Monstrous Mondays: Q is for Qalupalik

A recent book about the Qalupalik

Given my dyslexia I will never remember how to pronounce or spell this monster.

History

Qalupalik is the inuit iteration of a child stealing mermaid, but unlike most such monsters it is not pretty at all. It unclear how old it is, but the stories of this monster have been told as long as they have lived in ice ridden lands.

There are a few stories of the Qalupalik in Inuit lore, in all of them it is a humanoid monster that is found near coastal waters of these icy lands, and makes a humming/clicking noise,1)like ice just beginning to crack and if a child gets too close the Qalupalik will rear up and steal them in the amauti 2)what Inuit use to carry child on their back around the back of its neck. It then takes the child to its watery world – but it does not kill them quickly, it slowly drinks their lifeforce, and as the child gets older it gets ever younger. The child can be saved but they are forever changed.

It seems to be a cautionary tale, to keep child away from water and thin ice, using things that are easily recognised, like the green seaweeds and humming noise which is the ice cracking – which is dangerous for everyone, but especially for childen, since people can fall into the water through cracked ice and then be unable to surface.

How is it seen in media

The Qalupalik isn’t seen much in media, there a few children fairy story books and books about Inuits people and a few short films, but for the most part this tale has failed to grab the public eye in the way that many other monsters have.

Physiology

  1. Very long green seaweed-like hair that runs down to the base of their back.
  2. A ugly green, slimy, long face, with bright yellow eyes and a thin wide mouth with sharp teeth
  3. It has a long, slim body with an amauit on its back – sometimes this is not made of clothing but their sagging skin.
  4. Long arms with large hands – long webbed fighter with sharp long nails
  5. Long slim boney legs.
  6. Long flat feet with webbed toes with sharp nails
  7. It has green slimy skin all over them.

It’s usually found near the ice coast, watching the water for children but it is careful to strike only when the child is alone – it won’t risk its life to catch or keep them.

Ideas

  • Run an adventure where you have to save the child from one. The Qalupalik will not put up much of a fight – except against very weak adventurers – but the environment may.
  • A story or a game where a bad guy is trying to steal its power, allowing them to drain life from children.
  • One where it’s told from the point of view of a Qalupalik hiding in plain sight. It would mean a lot of makeup, and they would likely seek to work with children in order to drain small amounts of life force from many individuals – keeping their feeding hidden.

Continue reading →

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References   [ + ]

1. like ice just beginning to crack
2. what Inuit use to carry child on their back

Monstrous Mondays: R is for Redcap

Redcap’s are a very small myth, but one with a lot of potential for interesting interpretations – all of them murderous and mischievous, whether that be 13th Age with their fourth-wall breaking “secret word” or Redcap Jack in the Dresden Files.

History

Redcaps are a murderous fairy, said to be found on the border of England and Scotland, mostly in castles. As for how old these monster are there is no hint really other than they reside in ruined castles especially those ones that have seen a tyrant, which in Britain there have been lots of since the time of the Romans.

Their stories don’t tell of them causing mischief like most fairy instead they chase and kill any trespassers on their land, either by hit people with boulders or with his sharp teeth or using there iron spiked boots, then they sock there hat in the victim’s blood which is how it come to be red. If there red should fade then so would the redcap – so they must kill to stay alive.

These story were often told to keep people out of ruined castles where rocks might fall on them, but also to stop people nosing around where they don’t belong, this maybe why Lord William de Soulis was said to have one as a familiar which resided in his castles to keep people out when in imprisoned in Dumbarton Castle which he died in but some story say that his redcap killed him.

Another theory is that the redcap may be a metaphor for redcoats i.e. the English, who would often make use of the old castles, throughout the wars with Scots – however this seems unlikely as there are references to redcaps that predate the standardisation of the English to the red-coat military uniform.

Physiology

  • Usually bald or with thin gray hair
  • Large beady red eyes
  • Hooked noses
  • Wide mouth full of sharp teeth
  • All of these features sit upon the face of an old man
  • Their body may be fat or skinny but is alway wrinkly, usually covered in earth coloured clothing or armour.
  • Long boney arms and hands with sharp long nails
  • Short boney legs
  • Iron boots on their feet

These murderous old fairy may be faster and stronger than most humans – which allows them to hunt their prey in their ruined homes.

 

Ideas

The iron boots are odd since they’re fairies and iron is meant to hurt fairies – this might mean they’re in constant pain, or that they’re immune to iron1)or even both – resistance through constant exposure. It’s also possible they use these boots to stomp on other, less bloodthirsty, fairies.

They would make sense for assassins and serial killers in the modern day world.

If they die from the red fading on their cap, are there other ways to kill them, like destroying their cap?

Does it matter if the blood on the cap is from someone dead, or could they use portions from living people? If that is the case would a redcap be able to keep himself alive by doing blood letting of not just his victims but himself.

A great little fantasy idea is that a redcap is a gnome that been bitten by a vampire.

Continue reading →

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References   [ + ]

1. or even both – resistance through constant exposure

Monstrous Mondays: S is for Siren

Sirens are one of those monsters that has changed a lot over the years, so they’ve got quite a history:

History

These beautiful singing ladies that bring sailors to their doom are best known through greek myth, but there are many stories of them, or very similar creatures, from different times and places in the world.

One of the first greek stories told of how they were Persephone’s three handmaidens: when she was kidnapped by Hades Demeter gave them wings, so they could search for her, and their singing voices to call her home with. When they failed to find them Demeter cursed them to only live until a man has heard them and managed to pass them by.

Another story tells of the three sirens losing a singing competition to the muses, and when they did so the muses plucked off their feathers so that their disgrace would be visible – so they threw themselves in the sea and became islands.

Both of them link nicely into the idea from another story where they were the daughters of Poseidon (since he is the father of monsters) but they still had feathers they were like seabirds – indicating where land is but without a clean path it might bring you to your doom.

The story of their relation to Poseidon may be the start of their shape changing – since Poseidon is god of the sea, depicted as part fish and connected to mermaids (and mermen, such as Triton).

The Sirens turn up in both The Argonautica and The Odyssey and many a sailor’s story throughout the centuries tell of how they saw mermaids and sirens and lost there ships and nery there live or know someone who had. These stories were part of the gradual change of the Siren’s form mixing and changing over time telling of how the mermaid sing to them to draw them close therefore taking on some of the siren’s qualities and therefore in story they became the same thing. so as can be seen the stories have changed their appearance over time but what set it firmly into its new shape was the paintings from the renaissance period, where they are depicted as a woman in water or a mermaid or some mixture of the two – thanks to this what we see them as – both in the media and our mind’s eye is very far from their original description.

 

Physiology

  • The face of a beautiful woman with long hair which in older versions may have feather mixed in with the hair.
  • A body of a woman some of the older version sometime have feather on the body but always had human breasts.
  • Older depictions often have the wings of a bird instead of arms, though sometimes they have both.
  • Older versions of the siren depicted them with the legs of a woman hideous bird-like feet with big claws and sometimes even scaled legs too.
    Other versions, especially newer ones, depict them with an elegant scaled fish tail like a mermaid.
  • They always have an unthinkably beautiful voice that is draw men to them.
  • They are unaging, and no-one who hears their song can harm them
  • They are usually found on an island out at sea, singing alluring songs until the men come to them and crash upon the rocks – then they eat them. In some more tragic tales their immortality means they don’t need to eat, but that they are simply surrounded by the corpses of those they called to them for companionship – as the island is too barren to support mortal life.

Ideas

  • A travelling singing act is actually a trio of sirens who travel town to town, drawing men to follow them into the wilderness when they leave and the players have to find the men who have followed them before they starve.
  • Adventurers might seek to remove the curse from the sirens – returning them to their past as immortal handmaidens.
  • A birdlike siren has set up its nest in a haunted cemetery, populated by undead. In fact, that siren has developed the art of necromancy, and is building an army so that it can challenge the gods that cursed it.

 

If like to know more about this here are some links you might find useful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siren_(mythology)

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Sirens/sirens.html

http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Seirenes.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Siren-Greek-mythology

http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/seductive-sirens-greek-mythology-how-heroes-resisted-temptation-008198

http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/sirens-mythology.html

http://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/the-sirens.html

http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/nymphs/sirens.htm

https://www.ancient.eu/Siren/

http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/05/the-difference-between-mermaids-and-sirens/

http://www.realmermaids.net/mermaid-history/siren-history/

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T is for Thunderbird – Monstrous Mondays

Thunderbird

No i’m not talking about the tv series – though that’s a fun thing too.

History

In a lot of ways the thunderbird is not exactly a monster, it seen as many thing to a lot of people, to some a god, to others a nature spirit – and to most it’s the bird from the new Harry Potter film – but what is its story?

A thunderbird is a giant bird, that shoots lighting and eat whales (especially orcas) it’s also a sky spirit of some Native Americans tribes from long before Europeans ever set foot in their land. Story of the great thunderbird could be hard from the tribes Northwest Coast through to the people of the plains, and each tribe has a different one to tell.

The Algonquian mythology tells a story of a thunderbird that controls the upper world and a great horned serpent that rules the underworld. The thunderbird throws around thunder and lightning at the underwater creatures.

Menominee a northern wisconsin tribe tells of the thunderbirds that dwell in a floating mountain, they control weather like thunder, lightning, the hail and rain all the brutality of a storm. In their stories the thunderbird is also the messenger bird of the sun and they like to do great deeds like fighting the minions of the horned snakes known as the Misikinubik.

In Ojibwe story they serve to hunt down evil people and the dark spirits of water, and live on the four winds.

The Winnebago actually have a truly monstrous story of the thunderbird – one steals away a orphan boy and feast on the contents of his stomach and planned to do the same to the boy afterwards, but he was saved by his loyal pet pigeon hawk. These darker thunderbirds still fight with the water spirits, but they don’t distinguish between good and evil ones – in fact in Winnebago myth the thunderbirds started the feud.

Because of this mixture of stories and origins it is seen a variety of ways, and while it need not be a monster it can easily become one.

 

Physiology

From beak to claws

  • They have the head of a bird but some pictures depict them with ears where others have them having horns.
  • They have bird like eyes but they shoot lightning from them.
  • They can have a beak or teeth.
  • The body is that of a bird but covered in many different bright colours.
  • Wings that when they clapped together they make thunder.
  • Claws big enough to pluck a killer whale from the sea and carry it away to feast on.
  • They live in the mountains and other high up hard to reach places.
  • Their feathers are often brightly coloured – especially when they’re actively creating storms.

Ideas

A dark thunderbird could be at the top of a mountain and your player have to fight it to save children it has abducted.

A cool character might be a warlock, or even a cleric with the thunderbird as their patron – strong electrical powers but an utter hatred for the sea.

Or maybe the evil water god has stolen all of the thunderbirds so he can take over the earth and you the heros must free them to bring back order.

 

If like to know more about this here some link you might find useful.

Continue reading →

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U is for Ubume – Monstrous Mondays

An image of an ubume created by Toriyama Sekien in the 18th century

The first of the Japanese ones, it seem to be that if you’re looking for something starting with a odd letter u or x or o look outside Europe and you’re more likely to find something – transliteration of foreign alphabets can result in unusual spellings.

 

History

A monster that been part of japanese myth since about the twelfth century, in tales of a ghost twisted cronefaced woman that died in childbirth. The haggard woman appears on stormy nights carrying her baby, crying for help asking passersby to hold the baby, once they take it she disappears and the baby becomes heavier and heavier then turning into a boulder crushing the person. A ghost born out of the story of a woman who had an untimely tragic death, there are many of them cross the world.

The lady in white and La Llorona are a few more close-to-home ghosts of this type. The lady in white is a type of ghost found in  rural areas across the world but most commonly in the UK and the New England part of America, it is said that she has had a tragic death just after and due to the death of her child (or sometimes betrayal by her husband) but roads, cars and horses can sometimes be involved too. She is seen on her own in the middle of nowhere, and causes anyone that communicates with her to die shortly afterwards – sometimes seen as a hitchhiker and whoever picks her up crashes and dies.

La Llorona is a Mexican story of a woman who lost her children in the river and cries while is looking for them. One version tells of her doing this after she has drowned them herself in a fit of rage, after finding her husband in the midst of an affair. It is said that she will try to steal children away to drown with herself now and again, or sometimes simply that she causes misfortune to those who see or hear her due to her extremely cursed natured.

I find La Llorona a lot more scary than the white lady but comparison between these two and Ubume is interesting – they all show how a ghost is born from pain and how misery loves company.

In media, whichever of these beings they use is usually just treated as a ghost story – but sometimes in TV shows like Grimm and Supernatural she is shown as some kind of monster that people need to be saved from because she is trying to kill them, which is tragic in that if someone had saved her from her pain then she would not be a ghost in the first place.

 

Ubume Physiology

  • A crone faced woman, with long wet black hair and crying eyes.
  • A woman body wrapped in red silk, carrying a babe in her arms.
    • Sometimes she is instead heavily pregnant.
    • Or her body is covered in blood and she is carrying her underdeveloped fetus, since she miscarried and died in the process.
  • She usually wears no shoes but sometimes she has no feet at all since she is a ghost and a lot of them don’t.
  • She some shown to have bird like features, like a beak on her face and feathers on her and/or bird like feet, if so it said she has come to steal a baby away. These two very different image of her are because of some linguistic coincidences (baby-snatching bird and birthing mother being somewhat similar) and the conflation of the original japanese myth with a chinese bird-woman who could shed her feathers to appear human.

She is found on stormy nights near where she had the baby which is often depicted as near a river or woodland. And she and other ghost like her are always found on there own just wanting a bit of help, just reminding you how much helping a stranger can hinder you sadly.

Ideas

  • The hero could be there and find the baby if it alive give a home, it dead lead it and the mother to rest. It shouldn’t be too hard as the ghost only appears near where she gave birth.
  • The boulder/baby she gives could be a spell component for many a transmutation spell, a death curse or a necromantic ritual. Where an ubume baby is needed you would have to stop it becoming the boulder, while if you want the boulder you have to stop it killing you.
  • Now this one really cheesy – a time traveler how chooses to go back to try help all these ghosts when they’re still alive so they don’t die tragically so they don’t become these ghost.

 

If want to read more about any of these monster feel free to look at the  links below.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Lady_(ghost)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Llorona

http://yokai.com/ubume/

https://hyakumonogatari.com/2010/12/29/two-tales-of-ubume/

https://hyakumonogatari.com/tag/ubume/

http://matthewmeyer.net/blog/2010/10/23/a-yokai-a-day-ubume/

Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful female ghost

 

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V is for Vampires – Mythic Mondays

Isabella Livingston photographed by Lana Lee

Vampire

They’re everywhere today, usually as some teenage girl’s love interest, if we knew their history would we find them so attractive?

History

Though the concept of blood-drinking corpses is an old one, the exact forms have varied over time – and the modern vampire concept owes its shape to a surge in encounters in Eastern Europe during the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Whispers of vampires became louder in the late 17th century in the Balkans and most of Eastern Europe, with mass stakings of corpses to pin them into their coffins. From there the stories spread to the rest of Europe in tales of the ugly, pale creature that comes in the night to drink your blood – a vampiric human that lives forever, as long as they stay out of the sun, and looks like a corpse but never rots.

Over the years many stories have been told, they’re one of the best known monsters in pop culture and they feature prominently in YA and urban fantasy. But it is the stories of Carmilla and Dracula that gave birth to the vampire we know today, the killer that we fall in love with because they are always beautiful, that hypnotise us and change into animals at will. Taking humans as their partners turning them and loving them forever or killing them slowly in a state of ecstasy.
Those stories may well have drawn not just from the Eastern European vampire but from the Daemonologie written by King George, in which corpses could be inhabited by incubi and succubi, with properties similar to those of vampires but with more beauty and lust.

 

But what caused these stories of vampire to start, what are they really? Well many aspects of the physiology of vampire can be explained by diseases.

Porphyria is one of them, it is an inherited disease which comes in a few different forms – one of them is that the skin becomes sensitive to sunlight, if sufferers go out in the sun they blister and burn far worse than normal. This not only explains the idea that vampires don’t go out in the day it also provides their pale skin and the idea that they burn up in the sun.

Tuberculosis (TB) may be another disease from which the theories of vampires spawn. It is an airborne bacterial infection, that mostly affects the lungs of it victims – it often makes them turn very pale, with swellings in their neck, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss and can cause them to cough up blood because of the damage to their lungs. All these symptoms have been mentioned as a sign that someone has been fed on by vampire in a lot of the old stories.

Catalepsy is a nervous condition that makes the body go rigid, it could be connected to the idea the vampire could stand so still. It also slows down someone’s heart and breathing rate meaning they may appear dead, and after some time they would be able to move again and the heart rate and breathing rate return to normal, so they may get back up after someone thought they were dead.

People understood less about how the body broke down after it died back then, how the body decomposed and the form that decomposition took, like how the hair, nails and teeth sometimes appear to grow for a few days after the death, as the skin covering their roots peels back, and how the decomposition of the body takes some time to set in, especially in cold places like the Balkans. After death gases in the body build up, these gases can make the body make noise and muscles move which means they sit up, move arms, legs or roll over when they are dead, and these gases also inflate the abdomen which makes the body look like it has gorged on something, and if you were to stab that inflated abdomen then it would rupture and fluids would drain out.

 

In a more mystical vein the reason they can’t be seen in mirrors is because it was once believed that mirrors allowed you to see people’s souls and vampires have no soul therefore they cannot be seen. The same applied for cameras when they were invented which is why they cannot be seen in a photograph or video in some stories.

 

Physiology

Head to toes

  • Human undead
  • They sometimes have glowing eyes and/or pointy ears
  • Fangs – sometimes just the top 2 canines, sometime all 4 of them and other have nothing but fangs – no teeth that aren’t sharp.
  • They feed on blood, or sometimes on life essence such as the chinese ones, the Jiangshi, that feed on chi – and hop everywhere which is just funny, although potentially horrifying for ones that are half-rotten.
  • Humanoid chest and arms.
  • Humanoid hands sometimes with sharp claws.
  • Human legs and feet.
  • They’re sometime veiny all over, but usually pale.
  • Sometimes they’re stunningly beautiful, other times gaunt and unattractive – it’s rare for vampires to be of average appearance.
  • They have no soul.
  • Superhuman strength and speed
  • Some can turn into animals
  • Unaging, they can only be killed by a few things
    • Decapitation
    • Fire
    • The Sun
    • Silver
    • A stake through the heart – but in some stories this only serves to nail them into their coffin, so if it is ever removed the vampire may wake again.
      • Sometimes this is the preferred method as the vampire is possessed by a dark spirit – and destroying the body completely would allow it to possess another, while trapping the body traps the spirit.
  • Some vampires can make ghouls which are partly turned people, they eat bugs and the leftovers the vampire make like body parts and bones, sometimes these ghouls can be controlled by the vampire that created them.
  • Some vampires can make thralls which are hypnotised humans, whose wills are slaved to the vampire. They usually drink from these thralls, and some may use them as a source of power within mortal governments and the like.

 

Ideas for your story and games

You could write a story or game from the thralls’ or ghouls’ point of view, how they see the vampires.

What if the reason vampires never look the mirror is not because they can’t be seen but because they can truly see the nightmares in it instead – forcing them to regard their own monstrousness.

Since they can turn into an animal can they become stuck in that form, how do they feed in that form, is that where the first vampire bats came from?

If they lose their soul when they’re turned, what happen to their soul? Does it die or disappear, or does it become a ghost linked to the vampire forever seeing all the hell that they bring about?

Could you give a vampires a soul – and would they get their own back or a new one? This could be done as a curse of remorse, or maybe a vampire would quest for their return to humanity, or perhaps their lover could give them it – if so, did they go on a great quest to find a new soul or is it a heart shaking story where they give the vampire part of their own soul, so they are forever connected, in some ways the two are one. Perhaps a marriage ceremony might have this effect – possibly even surprising a vampire who was getting married to help hide their nature.

 

p.s. There’s three days left on our Jigsaw Fantasy Kickstarter – take a look before it’s too late.

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W is for Wendigo – Monstrous Mondays

 

Photo of a caged Wendigo from the Wendigo Woods – taken by Greyloch

 

The first time I came across the Wendigo was in “Charmed” which had an interesting take on the concept – combining it rather strongly with werewolves. I have since learnt more about them.

History

Wendigo are a human eating monster of the Native Americans of the Algonguian tribes, dating from long before europeans ever set foot in their land.

The story tells of how people can be transformed by eating human flesh into a monster that lives only to eat more humans and yet is never full. Some say it is the unthinkable deed of cannibalism that transforms them, while other stories say it is a demon or evil spirit that does so, able to possess those who have engaged in the act. Many of the stories also tell about how they hurts and kills people out on their own in the northern forest but some talk about how it can be hunted and killed – the only way is with fire.

Because of its connection with evil spirits its image is sometimes changed in media to something more demonic, with horns and a ghastly grin.

 

Physiology

They tend to look humanoid in both shape and facial features but are sometime depicted with the head of a deer or just the antlers of a deer.

Red or yellow eyes – in more demonic interpretations they may glow.

They have sharp yellow teeth.

Very long arms – as long as their whole body.

Human like hands with long bony fingers and claw-like nails.

They generally have gaunt bodies which can be covered in grey, decaying skin or thick matted hair – with a long bony chest, akin to that seen in an emaciated corpse.

Big long legs with have been depicted as human or the hind legs of a deer.

Feet are normally human with long sharp claws, but they may be hooved – particularly in media where they’re associated with christian demons.

The have superhuman strength, move faster than any human can and are effectively immortal.

Questions

  • Could the demon or evil spirit be removed from the body somehow like when the body is hurt?
    • And if so could it be moved into someone else and harnessed to grant a host immortality or superhuman strength?
  • Does the human meat need to be fresh?

 

Story ideas

  • A good person who becomes a Wendigo but only eats the long dead and use the superhuman strength, speed and endurance to fight crime.
  • Some have taken over the town and you need to clear it out before it can be lived in again.
  • The Wendigo spirit could be the god of the forest or the underworld and it must be fed to keep it happy.

 

p.s. If you enjoy our thoughts on integrating myth and fantasy, check out Jigsaw Fantasy on Kickstarter or Patreon

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Epic Environments – Life on the Water

By Thomas Quine (Reed Islands of Lake Titicaca) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Thomas Quine (Reed Islands of Lake Titicaca) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The world’s land is limited, and the Earth’s surface is 70% water, so finding a way to live on the sea is a very attractive proposition, but truth be told it is actually very hard to do.

There a few ways to do it – you can island hop, live in a big ship and dock occasionally, or you can build a floating village. This week we’re looking at how floating villages can work, to go with last Thursday’s freebie.

 

Floating Villages

There a few of these around the world, Ha-Long Bay: in Vietnam Lake,  Stilt Village: in Ganvie in Africa, Tonle Sap: in a lake in Cambodia, Floating Islands of Uros: Titicaca Lake in Peru and Sama-Bajau which are found in the sea around the Philippine.

Most of these places are in stationary water, and are built on stilts which support the house. Despite all being called “floating villages” few of them are actually floating on the water unsupported – but although it’s rare it is possible. Two places where this unusual feat has been managed for centuries are the Uros whose homes are made completely from reeds which are found growing in the shallows of the lake and Ha-Long Bay where they live in house made of wood on top of either bamboo rafts or (in more modern times) empty metal or plastic barrels.

People living in these villages will generally eat mostly fish, seaweed and seafood like clams and crap, this mean they get a lot of water from their food means they have to find less clean water to drink. Drinking water can be made by boiling the lake water which will kill of most of the harmful bacteria, but more often it, along with vegetables, flowers and clothing will traded for from the mainland in exchange for the fish.

People that live in such places tend to have long lean bodies, can swim before they can walk and have deeply tanned skin since they are out fishing most days and there no shade from trees that far out in the water.  

Why Do They Live There? Continue reading →

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Fairy Colours

Colour

This month’s theme is colour and what it can mean in story and games.

Art Produced by Nolan Nasser for Letiman Games upcoming Kickstarter

Fairies’ Colours

Colour is a big part of our world, we use it in many contexts and each colour can have multiple important meanings, so it only makes sense that colour is a big part of the fae world too. Different colours can show what powers the fae may have or what they are linked to within the world. This time I’m going to talk about the small ones with wings, fairies themselves (especially the small pixies), since they can come in all the colours of the rainbow though the most common colours for these little guys are green, blue, white, purple and orange.

This piece talks about how they can be seen within popular culture: stories, books, and games.

They show their colour in a few different ways: skin, wings, clothing, their fairy dust, or their glow. A lot of fairies have peach coloured skin and wear clothing or have wings of one particular colour, this can be any colour, such as pink or yellow or reddish-brown/orange but that colour usually links them to something like a flower or season.

Plant fairies are one example of these nature-linked fae, each fairy is linked a type of plant, most often flowers but those can include the flowers found on trees. They not very powerful and their job is to help their plant grow and spread. The flower fairies that were depicted by Cicely Mary Barker in the 1920s are a form of this type of fairies, the art work is less than a century old but the concept that there are little fairies for plants helping them grow and that live within them is eons old.

Continue reading →

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What is a Monster – Monstrous Mondays

Ed Note: This was meant to go up on the first week of March, but I, umm, forgot…

What Is A Monster

They are the creatures of your deepest, darkest nightmare, and yet we use them to tell stories, to protect, to explain the things we do not understand – or do not wish to – and so much more.

We need them for all these reasons but most of all, we need them because they cause fear, a powerful feeling. It is a feeling that we need to protect us from things like fire and to help us understand the world – but it also can be used against us. This is why we need to understand fear, which monsters help us to do, they create a context to which other fears can be compared.

Monsters can come in many forms – legendary creatures, illness, mutations of man and animals. Over the centuries we have learned to fight, understand and explain these monsters but we still use them to tell our stories. Sometimes those stories twist the original myths almost unrecognisably – but the core is always drawn from something that came before.

What I find most interesting about monsters is the history, stories, and what caused these stories to begin – what the monster could actually be and their physiology.

So I will be giving a write up of a monsters each week, from Z-A to help you with your game and stories.

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