirs and aristocrats. Most surgeons could attempt to implant the Exquisite Organs if able to educate themselves about the proper procedure by reading the Codex Universae Medicus. Realistically, the chance of rejection is quite high but we can waive that for player characters.
20 Exquisite Organs
1. The Intersession Gland (Emergency Petrification Gland - inserted at the brain stem)
When you are reduced to 0 hitpoints, your body (but not your equipment) rapidly turns to stone. In this form you remain alive and regain hitpoints as if you were resting. When you receive magical healing of any kind, your body becomes unpetrified. A trained magic user can tell how to reverse the petrification process by examining you for a few minutes.
2. The Dragon's Tongue (Noxious Parotid Gland - inserted in the cheek)
Your saliva is highly acidic. 10 minutes of sustained spitting is enough to melt a fist sized amount of any material as or less durable than metal. If your spit gets in somebody's eyes, it blinds them for a minute (but does no damage). Additionally, you can digest most organic materials, including bone and tough chitin. Food loses all its flavor to you.
3. The Mighty Cord (Fibrous Colonic Reinforcement Complex - inserted in abdomen)
You have a cable made of your calcified and extended large intestinal tract which comes out from your belly button. The cable is about as flexible as rope and as strong as steel, it is 20ft long. If the cable is tugged with a great deal of force, it will be pulled out and take most of your internal organs with it, killing you almost instantly.
4. The Blood Furnace (Energetic Myeloid Stem Cell Sack - inserted in the chest)
Your blood is highly nutritious and about as flammable as lamp oil. 1 hp worth of blood is equivalent to one ration or a flask of lamp oil. You smell absolutely delicious.
5. The Sanguine Mind (Aggressive Lymphoid Stem Cell Sack - inserted in the chest)
Your blood is independent and semi-sentient. When outside your body, you can command your blood to flow and climb in any direction. If your blood contaminates the blood stream of another creature, you can control their body for a minute.
6. The Wizard's Marks (Spell/Marrow Interfacing Complex - inserted in the back)
Your flesh can function as a storage space for spells. When you are the target of a spell, you have a 1 in 6 chance of absorbing it. You can store 1 spell this way and can cast it as if it were a scroll. You can have this organ implanted multiple times. Each implantation increases the number of spells you can store by 1 and increases your chance of absorbing spells by 1 in 6.
7. The Flame Body (Explosive Lymph Nodes- inserted in arms, abdomen, and thighs)
When you die, or when you will it, your body explodes as per a fireball spell. You can will your limbs to explode independently of the rest of your body, treat exploding limbs as a fireball with 1/4 the area of effect and damage. If your limbs/body are regenerated, they maintain their explosive powers.
8. The Priest's Chamber (Adaptive Bone Cavity - inserted in the abdomen or thigh)
You have a box hidden in your body. The box sits under a layer of skin than can be peeled back and is about as strong as a metal safe. There is a code word, chosen by you, that opens the box.
9. The Legislator's Larynx (High Resonance Larynx - inserted in the throat)
You can raise your voice to incredible volumes. When you shout, you can be heard clearly as far as 6 miles away. Once a day, you can shout loud enough to make all non-deafened creatures in your immediate surroundings spend the round clutching their ears in pain. This makes your voice hoarse and you can only whisper for the rest of the day.
10. The Gourmet's Womb (Gastric Reproductive System- inserted in the abdomen)
By eating a raw chunk of a creature's flesh, you can begin to gestate a clone of it in your implanted womb. The clone takes 1d6 weeks to fully gestate, becomes an adult in 3 days, and dies a week after that. Gestating a non-humanoid clone this way is ill advised, beware under cooked food.
11. The Queen Bee Gland (Apisized Sudoriparous Glands - inserted in the chest)
You produce a highly adhesive, waxy substance from your pores. The substance remains sticky for an hour after secretion. In a round, you can produce enough of the substance to cover an item or small object. In 10 minutes you can coat a 5' square area in the substance.
12. The Progenitor Gland (Intra-Organ Reproductive Gland - inserted in the abdomen)
This gland encourages other Exquisite Organs to reproduce. Other organs take 1 month to gestate another of their kind in the host body and each organ can only ever produce 1 offspring this way. New organs must be removed from their birth-host and inserted in another before they can reproduce again.
13. The Tortoise Skin (Super Keratinous Dermal Glands - inserted in the neck)
You can no longer feel pain or pleasure. All physical damage you take is reduced by 1d6 and if you would take 2 or less damage, you instead take none. However, you cannot tell how much health you have. The GM records your HP. You or another person can determine how much HP you by spending a round performing a medical examination.
14. The Slave Collar (Controlled Electric Impulse Generator - inserted at the brain stem)
Your body can be controlled using a special device (usually discovered alongside the organ) which looks like a remote control made of bits of bone, copper, and carefully chiseled obsidian. If this device is destroyed, the organ sends an electric shock to your brain, killing you instantly. The device cannot control you or fry your brain if you are more than 100ft away from it.
15. The Alabaster Arsenal (Rib Honing Complex - inserted in the chest)
Your ribs stick out from your chest slightly, all are sharp. You (or anybody else) can pull out a rib to use it as either an arrow, crossbow bolt, or a dagger. Rib weapons disintegrate one day after being removed from your body. By default, you have 24 ribs, you regenerate 1 each day. If more than 8 ribs are removed from you in a single day you take 1d6 damage.
16. The Philosopher's Gallbladder (Saturated Colic Gland - inserted in the abdomen)
Your body produces dark green gallstones. These stones transmit sound from within 10ft of them to your abdomen, from which the muffled sound can be heard. If a stone is cracked open, perhaps after being thrown from a sling, it produces a terrible scent which burns the noses of creatures with acute senses of smell and dissuades those with human-like senses of smell from being it its presence. You can produce 1 of these stones each day, they last for a week outside your body before disintegrating, and their stench lasts for a day.
17. The Piercing Eye (Hyper Sensitive Photoreceptor Groups - inserted behind eyes)
You can activate specialized sensors in your eyes which allow you to see by heat in the dark and see through solid matter. You can see through roughly 2-3ft of most materials but not through metal. You can activate your eyes 3 times a day for 10 minutes each time.
18. The Ocean Lung (Independent Respiratory Lobe - inserted in the abdomen)
You have an extra lung with extraordinary capacity and endurance. You can breathe smoke, ash, and poison gas without risk to your health. You can inhale enough gas/smoke to fill a 15ft radius sphere and can keep the gas inhaled for as long as you can hold your breath.
19. The Usurper Organ (Considered Immune to Categorization - inserted in the chest)
You have a small tube erupting from your chest, it resembles a flower and a mouth at once. When you feed the tube with the marrow of a whole humanoid body, your body begins to regenerate quickly, returning you to full health. If fed once a week, your body begins to age in reverse, returning to a state of unnatural youth in the course of a few months. If not fed weekly, your body ages rapidly. If not fed for a month, you die of old age.
20. The Meteor Heart (Copperous Mesenchymal Stem Cell Sack - inserted in the chest)
You are, essentially, a human electromagnet. You can activate and deactivate your magnetism at will. While active, metal objects up to 20ft away are pulled towards you and will stick to you. Items small enough to be held in one or two hands are pulled at a rate of 20ft per round, larger items are pulled at a rate of 5ft per round. Weapons pulled towards you make an attack against you (as if they had +0 to hit) when they come in contact with you.
This post is dedicated to Hunayn ibn Ishaq, a Nestorian at the heart of the Abbasid Golden Age