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Uncommon/Underappreciated Mythical Creatures?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by evolution_rex, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    What are some uncommon fantasy/mythical creatures that you enjoy using in your worlds or feel are underused? I'm trying to compile a list of them as I want any fantasy worlds I build to be a bit unique. My main problem with a lot of obscure mythical creatures is that they're simply too similar to more well known mythical creatures and thus are a little pointless in my opinion, but my hopes is that you guys have some good creatures and can convince me that some of these lesser known beasts are cool.
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I adore stories about the Fae, and to date I've never seen one involving Baobhan Sith. They're vampiric Fae who have hooves instead of feet, dress in green and use their long fingernails to puncture men's throats to drink their blood. The closest thing to them I've seen are stories of the Gaselli, which seem to be very similar, such as in the song "Taglio!" by S.J. Tucker:

     
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  3. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    If I have to convince you that certain creatures are "cool" they probably are not the right thing to use in your work.
     
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  4. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I disagree? I just want to see what other people have used. wasn't entirely serious with that last sentence anyway.
     
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  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I've tried couple of stories with Sirens [one where they were pretty much out and out Pirates and another where they were the Landed Gentry controlling a small town] but I don't think I have the tone right on either yet. So anyway... I thin Sirens are underrated and under used.
     
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  6. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I'm writing a story about sirens! :D Technically they're a class of merfolk, the ones who lure humans to their deaths via singing. That still counts, right?
     
  7. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    I think that kelpies, satyrs, gnomes, brownies, banshees and many other mythical beings are vastly underused these days.
     
  8. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Pretty much every creature from ancient Mesopotamia is not only underused but outright unknown! I'll give a few examples.

    The Lilu, who are a kind of night demons that torments humans

    Lamashtu, a kind of demon with a bird's body, lion's legs and donkey's teeth, that harassed women in in regards to childbirth

    And and so, I could mention several more.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    >Lamashtu, a kind of demon with a bird's body, lion's legs and donkey's teeth,

    You lost me at the donkey teeth. Though, anyone bitten by a donkey likely has a deep fear of same. But this points up one of the problems with a good many mythical creatures: they're a bit silly around the edges. They affect only certain people or under certain conditions. They are just other animals pieced together to make a new one--a Mesopotamian liger. It's just hard for me to take some of them seriously.

    For example, Carrotfinger Man--he's basically a troll-under-the-bridge. I plan to use him somewhere. It's a legend from Brittany, and probably just from one part of Brittany. That's another item about legendary creatures--many of them were highly local. For the writer, he'd have to do so much explaining, he may as well just make up his own and use legend simply for inspiration.
     
  10. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    I agree in that many real world mythological creatures would need to be given a face-lift before they are presented to the modern audience but even so, I think that there is a lot of potential for inspiration and use from an author who writes something inspired by a certain culture. For example if I would write about an, essentially, Mesopotamian culture I am firmly convinced that I could use that culture's creatures, like the Lamashtu, with some artistic liberty, to great effect.

    While it may be a bad example, look at how the vampire has been transformed and become a great deal different from the original folklore creature.
     
  11. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    My problem with brownies is that they're basically just like leprechauns or gnomes or any type of hob, and I can't find any characteristics in them that makes them stand out.
    This is a big problem with mythological creatures as well, I generally don't like the animal hybrid stuff.
     
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Brownies have potential, imo. The color implies earth, for one thing. With a diminutive for a name, it would be difficult to make them fearsome, but one could certainly make them clever. In my mind, leprechauns are very far from gnomes, but that raises a good point. Some creatures, like trolls or ogres, can be represented in many different ways. Others, like leprechauns or unicorns, have to be played very close to type (unless done for laughs). I'm not sure why that is; just an observation.

    In the end, though, how they play has far more to do with the writer than with the legend.
     
  13. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

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    There's so many to choose from... the manticore, banshee, black dog, crocotta, satyr, bunyip, harpy, tengu... the list goes on and on. There's definitely a lot of possibilities :D
     
  14. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Yay, kelpies! I read a fanfic once where kelpies think they're immortal but aren't. If they get covered in too much inorganic stuff that doesn't rot, they become shellycoats, and they're mortal from that point onwards. Their culture is so fragmented that kelpies who become shellycoats are assumed to have just moved somewhere else, and any shellycoat who claims to be a kelpie is chased off or even murdered as an "impostor."

    Banshees get a fair bit of play, and I particularly liked their use in Roswell Conspiracies. Gnomes are all over Dungeons and Dragons, especially Dragonlance. Satyrs . . . Well, satyrs might get too much play. (Half-animal men who're constantly lustful are an attractive subject for a certain type of writer.)
     
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  15. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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  16. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Nice links although they were a bit short for my taste. :(
     
  17. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    I like the format of the first one, but I agree with Gurkhal, it needs more creatures.

    I guess I'd like to mention one of my favorite underrated creatures, the Lou Carcolh. Basically a snail/mollusk dragon creature. I like the idea of mixing the slimy and the lizard-like qualities into a big beast. My only criticism with the creature is that the name is obviously very French-esque and may not fit into one's world.
     
  18. The Scolopendra. Claudius Aelianus described it as the largest sea monster, and he basically describes the creature as being some sort of giant crustacean- perhaps reminiscent of a giant shrimp or crayfish. "Scolopendra", in modern use, is a genus of cenitpede.
     
  19. AkamaruGames

    AkamaruGames Sage

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    The game I am writing for uses a lot of germanic folklore creatures (albeit in a somewhat tongue in cheek tone). Some of the creatures used include:

    -mosspeople - sort of like a dwarf with fairy wings whose life is connected to trees. sort of implike and mischievous but anything they steal they always leave compensation for

    -nachtkrapp - a giant raven-like humanoid that steals children at night and eats them

    -the Wild Hunt - a group of spirit like huntsmen and dogs who roam the forests hunting various things (often mosspeople)

    -weisse frauen - literally a white woman. The spirit of a woman in white that can only be seen in the noon sunlight

    -rubezahl - a giant that lives in the mountains and has magical powers over lightning and avalanches. supposedly really loves sour dough bread and creates fog whenever it cooks up a local soup called kyselo
     
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  20. The Stranger

    The Stranger Dreamer

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    one of my favorite most obscure mythological creatures i found was a giant plant called the Borometz that instead of bearing fruit from its vines, bore entire sheep... like you could just reach up and grab a sheep off a tree. it might be a little silly for some, but i always though it was unique and fun.
     

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