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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