Legendary Creatures!

When world-building, one of the most enjoyable yet hard things to do is populate your world.  Enjoyable in that you have things living in your world, and hard in that you want something a little less stereotypical and unique in order to make your work stand out.

Building up a fantasy world, much of what we read is influenced by the stories of Tolkien and Lewis.  Everyone thinks of elves, giants, dragons, dwarfs, orcs, and the myriad of smaller life forms that end in ‘yads’.

Thankfully, Wikipedia has a rather extensive list, starting at A and heading all the way up to Z.

Are there many examples of human-lion hybrids in literature?  Non-aggressive werewolves?  Deities that cause droughts from Middle America, South-East Europe and Japan?

And the list shows that many types of fantastical creatures are common across the vast regions of the world.  Even the animals that they attribute some events to have commonality.  Seems we have a lot in common no matter where we live in the world =)

Is there a lesser-known hybrid creature that you like?

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23 responses

  1. you are right, coming up with alternative peoples/cultures/animals and realities is one of the most fun things about writing fantasy and/or scifi 🙂

    In my one of my favourite series (that I have mentioned before, I’m pretty sure XD) the Novels of Astrieant, they have ‘gargoyles’: they are never explained in so many words (which is clever, as the characters wouldn’t need explain them as, to them, they are just a part of life) but as far as I can tell they are lizard-like equivalents of the common pigeon. They hang around on roofs and peck through rubbish and such and to the characters are just a part of city life. They always struck my imagination 🙂

    1. I love that concept; it’s normal to them, why flesh it out?

      There was a cartoon on when I was younger called ‘Gargoyles’, which I remember being an enjoyable watch.

      Thanks for dropping by for a read =)

      1. I used to watch that too! Oh man, that was awesome XD They were stone during the day weren’t they? Oh man, potent memory flashback!

        (And my pleasure, as always!)

      2. Had to Wikipedia it to remember what happened in the series. Yes they were stone by day, and then got to move about at night. Ah, the joys of youth.

        I wonder how it would hold up now. One of the free-to-air channels in my area is replaying the original TMNT, and my goodness is it bad in some episodes! =S

      3. Maybe we’re better off not re-watching the cornerstones of our youth tv addiction…except Are You Afraid if the Dark. That shit’s still got it like XD

      4. Haha not a fan of horror. Only horror movies I’ve seen in cinema are ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ and ‘Freddie v Jason’.

      5. I’m not a fan of horror as a rule either. I like dark, but not horror or gore particularly.

      6. Is ‘Donnie Darko’ a good film? I have never seen it, though I know it has a bit of a cult following. Any other dark movies that stand out for you? The straight dark or comedic dark?

      7. It’s alright, it’s not the world-changing, earth-shattering, revolutionary opus a lot of people seem to think it is. But it’s worth a watch. Straight dark or comedic dark? Hmm, I guess I like both! Dark to me means there’s nastiness in there, depth, a side of life that is usually hidden away, but not gratuity. I love In Bruges, which is definitely a black comedy (I’ve spoken to a few people who say it’s too nasty, but I think it’s really human) and then my favourite movie and book is Interview with The Vampire, though that’s a sort of fantastic, escapist kind of dark that’s not all that distubing. Dredd I really enjoyed which could be argued is gratutious, but it was the reliastion of the world, the concepts and the storytelling I admired most about that. And Karl Urban didn’t hurt the cause either! But I never want to see any of the Saw movies or anything like that. The Descent made me throw my camomile tea accross the room and burst into tears lol. How about you??

      8. I cannot hold myself as a connoisseur. The Addams Family series and movies were enjoyably dark yet comedic.

        Yeah, any ‘gore for the sake of gore’ movies do not appeal. If the violence and gore plays a proper part in the story, like Shaun of the Dead and the various Resident Evil formats, it is fine.

      9. You’re right, there is a fine line!

      10. I liked Black Swan too. Once again, not horrific and not earth changing, just…effective.

      11. Which proves that all a movie or show, or any sort of project really, needs to do is keep to the basics and do them well.

      12. Certainly does! If it’s well-written you can do pretty much anything. Well-written means well-realised with some integrity. Even if it’s comedy or something ridiculous or something violent, if the writing is good there’s meaning there and you can get on board.

      13. The new Batman movies I think are great example of Dark Done Well 🙂

      14. Gotham was definitely well-realised as modern and gritty, after the more campy vein Tim Burton had taken it down.

        The only thing I would have changed was the age-old ‘two bad guys’; Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul, Joker and Two-Face, Bane and Catwoman. Is there really not enough time or material to focus a movie on one baddie?

      15. You’re not wrong there, actually, that’s a good point! There was definitely a stronger character out of the two in each case too.

      16. Two-Face felt short-changed once he turned, and he is one of the most memorable villains between Joker and Riddler. Felt like that could have been explored much more.

      17. And his death was a bit of a none-event too, just like Bane’s. Both times I was like….”Are they dead? Is that it?” O_o but I can’t complain really, I love those movies

  2. Dear DJ, on the Kongregate website, there’s an original RPG game named “Monsters’ Den: Book of Dread” which has 3 different sorts of dungeons in it that you can fight, two in levels until you just get tired of fighting, the third until you die, having fought the battle for as long as you can hold out. But right now, I’m fighting the new Monsters’ Den Chronicles game which was promised for three years (and there’s going to be a third one later on, I think, called Monsters’ Den Godfall), and I really like the demons and monsters and all that stuff in the new Chronicles site. It has six different “tiers” which each have a bunch of levels in them, and it’s a really challenging and fun game to play. But if you want to play it, I would advise first going into the Monsters’ Den: Book of Dread site to master the basics there, because the Chronicles is based on it in the way it operates, though it has lots of innovations. All the monsters and demons are quite creatively imagined (there are Fearsowers, and Soulstealers and Wailing Banshees which chill my blood every time I hear them), and it’s great fun. I wouldn’t say the monsters are so much hybrid in their basic natures, though, as creatively imagined in what they can do. You should play sometime! Both of the two Monsters’ Den games so far are strategic games, where you have to think things through and have a good memory. I also write some things down so that (for example) when I have to go to the Emporium to buy new fighting goods, potions, and armor and etc., I know what each of my four characters is in need of. The creator’s name (I think an assumed one, but I’m not sure) is Garin, just to give him a footnote. In the Book of Dread game, it’s also easy to create female characters who are just as powerful as the male ones, but it’s a little harder in the Chronicles site to do so, although you can do it. Anyway, I’ve gabbed on enough about my favorite computer games and the legendary creatures therein. Try it, you’ll like it! P.S. Each of the two games asks to store 1 MB or less of chat room info on your computer in exchange for some of the playing privileges, but I’ve never had any sort of problem with it.

    1. Sounds awesome! I wish I had the spare time to go and play it, but I will see what information can be divulged from the Internet on the characters in the game.

      Good to see they worked in some equalisiation of the sexes too =)

  3. Yes, the characters and creatures are indeed hard to come up with. I just can’t think up anything good on my own. That’s why I’ve just been doing fan fiction lately. All the people and creatures are made already. Hee hee, so much easier. As for lesser-known creatures I like, I currently can’t think of any. But, through random reading and from playing Japanese games, I’ve been learning about creatures not as many people know about, like the Kappa, some kind of river creature, Tengu (kind of part bird, part people), and the most bizarre of all, Kasa-obake, which is a type of creature “old umbrellas turn into”, according to Wikipedia. In one game I’ve been playing, they appear as these weird umbrella people that hop around on one leg.

    1. The old umbrella creature? Must mean something to their culture that we don’t quite understand =P

      Can you imagine the carnage if one rainy day, all the umbrellas grew massive teeth and chomped down on their holders?

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