Saturday, February 8, 2020

Game Inspiration - Myths in a Mythical World

Re-reading the Garret, P.I. series, I found this passage I always liked:

"Unicorns, vampires, mammoths, fifty kinds of thunder lizards, werewolves, and countless other creatures often deemed mythical I had seen with my own eyes. [. . .] But these flying horses and the bitty bowman [a cherub] constituted my first encounter with a class of creatures I thought of as artist's conventions. Symbols. These guys, griffins, ostriches, cameleopards, cyclops. All of them supposedly as uncommon as a lawyer driven only by a need to see justice done."
- Glen Cook, "Petty Pewter Gods."

Heh, ostriches.

In a mythical world - a world full of monsters - what beings are actually myths? Earth is covered with truly remarkable species, yet we've imagined a whole menagerie of creatures that don't exist. What kind of things do people in a world of strange monsters imagine? What normal creatures can you set off on such a list in order to drive home the strangeness of the world to real-world players?


  1. Giraffes!
    Australia is home to some pretty unusual creatures (and many that can kill) - Kangaroos (& the tree kangaroo), the Platypus, a tiny bright blue octopus, the 1-3m long earthworms, and snails the size of a tennis ball.

  2. Humans, maybe, given the profusion of humanoids in most fantasy settings.

    1. How Barsoomesque. I love it.

    2. Sure, but I'd say that's such an extreme implementation that you make the world alien instead of strange. And it's hard to implement without radically changing the setting from the start. You can always declare later that giraffes or dolphins or parrots are mythical beings if they haven't been encountered yet.


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