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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I think it's not so much werewolves are proto-vampires, but more like evil people could both learn to shapechange into wolves while alive and return as vampires after death...

    Like, both being a werewolf and being a vampire were sub-powers to being a warlock/witch...
    That’s a really accurate description. In fact, as i said , the devouring Monsters would be a common category of revenant, often in body before it would become the many faces of the vampire. A huge range of creatures and peoples, from witches to strangers to unusual babies (most notable the ones with a caul) and of course those who had a peculiar sexuality could come back as devouring monsters. This fact may explain the varois significatons of the Word vroucolak, but on this specifics my sources are unclear iirc.

    Also thank everybody for the collective effort!

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    My thought process went something like: "So...if hobgoblins were originally just a subtype of goblins that became their own thing, I guess they'd be like Americans in this analogy. Which would mean hobgoblins would basically be Americans as stereotyped by Americans...Texans, I guess?"
    The 'stereotyped by the British' aspect is because I'm a Brit writing the setting for Brits. So hobgoblins would be Americans as stereotyped by the British.

    So yeah, Texans

    Although this setting uses an orc/goblin split instead of a goblin/hobgoblin one, hobgoblin is a title roughly equivalent to 'leader' in a goblin club. I'm not 100% sure what I want to do with Orcs, mainly because they have a much looser mythological basis than other creatures.
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Well, duh, you obviously ought to make the orcs Texans. Problem solved.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angel Bob View Post
    Well, duh, you obviously ought to make the orcs Texans. Problem solved.
    So "orcs" are just normal sized goblins who wear huge hats, boots, and belts and insist that they are bigger than other goblins?

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    What about nagas? I've heard they're nothing like their real-world inspiration.

    (sure, I could read up on the matter myself, but that wouldn't be as much fun as reading your thoughts.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Braininthejar2 View Post
    Werewolves were often just shapeshifting witches, and as far as I remember, they didn't have a hybrid form. Silver vulnerability is also a new thing. I think in the original story it could have been a silver button with a cross symbol on it, used as an improvised pistol bullet.
    I think the origin of the silver bullet is this: You need a bulled blessed and consecrated by a priest to kill a werewolf/vampire/witch/warklock/whatever, but, since most priests don't go around blessing bullets, you can just steal one of the vessels used during Mass and melt it down to make bullets (not necessarily a chalice, you could use a paten or a ciborium, or you could just do with one of the lesser holy tools, like a naveta or a candlestick).

    Chalices, patens, ciboriums, navetas and liturgic candlesticks used to be made of silver, or at least of a copper-silver alloy or of silvered copper or brass... hence, silver bullet.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post


    There are at least some mythic examples of gods at least losing divine powers if they aren't worshiped. For instance, once Ra went senile (which is something Egyptian gods did when this particular myth was written), he started acting like a senile old fool, losing the respect and worship of mortals. By the time he noticed, his divine strength had waned to the point that he couldn't do anything about it.
    ...Until his dad told him to pluck out his eye and turn it into a vengeful goddess, at least.

    There's also pre-D&D media examples of the trope. Lord Dunsany included it in some of his stories, and there's a Star Trek TOS episode where the last Greek god tries to kidnap Kirk and Company to worship him.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Blymurkla View Post
    What about nagas? I've heard they're nothing like their real-world inspiration.

    (sure, I could read up on the matter myself, but that wouldn't be as much fun as reading your thoughts.)
    That's a bit of a mixed bag, in part because nagas appear in relatively varied forms across a fairly vast stretch of South, Southeast and East Asia. Very broadly speaking, they're generally divine or semi-divine cobras or cobra people (the forms they're described in run the gamut of what you'd see among the yuan-ti). Whether they're good guys or bad guys varies, although it's interesting that they include exceptions to the general rule in mythology that multi-headed serpents are forces of primal chaos and evil (the thousand-headed Ananta Shesha is notably a benevolent figure strongly associated with Vishnu). But again, nagas show up even as far North as China due to the cultural influence of Buddhism, so it's hard to generalize.

    Serpent mythology in general is complicated, and is frequently occluded by its origins in heterodox cults that may have been only partially absorbed by more "respectable" orthodox traditions. In a wide variety of cultures snakes are associated with healing, wisdom, and immortality on the one hand, but with danger, pre-human chaos, and the primal force of water on the other. Nagas touch on all of that, although as far as I know Hinduism's version of the reoccurring "storm god defeats a multi-headed serpent" motif does not call out its villain as a naga in particular.

    All in all, D&D's presentation of nagas as giant magic cobras with human faces, some of whom are good and some of whom are evil? Actually not bad for a very superficial take.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2018-10-27 at 08:35 PM.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    There are at least some mythic examples of gods at least losing divine powers if they aren't worshiped. For instance, once Ra went senile (which is something Egyptian gods did when this particular myth was written), he started acting like a senile old fool, losing the respect and worship of mortals. By the time he noticed, his divine strength had waned to the point that he couldn't do anything about it.
    ...Until his dad told him to pluck out his eye and turn it into a vengeful goddess, at least.
    I got to re-read that myth, but I'm fairly sure Ra went senile on his own, and lost his power because of that. Mortals not worshipping him didn't weaken him further, they just stopped obeying him and mocked him...

    He did create Sekhmet from his eye to destroy the mortals, so he had not lost his divine power. And the gods were ready to erradicate Humanity for their disobedience, which means they didn't need them to survive...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    There's also pre-D&D media examples of the trope. Lord Dunsany included it in some of his stories, and there's a Star Trek TOS episode where the last Greek god tries to kidnap Kirk and Company to worship him.
    As for Lord Dunsany, his version of Poseidon draws his power from blood sacrifice, not from faith, I think... Dunsany's original pantheon, the Gods of Pegana didn't need of mortal worship and considered them mere toys.

    Star Trek is older than D&D only by a few years...

    But I have to point that both Dunsany's Poseidon and Star Trek's gods were based on Greek deities, who definitely didn't need mortal worship in order to exist and to keep their power...

    EDIT: Maybe we should stop speaking about Egyptian and Greek gods... I was banned once for speaking about Moloch...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2018-10-27 at 04:49 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    Like, both being a werewolf and being a vampire were sub-powers to being a warlock/witch...
    Hm...a game where everyone played witches and picked up supernatural abilities in various ability trees, leading to them becoming progressively more monstrous, could be neat.


    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I think the origin of the silver bullet is this: You need a bulled blessed and consecrated by a priest to kill a werewolf/vampire/witch/warklock/whatever, but, since most priests don't go around blessing bullets, you can just steal one of the vessels used during Mass and melt it down to make bullets (not necessarily a chalice, you could use a paten or a ciborium, or you could just do with one of the lesser holy tools, like a naveta or a candlestick).
    So, melting an object doesn't remove its blessed-ness? How does that work? Does the blessing apply to the individual silver atoms, and if so, would that apply to the atoms making up holy water, communion bread, and sacramental wine? What would be the consequences of inhaling holy water vapor and consuming sanctified bread every week? For that matter, wouldn't little bits of sanctified organic matter end up all across the local area? Or would water treatment plants remove the sanctity?
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    A superficial search going beyond my memories (specifically, to TV Tropes) indicates other ancient examples of gods and godlike beings needing prayer (from voudoun to shinto), and that references to gods needing sacrifice exist in The Epic of Gilgamesh (which is true of other mythologies, from the Greeks to the Aztecs, and fundamentally isn't that different from requiring worship aside from cleanup requirements). A certain Bronze Age book also calls out that their god doesn't require sacrifices to live, which would be odd if that was universally the norm.
    There are also more recent but still centuries-old examples of people thinking that certain gods relied on prayer, just not the ones they worship. Some occultists and neo-pagan groups incorporated this idea into their belief structures, which would make them part of their religious beliefs.

    Finally, it's probably worth noting that there are good literary reasons to make gods need worship. After all, a universal trait of just about anything we could call a god is that they want worship. What drives this motivation? "They just want attention" or something works fine when you're fine with making your cosmic beings act like spoiled children, but few religions and even fewer fantasy novels are interested in that. When it comes to respectable reasons for all-powerful beings to demand mortals bow down to them, "they'll die without it" is one of the few responses people have been able to think of.
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    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    So, melting an object doesn't remove its blessed-ness?
    Nope. Actually, for a real-life example, the bullet that killed the Beast of Gévaudan was made melting together blessed medallions with the image of the Virgin Mary... or so claimed afterwards the hunter who slayed it...

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Spoiler: Gods Need Prayer Badly
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    A superficial search going beyond my memories (specifically, to TV Tropes) indicates other ancient examples of gods and godlike beings needing prayer (from voudoun to shinto), and that references to gods needing sacrifice exist in The Epic of Gilgamesh (which is true of other mythologies, from the Greeks to the Aztecs, and fundamentally isn't that different from requiring worship aside from cleanup requirements). A certain Bronze Age book also calls out that their god doesn't require sacrifices to live, which would be odd if that was universally the norm.
    There are also more recent but still centuries-old examples of people thinking that certain gods relied on prayer, just not the ones they worship. Some occultists and neo-pagan groups incorporated this idea into their belief structures, which would make them part of their religious beliefs.
    I don't think we should keep discussing real life religion, but, without mentioning any given deity by name, there is a difference between a deity needing to be fed sacrifices as nutrition, and needing faith in order to exist (a deity could just grab a weapon, hunt and cook their own food, but that's work! and both at least two of the pantheons you mentioned explicitly created humans to do their menial work...)
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2018-10-27 at 05:58 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I don't think we should keep discussing real life religion, but, without mentioning any given deity by name, there is a difference between a deity needing to be fed sacrifices as nutrition, and needing faith in order to exist (a deity could just grab a weapon, hunt and cook their own food, but that's work! and both Mesoamerican and Sumero-Acadian-Babylonian gods explicitly created humans to do their menial work...)
    Considering that sacrifices are explicitly a form of worship, I'm not sure the distinction is meaningful. Sure, you can say that gods could create de facto sacrifices themselves, but why couldn't they do the same for whatever arbitrary thing worship provides? Or, for that matter, why couldn't a pantheon sustain itself at least in part by having individual gods worship the pantheon itself? I've seen a setting or two where some (very minor) god-like creatures did that.

    Also, technically you're the one who brought up real-world religion, since you claimed no real-world-religion gods like Ra and Marduk were subject to GNPB. That sort of discussion is inherently ready to dance all over the lie between "mythology" and "religion," especially since the gods who most definitively aren't GNPB are firmly on the "religion" side. (Not that I'm convinced there is a meaningful distinction...especially since our interpretation of mythological beings is influenced by the religions we're familiar with.)
    ...I might be a bit salty that you only complained about this after I researched a bunch of counterexamples. Whether or not it was your intent, it looked like an attempt to not have to respond to that kind of argument.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Actually, my first post didn't mention any deity by name. I only mentioned Ra as an answer to your post (the gods in Lord Dunsany and Star Trek are safe). And then I realized I had done it and got scared.

    I am sorry if I am giving the impression of trying to avoid the argument, but we are risking having our posts deleted. It has happened to me before...

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Maybe we could continue the discussion on a different forum more tolerant to open discussion

    Does anyone have any ideas for where that could be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    Actually, my first post didn't mention any deity by name.
    I don't think the rules care that much if you mention gods by name.

    And to help calm you down, numerous posts mention Thor, Odin, etc without any trouble (including the originals, if only to compare or contrast them with OotS's version), even though there are absolutely people who still worship them. The rule doesn't seem to be that strictly enforced.
    Last edited by GreatWyrmGold; 2018-10-28 at 11:09 AM.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I think it's not so much werewolves are proto-vampires, but more like evil people could both learn to shapechange into wolves while alive and return as vampires after death...

    Like, both being a werewolf and being a vampire were sub-powers to being a warlock/witch...
    That's really interesting. I've an idea now to make shapechangers work a bit more like how a green slaad can become a grey slaad and then a death slaad (being infused with necrotic energy and all).
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaelofDarkness View Post
    That's really interesting. I've an idea now to make shapechangers work a bit more like how a green slaad can become a grey slaad and then a death slaad (being infused with necrotic energy and all).
    If you want to use real life folklore as inspiration, here is another one: in some folk traditions in Spain, witchcraft was seen as something similar to a disease; something almost biological which could be transmited and grew within your body.

    A senior witch would put her power inside an object, often a needle case, and gift it to an apprentice, who upon accepting it would get "infected" and become a witch.

    That said, that version of witchcraft tended to be used to hurt or curse people, almost as if witches had a poison inside thenselves they needed to release...

    Needle cases are often associated with witchcraft, maybe because witches cursed people sticking needles to dolls, or maybe because they kept demonic imp familiars caged inside...

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I don't think the rules care that much if you mention gods by name.
    Well, only the mods can tell us where the line is...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2018-10-29 at 09:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I don't think the rules care that much if you mention gods by name.

    And to help calm you down, numerous posts mention Thor, Odin, etc without any trouble (including the originals, if only to compare or contrast them with OotS's version), even though there are absolutely people who still worship them. The rule doesn't seem to be that strictly enforced.
    On another thread, discussions of a sun god from Southern Europe got entirely scrubbed, even though I'm entirely sure that nobody currently worships that particular entity (who will remain nameless for fear of more scrubbing).

    I would LOVE to see entire threads started by The Giant be scrubbed since he's mentioning this particular Scandinavian thunder god (who again, will remain nameless for fear of out-of-control mods scrubbing everything in sight).
    Last edited by SimonMoon6; 2018-10-29 at 11:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMoon6 View Post
    On another thread, discussions of a sun god from Southern Europe got entirely scrubbed, even though I'm entirely sure that nobody currently worships that particular entity (who will remain nameless for fear of more scrubbing).

    I would LOVE to see entire threads started by The Giant be scrubbed since he's mentioning this particular Scandinavian thunder god (who again, will remain nameless for fear of out-of-control mods scrubbing everything in sight).
    Although that might be humorous, I would much rather see less threads scrubbed and the rule changed from "no discussing real world religion or politics" to "no arguing about which real world religion or politics are right".

    There's a fairly obvious line between "Thor is a god that was worshipped in Scandinavia. Here are the things people said about him." and "I'm a Southern Reformed Methodist Christian of the Concordance of 1825. I know in my heart that those heretical Southern Reformed Methodist Christians of the Concordance of 1873 are going to burn in hell for their wicked ways!"

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Iirc, the Giant or the staff have already explained the difference between talking about d&d Thor vs Norse religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Although that might be humorous, I would much rather see less threads scrubbed and the rule changed from "no discussing real world religion or politics" to "no arguing about which real world religion or politics are right".

    There's a fairly obvious line between "Thor is a god that was worshipped in Scandinavia. Here are the things people said about him." and "I'm a Southern Reformed Methodist Christian of the Concordance of 1825. I know in my heart that those heretical Southern Reformed Methodist Christians of the Concordance of 1873 are going to burn in hell for their wicked ways!"
    Agreed. It seems like that guideline is followed sometimes, given how many discussions there have been in the OotS subforum about how Thor/Loki/etc stand up to their mythological counterparts (and using traits allegedly possessed by them to argue if we should trust their webcomic counterparts' trustworthiness. And, of course, threads discussing the gods themselves brush up against real-world mythologies/religions all the time, because it's really not possible to talk about fictional religions without doing so.

    ...But we're getting off-topic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I think the origin of the silver bullet is this: You need a bulled blessed and consecrated by a priest to kill a werewolf/vampire/witch/warklock/whatever, but, since most priests don't go around blessing bullets, you can just steal one of the vessels used during Mass and melt it down to make bullets (not necessarily a chalice, you could use a paten or a ciborium, or you could just do with one of the lesser holy tools, like a naveta or a candlestick).

    Chalices, patens, ciboriums, navetas and liturgic candlesticks used to be made of silver, or at least of a copper-silver alloy or of silvered copper or brass... hence, silver bullet.
    You are quite right about that (and I like a lot of your interventions) but the blessed medallions is the most common occurence. The others objects were a bit too sacred to be used in such manner.

    In fact, the Gevaudan case is seen by many to be the origin of the silver Bullet. The bullets in question were also consecrated by a priest. The idea of chalices and such is a modern take on the trope, as it is an easy shortcut to show this configuration.


    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Considering that sacrifices are explicitly a form of worship, I'm not sure the distinction is meaningful. Sure, you can say that gods could create de facto sacrifices themselves, but why couldn't they do the same for whatever arbitrary thing worship provides? Or, for that matter, why couldn't a pantheon sustain itself at least in part by having individual gods worship the pantheon itself? I've seen a setting or two where some (very minor) god-like creatures did that.

    Also, technically you're the one who brought up real-world religion, since you claimed no real-world-religion gods like Ra and Marduk were subject to GNPB. That sort of discussion is inherently ready to dance all over the lie between "mythology" and "religion," especially since the gods who most definitively aren't GNPB are firmly on the "religion" side. (Not that I'm convinced there is a meaningful distinction...especially since our interpretation of mythological beings is influenced by the religions we're familiar with.)
    ...I might be a bit salty that you only complained about this after I researched a bunch of counterexamples. Whether or not it was your intent, it looked like an attempt to not have to respond to that kind of argument.

    Ok, I think there is a lot to say about both your arguments here, GreatWyrmGold and Clistenes.

    But in my opinion, and please take it as a gentle comment, it is more disruptive to start a debate about who said what and who started what than to talk about history of religion in a post dedicated to folklore and folkloric creatures.

    Personally, and mods can explain me were I'm wrong, I really would appreciate the clarification, I think that in this case history of religion is necessary to make the conversation possible. It is also a scientific process different from theology or religious science. So as long as we understand that, we can talk about social phenomenons without bringing in the problem of faith.
    But the limit may be subjective so self restrain and polite discussions would be our best ways to stay in the clear.

    (also, and more generally, as much as I understand the aim of the rule, I think a bit of clarification could be fair, as a lot of historical discussions cannot go on without at least hinting at related matters, speaking about Middle Age in Europe without speaking at some point about the pope is ridiculous for example.)


    So... I would like to give a bit of context about some big problems you discussed above. Worship in ancient religion is not really a matter of belief. Sacrifice is often a way to organize the world, and gods have a lot of ways to lost their power.

    My first point is about how gods were political in ancient time. It is related to sacrifice so let me explain that first.

    I hope everybody know the famous story of Promethee, as told by Herodotus. One of the most interesting interpretation of the myth come from the great French scholar Jean Pierre Vernant. It seem that Promethee is tricking Zeus in accepting the sacrifice of the inedible parts.

    In fact, the part of the gods and the part of the humans, what belong to whom, is decided in this myth. The scene is only a step in a process that Zeus is actually understanding quite well.
    At each step, the difference between humans a gods are assessed: the humans are working, are dying, they need to cook their food, they need to eat the product of their work and so on.
    Even stealing the fire make it clearer: there is like a complex exchange were what is hidden and what is given relate to each other and make at each step the distinction more evident.

    The first sacrifice is the concrete manifestation of this point. By performing it, as much as Promethee believe he is tricking Zeus, Zeus understand that Promethee is actually accepting and affirming the relative position of the gods and the humans. The Titan make clear the order of the world, even in believing he is tricking the god.

    Accordingly, performing the rites in most ancient society was affirming the order of the world. As a pantheon was representative of a society, it was one of the main sign of identity. Think of the devotion to the roman emperor or to pharaoh in this way. But also of the family gods like the Lares and Penates of Rome, or the difference in devotion between the cities of Greece.

    Thats why it was important for the romans to integrate or destroy the gods of the opponents and to make their conquest worship the Emperor. It is not a conversion to a new belief, it is joining a community.


    They are other forms of sacrifices. Commonly, it could be used as the manifestation of a return to the normal order of things. As the gods, the sacred, were outside the human world, as much scary as they are holy, outside the common experience, you had to return to the common experience after being in contact with the divine powers.

    So for example romans would make offerings in the place were a lightning had fallen, as to dissolve the power of Jupiter.

    And then you have the bargains, the magical practices or the propitiatory rites to conciliates the good will of the gods, like when Socrates ask for a sacrifice to Asklepios to ensure safe passage in the afterlife.
    Again, each of those rite state the proper place for humans and gods, as much as it pursue other aims.

    Also, some of the most powerful ancient gods, like Terminus, roman god of Limits, or Moďra, goddess of destiny are more like abstracts concepts or hidden powers and were not worshipped.

    So, as much as we can understand ancient sources, the belief is only partially related to the power of a god. Books were written about how and if the greeks believed in their gods in the modern sense of the term. But here we are on thin ice, because the next step would clearly involve discussing modern forms of beliefs.

    In my opinion linking a god to the peoples who profess personal belief in it is a modern trope but I have to do a bit of research to really talk about that and I feel it is beyond the limit.



    About the power of a god, they are actually a few famous cases or configuration.

    But first, Aegypt is a problem by itself, as much of their gods were linked to the political power of temples and of pharaoh. They are in fact quite a lot of superior gods in Egypt and each relate to the power struggle of the time. So their stories could change a lot.
    Finding what is mythological in nature and what is a late change to conform to the political landscape is a subject for a specialist in Egyptian mythology. It is still interesting for the layman to be aware of the problem.

    I spoke about mythology by nature because the trope of the old god loosing its power as it is replaced by a new one is fairly common. One of the most famous example is the Ougarit god El, a kind of sky god who would be replaced by the god of Thunderstorm, Baal (one of its many versions at least).
    They are quite a lot of explanations of this scene, from the political one, new peoples with news gods, to the cosmological, a way to describe the succession of seasons and how they came to be (note that Mesopotamia has only two seasons, a dry and a wet).

    But a related scene may be discovered around the story of Isis and Osiris, and of course Horus, as the young god would achieve what his father was not able to do.

    Or in the successions of godly generations in Greece. The Greeks myths are certainly influenced by those of the Middle East so a lot could be said of the influence, the variations, why some tales would evolve. Again those relationships are fascinating but a proper discussion would take a few books and this post is already damn long.

    There is also the case of the Deus Otiosus, a neutral god who would leave the world after the creation. El may be transformed in this kind of divinity, but some of the most famous cases are found in African religions: The god is looking at humanity when an object, often a pestle, knock him, leading to his ascension outside the reach of humanity.

    The idea that folkloric creatures are diminished gods is quite interesting, because it is one of the assumptions that lead to the historical invention of the folklore studies.
    There is some truth in that, and it is something upon which the like of Pratchett and Gaiman would often play, but it work only in certain cases. The case of the Welsh legendarium or of the Golden Legend of Jacques de Voragines are often used to make this point but the specifics are still open to debate.

    It is really a deep and complex subject, tying to interpretations and their history, modern research and of course the actual sources and material traces of ancient peoples.
    Again, each subject could be specifically debated and I think a single person cannot give a perfect explanation, it would be a collective effort.
    That's really something I would enjoy to discuss with the peoples here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FathomsDeep View Post
    legendarily, the fairy people were tricked into living underground through a shady contract that would grant them half of the land, leaving out precisely which half they were to receive.
    I would love to hear which myth or legend this is from.

    Medusa was mentioned earlier in the thread; I'd like to add that in myth, gorgons are a humanoid kind of creature (Medusa being one), whereas in D&D, they've somehow turned ino metallic bulls with petrifying breath. That has to be one of the more bizarre changes

    Another fun difference is how in most source material, creatures like vampires are pretty stupid and prone to ridiculous behavior (to the point where you can distract them by throwing rice on the ground, because they'll be compelled to stop chasing you until they've counted it all) which is a fary cry from the brilliantly scheming mastermind BBEGs that they've become...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Medusa was mentioned earlier in the thread; I'd like to add that in myth, gorgons are a humanoid kind of creature (Medusa being one), whereas in D&D, they've somehow turned ino metallic bulls with petrifying breath. That has to be one of the more bizarre changes
    I'd call that the opposite of bizarre. It makes perfect sense. Everyone knows about Medusa so you have to call the 'mythic gorgon' creatures Medusas (even though that was actually simply the given name of the most famous one). So now you have this unused name floating about--better do something with that.

    Another fun difference is how in most source material, creatures like vampires are pretty stupid and prone to ridiculous behavior (to the point where you can distract them by throwing rice on the ground, because they'll be compelled to stop chasing you until they've counted it all) which is a fary cry from the brilliantly scheming mastermind BBEGs that they've become...
    That is definitely a conception of the broad subject of vampires. Of course the mastermind part could have simply come from another vampire inspiration. I'm guessing a vague chain from Vlad-Dracula to Stoker's Dracula to all the other 'counts' living in castles and controlling the lives of others through being a noble and/or mesmerism.

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    Vampires drive me nuts in modern parlance because all vampires are playing by unique rules of their own.

    Ever had to slay a vampire in an rpg?

    Then I hope you... deep breath...

    Throw rice to distract it. During the daytime. Stuck a lemon (or a big rock) in its mouth. Decapitated it. Plunged a stake of oak or hawthorne where its heart would be. Whilst reciting a specific prayer of your faith commending the foul creature to be judged by your deity. Within a ring of salt. And garlic. Garlic salt is probably ok. With a silvered blade on you just in case. Also destroy its coffin, specifically taking out any dirt inside it.

    Then once you’re done you must burn the body into ash, and kill any vermin it (polymorphs) turns into to escape, including small bugs and worms.

    Then you should take the ashes and seal them, then bury it. Then redirect a river to flow over the burial spot.

    That’s the most basic method to kill one. Should cover MOST of them.

    Some can only be killed whilst they feed. Others just don’t die except by other vampires because some writers are hacks. Some die if you deny them blood.

    Some can only die on the day of sacred holidays.

    And each new vampire story has new reasons why you can’t just stake the damnable things or banish them with a simple holy symbol like the good olddays.


    Plus. Glitter daywalker X-Men vampires. I actually blame Rice more than Meyer for most of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malphegor View Post
    Vampires drive me nuts in modern parlance because all vampires are playing by unique rules of their own.

    Ever had to slay a vampire in an rpg?

    Then I hope you... deep breath...

    Throw rice to distract it. During the daytime. Stuck a lemon (or a big rock) in its mouth. Decapitated it. Plunged a stake of oak or hawthorne where its heart would be. Whilst reciting a specific prayer of your faith commending the foul creature to be judged by your deity. Within a ring of salt. And garlic. Garlic salt is probably ok. With a silvered blade on you just in case. Also destroy its coffin, specifically taking out any dirt inside it.

    Then once you’re done you must burn the body into ash, and kill any vermin it (polymorphs) turns into to escape, including small bugs and worms.

    Then you should take the ashes and seal them, then bury it. Then redirect a river to flow over the burial spot.

    That’s the most basic method to kill one. Should cover MOST of them.

    Some can only be killed whilst they feed. Others just don’t die except by other vampires because some writers are hacks. Some die if you deny them blood.

    Some can only die on the day of sacred holidays.

    And each new vampire story has new reasons why you can’t just stake the damnable things or banish them with a simple holy symbol like the good olddays.


    Plus. Glitter daywalker X-Men vampires. I actually blame Rice more than Meyer for most of that.
    Someone should collect an anthology of vampires, with every story running on explicit and different rules of vampirism.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2018-10-30 at 02:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    But in my opinion, and please take it as a gentle comment, it is more disruptive to start a debate about who said what and who started what than to talk about history of religion in a post dedicated to folklore and folkloric creatures.
    1. That's fair, I was just grumpy about how you only seemed to think it was a problem to talk about religion when it was being used to counter your argument. Especially since your argument, "There are no examples of GNPB in mythology," can really only be countered by talking about someone's religion.
    2. I'm not sure there's a meaningful distinction between religion, mythology, and folklore. It all runs together and everything influences everything else. Perhaps the most obvious example is the fingerprints Christianity left on the mythologies of every land it spread to, creating the folklore we now know.

    Personally, and mods can explain me were I'm wrong, I really would appreciate the clarification, I think that in this case history of religion is necessary to make the conversation possible. It is also a scientific process different from theology or religious science. So as long as we understand that, we can talk about social phenomenons without bringing in the problem of faith.
    Sounds fine to me, until the mods say otherwise.

    The rest of the post was interesting, but I'm not sure how relevant it is to the question of "Did any ancient peoples believe their gods were dependent on sacrifices?" About the closest I saw to answering that question was when you brought up how sacrifices in ancient Greece were (among other things) re-establishing the "proper order" of things with gods at the top and humans below them.
    There are a couple of problems with this argument. The first being that you can't prove a negative by citing positives; after all, I never said everyone believed gods were dependent on human worship, just that later authors including that aspect weren't making it up out of nowhere. More importantly, though, humanity being subservient to gods is not mutually exclusive with gods being dependent on humanity.
    After all, look at mortal kings. They are undeniably above the common folk, in the same way that gods are above humanity in general. Yet nobody can deny that kings are reliant on the common folk for power, prestige, and even survival. If a king loses the faith of his followers, how can he rule? If he fails to provide all that they expect of a king, how long until he loses his royal powers?
    Given how many cultures have made explicit parallels between gods and kings, I'd be shocked if none of them included a metaphysical version of the aforementioned connection in their belief system. If you fail to pay tribute to a king, they will fall and you will lose all the security and comfort they provide; likewise, if you fail to sacrifice to a god, they will also fall and you will lose all they provide.

    There's one other point that I wanted to bring up, but which didn't seem particularly on-topic.
    So... I would like to give a bit of context about some big problems you discussed above. Worship in ancient religion is not really a matter of belief....

    -snip-

    ...It is not a conversion to a new belief, it is joining a community.
    I agree that religion/mythology/whatever in general is an attempt to make sense of the world, to understand it. I also understand the role that sacrifices play in that. But I disagree with the idea that belief is unimportant to ancient religion. Belief was important in different ways, but it was still important. At bare minimum, you would need to believe A. that the gods exist and B. that the gods either were worthy of whatever veneration you gave them or would give you something in return.
    You compared religion and politics a couple of times (which is an obvious enough comparison in ye olden days), so I'll do the same. How effective would a court system be if the people being governed refused to accept the existence or authority of the government which created those laws?

    Regardless, thanks for sharing! It was an interesting read.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Another fun difference is how in most source material, creatures like vampires are pretty stupid and prone to ridiculous behavior (to the point where you can distract them by throwing rice on the ground, because they'll be compelled to stop chasing you until they've counted it all) which is a fary cry from the brilliantly scheming mastermind BBEGs that they've become...
    It's not surprising if you look at how the literature they're part of has changed. In ye olden days, stories were explicitly more about imparting lessons than telling engaging stories with plausible characters; creatures which acted according to bizzare internal logic made perfect sense. But nowadays, we expect more subtle lessons mixed into engaging stories with plausible characters; having the antagonist act according to a bizarre, arbitrary set of rules would detract from that, especially if those rules were how the central tension of the story was resolved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Someone should collect an anthology of vampires, with every story running on explicit and different rules of vampirism.
    Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter is an old Hammer Horror film which explores this a bit where the titular vampire hunter spends the first half or so of the movie trying to figure out whether it's actually a vampire he's been employed to get rid of (the victims aren't drained of blood, which confuses the initial identification) and exactly what type of vampire it is.

    Depending on the definition of vampire, that anthology may get ridiculously big - "an undead critter that feeds off the living" would also include the Chinese Jiangshi (although it's closer to a western zombie) and the Malaysian Penanggalan (which is just plain weird).


    Speaking of zombies, even the US government has identified eight different versions of zombies and have drawn up an 'official' response to an outbreak: CONPLAN 8888.
    Interestingly, those eight variants don't include the original Haitian vodoun zombie, although that could be argued not to be a supernatural critter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Speaking of zombies, even the US government has identified eight different versions of zombies and have drawn up an 'official' response to an outbreak: CONPLAN 8888.
    Interestingly, those eight variants don't include the original Haitian vodoun zombie, although that could be argued not to be a supernatural critter.
    They also aren't contagious or otherwise apocalyptic. I'm pretty sure that vodoun zombies would be a problem for local governments, not national.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I would love to hear which myth or legend this is from.
    I remember reading that, though I don't have any mythology books with me here. Wiki has this to say, though, on the Tuatha de Danann:

    Their three husbands, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Gréine, who were kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann at that time, asked for a truce of three days, during which the Milesians would lie at anchor nine waves' distance from the shore. The Milesians complied, but the Tuatha Dé Danann created a magical storm in an attempt to drive them away. The Milesian poet Amergin calmed the sea with his verse, then his people landed and defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann at Tailtiu. When Amergin was called upon to divide the land between the Tuatha Dé Danann and his own people, he cleverly allotted the portion above ground to the Milesians and the portion underground to the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Tuatha Dé Danann were led underground into the Sidhe mounds by Manannán mac Lir.
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