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 Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games

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Nakia the Rogue
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PostSubject: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:42 am

Furies: This is done from memory so may not be 100% accurate. Furies I think get a bad rep in fantasy fiction and games. They are usually depicted as evil creatures in bird form with women's heads dropping poop all over people and just generally being nasty. They are of Greek mythological origin and the Greek name is Erinyes. Virgil placed them in the underworld tormenting evildoers but in Greek Mythology they are depicted as inhabiting earth and pursuing wrong doers here on earth. They may not be persons who you would want as your best friends but they are not evil. In fact I wouldn't mind getting them to do a little avenging for me. On the other hand they might consider that as rather nasty of me and I could live to regret it so I won't bother them. Those who live good lives have nothing to fear from them. So I really do not see how they can be considered evil. Hokay if you are an evil person you might consider them evil.

Griffin or Gryphon: Greek Mythology, sometimes depicted as good, sometimes as evil. Very intelligent. They have body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle and are very large. There variations on the above description. They were considered majestic and very powerful creatures.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:45 pm

It's not necessarily about evil deeds per se but what one considers to be evil. I guess even a very good person has something to feel guilty about. Nobody is blameless so Furies as spirits of vengeance don't strike me as the benevolent kind.

The cardinal sin was hubris, the common mortal flaw in Greek tragedies. Of course all these stories involved enough bloodshed for the Furies to have a field day.

Lore regarding monsters is very diverse and at times you'll find different stories and myths that contradict one another.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:04 pm

True in all aspects. I still think the Furies get a worse reputation for evil then they deserve. They mainly according to my understanding went for the worse offenders. The Greeks did create some very interesting tragedies; sons slaying fathers, marrying mothers, daughters being sacrificed, wives committing adultery. Of course the men didn't commit adultery that was a feminine crime. Very Happy Occasionally the men did run off and leave their wives behind.

Dragon: Sometimes evil, sometimes good.
Werewolves: The battle of our animal natures against our divine natures. The eternal struggle of each individual.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:03 am

Dragons. F'N dragons. What more boring and uninspired generic monster. I learned that they are going to make their way to Minecraft. And I am pissed off. Why not a titan? Or souped up undead like, say, Death Knights (remember the Cuisinarts in MM6, Brother Cara?), an Uber powerful warlock or mage, a demigod (or a god for that matter), hell, anything but a F'N dragon!
Dragons... I hate them... AAARGH!

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:25 am

Laughing TON, they can be fun if you don't take them too seriously. I am partial to Gryphons though. I am not sure why maybe the way they look and the fact that they are very intelligent.

Why is Minecraft going for dragons? Spacecraft is what they should have or fancy bikes. I love fancy bikes.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:23 am

Supposedly dragons were requested by a hell of a lot of people. I suppose that with the addition of the adventure mode, it would happen someday.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:33 am

Next will come zombies, vampires and werewolves. Do you have to include dragons if you don't want them?

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:09 am

I've posted a few things about vampires in my Vampire movies thread. Wink

I'm a big fan of creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos, anyone familiar with those monsters?

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm

No what are they like?

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:29 pm

Zombies already exist in MC... With 1.9 they appear in the Nether. I don't mind those slow, dim-witted shambling mounds of rotting flesh, I'd rather have zombies than dragons even thouigh zombies are as generic as it gets.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:33 pm

Seems to me they should have vampires in MC. Sneaking around in the shadows and sneaking up on people, sucking the life blood out of them. Now that would be creepy. I don't like zombies, they make my stomach turn.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:48 pm

I am going to take a brief pause to mention how much I hate Cliff Racers. I love Morrowind to death after the graphical overhaul but those damned birds are a royal pain in the a... I still hate those guys so much, but I am going to snipe them now that I have 65% Chameleon.
I am not a fan of zombies either, I'd rather have an uber-powerful skeleton as a Death Knight. Like in MM6, those guys kicked my ass more times than I can count in the Warlord's Fortress, but I'd rather fight a handful of these guys than one fucking dragon. I suppose he has a treasure heap and holds a princess hostage, too? Rolling Eyes
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And unfortunately, yes, dragons will come bundled with the 1.9 update. I pray that a mod gets created to remove those overgrown lizards who have been used in N+1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 games.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:54 pm

Here are some pictures for you Nakia:

Spoiler:
 

Also here is a link concerning the Byakhee and another for some more Cthulhu Mythos creatures.

That's way better than the average dragon TON. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:31 pm

Oh, Cara, I love them. Those are fantastic creatures. Thank you so much.

TON, I agree Dragons have been overdone but the masses love them as well as vampires and were creatures. They even love zombies. Ugh. I have no idea why people think that evil is ugly. Come to think of it I have no idea why people think the way they do. Maybe Cara can explain he seems to understand in an abstract way the human mind better than I do. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am really an alien dropped off on earth for some reason.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:45 pm

I can only give some ideas as to what may be the appeal of vampires in our modern days. One has to remember that vampires have been popular for centuries because of what they represent. Vampires are undead creatures and as such they are not limited by the rules that delimits our world and yet they have to follow other rules (the nature of which varies depending on the lore).

People like vampires because they have been turned from raving monsters who feast on blood into emo kids and dark seductive strangers.

Vampirism is based on a taboo that is linked to the ingestion of blood. In some culture blood is impure and meat can't be eaten if the animal hasn't been bled dry. There is a relation that is implied between blood as a vital fluid and the soul and as such drinking blood is the most unnatural violation.

Our society doesn't consider cannibals to be sex symbols but strangely enough vampires have been turned into the ultimate seducers.

The appeal may come from the fact that vampires are all about eternal life and attractiveness. Whatever movies or TV shows you watch these days the common factor is that the vampire version of any individual is always superior to the original human character. Faster, stronger, more confident and self assured, vampires have the power and they know it.

Simply put would you rather be the hunter or the prey? Most people don't stop to think about all the drawbacks (bloodlust, allergy to the sun and so on) but focus on the "cool" things. Even more so when series like the Vampire Diaries or movies like Twilight make these drawbacks even less of a problem.

In the end it's all a question of escapism. Evading the banalities of a mundane life and assuming the role of a creature who is so irresisible that it can have what it wants and craves at anytime. We live in a society that advertises sex in ads and movies while sexuality is being reppressed. The vampire can get away with being a sexual creature without getting called names because by nature it is a highly sensual creature that is not afraid of asserting itself in sexual terms.

From a psychoanalytical perspective it seems pretty clear that blood is a metaphor for other bodily fluids. The vampire is the perfect representation of Eros and Thanatos and in our modern days as an immortal creature the vampire can engage into sexual encounters without any fear of AIDS whereas for simple mortals like us sex can't be considered as being safe. As such the vampire is constituted by a layer upon a layer of fantasies, some ancient, some new, but in the end it represents the perfect conjunction between Desire (Eros) and Death (Thanatos).

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:07 pm

Cara, good points on vampires now what about were creatures and zombies? Zombies, ugh.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:08 am

Werewolves? Closer to the beast inside each and every one of us. Instincts, feral instincts that we still possess despite our comfort and urban landscapes. Most of us spend our lives putting a lid on these urges in order to respect the social compact. Werewolves are about unleashing things that people would rather forget. But these things are still with us, part of what we are as evolved as we would like to think we are.

Zombies? Flesh eating corpses that come back from the grave? I'd say the appeal is caused by sheer repulsion. It's a paradox that most things that we find repulsive also sometimes do attract or fascinate us. In the past there were freakshows putting deformed people on display. Public executions were common. It's obvious that most people like blood and gore. Zombie movies provide all that excessive and graphic violence guilt free since none of it is real.

Anyway that's my take on the question. IMO vampires and werewolves are more interesting as monsters because they have a psychological resonance.

In the TV show Being Human the main characters are a vampire and a werewolf who happen to share a house. The funny thing is that the first version of the script didn't involve supernatural creatures. It was about two friends being flatmates, one who was a sex addict (the vampire) and one who had anger management issues (the werewolf). Pretty funny when we think about it.

On the subject of monsters do you know what a silkie is? Question

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:41 am

A silkie is a seal like creature. Comes from Scotland I believe. I did a PbP RPG using a half silkie creature. Mother was a silkie and father was human. She did have a personality conflict problem. She was more Uber than I normally like to play but I was able to balance her.

Silkie females become human when they come on land, are very beautiful and seductive. As I recall however they like to play with their victims in the water. A bit hard on human males who can't breathe underwater.

Cara, you did an excellent job in my opinion of analyzing the human attitude towards various monsters. I knew you could do that. I can understand the attraction of vampires and werewolves but zombies? They literally turn my stomach. Violence? Yes we are still a violent species that is proven by our mistreatment of other people, by our wars, by heroism. Many people state they do NOT want realistic gore, blood and guts in their games. Fine, I have no problem with that and believe that games should allow people to choose their level of gore. What annoys me is the occasional person who attacks those of us who want realistic gore. I mean attack, I have calle insane because I chose to say I wanted realist gore. On the other hand I did not care for the Arena quests in Oblivion because I consider that wonted killing for the satisfaction of the masses and not a true test of skills. The Dark Brotherhood I could accept because that was professional killing for business reasons. That may seem hypocritical and I have a hard time explaining it not being gifted with Carabas' gift of words and careful analytical reasoning mind. I just do not like pandering to the baser nature of the masses just does not appeal to me. I guess I am a snob. Murder for hire I can accept but not those Arena combats and killing the Arena champion I hated. I did it through once and remember trying one other time then stopped and went back to a prior save and just forgot the whole thing.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:22 am

Thank you Nakia, what I've posted wasn't elaborate but I didn't want to spend too much time rambling about monsters. Smile

So you know your Scottish creatures! Well done indeed. I've always found the idea of a were-seal a bit ludicrous but that's the idea.

By the way on the subject of Scottish lore do you know what a kelpie is? Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:47 am

You got me on the kelpie. What is it?

The silkie I have run across in a couple of stories including one that purported to be science fiction. In the stories the person was human but his or her family had the ability to change to seal form in water. A brief explanation was given and I did further research when I decided to role play one. Being of somewhat Scottish descent I found them interesting along with the Loch Ness Monster.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:08 pm

A kelpie is a magnificent black horse that entices people to ride him. Once someone is on the back of the horse it bolts and rushes towards the loch to drown the rider in the cold dark waters. Smile

There are many stories that I've read while I lived in Scotland but I've forgotten most of the details. I remember some tales about dragons as well. Sure they've become a bit too common but that doesn't mean that they don't play an important part in folklore.

By the way on the subject of dragons there are many different versions. Some are snake like some are more like worms. Some breathe fire, others create a fiery venom. Some can shape change or (like Chinese dragons) turn into humans. They can be good or evil.

We can blame Dungeons and Dragons for spreading the representation of dragons as we know them today -mostly how Tolkien described Smaug in Bilbo the Hobbit.

The problem is not that dragons suck or that they are not original. It's more that we've been subjected to dragons in any fantasy game or movie and the dragons we see in movies and games tend to be rather formulaic. DAO is a perfect of that. After making the Darkspawns look like the orcs from the LOTR movies they couldn't help making the Archdemon a dragon. If that isn't lazy I don't know what is.

The Polish word for dragon is "smok" something that I find amusing.



If you're familiar with movies by Guillermo Del Toro like Pan's Labyrinth or Hellboy you will agree that it's possible to have interesting monsters that look original and probably work better than the boring classic monsters.

Here are some pictures:

Spoiler:
 

The last one looks a lot like a creature from the Cthulhu mythos. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:51 pm

Thanks, Car. People seem to like stereotype rather than originality. Here in the USA I think the Puritan Morality influences things too. We can't seem to escape from it.

Cara, if you think of any stories please tell us. Dragons abound through out the world. In, as you said, various forms. The chinese have a different view of things than the Europeans. The Boar sign for instance is a sign of generosity.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:43 pm

Nakia, have a look through some of the stories on here. Cornwall has a LOT of myths, legends and monsters and some of them are great Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:28 pm

Thanks, Sil. How are you? I will take a look at those stories.

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PostSubject: Re: Some general comments about Monsters in fantasy fiction and games   Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:56 am

Thanks for the link Sil.

Nakia the Rogue wrote:
Thanks, Car. People seem to like stereotype rather than originality. Here in the USA I think the Puritan Morality influences things too. We can't seem to escape from it.

I'm not sure about that. Lovecraft who created the Cthulhu Mythos in his writing (although he didn't coin the phrase) was from New England and he lived most of his life in Providence.

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