The Chimera is perhaps the best known of all the Greek mythological creatures, the familiar fusion of creatures that heralded storms and natural disasters who was ultimately slain by yet another demi-god. In its original description, The Chimera had the head of a lion at the front, the head of a goat in the middle, and either a dragon or snake head at the back, probably dragon as she could also breathe fire. Later renditions have brought all three heads to the front, and some even include a snake in place of the tail and dragon wings.
She’s a nice little metaphor for the worst traits of humanity: (more…)
Adventure is driven by the adventurous: the intrepid, the brave or the dutiful, who cast aside their lives of comfort to go and do something that straddles the line between brave and stupid, not because they want to, but because they must. When we think of heroes, we paint a fairly typical picture, often male, generally of a military or combative nature, and most of all blandly attractive but with such outward confidence that none can help but swoon. We can name them by type, the anti-hero, the unlikely hero, the tragic hero, and on and on…
But we like to stand out, we like to be different, and in a world filled to the brim with a variety of heroes and villains it can make it difficult to create something truly original, but there’s still some mould left to break. Though we’ve filled page after page with comic book heroes beyond number, plastered the screen with heroes of all shapes and sizes and elevated everyone until they feel like they can truly be special, there are always ways to freshen up and reinvigorate the same old tropes and put your personal mark upon them. (more…)
Haven’t done one of these in a while.
I’ve griped and grumbled plenty about Lord of the Rings but even as someone who doesn’t enjoy it I recognise all too well that at the time it was highly original. Tolkien set the stereotypes that I have grown bored of and that makes his work special in its own right, his opus has become the very classical depiction of elves, dwarves, dragons, hobbits/halflings and a host of other fantasy staples besides. The problem as I see it now is that I have seen it done and over done and get a little tiresome.
I was raised on the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, so I saw all of these stereotypes torn apart and analysed to death before I saw them presented in their original field. When I came to Dungeons & Dragons and its contemporaries I found myself once again immersed in the classic stereotypes, but saw places where the limits had been pushed and guidelines broken, and the very concepts of what makes a world broken down into simple rules. (more…)
The second favourite horror cliché after the masked slasher, must surely be the haunting. A soul reluctant to let go, a bound demon, or some other spectral force that clings to some physical entity to wreak havoc and stack chairs. It’s been done so much it’s comedic, it’s positively childish, the stuff of Scooby-Doo and slightly above average animated films.
But there’s something about a decent haunting that can deeply creep us out, and if it’s something original, something with a twist, can a haunted tale leave us unable to perceive something in the same way ever again? (more…)
If any staple of action films has been done to death it’s the car chase. We almost expect it, it’s something to keep the pace fast, increase the tension, and a good excuse to throw in a few explosions, and yet it’s quite possible to get bored during this intense moment. Have we seen it all before? Or is there scope to get creative with the car chase to breathe some new life into it? (more…)
I’m afraid I have to put my foot down on this one. While the legend of dragons has many variations in terms of size, shape, intelligence, and powers, a dragon has six limbs! Four legs, two wings. Sorry Skyrim and Game of Thrones, but if the forelimbs are the wings you have a wyvern, no matter what it’s capable of.
With that solitary distinction in mind, let us take the classic fire-breathing, sky-borne terror and shake it up a bit. (more…)
Last week I went through some ideas on how to change up the bog-standard zombie. It was fun, and I’m on holiday, so we’re doing it again, but weirder!
It’s quite a memorable moment in the Resident Evil series when T-Virus infected dogs burst through the window, in fact zombie dogs have popped up a few times in various forms, but that’s about it outside of applying templates to creatures in RP games. Rarely you’ll see an undead cat, and of course there’s the infamous infected horde in Black Sheep.
Here’s a thought I’ve toyed with lately: (more…)
While I get to work on something important, recover from illness and go on holiday, I’ve prepared something a little bit different.
Whether it’s in a game, a film, or anything else, if you’re using a classic or iconic myth, legend or monster, you’re almost expected to bring something original to it. If you’re creating a new superhero, how is yours going to stand out from the already enormous crowd? How do you plan to tell the same tale over again without everyone feeling like they’ve seen it before a thousand times? (more…)