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The god of agriculture blooms anew in an age of biotechnologists and potheads
Agriculture and civilization came into existence hand-in-hand: our first steps out of hunting and gathering were propelled by our ability to control, harness, and cultivate the useful properties of plants. Some of the earliest objects of human worship were spirits of fertility and agriculture, and the ability to bring wine from grapes, bread from wheat, and lumber from trees has provided the basis for countless mystical metaphors.
The Gardener is the mysterious man with the magic beans, the wandering sower of seeds, the toiling laborer who creates Eden with a spade and a set of shears. He seeks always to cultivate and control nature, and sometimes to subjugate it. Today, he works in the laboratories at Monsanto creating recombinant grain and toils in the dark of a frathouse basement tending his super-potent ganja.
Taboo: Never let plants go uncared-for. This means that a Gardener can't live or work anywhere with wild or free-growing flora nearby: his yard must be landscaped and planted properly. He must also surround himself with well-tended plants -- any time spent in a room without plants weakens his connection to the archetype.
Symbols: Seeds, spade, scythe, shears, soil, watering can. Leaf-shaped or plant-based decorations are common, including a recent upsurge in marijuana-leaf designs and hemp clothing.
Possible historical avatars, fictional avatars, and masks: Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman, George Washington Carver, Ceres, Dionysos, various agricultural deities and totems who embody one plant or another, Chance the Gardener from "Being There", Father Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. Ingo Potrykus, the inventor of genetically-engineered Golden Rice, grew up hungry on the streets of wartime Europe and vowed to fight world hunger with his agricultural genetic research -- he is probably channeling this archetype.
1-50: By rolling under his avatar skill, the Gardener can grow plants of unusual quality and potency: marijuana, curare, wine grapes, super-nutritious rice, and giant squash are all possible. These plants take the normal time and care to grow, and they are from 2 to 10 times more potent dedending on the degree of success.
51-70: The gardener can communicate with plants. By examining a plant, he can determine what has happened to it recently: grass discloses the nature of people who have walked over it, trees talk about people who have leaned against them or about the fire in their vicinity, and plant fibers on a dead man's clothes reveal where they grew. The information a plant can disclose is limited by the plant's "senses", but these can be more extensive than most people believe (witness the slightly beneficial effects of different types of music on plant growth.)
71-90: The gardener can control all plants in the area. Vines can entangle enemies, hedges can rearrange themselves to confuse pursuers, branches can lower themselves to help a climber, or a certain plant species can take over an entire area in a matter of days. Usable once per day per 10s digit of skill.
91+: Take on the qualities of a plant. The avatar's bodily fluids can become poisonous, or he can smell like a flower. If he uses this channel to harden his skin into wood or something else to grant a physical advantage, the shift to skills or stats cannot exceed 20%.
M. Norwood | profile | Aug 23, 02 | 1:32 pm