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Fantasy World Building I

This is a new series of blog posts that I’m going to write about world building for my coming books, although the same information would also help gamers. It’s a little different for gamers because the end goal is a different storytelling medium, but it’s in the same ballpark.

The setting I’m detailing is a fantasy, historic-like world. It’s Medieval, and it focuses on character, politics, intrigue, religion, and magic.

So, here’s the thing I’m thinking about: monsters.

High fantasy is full of them. Dungeons and Dragons brews them up wholesale. Mythologies get mixed and matched and smashed together as if in some literary particle collider experiment. I’ve been there, played D&D, and read many of those all-inclusive, monster-rich variety of worlds, most notably Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels. That’s not really what I’m looking for.

So, maybe it’s more a Katherine Kurtz’ Deryni books type of thing that I’m aming for? Well, those novels are awesome beyond compare, but not quite the thing. Maybe monster-lite, like Game of Thrones? Hmmn, no. Not that either.

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So, after much thinking, here’s what I’m going to include in my world’s bestiary:

Undead: By undead, I mean vampires and ghosts. I’m not sure how much of a tradition there is for walking corpses in medieval Europe, so I’ll have to look into that. Taxim, maybe?

Artificial: This category can include aquastors, simulacrum, monstrum, brass heads, automatons, even golems and the like. If a wizard can whip it up, then yes.

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Dragons: Five of them, because that’s all that’s left in world. Just five individuals. I will also include the subclasses of dragons, like wyvern, wormes, knuckers, sea and lake monsters. Full-on heraldic dragons have magic and shapechanging powers, so it’s not unheard of for a human to have dragon ancestry. These creatures are rare and never seen, so for most people they are old legends.

Humanoid: Ogres, yes. Troglodytes, trolls, I’m not sure. There are some dog headed peoples that show up a lot in Medieval bestiaries. I like the idea of them.

Giants: These are a type of “Other,” for the most part, but they are rare and only tiny communities exist in the mortal realm.

Angels. Yes. And other divine counselors and saints. If angels are here, then I suppose too there would have been the Nephilim.

Lycanthropes: Werewolves and selkies, without question.

Demons, Spirits: Yes, they are all present. Demons, demon lords, succubi, witch’s familiars, hell hounds, and other similar summonable creatures from hell. Technically, demon ancestry is included, so cambions are possible too.

Summonable Beings: Elementals, as well as angels and demons.

Faerie and the Other: Faeries don’t live on earth, as such, and have no cities or castles or holdings of their own. They do visit earth when they want to from their own plane of Faerie. So, while you never run into an elf or dwarf, or any of the “Others,” you may very well meet people with Faerie blood or heritage. Dwarves and Giants in fact are a type of Faerie, and part of the family of the “Other” as well.

The Faerie secondary creatures, such as Faerie hounds and horses, changelings, and so forth would also be included. They are not native to earth, but they can follow their elvish lords over sometimes.

Does this sound limited? It’s not as short a list as you might think. For example, mythology also is full of singular legendary creatures. These one-off’s would fit pretty well in my world. These would be the “King of x” creatures, the paragons, the racial avatars, divine hybrids, spell-casting versions, demonic versions, giant versions, etc.

Other rare monsters that I have an affinity for: Affanc, Wolver, Ysfach, Parandrus. Of the monsters I have made up, the Pernicon (a type of demon) also gets a pass.

Maybe I’ve gone too far here. Maybe this is too many monsters. I’ve got a whole bunch of creatures you can summon from other worlds, some you can create, a few native creatures, and assorted hybrid humand and x-humans (undead). Well, more thought and consideration is forthcoming. Dreaming up these things takes time. It’s got to make sense within my setting.

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