Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Natural and the Supernatural in terms of Fantasy Ecology

I was recently reading this article on Monstrous and Normal creatures, in it the absurdity of defining a creature as normal or a monster in a fantasy world emerged. If a Druid for instance can commune with normal creatures only, why is a Griffin a monster and a Platypus normal?

How should a druid know that a Griffin is "supernatural". Sure a Griffin may have been created by the gods, but in most mythologies EVERYTHING is created by the gods. In our own history creatures such as the Griffin were assumed to be normal creatures.

My explanation follows to the answer of another question "What do all these super-predators in the ruins EAT, the should have depopulated the area for thousands of miles around".

My answer is that Monstrous creatures don't follow the normal biological patterns of regular creatures. A dragon that is a monster does not need to eat for instance, it doesn't age or excrete or replicate unless it chooses to or magic compels (or in some cases enables) it too.

A monstrous dragon (in an appropriate campaign) is a demon that feeds on fear and greed and malevolence in the area. It was not born it sprung into existence, it only eats when it finds the action enjoyable or when it can sow terror into others. You cannot starve the dragon, you will not catch the dragon vulnerable when it needs to take a leak.

Thus the druid could not speak to a monster because the monster does not follow the laws of nature, it is a thing that "just is", and its very nature is an abomination to existence. There is no requirement for the area to be depopulated unless the dragon wishes it to be so (perhaps to spread famine).

This requires the game to be set up for it, but it offers interesting choices too. There very well be "Normal" dragons and "Monstrous" dragons who are dark mockeries of their existence. Neither group may be nice or friendly to humans (ie, neither are "good") but it allows for a very different manner in dealing with two different types of dragons.


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