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Posts posted by Agelastos

  1. I didn't specifically mean in the same place as each other, but given the various cultural spread (viking and saxon invasions and whatnot) chances are that a lot of these creatures are related in origin or have at least absorbed some of the aspects of each other. I was going to make some more specific points but unfortunatly my mind has gone blank for the night...


    That's definitely the case. They're also all Indo-European, and have thus developed from the same source.


    But one other one that isn't necessarily related to those but is again a northern European thing is Wose/Green men - had some fun integrating those into a D&D campaign I did a few years ago as a replacement for half-orcs - definitly helped give it a more northern-european tone that just a tolkieneseque one. I may if I remember correctly, have used trow as a substitute for gnomes too, same statistics but different tone of race.


    Hehe! Except that Tolkien used woses too, only he called them wood-woses. :p

    Ah, trows and gnomes are definitely related (I hope you renamed the Drow too, to avoid confusion, especially since drow is an alternative spelling for trow). But they're both Northern European. And so are orcs, btw. So I don't know if you really made it MORE Northern-European, but at least you made it your own. And different. :)

  2. I wouldn't consider those to be the "original" elfs. The álfar were twisted into what you described after the christianization of Scandinavia. The álfar actually had, or has, more in common with Tolkien's elves than they do with the pixie-like elfs of Medieval folklore. They are semi-divine beings closely associated with the Vanir (Norse gods of fertility and wisdom, distinct from the Aesir) and are described as more beautiful than any other people.


    The problem with things in general is that in the scandinavian tradition, as I understand it is, pretty much all the words for monsterous humanoids can be used, if not interchangeably, then with a way that has considerable overlap with each other: elves (white, dark and black), dwarves, trolls, brownies, goblins, kobalds, redcaps and so on seem to be fairly vaguely defined in contrast to one another, perhaps more to be gradiations of one thing rather than various different things.


    One interesting thing to do would be to include various of these, but mix up the expectations of them a little into non-Tolkienesque forms, for instance the elves as the rowdy chaotic and violent ones or trolls as small gentle craftsmen. Obviously you could easily come up with something better than that in a full development schedule, but i think getting elves and dwarves away from expectations of them can only make for a more nuanced world.


    There is some confusion, I'll give you that, but that's true of all oral traditions. However, you're confusing beings from Norse mythology with beings from Medieval Scandinavian folklore, legendary creatures from other Germanic traditions, and even from Celtic mythology and folklore. Brownies, kobolds, goblins and redcaps have nothing to do with Scandinavia.


    Only two of the creatures you mentioned are ever really confused in modern interpretations of Norse mythology:

    the dökkálfar/svartálfar (dark/black elfs) and the dvergar (dwarfs - which were actually not short at all, but as tall as normal men).

    The dökkálfar are the subterranean cousins of the ljósálfar (light elfs) and are known for their skill as smiths (note that they are not more "evil" than the ljósálfar in any way - dualistic concepts such as good and evil doesn't really exist in Indo-European religions, with the [disputed] exception of zoroastrianism).

    Dvergar are supposed to reside in Svartálfaheimr, which, as the name would suggest, is the abode of the dark elfs. They too are famous for their smithing, just like in modern fantasy.

    It is widely believed that the two are in fact just different names for the same people.

    • Like 2
  3. I'd actually kind of like to see a return to actual "original" elf mythology a bit, ie. the ones which live in barrows and steal children. Not necessarily just like that as that'd be a fairly impractical as a player race, but I do like the idea of a sentient race with cuckoo-style brooding, perhaps with most elves trying to keep that behind them and mix in with the other races, with a few clans doing it "old style" and still living in mounds and stealing kids, although they'd obviously be increasingly rare and not very popular because of it...


    I wouldn't consider those to be the "original" elfs. The álfar were twisted into what you described after the christianization of Scandinavia. The álfar actually had, or has, more in common with Tolkien's elves than they do with the pixie-like elfs of Medieval folklore. They are semi-divine beings closely associated with the Vanir (Norse gods of fertility and wisdom, distinct from the Aesir) and are described as more beautiful than any other people.

    • Like 2
  4. Could you post any examples? I vaguely recall some late indo persian ones, but that's about it.


    Maybe they should technically be called vambraces, since they're not designed for archery.

    Or do vambraces have to be part of a suit of armor? Or cover the entire forearm, for that matter?

    Bah! We don't make the distinction in Swedish. :p Let's just call them forearm guards.


    Splinted forearm guards, of metal or leather, were fairly common during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.

    They were, for instance, worn by the Varangians in the Byzantine Empire, Kievan Rus, and the Nordic countries (particularly Sweden and western Finland).

    These would usually cover the entire forearm, but would in some cases only cover about two thirds.


    It's far easier to find Central and East Asian examples.

    • Like 1
  5. I would love dev tracker feature implemented, that would be really cool

    "zomg he looked at my thread, he must less than three me!"


    It's a really efficient way for casual visitors to get information, without having to wade through hundreds of threads of what's probably 99% guesses, wishes and discussions about things that may or may not be in the game.

  6. Yeah, put aside ... the asymmetrical lonely pauldron

    Why against asymmetrical pauldrons? Do you use both your hands equally? Would you stand flat to your opponent, not one shoulder forward?


    To quote my blog shamelessly (again :D):





    Bracers are another funny thing. As far as I know, they didn't exist. In history, as separate protective items the way they're portrayed in fantasy games. Some armour covered the forearm, sure. But except for use by archers, I am yet to see a real bracer used in combat.


    They did kind of disappear in Europe during the High Middle Ages, but they were quite common before then, not only among archers.

    I think fantasy games often use the term "bracers" for vambraces too, figuring that most people don't know what vambraces are.

    • Like 1
  7. Not sure if that was in previous topics, but I'm convinced that such (brigandine an half-cuirass, cloak) such would much better suit the adventurer, and that's much more fit for tearing through anything:



    Brigandines were usually sleeveless, so I don't see how that would help against the "puffiness". Maybe you're thinking of the doublets worn under the brigandines, but they often had slashed sleeves in order to show off the "puffiness" from the 15th century on.

  8. You guys realize that there are more kinds of vampires than the ones from Dracula, right? And that the myth has taken many forms throughout history?


    As just an example: Eastern European vampires start as shadows, use the blood they drain to turn into boneless masses, and eventually congeal into a human form. They also take wives and mistresses, and, IIRC, their children's part vampire nature makes them excellent vampire hunters.


    It just seems like any vampire myth that's not straight out of Victorian England is being shot down.


    I think the problem is that the pre-Gothic vampires weren't romantic enough for most people. They were usually peasants in life, not nobles, and their vampiric forms were twisted and frightening rather than "sexy".

  9. Even if the gods are known to exist, there could still be misotheists who believe them to be false gods/evil entities unworthy of worship (like how some Gnostics view the Demiurge), and/or people who simply live in denial (like Gannayev of Dreams from Mask of the Betrayer - I personally found his atheism to be more silly than anything else, though, so I'd rather they didn't create another character like that).

    • Like 1
  10. Very interesting. I'm going to have to read up on this Viesczy monster.

    There's no reason not to call it Viesczy. I doubt the Kashubians would, or even could, sue for copyright infringement.

    I don't think you can own the rights to a mythological being. Fantasy has always borrowed from real world mythology and folklore.

    We Scandinavians didn't sue Tolkien. The Greeks didn't sue C.S. Lewis.


    What about mylings? I've never seen one of those in a game.

    For those who don't know, a myling (Scandinavian folklore) is the corporeal spirit of an unbaptized or murdered child.

    It will try to persuade people to give it a proper burial.

    If someone agrees to give it a burial, it will jump on that person's back, grow enormous, and ride it's benefactor to the graveyard - only most people die of exhaustion long before they make it there.

    If refused... well, then it gets really ugly.

    Sometimes it will ask to be breastfed or given a name instead, but I won't go into that.

    There are also Slavic equivalents, like the Yugoslavian drekavac and plakavac.

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