Sunday 4 December 2011

Insomnia vs traditional fantasy archtype fodder

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF So I can't sleeeeeeep, I'm lying there trying to wear out my brain with imagining things and the like.
But! Sometimes this backfires and the imagining becomes far too interesting and now I'm awake and I have to share. SHARINGGGGG

So elves.

I do not like elves. Not liking elves is properly as trite as playing elves by now, I don't really know where popular opinion is with this. I could go look, but remaining ignorant of others opinions is a overlooked virtue. Anyway so I sez do my brain, "hey elves!" and brain is like yeah that was embrassing back in teenage years how damn cool they seemed and everyone always played a half elf wizard female and elves were the best and why? why? why? Anyway the past is another land, and that wretch is dead.
SO elves. Naked in the snow, immune to cold, lean, toned, like pilates instructors from a cold hell, chiseled cheek bones, pounding at your door , saying that they found your lost dog, (which is frozen solid) and laughing and trying to get your children to come play in the snow. They can't come inside of course, elves can't unless you invite them. However, you make the mistake of fearfully thanking them for
returning your dog. Which counts as accepting a elf gift. Which means they can use their glamour on you. So suddenly there's music and the smell of sunshine and fresh bread and royalty has come to visit because your child is actually the chosen one and you should open the door to let them in because they have so much wonderfully gifts to give...
 Elves are also contortionists and really good at climbing and hiding in small places. A rare elf gets into a let pretend game, where it trys to be human and wears clothing and goes on adventures, in the same way people play mmorpg in this world, as in they can get awfully attached to the things in the game, but its still just as game to them and they are always watching the world around them as a spectacle made just for them.

Half elves
So elves sometimes drag a child out in the snow, strip them naked , and mark them permanently with a frostburned hand print somewhere on their body. If the child manages to make it back home, they are said to have been "elf touched"
..this is getting way too fucking dark and molesty right now... sleeeeeeeep? Faery tales always do have that over lap with child abuse..and i want to  sleeeeppppppp not think about horrible horrible elves and how half the internet thinks this is comedy goldmine material....arghaaa

Half elves in their adult lives are driven individuals, resistant to cold, and capable of frightening acts of violence, especially surprising for the half elves slim build and quiet demeanor. Think of Rorschach from Watchmen as good starting template.

Dwarfs are people made entirely of guns
Mountains rise and fall, continents collide, stars flee the day, all through the turnings of the great machine. Pistons and cogs, of titanic size and inexorable purpose, are the true bones of this earth. Deep down in the endless factory and forges, passed clockwork bigger than cities, are the wombs dwarfs. Dwarfs are made in molds, with secret clay, and fired in cavernous kilns, and glazed in blood. Each clan has a identifying series of characteristics , The polishers have big noses and plaited beards, the Stokers triangle beards and monobrows, etc. The molds are more akin to typeset , allowing each clan to fire each dwarf with a variation of characteristics allowing easier identification between the batchs.

Some dwarfs snap and no longer hear the needs of the machine, and travel to the surface to drown the existential nightmare of their Un-needed lives , with violence and beer.

So earth elementals in classic mythology , let's have gnomes come from the centre of the earth.
Which is a canceri-ian prison, that they have spent the last 1000 years tunneling out of. The gnomes are like moles with horrible white eyes and big rock rending claws, and a mass of muscle on their backs like a hunch on a hunchback.
Now that gnomes have reached the surface, it seems to be far from the utopia paradise their den mothers whispered to them tales of in the black black depths.
The conclusion reached by the gnomes, is the surface is not the surface, but tantalizing close. And the burning orb that they see above them, "the Sun", is actually the last hole, the exit, the end of the tunnel, and the light shining through, the light of the perfect word!
Gnomes finding they can't dig into the air, now "tunnel" into the air, buliding towering earth towers like prolapsing of catacombs. Not all gnomes are slave to this task, some explore the "Vestibule" , luxuriating in the light and warmth. Note sunlight burns through gnome eyes quickly, luckily gnomes can just pop in fresh eyes from any other living creature, as long as they can fit into the gnomes eye sockets. After a week or so these eyes take on the appearance and properties of the gnome original eyes, until then, the eyes work as they would for the original owner. There are dire gnome magics to do with using the sight of others this way, and tools of war to gouge an enemys eyes out in the chaos of battle

progression of ideas here..
one , halfings, literally half a person, nothing below the waist, staggering around on their arms. Not a lot to go on there. So to speak...
two, which then got me thinking about the movie Freaks, which had a tight knit group of carny freaks enacting their revenge against a couple who tried to use and betray one of them. Watch this movie, it is a fine, fine thing.
SO yeah halflings as human dwarfs/circus freaks, travelling around being carnys, ah look here's the youtube links
One of us

couldn't find my favourite scene , where a freak pulls out a switch blade.. just track down the damn movie already.

And then because that's kinda lazy, three, halflings as children who stopped getting older than 9, and no longer age. Becoming old and cruel in the body of a child, their bodies they mark  with knives, scarring tally marks, one for each year stolen from them. Anyone read Neil Gaiman's reboot of the Eternals? The character Sprite is a good sketch of the idea.

Orc,half orc
Okay so orcs, are like square footed hunched pig people, that live simple rustic lives in the woods, with their woven stick hovels, and acorn gathering and what not and will nurse abandoned human infants (these become half orcs), and once a year take a break from all this peasant nonsense to form huge squealing pitchfork and torch wielding mobs, that round up all the undesirables in the locale and burn them in a great big wickerman.

Half  orcs are human infants raised on orc milk (in fact sneaking a drop or two of orc milk in a infants food will insure the infant grows up hella ugly). This child will grow up to have the flat squarish feet and rotund hunched build of its nurse maid, but her or his face will be the most lovely in the land. This causes terrible dysphoria in most half orcs, their face making them feel alien from their adopted family, and appearing as a cruel mocking touch to humans, and so they  habitually cover their faces with a crude sack mask

okay I wanna go sleeep but then I thought BARDS
is there any take on bards not doomed? I would nay, as long as a bard attempts to play music while others are righteously battling, there is no redemption. Out of curiousity, does anyone know of  this scene ever illustrated? Like a party engaging some dire bastard, the fighter swinging a hella sword, wizard all with the lightning and the burning, the cleric with the hammer, the thieve stabbing or crossbowing and the bard just starting at the back strumming a fucking lute? Like even if it was bagpipes or a portable organ, it's just gonna look daft. Or in any fantasy novel, sure there's been music magic and bards but a battle scene described with the bard just standing there playing music?
Anyway whatever, if they float your corpse raft, they float your corpse raft,
so my best swing at a gritty bard reboot oh I'm too tired to laugh, is like not a "bard", but a "barred" ,
okay so the its like this, when a being dies , there's like a big black river your soul comes to, and a skeletal boatman giant, and you have a song that's like one of your extra souls Egypt style, and comes out of throat and your heart and your bones and it tells everything you were and weren't and the boatman, gives a nod, and takes you across to the land of no return. But some! They stand before the Boatman and have nothing. They stand there in silence. They have no song to sing the Boatman, and so they are Barred and sent back to this vale of tears.
these BArds/barreds go about trying to hear and mimic enough of others death songs, so they too can go to the sweet peace of DEATH, and so they journey on paths that take them to blood and glory and battle and hospitals, where ever they can hear the sounds of death, so they may too know it.
So mechanically they would not wear armour but get natural bonus to a.c like a monk, and use weapons and sneaking, and as they level up they can sing OF DEATH, like screechs, and ultrasonic moans and weird undulations that cause bone to break and if they  get high enough level they get song that will let them die. Because if they die before knowing that song, they come back to life at level 1 and with 1 point taken off all their stats, to a minimum of 1. So they fuck up enough and they are some very unhappy furniture. Their bodies bear the palimpsest of their first death, seared flesh, still open wounds, rope burns etc. I'm imagining a kinda doomed pretty white haired albino, bared chest and flapping pirate shirt with guts and stitching , laughing madly and swinging a cruel edged saber. And no fucking perform skill or lutes.

I go sleep noww


  1. You just made Glorantha fresh for a whole new generation!

  2. I applaud your sleep-depraved inspired madness. And I actually like your (mad) take on elves :)

  3. Whoah. Insomnia is a hell of a drug.

  4. Excellent take on elves. And you've managed to make gnomes interesting, as well. That's impressive.

  5. I would nay, as long as a bard attempts to play music while others are righteously battling, there is no redemption. Out of curiousity, does anyone know of this scene ever illustrated?

    dunno, does this count?

  6. @abalastair
    that video is sweet. I like it when they shoot rainbow wads at each other with their phallus wands.

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  8. when you put it like that suddenly it's my favourite part too.

  9. A lot of that myth building works even with out the physiological changes. I mean I could play a gnome cleric in a straight 3.x game that was a sort of mad prophet of the sun god that believed that stuff.

    Dig all of it. Especially the Dwarf and Barred!

  10. @crooked rook
    truuuueee..... but why wouldn't you want to play a horrible eye scooping mole person?

  11. Great job on the elves. Very, very creepy molest-o Droogs.

  12. Fucking awesome. If I could get this on tap I would be very very drunk.

  13. yes. Amazing work.
    Re vanilla bards - huh. I never played anything after 1e and I never saw any combat lute strumming - is this from later editions?
    but I was also always a garage hacker so maybe it was in the rules and I ignored it. I figured the bard tried to steal everything and get out before you ever got to combat, but if it all went to hell theyd whip out a sword and go "y'know in my old job I was this knight dude?" and just accept no xp for letting it get all fighty.