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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DuctTapeKatar's Avatar

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    Default Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    It is interesting to me to see different interpretations of fantasy creatures and monsters, especially when in the context of the larger world. I want to start a thread that helps explore some of these different interpretations, as well as brainstorm different forms that one can use in their setting.

    For example, in my setting of The Claw, Kobolds are a small, doglike race devoted to serving the Dwarvish city-states, taking inspiration from their origins in folklore as spirits that live in mines and occasionally the home, though more benign than their mythological counterparts. Kobolds live in symbiosis with Dwarves, with it a norm for a Dwarven family to house a Kobold family in their home -- so much so that it is rare to see a dwarf outside of their home without a Kobold alongside them, a sign that the dwarf is in exile or going to war. Kobolds are not strong like Dwarves, nor are they competent at the forge, but they are good at housework, cooking, and to the joy of Dwarves (and anyone on good terms with them) excellent brewers.
    "My new favorite spell is Ice Knife, because it is a throwing knife made from ice, and a grenade."

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Let's see, I've got eusocial goblinoids, lawful good mummies, mind flayers who eat dreams instead of brains, Gigeresque elves, and dire bats who act like pilotfish, among others.

    If any of these sound interesting, I can talk about them at length.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    I had this idea of a campaign were the PCs wake up in a huge biodome inside a spaceship. They've been abducted by Beholders and left to fend for themselves in an artificial habitat full of dangerous creatures. The whole thing is broadcast live to Beholders around the galaxy.

    I suppose it's a mix of Mojoworld and the Hunger Games, with probably some other influences.
    Last edited by the_david; 2018-10-26 at 03:48 PM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Ogres are the dominant naval power in my setting. They have the size and strength of small elephants, tire slowly and have armored hides like rhinos. They also reproduce at preposterously slow rates, taking years to gestate and decades to mature.

    As a result attrition from being hunted by other races led to the extinction of most of their kind, or being subjugated into reservations which they pay for with shock troops.

    Others fled to islands where they could prevent the hunting of their children by keeping enemies far away. Their galleys slide across the seas with incomparable speed, their power and stamina rowing massive ships further and faster than any other race.

    The Ogre lack of mages and shamans has been plugged by demonic pacts forged in mass sacrifice. Ogre shipbreakers trade their souls for lycanthropy, becoming mighty were-Orcas which allow them to board enemy ships from below and ambush entire cities. Even more secretly 10 Ogres raised for their tremendous size have been given the bite of Were-Cachalots, capable of destroying entire fleets alone.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Flumphburger View Post
    Let's see, I've got eusocial goblinoids, lawful good mummies, mind flayers who eat dreams instead of brains, Gigeresque elves, and dire bats who act like pilotfish, among others.

    If any of these sound interesting, I can talk about them at length.
    I would like to hear all of them. That's the kind of thread I want.
    "My new favorite spell is Ice Knife, because it is a throwing knife made from ice, and a grenade."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    The Island God

    A massive sea turtle basks on the currents of a tropical sea, floating in an annual cycle which brings it into more northern waters in the southern winter, and more southern waters in the northern winter. The turtle is so ancient, and it has been so long since it dove, that a tropical forest has grown on its back and corals encrust its lower shell and legs.

    There are maritime islanders who live on the turtle's back who donate a generous portion of their daily catch to their 'god' by dumping a net-full of fish in front of it then having their shaman tickle its jaw with a long pole so that it gape and swallows the fish. They maintain food caches under loose scales which form huge caves, with plans to retreat into these caves if their god ever chooses to submerge.

    At various points the turtle has ingested boats, various kinds of flotsam, and even a skrag. It's stomach is filled with air, with mildly acidic seawater swirling about. When it gulps its daily fish a fresh torrent of water and food becomes available for the skrag, which lives on a pile of flotsam midway into its stomach. It's intestinal tract requires years for food to travel from the stomach back to the sea, so that is not a recommended method of egress.


    Murder-Birds

    What appear to be gaily colored songbirds are actually avian piranhas. When the smell of blood is on the air, these pretty little songsters form a flock and swirl around their prey, diving into and nipping the victim, biting off one little beak-full of flesh at a time. Once stripped to the bone, they will even drill into the bones for marrow. They leave behind splintered bone and splattered blood, but even this, after most of a flock has flown away, interests some of them enough that they will stay behind licking the gore from whatever it splattered onto.

    Hobgoblin Farmers

    These hobgoblins have given up raiding to defend and tend a piece of land. Though they retain the tendency to fom a militaristic and cruel society, their focus is on the orderly management of the land, whether rice farming mountain terraces or herding cattle on vast grasslands. They are slow to attack, and very quick to defend their land against intruders and other humanoids.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    The Vampire Cult of the Letosians
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    A long time ago, when the song was silent and the sun was sweet, the tribe of Leto made the Sunken Valley their home. They were visited by a mysterious traveler from beyond the Gray Mountains. First welcomed as a friendly traveler, the Letosians opened their halls and their hearts. They held a day of celebration to hear of news from far off lands. Then, that first night, people began to go missing. The fields and the woods were searched from dawn until dusk for weeks. More and more people began to vanish. King Leto suspected that this visitor had something to do with the disappearances. He ordered that a servant be assigned to her to observe her activities day in and day out.
    The servant reported back that she had been keeping prisoners of his people in a cave several hours’ hike from the town and that by night she would drain their blood to drink and wash with. King Leto prayed to the ancestors for guidance. They granted him a vision of chains made from silver and a great stone prison shaped like stairs to the heavens. Magical words of power were whispered to him over the wind.
    King Leto ordered her to be imprisoned with silver chains and sealed off her room. Many of her prisoners had been transformed by the experience into beasts themselves and so they were purged. Meanwhile, a great stone ziggurat was constructed as the king had seen in his visions. She was tossed down a hole in the top of the structure and it was sealed with a great stone slab with smaller holes in it.
    King Leto had another vision of power and conquest. He ordered sacrifices of prisoners to take place on top of the ziggurat. Their blood would spill down and pour over the imprisoned beast. Her screams of joy could be heard throughout the valley whenever she was allowed to feast. For his part, whenever she tasted blood, the king gained greater powers whenever she would feast – visions of fortune, greater strength, and a greater attunement to magic.
    King Leto subjugated the surrounding tribes with his newfound powers. More prisoners meant more sacrifices, but it became difficult to rule over so many people as the king aged. Each of his children – two daughters and a son – saw that he was close to death. They each constructed their own ziggurats at sites of their own towns where they would rule over a divided land when their father passed on. They begged their father for the magical words that would let them draw power from the vampire. Remembering how their tribesmen had fallen to the vampire’s curse, they brought “volunteers” to be turned by the vampire to be imprisoned in their own temples.
    Over time, the Letosians settled into many tribes throughout the Sunken Valley. Dozens of temple prisons have been constructed and destroyed during that time with vampires being imprisoned and set free as various tribes gained power over others. Instead of forcing volunteers, it became a great honor to become a Letosian vampire and so the volunteers were chosen from the royal family. The older vampires were purged when their purity was questioned, but rumors abound that the original vampire escaped and seeks revenge for her mistreatment.

    Basically, vampires imprisoned inside of ziggurats unwillingly give power to the leader of the tribe who governs the area. Blood sacrifices are common as the blood is what allows the vampire to empower the leaders. Sometimes, vampires escape and wreak havoc or even destroy a tribe, but that is pretty rare.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Fey are concept-obsessed conglomerations of spirits

    The world is alive with spirits. Immaterial, alien in mindset, these kami provide the souls for everything from rivers to meadows to forests to beasts (both collectively and individually). A pack of wolves might have a collective kami composed of the smaller individual kami of the wolves themselves. A mountain might have a huge kami composed of the individual pieces.

    Druids and rangers interface with these kami (usually the small ones), bribing them to do things (spells) in exchange for a tiny piece of processed personal energy (a spell slot).

    So what are the fey? They're what happens when a collective (swarm?) of kami become influenced by something mortal. An emotion, an abstract concept. As these are just as alien to the kami as their thoughts are to mortals, sometimes they become obsessed with trying to understand pieces of mortal life. So they take on quasi-physical form to try to mimic/mirror/experiment with the concept that they're obsessed with. This obsession isn't permanent--they might get distracted, get bored (or at least that's the closest mortal concept for it), or get dispersed by a disturbance. But each participating kami carries a fragment of the memories formed and often rejoins into a new fey being.

    Each type of fey represents a particular confluence of emotions or concepts. Since they don't understand these concepts (nor death/pain), their parodies are often grotesque or harmful. Not usually malicious, but the difference between malice and extreme danger is often slim. The "dark" fey are those that mirror "dark" or "negative" emotions like hatred, pain, fear, despair, etc. The "light" fey mirror "light" or "positive" emotions like desire, curiosity, generosity, etc. Both are dangerous, merely in different ways.

    The arch-fey have settled into a symbiosis with mortals and are more complex than most fey (mirroring multiple emotions/concepts). This is why they form warlock pacts and otherwise meddle with mortals--they're trying to understand mortals and they benefit from studying (in their alien way) how people react.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Context: GURPS 4th edition. The Imperium is a Mesopotamia/Rome Hybrid in the Early Iron Age. It is the first empire of the Kremesius Plain, and is roughly 300 years old.

    Spoiler: Dwarves
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    Dwarves:
    "In your Imperium, you build great statues and monuments to your gods; creatures much like you or me, but with great power and destiny, yes? In Dwarren Dwa, we do much the same: to honor the great Music of Creation, we add to it, imitate it if we can, for its chords and notes are beyond anything we can create." -High Priest Rowlin Dvelf VII, while leading a group of human priests through Dwarren Dwa.

    Dwarves are perhaps the least bothersome and most reclusive of the Imperium's subjects. They reside underneath the Mountains of Teeth, centered in the mighty mountain-city of Dwarren Dwa. They are primarily known for their long and deep traditions of music, the arts and magic.

    In the Dwarven cosmology, the world has neither beginning nor end. The Music of Creation is the framework upon which everything else rests, a "background" noise for everything else. Some Dwarven philosophers equate the Music of Creation directly with the fabric of magic, which appears to be all-encompassing and eternal. Others contend that magic is simply a symptom of the Music, as it can be dispelled, negated, even purged from an area for a time. Nevertheless, the Dwarven faith sees all things as arising from the Music of Creation, and it is their sacred task to understand and shape it and in doing so, understand and shape themselves and the world around them.

    Dwarves are, as their name suggests, significantly smaller than the average human, standing between four and four-and-a-half feet tall. They are skinny creatures, but with very large, prominent chests to hold their enormous lungs. Their heads are overly large, with enormous eyes to match, and always heavily bearded. Their ears (also overly large) stick out from either side of their head, but can swivel around to better hear from all directions. Their other features are as normal for humans, albeit very slim ones.

    Dwarren Dwa is ruled by The Concord for most day to day affairs, consisting of seven respected members of society. At least two must be priests, two artisans, and two warriors, while the seventh seat is open to anyone, even a non-Dwarf. For major decisions, the city relies upon a voice vote: those who are able gather into a large, domed chamber and shout yea or nay for various proposals. Those who are unable to attend in person use long, narrow stone pipes, built into the city in a grid pattern, to project their voices at the appropriate times. The farther one is from the chamber, the less one's vote will add to the contest, but this is expected as a part of the system.

    There are signs that Dwarren Dwa is not the only Dwarf city: in one memorable instance, when the city was breached during the Second Dragon War, a legion of unknown dwarves emerged in the lowest tunnels, drove off the Dragonborn, and disappeared. However, even most citizens of Dwarren Dwa do not know where these other cities might be, and The Concord refuses to acknowledge their existence, claiming that the citizens of Dwarren Dwa fended off the attack themselves.

    One oddity that has recently emerged among the dwarves is the Cult of The Stars, following the teachings of one Adeia the Ascended. These Dwarves believe that the Music of Creation finds its origins in the stars themselves, and the most devout worshippers of said cult claim to have heard the "Song of The Stars" in person. They tend to live aboveground high on the slopes of the Mountains of Teeth, or in tunnels dug out very close to the peaks themselves, in order to hear better. It was expected that this cult would be severely damaged by the armies of Esharhaddon passing over the Mountains of Teeth, they seem to have been able to intimidate even the mighty dragon into leaving their outposts unmolested.

    -Template: (Total Cost: 10)

    -Advantages: IQ+1, Parabolic Hearing, Acute Hearing 2, Night Vision 1, Penetrating Voice, Magery 0. (35) SM-1

    -Disadvantages: ST-1, No Depth Perception. (-25)


  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    I tried it a lot because there are some creatures portrayed in a way i don't like, although i never acomplished more than turn goblins into intelligent trolls, swap dwarves and vegepygmies places or worse yet, turn gnomes into bigger mites

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    In a setting I'm building at the moment, all five primary races (humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins) have their own version of a legend, which few take seriously but is, like most legends, based on truth.

    The humans call them troglodytes, and believe that they are a species of hulking, lizard-like people from long ago, whose empires have all been cast down, but who still exert secret influence on the world.

    Elves term them yuan-ti (elvish for "snake-man") and believe that they are elves who have magically fused themselves with snakes. They hide within elvish society, having replaced or recruited powerful nobles and high-ranking officials, and have had control over much of the elvish government since the Star Emperor himself vanished.

    Dwarven legend says that the Dragon, the Tyrant God of the universe, sometimes takes a liking to certain people, of all races, and adopts them as his children. These dragonborn remain in the world, serving the Dragon's whims and shaping society as he desires.

    The sea-faring goblins speak of a species of strange, fish-like people called the sahuagin (meaning "goblin fish"). They are said to live beneath the waves, plotting to exert control on goblin lives through secret magics.

    Orcs believe that a species of large lizard-like people, who they simply term lizardfolk, have infiltrated their society to uncertain ends. They often jokingly blame minor inconveniences on them.

    All of these half-joking rumors are partway to the truth, though the dwarves come closest. The creatures common to all of their legends are the kobolds - yes, those kobolds, the small, barely-sapient lizard people who seem to crop up in the corner spaces of the world, no matter what you do, like mold or a fungus.

    Most kobolds are exactly what they are believed to be - incompetent creatures who are barely more than an annoyance to anyone with any semblence of martial ability. But some, the best of the best of the species, rise to the notice of the Dragon, who teaches them secret magics and techniques and sets them out as his agents to shape societies to his will. Whether taking on the skin of an elf, a dwarf, an orc, a goblin, or a human, all of these doppelgangers are well-trained in magic, combat, and especially in manipulation. They are generalists, not able to pass as an expert to an expert, but more than capable of passing as one to a layperson.
    Hi, you can call me Void. I prefer she/her or they/them pronouns, please. Yes, "they" is a singular pronoun. I write a superhero webserial called Paternum - check it out!



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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Elves are all female, Dwarves are all male. They're a single "race" with extreme sexual dimorphism. The reason the party's elf and dwarf always bicker is because they're married.

    Elves and Dwarves can both cross-breed with humans; the progeny is always a Half-Elf, which is basically a more charismatic human (not more dexterous or tough), and this is because genetics is weird and magical fantasy elf genetics is even weirder.

    One school of Dwelf thought on the Half-Elf is that they reflect their magical parent's perception of the partner human -- the progeny is more charismatic because that's how the Dwelf perceives Humanity, and wants to share that vision with others. This is obviously a very Dwelf-centric viewpoint but the Dwelfs think this is justified because they're naturally superior.

    -- -- --

    Dragons are bankers.

    You give them gold, which they sit upon. In return, they give you paper with the dragon's arcane mark on it, often called a "chit". Paper is easier to carry around than gold, so this is useful for humanoids in areas where the dragon's chit is accepted.

    Dragons maintain branch offices which can transfer gold to the dragon and paper back to the remote location, by way of an avaricious transposition matrix ("ATM"). A dragon-banker will enforce the acceptance of his or her chit across a day's flight, which can be quite a significant area.

    If you're doing business in a single dragon's area, you can just use that dragon's chit.

    If you're a traveling adventurer, you may want to carry hard currency.


    Dragons are smart, and understand the wealth-by-level effects. Some dragons will extend magical equipment loans to adventurers with the stipulation that the adventurers pay back the loan with interest as they level up.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTapeKatar View Post
    I would like to hear all of them. That's the kind of thread I want.
    Sorry for the delay. Anyway, I'll start with the gobbos.


    Goblins are a humanoid species with a biological caste system somewhat similar to social insects. The castes include ilgoblins (known to outsiders as "basics" or just "goblins"), hobgoblins, boggoblins (aka bugbears), and graggoblins (also called hags). All goblins are wiry, bristle-covered creatures with dark bronze colored skin and large, batlike ears, but beyond that the castes differ immensely.

    Ilgoblins are small, lithe humanoids - about 1 meter tall - with a twitchy way of movement. Their strong for their size, and quite agile and keen-sensed, but their capacity for creative thought is highly limited, and they have almost no sense of self. Ilgoblins are laborers, foragers, and rank-and-file swarmers during times of conflict. Due to their small size and undeveloped intelligence, ilgoblins can be born in small litters after just four months of pregnancy, and reach physical maturity in two years. All ilgoblins are sterile males.

    Hobgoblins are just a few centimeters shorter than most humans on average, but their hunched postures and wiry frames make them seem smaller. Their intelligence is on par with a human's in most areas, though they're somewhat limited by a lack of independent mindedness (this is partly innate, and partly cultural). Hobgoblins are more skilled workers, and also act as administrators for small groups of ilgoblins. In war, hobgoblins form the core of the hive's forces, using weapons, armor, and shields with skill. Hobgoblins tend to be born in pairs after an eight month pregnancy, and reach physical adulthood in ten years. Hobgoblins are the only fertile male goblins; being chosen to mate with a graggoblin is a great honor that each hobgoblin must prove himself worthy of.

    Boggoblins stand 2.2 meters tall on average, with massive shoulders and trunklike legs. They're not smarter than ilgoblins, but they have a somewhat greater sense of self preservation, proportionate to their greater individual value to the hive. Boggoblins are heavy lifters, porters, and personal guardians of the graggoblins and brood chambers where young are kept. In war, they're used to carry supplies, and also put in heavy armor and given massive maces, spears, or arbolests to act as vanguard units. Boggoblins are born one to a pregnancy, and take as long to gestate and grow as the hobgoblins. Boggoblins are sterile males.

    Craggoblins are the only female goblins, and are similarly sized to hobgoblins, but thicker in build and they stand up straighter. They are few in number, and spend most of their lives pregnant, being guarded by boggoblins who value their lives above anything and everything else. Craggoblins are not idle during their constant pregnancies, however. In addition to providing basic education to the broodlings until they get old enough for on-the-job training by their older brothers and cousins, craggoblins spend their time learning hedge magics and brewing potions that they use to fortify their bodies against the stresses of constant childbirth and to improve the health of their offspring.

    Most craggoblins die when they reach their version of menopause, their bodies giving out from accumulated biological stress. Those that survive, however, go through a transformation. Their skin hardens into something like tough leather, their eyes sharpen, and the years of minor magics they've learned form the foundation to learn an array of much more powerful spells. These elderly hags earn the title of "grekl," or "grandmother" in the goblin language, and they are the absolute leaders of the hives. More primitive goblin societies have each tribal hive of several hundred individuals being led by a single grekl, with any daughters or granddaughters of hers who survive the transformation taking a share of the hive's members and going off to start her own. When multiple grekls are able to get along for extended periods (harder than it sounds; they are highly competitive, machiavellian, and treacherous by nature), they can support a much larger "superhive." This can form the basis of much more advanced goblin societies, up to the city state level.


    Goblins are hard to get along with, due to their strong ingroup/outgroup dichotomy, and due to the disposable nature of most goblin castes making them more willing than most to go to war if the grekl thinks that the material gains are likely to outweigh the material costs. Raids by tribal hives are a constant threat along the borders of civilization, and civilized goblins tend to be very pragmatic and mercenary in their foreign affairs. That said, their industrious nature also makes them useful trade partners, and some grekls sell the services of their grandsons as laborers and mercenaries.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Elves are all female, Dwarves are all male. They're a single "race" with extreme sexual dimorphism. The reason the party's elf and dwarf always bicker is because they're married.

    Elves and Dwarves can both cross-breed with humans; the progeny is always a Half-Elf, which is basically a more charismatic human (not more dexterous or tough), and this is because genetics is weird and magical fantasy elf genetics is even weirder.

    One school of Dwelf thought on the Half-Elf is that they reflect their magical parent's perception of the partner human -- the progeny is more charismatic because that's how the Dwelf perceives Humanity, and wants to share that vision with others. This is obviously a very Dwelf-centric viewpoint but the Dwelfs think this is justified because they're naturally superior.

    -- -- --

    Dragons are bankers.

    You give them gold, which they sit upon. In return, they give you paper with the dragon's arcane mark on it, often called a "chit". Paper is easier to carry around than gold, so this is useful for humanoids in areas where the dragon's chit is accepted.

    Dragons maintain branch offices which can transfer gold to the dragon and paper back to the remote location, by way of an avaricious transposition matrix ("ATM"). A dragon-banker will enforce the acceptance of his or her chit across a day's flight, which can be quite a significant area.

    If you're doing business in a single dragon's area, you can just use that dragon's chit.

    If you're a traveling adventurer, you may want to carry hard currency.


    Dragons are smart, and understand the wealth-by-level effects. Some dragons will extend magical equipment loans to adventurers with the stipulation that the adventurers pay back the loan with interest as they level up.
    You could even go so far as to have the dragons draft notes on each other. So if you have a chit from one dragon you can redeem it with another dragon with a cut taken out, and then they go take the full amount from the original dragon the next time they meet up.

    Dragon bankers actually makes so much sense that I am amazed this isn't in a novel already. I will now copiously steal it.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Dragons are bankers.

    You give them gold, which they sit upon. In return, they give you paper with the dragon's arcane mark on it, often called a "chit". Paper is easier to carry around than gold, so this is useful for humanoids in areas where the dragon's chit is accepted.

    Dragons maintain branch offices which can transfer gold to the dragon and paper back to the remote location, by way of an avaricious transposition matrix ("ATM"). A dragon-banker will enforce the acceptance of his or her chit across a day's flight, which can be quite a significant area.

    If you're doing business in a single dragon's area, you can just use that dragon's chit.

    If you're a traveling adventurer, you may want to carry hard currency.


    Dragons are smart, and understand the wealth-by-level effects. Some dragons will extend magical equipment loans to adventurers with the stipulation that the adventurers pay back the loan with interest as they level up.
    I've done something similar with draconic bankers. It was the church of Bahamut that first established the platinum piece as an international standard of currency (with the smaller denominations of gp, sp, and cp being added later).

    However, not all dragons are agreed on the matter. There are essentially two main draconic political factions; one is traditionalist and believes in the tried and true tactics of terrorizing villagers until they pay tribute in the form of wagonloads of gold and virgin sacrifices, while the other would rather trick the humans into giving them everything they want willingly via the banking system. The former ascribe to the philosophy of Tiamat, and the latter to the philosophy of cunning Bahamut.

    Both kinds of dragons refer to humanoids as the "meager races," using the word both in the sense that they are small, and that they are poor.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTapeKatar View Post
    It is interesting to me to see different interpretations of fantasy creatures and monsters, especially when in the context of the larger world. I want to start a thread that helps explore some of these different interpretations, as well as brainstorm different forms that one can use in their setting.

    For example, in my setting of The Claw, Kobolds are a small, doglike race devoted to serving the Dwarvish city-states, taking inspiration from their origins in folklore as spirits that live in mines and occasionally the home, though more benign than their mythological counterparts. Kobolds live in symbiosis with Dwarves, with it a norm for a Dwarven family to house a Kobold family in their home -- so much so that it is rare to see a dwarf outside of their home without a Kobold alongside them, a sign that the dwarf is in exile or going to war. Kobolds are not strong like Dwarves, nor are they competent at the forge, but they are good at housework, cooking, and to the joy of Dwarves (and anyone on good terms with them) excellent brewers.
    So... Kobolds are a domestic slave race? Hooo boy, is that ever diving headlong into the problematic aspects of fantasy races.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Lolth is a powerful, cruel archfey rather than a demon. I think this fits well with elves being descended from the Fey themselves, so this is a bargain they would be more willing to strike. A Fey patron fits well with the backstabbing, paranoia, and scheming of the Drow. At the same time, having their patron god not be a literal demon makes their society less capital-E Evil, which I like.

    I also made all elves matriarchal, not just the Drow.

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    In a setting I've run, the fey races that inhabit the material plane are a faction that got banished from they feywild after a failed civil war. They established colonies on planet and on the moon while serving as one of the settings advanced precursor groups. I figure the fey's capricious and wily nature would probably result in a bunch of conflicts in the feywild and the idea of unknowable chaotic beings with advanced magic is a pretty close parallel to scifi aliens. Plus fey having cities on the moon is awesome
    Last edited by Lleban; 2018-11-04 at 04:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lleban View Post
    fey having cities on the moon
    ...and from then on, people who acted like the fey were called lunatics.
    Last edited by theVoidWatches; 2018-11-04 at 10:02 AM.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    I had this idea of a campaign were the PCs wake up in a huge biodome inside a spaceship. They've been abducted by Beholders and left to fend for themselves in an artificial habitat full of dangerous creatures. The whole thing is broadcast live to Beholders around the galaxy.

    I suppose it's a mix of Mojoworld and the Hunger Games, with probably some other influences.
    So Beholders like to watch? :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundersteel View Post
    So... Kobolds are a domestic slave race? Hooo boy, is that ever diving headlong into the problematic aspects of fantasy races.
    I think it's a reference to the kobolds of actual mythology - friendly house-fairies.

    I'll take a stab at this...

    The following sets of creatures are all one race, just at different stages in their lifecycle:
    -Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, and kobolds
    -naga, yuan-ti, medusae, hydras, and dragons
    -chimerae, manticores, lammasu, sphinxes, griffins

    Undead aren't created from creatures in our world. Instead, they originate from a dying plane - they've come here to conquer a new world and escape the destruction of their old one. As described above, they go through a "death cycle" from corporeal to partly incorporeal (i.e. liches) to fully incorporeal undead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTapeKatar View Post
    I would like to hear all of them. That's the kind of thread I want.
    Mummies.

    Some ancient cultures discovered a way of preserving their greatest sages and champions beyond the limits of a mortal lifetime. Only the most honored were offered the privilege of mummification, and to receive it they were made to swear a sacred oath to a certain set of duties for all time. When these individuals (usually clerics or paladins) died, their bodies were carefully embalmed in sacred oils, an articulated metal frame with riveted and hinged joints was attached to reinforce their skeletons, and their dried bodies were then wrapped in linens inscribed with countless spells and prayers.

    Most of the time, the mummy's soul is in the afterlife like that of a normal dead person. However, when a certain set of conditions defined during the mummy's creation are met (usually the culture that created the mummy coming under threat, or a great evil being unleashed in the world, or something of critical importance being stolen), the soul will be drawn back into its body by the spells written on its wrappings, and the mummy will awaken. Most mummies are also designed to be awoken when their tomb is invaded, so that they can deal with potential thieves and saboteurs.

    In addition to whatever skills and abilities they possessed in life, mummies have greatly enhanced strength and endurance owing to their metal-reinforced skeletons, and they can use the same magic that reanimates their own bodies to temporarily animate objects in their immediate vicinity. Most mummies also have the ability to make themselves look like their living selves, so that they can venture out among the living undetected when needed. When a mummy kills a sufficiently evil individual, it may embalm the corpse with a cheaper, more brutish version of its own creation process, forcing the dead enemy to serve as a slave. Henceforth, the slain creature's soul will be called back from its afterlife and forced to serve its killer whenever the "true" mummy desires, until such a time as it either decides its been punished enough, or the zombified corpse is destroyed beyond repair. When the true mummy itself is dormant, any minions its created go dormant and return to their afterlives as well.

    Obviously, what makes a dead person "honored" varies from culture to culture. As such, while some mummies are paragons of goodness and stalwart defenders of the living, others are tyrants or fanatics who care only about their own specific peoples or causes (the latter are much more liberal with the creation of unwilling minions, and less reluctant to call them back for service. They're also less likely to eventually release them). Legend has it that some mummies have managed to preserve their unlife while abandoning their oaths entirely, becoming entirely self-serving undead overlords. These "rogue" mummies, unlike others, can be turned or rebuked like any other undead. When working as intended, mummies are highly resistant to turning.

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    In my main setting, come in 3 varieties depending on the continent they live on.

    Green Coast orcs are known for being savage, barbaric, goat herders. They still practice bloody rites and rituals, one tribe has the leader cut out their eye to gain visions of possible futures while another practices a form of necromancy as a way to say goodbye to the recently departed. For the most part they are left alone by the "civilized" races.

    In Sylvanor, orcs are closest to their typical portrayal, but still not quite to the extent that they are in Tolkein derived fantasy as they can be bargained with and some settlements have quite profitable trade agreements with orc clans.

    Braenlo orcs aren't technically full orcs. They are technically an isolated population of half-orcs that bred true and have for so long that all records of full orcs have been lost. These orcs aren't known for savage barbarism but instead for two aspects of their personality and affinities: enthusiasm and engineering. Braenlo orcs are born engineers, even children figuring out how to build the tallest block towers. They are so full of enthusiasm and energy that you won't find an orc that only gives a half-hearted effort or attempt at anything, they are just too enthused and energetic to give anything less than 100%.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundersteel View Post
    So... Kobolds are a domestic slave race? Hooo boy, is that ever diving headlong into the problematic aspects of fantasy races.
    No. They are not slaves, and though it is a common misconception, many a kobold finds that implication an insult. The kobolds can leave at any time, and some do, but the majority find their service to the dwarves an honor. They have found a place alongside dwarves that no other race has ever found -- and dwarves have found a race that they are willing to go extinct protecting. A kobold finds honor as a handservant, where other races would consider such a job a menial task for peasants or slaves. They take pride in their work, and knowing that most others wouldn't do such work with their own hands if they had the choice makes them even more confident. They see cleaning a hall as a task comparable to restoring a work of art (which, looking at dwarvish architecture, is a very apt comparison). True, it may be odd seeing a kobold smiling to themselves after cleaning the stables, looking terrible and smelling disgusting, but that's their nature. Kobolds will do some of the nastiest work out there because they believe that hard work is its own reward, a very dwarfy trait that their friends respect deeply.


    Orcs in my setting are slaves, and I deliberately made it a harsh depiction (because what else are orcs good for). They were bred from human stock from that world's equivalent of the Roman Empire after it was betrayed by the elvish kingdom of Izkhal. Even after a large amount of orcs have escaped to neighboring lands, they still consider themselves indoctrinated by the high-elves, being a race of people that many would consider perfect warriors. Regardless, their rigid, militaristic societies seek to purge it by breeding their bad blood away, hoping to one day be something more than the ultimate killing machine. They have set up their societies around the self-image that they are inferior because of their nature as warriors.

    Kobolds may be slaves by some societies' standards, but they actively choose to stay in that position. There may be orcs that fight to be free, but they will always see themselves as slaves to their cursed bloodline. That was the line I was thinking when designing both of them.
    Last edited by DuctTapeKatar; 2018-11-07 at 10:27 PM.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    So Beholders like to watch? :D



    I think it's a reference to the kobolds of actual mythology - friendly house-fairies.

    I'll take a stab at this...

    The following sets of creatures are all one race, just at different stages in their lifecycle:
    -Orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, and kobolds
    -naga, yuan-ti, medusae, hydras, and dragons
    -chimerae, manticores, lammasu, sphinxes, griffins

    Undead aren't created from creatures in our world. Instead, they originate from a dying plane - they've come here to conquer a new world and escape the destruction of their old one. As described above, they go through a "death cycle" from corporeal to partly incorporeal (i.e. liches) to fully incorporeal undead.
    Yes, Beholders like to watch.

    I once considered turning goblinoids, orcs and even some giants into one species. The differences between members of the same race would be explained by random mutations as they'd mutate more quickly or frequently than other races. Members of the same tribe are likely to share some mutations, like size. Some mutations appear less frequent, like having an extra head. (Ettins.)
    The twist is that humans are members of the same species. They are the product of a breeding experiment which got rid of most of the chaotic mutations.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Yes, Beholders like to watch.

    I once considered turning goblinoids, orcs and even some giants into one species. The differences between members of the same race would be explained by random mutations as they'd mutate more quickly or frequently than other races. Members of the same tribe are likely to share some mutations, like size. Some mutations appear less frequent, like having an extra head. (Ettins.)
    The twist is that humans are members of the same species. They are the product of a breeding experiment which got rid of most of the chaotic mutations.
    That is probably the best way to integrate humans into a fantasy setting where they aren't just "default" I have ever seen.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Yes, Beholders like to watch.

    I once considered turning goblinoids, orcs and even some giants into one species. The differences between members of the same race would be explained by random mutations as they'd mutate more quickly or frequently than other races. Members of the same tribe are likely to share some mutations, like size. Some mutations appear less frequent, like having an extra head. (Ettins.)
    The twist is that humans are members of the same species. They are the product of a breeding experiment which got rid of most of the chaotic mutations.
    I had a campaign where each generation of giants became smaller, less magical and shorter lived than the last. The reason humans don't habe a creator god is they are the descendants of this chain, which also slows in effect with each generation.

    The reason heroes from ancient times were depicted as stronger and more magical is because they were, going all the way back to the Titan ancestors.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Re: goblins and humans

    Both my orcs and humans are descended from goblins, both due to elvish manipulation centuries ago. Halflings and gnomes as well, but those are natural mutations. In fact, most of the races other than dwarves (who are related to Giants) and elves are related to goblins in some way.

    All the goblinoids are one species, with goblins as a pseudo hive mind. Their changeable nature makes them a perfect base species.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Goblinoids are corrupted Fey. When too many decaying humanoid corpses taint a Faerie Ring with fetid rot and necrotic energy, instead of Fey being spawned you get goblinoids.

    Goblinoids are all one species. They do not breed as such, but they do murder virtuous humanoids and pile their rotting corpses in pristine primal glades to taint yet more faerie season-births into their own horrific forms.

    -- -- --

    Some Aberrations are what you get when a primal Fey season-birth is tainted by industrial pollution instead of dead bodies.

    -- -- --

    Aranea appear during the days of the full moon. It's said that they descend from the moon on silken threads anchored onto moon-beems.

    -- -- --

    Elves are a created race, made specifically to serve the giants (before the sudden-yet-inevitable decline and fall of the giant civilization). All Fey were likewise created by giants, mostly to maintain specific types of garden ornaments and natural nature features which they liked. This is why there are so many different types of elf: wood elves for the forest, high elves for the library, moon elves for common labor, dark elves for attack and defense.

    With the decline of the giants, the elves broke free and immediately followed in the pattern of their former masters: the elves created all current humanoid races as specific types of servants. Gnomes for the hill-paddocks, halflings for the grain-fields, dwarves for metalwork, humans for common labor, and orcs for the army. Of course, the elves followed in the pattern of their former masters too closely, and their civilization also met a sudden-yet-inevitable conclusion.

    Now humans are following in the pattern of their two progenitors, creating Illumians and Warforged and Kalashtar and Necropolitans and Kobolds and all sorts of funky artificial people & mutant people. What could possibly go wrong?

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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by DuctTapeKatar View Post
    No. They are not slaves, and though it is a common misconception, many a kobold finds that implication an insult. The kobolds can leave at any time, and some do, but the majority find their service to the dwarves an honor...
    So, kobolds are, more or less, house elves. OK, more less than more. But kinda.
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    Default Re: Alternate Creature Interpretations (Feel free to add your own additions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    So, kobolds are, more or less, house elves. OK, more less than more. But kinda.
    IIRC when a House Elf got freed, he was really happy and excited at the newfound freedom.

    That guy's Kobolds seem to be absolutely unlike that.

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