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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RufusCorvus's Avatar

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    Default Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    I suppose there could be a case made for this being posted on the World Building forum, since this is a world building issue, but I think it's generalized enough to go here.

    Basically, I'm trying to find mythical/folkloric creatures to associate with the classical elements in the same way Paracelsus did with the four from the title and their respective elements (water, air, earth, fire), except, instead of using the Greek elemental system, I'm using something more akin to the Chinese and/or Japanese system(s)--fire, water, earth, wood, metal, and possibly void/air/ether.

    An addition wrench in the process is that my world is heavily influenced by South American culture. Unfortunately, I know very little about South American mythology and have next to no starting point.

    I've dug up one creature that I think works for metal--the Alicanto--but I need more. I'm thinking about giving up on the pure South American feel and going back to Europe on a few of them (woodwoses in particular seem like they could work) and just accepting that I'm better off going pan-cultural on this.

    Does anyone have any suggestions, no matter how tenuously connected?

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    In South American mythology water and fire have supreme significance.

    They believed sea serpents lived in the oceans and caused natural disasters. That might help.

    Also giant turtles.
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Giant turtle sounds workable, for sure.

    Not so much the fire and water being supreme. I'm already working on a system where the elements are equally important, but thanks for the info nonetheless.

    (Note: The South American influence mostly comes about because the climate distribution on my map shows a ****ton of rainforest and pampas. That, combined with the colonial aspect to my world's history, tells me "Look at South America." I probably should have specified post-colonial South America. Mea culpa.)

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Will-o'-wisps could concievably be associated with water, with how they always appear over misty lakes or in swamps.
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    Mark Hall's Avatar

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    While not South American, you might want to take a look at the Deverry novels by Katharine Kerr (there are a lot of them). In that magical system, much of the simple magic is done through commanding the five elemental spirits (gnomes, slyphs, salamanders, undines and sprites; sprites and gnomes are particularly prominent, as two characters have specific spirits associated with them).

    Start with Daggerspell, though Dragonspell/The Dragon Revenant (depending on what printing you find) has a lot more of the technical information.
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Will-o'-wisps could concievably be associated with water, with how they always appear over misty lakes or in swamps.
    I think I'd prefer having the monsters in question be physical beings, not amorphous balls of magical water vapor. Still, I appreciate the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    While not South American, you might want to take a look at the Deverry novels by Katharine Kerr (there are a lot of them). In that magical system, much of the simple magic is done through commanding the five elemental spirits (gnomes, slyphs, salamanders, undines and sprites; sprites and gnomes are particularly prominent, as two characters have specific spirits associated with them).

    Start with Daggerspell, though Dragonspell/The Dragon Revenant (depending on what printing you find) has a lot more of the technical information.
    I'll look them up. Unfortunately, my reading list is quite backlogged at the moment.

    Thank you everyone.

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Read up a little on Chinese Mythology
    Basic rundown
    Water: Black, turtle, snake, north
    Fire: Red, bird, south
    Metal: White, tiger, west
    Wood: Blue, dragon, east
    Earth: Yellow, dragon(againish), center
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    You could always go with the dryad for wood. Less similar, but useable enough could be the brownie or leprechaun, though the leprechaun may be too known for you. The Phoenix could go for fire, or you could have a serpent and play up a sun theme. For water you could go for the Nixie or Huldra, or Fossegrim or Kelpie. For air, Fairy, Sprite and Pixie are decently Sylph-like. Can't think of anything metallic at the moment though.

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Ahh read the Undies from the title.. now I'm disappoint.
    On a more helpful note - (kobolds, gnomes, goblins) and dwarves = are mythological go to-s for earth/stone/metal.

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    In my campaign I use genies.
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I still haven't come to any firm decisions on what I want to use, but right now I'm thinking:

    Fire: ?
    Water: Kappa/Nix or maybe just go with Ondine
    Air: ?
    Earth: Gnome (maybe spell it Nome)
    Plant: Woodwose
    Metal: Alicanto

    Fire seems to be giving me the most trouble. I don't want to use Phoenix, because I don't want to double up on birds. I don't want to use Salamander, because the fire-themed lizard schtick is already taken by dragons. I guess I could let dragons be my Fire creature, but that would require me to rewrite their fluff, at least in part. I like the idea of using a reptile of some sort for Fire.

    Air's also troublesome. Some kind of bird is a natural choice, but again, I don't want to double up on birds. I might be able to use Will O'Wisps for Air. Appropriately airy and misty.

    I'm also unsatisfied with just using Gnomes for Earth, but haven't had much luck with anything else. Maybe Golems?

    For Water, I know I want to play up the Giant Turtle angle, hence my initial inclination to use Kappa (possibly renamed Nix).

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    For fire, there would be azers and magmins in D&D. Both original creatures though, I believe.
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    For fire, there would be azers and magmins in D&D. Both original creatures though, I believe.
    Yeah, as my setting isn't actually for D&D, I'm trying to stay away from proprietary creatures and draw from real world mythology instead.

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    For air, you could use Feathered Serpents, which would go along with the South American theme.
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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoblinArchmage View Post
    For air, you could use Feathered Serpents, which would go along with the South American theme.
    That is true. I'm not sure if couatl's are proprietary or not, though. Wikipedia implies that they are, coming from Quetzalcoatl.

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    Default Re: Undines and Sylphs and Gnomes, Oh My! (Special Guest: Salamanders)

    You forgot Eefreet.

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