1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Flora and Fauna for Fantasy Fiction

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Edward, Mar 24, 2008.

    I've been toying around with making this topic for the last week or so, but each time I decided not to.

    Despite not having read much of it I'm a big fan of Fantasy. There's two things though, there's either no mention of any animal smaller than a horse (and those the size of a horse will be a horse) and the creatures will always be the same as on earth, or you get the stereotypical things of basilisks and dragons. I have no problem with basilisks or dragons, but It'd be nice to see some other things.

    So, springboarding like that "list of magic" thread, fantasy creatures that don't get much love outside of Final Fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons, you know, the kind of game where it's more interest when there's more then bears and boars to kick around. Feel free to add on to the list. I encourage it.


    Real creatures that are dead:
    Dromesauridae: Raptors. Most of them were small (Velociraptor was the size of a dog, the things from Jurassic Park are actually Dienonychus.) They were also covered in feathers, giving them a wide range of places to live, anywhere there are birds there could be Dromes. Also they were pack hunters, so they'd fulfill a similar niche to Wolves. And Dogs.

    Ceratopsians: Nothing like bad guys riding on big ol Styracosaurus painted with skulls on the frill, maybe the horns pierced with rings. A punctured frill and broken horns on a battle hardened steed. God that'd look awesome. Also, protoceratops could be farmed like pigs.

    Hadrasaur, Ankylosaur, a whole bunch of Dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurs. Gigantasaur was a 45 foot tall Tyrannosaurid, and to date is the largest landbased predator. Now THAT would make a fitting mount for a Dark Lord.

    A whole bunch of Synapsids would also make good fauna, like what ever this thing is. Also, Dimetradon, those Sailback monsters.

    Beyond those there's Pterasaurs and Mosasaurs and Icthyosaurs and Pliesiosaurs...

    From the Age of Mammals there's Mammoths, Smilodon, Nimravidae, Tiger Wolves (Gods those things are creepy), and a bunch of others

    The Stuff of Dreams (or Nightmares):
    Wyvern
    : Like dragons, but instead of four legs and two wings they only have two legs and two wings. To see how much variety you can get using simple mythical creatures as a springboard, check out the Wyvern of Monster Hunter. The Rathalos and Rathian are the stereotypical wyvern, but then you get such diversity as the Yian Kut-Ku, weak little birdy it is, the poison spewing Gypceros, the electric, acid spitting Khezu, (which looks like something Clive Barker would have as a Nightmare), the fishy Pliesioth, the Cephadrome and Cephalos, which are related to Pliesioth and "swim" through the desert, the rhinoceran Monobolos and it's larger cousin the Diabolos, The rock like Basarios , it's OMGWTFHUEG adult form, the
    Gravios. There're also other examples of what I'm shooting for in this thread (that is to say, reimagining of other things into more usable things) but because the main enemy in the game are of the same uh... Class? Family? Taxonomic category and yet so diverse, that's really all I care to do a picture-link for. Though I do like the Velociprey and Velocidrome, the Genprey and Gendrome, and the Ioprey and Iodrome. But that's because Raptors are so cool. I'm sure you noticed, but the "Hadrasaur" and the "Ankylosaur" are from Monster Hunter as well, two herbivores known as Aptonoth and Apceros. But they serve the purpose.

    Barometz: Technically the only Flora I can/care to think of. A plant shaped like a lamb. Maybe it could be a type of vegetable that tastes like meat. Maybe it moves around and eats the grass like in the legends. Maybe it grows like a pumpkin.

    Peryton: said to be the spirits of Drowned Atlanteans, Peryton were a cross between deer and seagulls, and despite neither being a carnivore, they eat people. Some legends say they have the shadow of a man and when they kill someone they get a normal shadow and never bother anyone again. Good for a seafaring adventure.

    Bahamut: Ever since DnD it's been a giant dragon, but Bahamut was a Babylonia God or something that looks like a giant hippo or an elephant. Riding on a fish. In water. In a bowl. On a crocodile. Or whatever, and so on and so forth. I'd just stop at the hippo thing.

    Leviathan: A giant sea beast. the biblical Leviathan is also believed to be a hippo. But better interpretations paint it as a giant sea serpent.

    Ziz: The hebrew lord of birds. He protects smaller birds and is himself the largest bird in the world.

    Roc/Ruhk: A giant bird from the tales of Sinbad, and I'm sure from that area of the world in general.


    That's enough out of me.

    How though, would be a good way to work creatures into a story? I mean if you, and by you I mean I, have thought of these great things like Barometz, how do you add that in without devolving into a half paragraph explanation of what that is when your, and again, by your I mean my, characters go to a feast? Or how do you have these magnificent wyverns, little dragon like things that breathe fire and have electricity and freeze things and any other number of strange defenses, without having one guard some stupid treasure in the middle of nowhere?
     
  2. Sywo
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    Sywo Member

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    Don't forget Megladon, the Lord of the Deep. This shark was thought to be extinct for millions of years, though carbon dating reveals some of its teeth are only 10,000 years old. It crops up in certain islkand mythologies.

    I also like your proper use of Smilodon instead of Sabre-Tooth Tigers. Infact Smilodon are closer to modern day house cats than tigers.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    How can you mention that giant water hippo Leviathan without mentioning the land hippo Behemoth?

    Nice little collection of beasties by the way. Dragons are cool and all but they really have been beaten to death. Rancors are cooler anywho :p.

    People never give FF enough credi. Some of the most awe inspiring artwork, creatures, characters, and environments in the creative world!
     
  4. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I always thought those things resembled dienonychus more...I guess velociraptor was the cooler sounding name? Oh, Hollywood and it's crazy ways...

    Nice list, btw, some of my favourite myths and/or creatures are on there.
     
  5. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Well, I said Bahamut, it's close enough to Behemoth.

    Actually though, in my own story I've got Bahamut as one of the "Old God" titans, and the Behemoths as his "children", mythologically speaking.*

    About Final Fantasy though... I'm always wary to mention video games (and by wary I mean I do it all the time) what with this being a writing forum, but really, when you think about it... but I digress, Final Fantasy and other games in the Dungeons and Dragons vein have hundreds of brilliant variations on even their own creatures. In fact, one of the places I look when I need to increase my bestiary is the Final Fantasy Compendium's bestiary.

    And because I'm feeling particularly creative at the moment, some of my own, personal reimaginings:
    Faeries, which are Seelie or Unseelie (seelie eat mostly plants, Unseelie eat meat):I'm not actually sure I haven't already mentioned these, but I guess it bears repeating. Fearies are a whole type of animal of their own, but the Fae, the general little butterfly winged girlies are actually insects. In fact, they look something like these. Only not as creepy. Most of them are based on Irish and Scottish mythology.

    The Bean Nighe (sort of like the Bean Sidhe/Banshee) is an omen of death that appears as a woman washing bloody clothing. Well, in mine, it's a Fae that hunts fish by straining a silk net through a river. Hence, bloody clothing. Unseelie


    Vampires: Vampirism is a virus. All the things about vampires are 'symptoms' like of porphyria and hemophilia. Symptoms may vary though, and there are also the traits of the "pop culture" vampires that are also byproducts of the virus, like the strength and outlandish sexual appeal. Also there's an inborn ability to become mist and wolves. It's like an STD. An unseelie one.

    Dragons: Despite saying I don't like them, I still have them. Except they aren't the kind of firebreathing winged monsters. They're more like the Jade Emperor type lesser deities. They look human enough, but live in water, and have the trappings of dragons, like horns, claws and such. Though their horns would be more like antlers, like eastern dragons have. This is one of the pictures that gave me the idea, but the better one I wont link because A) I can't find it, and B) they're half naked, without the half. I wish I could find it though, because there's this nice amphibian quality to it.

    Dullahan: Because there are so many Fearies. Dullahan is a Gaelic headless knight type thing. In the setting though, it's something along the lines of a hermit crab. It crawls inside old armour and fills it up with a fungus type thing until the armour rusts and it needs to find a new one. It's Unseelie, but not exactly evil. Some might interact with humans. Actually, because human encroachment has benefited them, they're kind of like the Faerie version of raccoons.

    *Actually, that reminds me, I should make a thread about Deities...

    funny story, when Crichton wrote the book, Deinonychus was considered by some to be a velociraptor. When they made the movie they either didn't know or didn't care. Though they probably would have kept it because it's easier to say. I don't think I remember them mentioning the name of things like the Compsognathus. Also when the book was wrote Tyrannosaurus was thought to be half blind ("He can't see us if we don't move") now they're known to be eagle eyed. I read that there's a handwaving in the sequel book, something like "He probably wasn't hungry"
     
  6. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    Probably showing my ignorance but I've always wondered how they decide things (like eyesight) about the dinosaurs when in most cases we've only got their bones. Seems like it'd be mostly guesswork.
     
  7. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I don't know. Forensics is heard enough as it is when things are alive. I guess things like how they hunt and such
     
  8. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    They compare the Dinosaurs to living animals. that they find are similar. For Example: THe T-Rex motion based vision? Its not that it could only see you when you were moving, its just that it wouldn't reall notice you. Most animals don't have as good eyesight as humans and their often drawn by movement.
     
  9. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    as a dino fanatic i cant stand this... guess work?!
    all the things that we know about dinosaurs are derived from their fossils and biology. I.E. t-rex eyesite... the idea of bad eyesite was derived from the eyesite of a frog. but since dinosaurs branched off from amphibians long ago it was easily ruled out; an animals true eyesite it determined by the size of its ocular cavity (big hole for eyes means big eyes and big eyes mean good eyes) and the position of the eyes (side facing eyes create two images (good for defence which is why many herbavors have these) forward facing eyes are give binocular vision and depth perception (for carnivores like us, lions, and rexs)

    ...any ways i like the idea of dinos:D another good idea is half beast (like a half person half dragon creature) (and chimera like creatures)
     
  10. Luminous
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    Luminous Member

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    Fantasy should be the plane for complete creativity and originality, in my opinion.

    If you really want something new, a new mythical creature or species to add to your story, start up your imagination. That's where epics start.

    *woot for posting on very old threads*
     
  11. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    I agree with Luminous. With my novels, none of the flora or fauna have anything to do with the ones listed in books or on websites. I try to picture what my characters are standing next to and with the image that is in my head, I try to see more detail, come up with colors and texture, how it feels when you touch it and then name it. It never hurts to try to see the 'thing' standing next to you.

    Remember that when you name things you want it to be something that people will be able to pronounce. You don't want people to be reading a wonderful flow of a fantasy story and then have to stop to try and figure out the name of a monster that is attacking the hero. That just makes it less real for them and risks them putting the story down.

    ~Natalie
     
  12. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    True, coming up with completely new things is great, but I don't know, I've just got this love for skewing old ones. Take something, and then change it beyond recognition and you've got something good.

    Plus it's nice to have a place to start.
     
  13. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    When ever I do that, though, I am left with the feeling that it is still someone else's. It has to be my own idea. I always need for my ideas to be mine and mine alone; completely new, original and unique. I even search the internet with every single name and title to make sure that it hasn't been taken. I don't want anything I do to have been done before. I guess that's my "thing". I think I have issues with sharing, lol.

    ~Natalie
     
  14. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Wow... that's a little excessive...

    So I'm guessing you wouldn't be willing to give some of your examples?
     
  15. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    Well, I'm guessing that none of you will steal the the ideas for one of my novels, The Rislenta Memoirs, Breathless. It is set on the planet of Rislenta, where the Kesryn live. The males are kelons and the females are sellas. The three main characters are Sylatria, Reeston and Audrick. (Their names do exist elsewhere on the internet, but in hard to find places. Plus, I didn't get their names from those places, I came up with them myself, so I figured it was all right.)

    Rislenta was formed from a Bird of Light that flew through the universe and once the light dimmed, Rislenta was there.The Kesryns were born from the gods of Rislenta and Yvelria, where the Kesryns go after they die. The gods (and goddesses) lived on Rislenta before the Kesryns, right after Rislenta was formed. They then gave birth to the first Kesryns and left Rislenta to them while they went to live in Yvelria.

    So that's a little bit... I was going to publish that novel first but now my characters and I have decided to publish another one based on its title and content because it will most definitely get the attention of an agent more than Rislenta. It is the title of and based on a very famous philosophical theory. Now we are going to publish Rislenta third, after a science fiction series that has an idea that will blow people's minds...

    I have been in my house alone for far too long, lol.

    ~Natalie
     
  16. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I was actually hoping for more in the way of animals...

    Rislenta's cats and dogs and the like. Though you kind of lost me at Kesryn...
     
  17. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    Ohhhh... Well, there's the Delomun, the largest creature in Rislenta. Everyone in Rislenta eats fruits and veggies but the Delomun eats meat. It only gets hungry once every few hundred years, but when it does, it eats Kesryn. Then there's the creature that the Kesryn use for transportation. It's a lot like pegasus, in the way that it appears like a horse with wings (and acts like a horse with wings), but they live in the clouds and come at the whistle of their master. I have yet to name them.

    The Kesryn get their food from either the trees or the ocean, the ocean foods being brought to them by animals that are a lot like a sting ray (except without the stingers). The food is at the bottom of the ocean and is transported to the Kesryn on the animals' backs.

    Then there are the plants. My favorite is the Nerina, which blooms only when the leaves fall from the trees. It's Sylatria's favorite flower. The Kesryn are very flora and fauna oriented people, so I have had to incorporate a lot of different plants and animals.

    I am still writing Rislenta, so there is still a lot to develop. Is that what you had in mind? Are you still lost? (gosh I hope not... I have a very complicated mind... I hope it's not too confusing...)

    ~Natalie
     

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