Tag Archives: urban fantasy

For a monster hunting character without the budget or means to get firearms, what sort of melee weapon would you be looking at? (Modern day-ish setting, so something that isn’t too hard to get through doors or keep to hand in a car would be good).

Tire iron. It’s like a crowbar without the suspicion. They don’t even have to explain why they have it, they have a car. Enough said. The same is true of the heavy duty metal flashlight they keep on the inside of the driver’s side door. It’s there in case they get stuck on the road in the dark. Enough said. But if they’ve gotta crack a monster across the side of the head with it, then fair enough. Maybe the character is part of an after work softball club in which case he/she carries around an aluminum bat and a softball bag in their trunk (which may hide other gear).

Your average roadside assistance kit will net you regular flares and a flare gun, useful for signaling when you’re having car trouble. Also useful for burning out a vampire.

I have a less savory character (vampire) that drives around with an average toolbox he bought over the counter at a Target in his trunk. Little does the salesperson know it moonlights as an easy to use set of torture implements. The wrench makes for a great bludgeoning tool. He also carries a set of bungie cords, a tire iron, a roadside assistance kit, a pack of cigarettes, a liter, a set of matches, and two liters of Coca Cola. You may have to think back to chemistry class to realize why the coke is helpful. He also carries guns loaded with explosive rounds, but that’s neither here nor there.

We’ve said it before, if you’re writing monster hunters using modern weaponry in modern day: get Hunter: the Reckoning. The Players Guide and Storytellers Guide are also useful. It has a whole list of useful information covering a lot of different aspects you may not have thought about but are good to include. From weapons, to the monsters hunting you, etc, it’s all good stuff to think about.

One of my favorite anecdotes from the series was the gang members loading their guns with a silver bullet as the third round in the cartridge. They didn’t know specifically what they were facing, but they figured if it could take two rounds to the chest and keep coming then it probably wasn’t human. Better safe than sorry, right? But, they didn’t pack the gun full of silver bullets because, as one might expect, they are expensive.

If you’re looking for improvised weaponry in hand to hand, weapons that are easily overlooked and ignored then every day household items are you’re best bet. You’re looking for the things people don’t think about, objects that are belong.

You don’t question why a smoker is carrying around a pack of cigarettes until they use the smoke to destabilize their opponent and put the lit cigarette out in their enemies’ eye. Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin when combined with water, perhaps that spray bottle in the sport’s bag isn’t full of H20.

That vodka collection and liter are pretty cool, but are they going to a party or plotting one with a different kind of cocktail?

In The Suicide Kings, you’ll hear the Dennis Leary mobster bemoan his frustration at his inability to hit a golf ball. You may not think anything of it, until he takes the golf clubs out of his trunk and starts beating a man for information.

A crowbar has taken on association with crime, see a man take one out of his trunk and you might think something is up. See a guy take out a tire iron and you’ll probably wonder if he has car trouble.

Does your character carry around jumper cables in case of a dead battery or does he do so because he can hook a uncooperative vampire up to the battery?

Decide how rough and tumble you want to get. Hunter is a really awesome jumping off point, especially because it handles combating all the monsters in the Old World of Darkness, from vampires, to werewolves, to ghosts, to mummies, to fairies, to demons, and finally some really weird shit. It’s especially good at discussing the perspective of your character fighting monsters they may not have the knowledge or tools to comprehend and the dangers of those monsters noticing, of hunting them, of using the rules of the society the hunters live in to hunt them.

Think about your monsters. The weapons your character carries will be a reflection of what works against these creatures. They may carry a variety of different items which will work well against different kinds of creatures because they don’t know what they’ll be facing.

Vampires may only be irritated by bullets, but one in the brain may put them down long enough for your hero to get out the stake and put it through their chest. Are they vulnerable to fire? With a little futzing, hair spray and a lighter could work as a makeshift flamethrower. Spray paint in the eyes is pretty nasty. Do your monsters need to see?

Improvised weapon choices are going to be about exploiting opportunity and conventional weaknesses if you’re in a setting where the characters can’t take the monsters head on in conventional warfare. I’d look into guerrilla tactics.

However, when writing monster hunters there are a few different paths to consider. The action path: ala Blade, Underworld, or John Carpenter’s Vampires. Where the horror is secondary to the action adventure. The Noir/Mystery/Thriller: Blade Runner. The detective must solve the supernatural mystery.Noir/Thriller/Horror: Fallen (1998) with Denzel Washington: Detective John Hobbs must uncover the mystery behind copycat killings that are exactly like those of a serial killer he recently put on death row even as he is being framed and hunted by a supernatural force. Action/Horror/Humor: Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lost Boys. 

All of these are legitimate approaches, but you should figure out what kind of story you’re telling and plan accordingly.

Reading/Watching List

The first ten or so episodes of Supernatural are decently on point for Hunter type monster hunters.

Fallen (1998)

Suicide Kings Denis Leary’s mobster is interesting to watch in terms of improvised weapons.

The Watchers from Highlander. No, not the ones from Buffy. So, very dangerous. Check out any episode dealing with them and see their tactics for eliminating Immortals hundreds to thousands of years older than they are.

Any movie, television show, story, or book where the character is forced to improvise or aren’t really in a position where conventional force works well. Crime movies, especially ones dealing with underworld elements on the down low will be helpful to you.

-Michi

Hi! This blog is so helpful. I have a question regarding armor. My MC is part of a s.w.a.t. like team. They fight supernatural being who use sword and shields and engage in gunfights. What kind of armor would would you nede to be alle to engage in both?

Well, riot armor actually reduces mobility. It’s good for dealing with someone chucking a bottle at you, but if someone opens up on you with an automatic weapon, you’re screwed. I’d assume your supernatural beings would be slightly more dangerous than that.

Normal SWAT gear is probably the best option, honestly. Unless they’re dealing with a specific threat that calls for heavier armor.

If you’ve never seen it, the British TV series Ultraviolet, might be a good thing to look at.

I would strongly recommend against sword ‘n board in a modern environment, though. The problem with going toe to toe with a monster that’s superhumanly strong and fast is, in melee, you’re just going to lose. If your characters are going up against werewolves or vampires, or something worse, a shield isn’t going to save them, at best it will become the implement used to beat them to death.

Something Ultraviolet does, that might be worth expanding on is specialized ammo. Just because a vampire is “immune” to a chunk of lead passing through their body, doesn’t mean a dragon’s breath shotgun shell won’t ash them on the spot. High explosive rounds are a (rare) thing, so your monster might be able to soak off a .38 to the face, but when that .38 explodes on contact, it’s a different story.

Even things that are immune to conventional weapons might not be able to shrug off a Tazer slug.

The other thing that might be worth looking into is Hunter: The Reckoning. My fondness for the original World of Darkness is pretty well documented, but, Hunter was about humans with limited superpowers going up against monsters in an urban fantasy/horror setting.

-Starke

Hello! My current urban fantasy story is centered around an supernatural policing agency that enforces a professional uniform while on the job. I know that if a member plans to fight one-on-one in hand-to-hand combat, it’s probably a bad idea to wear a tie. Is there a variation on the suit and tie uniform that my fighters could wear to prevent any disadvantages?

Police wear clip-on ties. I mean, really, it’s that simple. I would say, going hand to hand with a nine foot tall snarling death beast is probably a losing proposition. But, at that point, wearing a normal tie isn’t going to be a deal breaker.

Also, although they’re probably going to be facing more serious threats, bullet proof vests, particularly the kind that can be worn under the shirt are a must. That said, most officers don’t end up wearing them because they’re uncomfortable, and sweating on them can cause the material to break down.

Generally speaking, your characters in suits are going to be the ones not seeing combat. If it gets to the point where there’s actual combat, they’re going to want to call for the guys in tactical gear.

-Starke

Vampires: How to Avoid a Sucky Story

Vampires: How to Avoid a Sucky Story

I’m writing a story in which a vampire and a human create a deal where the vampire can suck the humans blood in return for money. The only issue is, I’m not sure how they’d safely go about it without A. Killing the Human or B. Turning the Human into a Vampire. I’m also not sure how often that exchange could happen, when taking the harm done to the human into concern and letting them heal up. Do you have any ideas? :0

This is all excellent and I’m just throwing out some other ideas for consideration. Here’s a quote from the fantastic British series Ultraviolet on this problem of vampires and feeding. It’s an amazing show and it has some pretty neat insights into vampires that are worth lifting. It also has Idris Elba as a vampire hunter.

clevergirlhelps:

  1. The FAQ here says it takes about a month to replenish the pint of blood that normal donations ask for. You should probably go by that law or maybe cut it a little closer – say, every twenty days – to avoid killing the human or giving them severe anemia. You should probably bring more people into the blood fold so the vampire can feed more often.
  2. Your vampire could suck the blood out through an IV, straw, or any other device that keeps the vampire mouth away from human skin. Or the human could give the pint of blood and the vamp could suck it out of the donation bag. Alternately, you could come up with a different method of spreading vampirism, like a spell or being touched with a talisman or dying in a certain way.

Just a note: blood isn’t a very good nutrient. The vampire bat drinks about half its weight in blood at every meal to get the nutrients it needs. To compare, an 80 kg vampire would need to drink 40 L of blood (84.5 pints) almost daily if they had the same blood-evolved digestive system as the vampire bat. Also, at the end of feeding, the vampire bat is too heavy to fly, so it urinates most of the liquid in the blood it has drunk. Most vampire books don’t address this – and I’m not saying you should either – but it’s something to think about.

Mike: How is all this kept quiet? I mean, a body turns up drained-
Doctor Angie Marsh: Doesn’t happen. Successful parasites don’t kill their host. They don’t drain their prey unless they want to recruit, and they’re very careful about who they recruit. Like we are

You get into trouble if you think about vampires as predators, but instead as parasites. A vampire doesn’t have to kill, in fact, it’s better for them in the long run if they don’t because they can keep themselves fed on a safe, steady supply of blood without having to worry about the mess that comes with having to constantly dispose of the bodies.

If you’re dealing with a variant of vampire that has to completely drain the host to ensure their own survival then this won’t apply, but if a vampire can leave the person their feeding on alive then they should because that person is a replenishing supply of blood. Now, your vampire is going to have to have developed some measure of self-control to be able to do this and depending on the kind of person the vampire is that may be difficult. It’s also going to depend on how often the vampire practices feeding. A vampire who feeds on human beings constantly is going to be better at controlling themselves than a vampire who does not do so regularly or one that usually completely abstains, such as Stefan Salvatore of Nicholas Knight. A vampire who turns up their nose at being a vampire isn’t going to be a very good at actually being vampire when it counts.

You’re going also going to have to ask yourself a few questions:

1) How much blood does the vampire need to drink to survive?

A vampire who needs to devour the whole amount of blood in the human system to replenish the blood they lose daily may actually choose to feed from multiple different people everyday instead of just one. If they only need a little blood, they may just use a single individual.

2) How often does the vampire need to feed?

If your vampire needs to feed every day, then feeding from the same person could be a problem. If the vampire only really needs to eat every few days or only needs fresh blood every few days while alternately subsisting on blood bags or animal blood, then they’ll probably give the human the time they need to recover before they feed again. Will they be living with the human or will it be a standard drop by situation?

3) How do people become vampires in your setting?

Sometimes, the process can be complicated. Sometimes, depending on the vampire society, it can be highly and carefully regulated. How people become vampires is going to depend on how many people know that vampires exist or if the existence of vampires is common knowledge. If turning someone into a vampire without the express permission of the local vampire government is illegal, then it’s likely that your vampire is going to be very careful when he or she feeds.

4) Why isn’t the vampire just taking the blood?

Vampires don’t generally pay for blood, so this is something that you’re going to have to cover in your story if you haven’t already. It can be moral reasons or the vampires not possessing powers of mind control, but the reason should be fairly upfront to avoid confusion.

Recommended Reading/Viewing:

Ultraviolet (1998): This fantastic British serial from the late nineties starred Jack Davenport, Idris Elba, Suzannah Harker, and Philip Quast. It may be a little hard to find, but you should look at it.

Forever Knight (1989-1996): This campy show starred Geraint Wyn Davies as the 800 year old vampire Nicholas Knight, who was looking for redemption and worked as a cop in Toronto. It’s ridiculously campy, but the vampires are done very well and might provide you with some ideas for getting out of the Anne Rice box. (If nothing else, Nigel Bennet as Nick’s sire, Lacroix is memorable.)

Vampire: the Masquerade: I usually throw this one out there, but it’s a great toolbox for how vampires might live in the modern world and what sort of societies, rules, and laws they might generate. Specifically, the source book Ghouls may be helpful to you for generating ideas on how other vampires might view your vampire’s arrangement with your human and how other relationships between vampires and humans evolve. If you want the experience of being a vampire or existing in the Masquerade world, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is a great video game RPG to get you thinking like a vampire (just don’t play the Malkavians first).

-Michi

So I’m writing a zombie book (it’s the first book I’ve written with any actual “action”) and I was wondering how a fight scene would go? I’ve tried different things, but nothing really works…

If we’re talking about the modern movie zombies like the ones from the Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, then the problem might be that you’re focusing too much on the fighting aspect and not enough on the survival aspect.

We answered a question here that might be of some help to you. Modern zombie movies play on the societal fears about consumerism and overpopulation. It’s usually framed as a losing battle set against a backdrop of survival horror using a survival thought process over straight up militarism. This is important. The truth is that unless you’re planning on doing a Resident Evil (movie) style action adventure, that you don’t really fight them.

Zombies, even the running, jumping, spitting ones are kind of boring if taken in straight context. Numbers are what really make zombies interesting, the part where you can’t actually straight up go at them, and because of that, the sequences you write for them should revolve more around problem solving. This is good, because it means you need to get inventive.

Try this: your characters have a goal they need to accomplish, whether that’s finding food, clothing for winter, ammunition, a safe place to live, gas for their car, whatever. They come up with a plan to accomplish this but it means passing through zombie territory, they don’t know how many zombies there are or where they are and too much sound will attract all the zombies in the area. So, they have to be quiet. How do they do it?

Some of the best antagonists in zombie stories are not the zombies themselves, but some of the surviving human antagonists. The depths that people will go to when pushed to survive and what society becomes when it falls apart. If you use both humans and zombies as enemies (not humans using zombies, though some might have figured out how to make the brainless mush heads work for them) then you provide your heroes with dual challenges. After all, if two groups are competing over the same resources, how do they defeat the other group without attracting the zombies?

Remember, fighting zombies without stealth will inevitably lure more zombies. You can take on one zombie at a time (preferably by surprise) but not a pack. One zombie can easily become two, then ten, then twenty, then forty, and so on. The characters can’t fight them, after all, every one of them that falls is another added to the zombies number but the zombies are between them and what they need to live. If they don’t figure out how to get these things, they’ll die. This is the true tension of the zombie sequence and if you don’t have that tension, that feeling of being up against the something overwhelming, then the sequence won’t work.

Also, instead of giving them real weapons, give them improvised ones. This will help. Stick them at a disadvantage, put their backs up against the wall, and force your characters to get creative.

Give it a try and see what happens. (The Zombie Survival Guide is a must read.)

-Michi

do you have any tips on writing a non cliche werewolf?

fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment:

I shall do my best to advise. 

First and foremost, know your cliches. 
In this case, that means watching and reading all the werewolf stories that you can get your hands on. Grab some popcorn, take a break, it’s research! Patterns will probably start to appear pretty quickly. 

In a similar vein, I recommend that you look into all the mythology about werewolves that you can find. What’s become the current popular canon for werewolf mythology is actually a kind of distilled and selected version of some of the older myths. For example, in The Graveyard Book, I thought that Neil Gaiman did a lovely job pulling from the old stories of ‘Hounds of God’ to create a werewolf character that wasn’t a bit cliche. 

Finally, I’d say to top it off with some real world research- werewolves are mythical creatures that are grounded in real world stuff- clinical lycanthropy, serial killers, wolf-dog hybrids, hallucinations, actual wolves. Read up about it! Figure out what parts interest you. In particular, I find that a lot of stories about werewolves lack an understanding of how actual wolves work (I’m looking you dead in the face, Twilight series), which, I mean, if you want your werewolves to be humanized or a different beast from wolves entirely, that’s cool, but at least know what’s what so that you don’t flop misinformation/misunderstanding around.   

Now that you are an expert on the werewolf mythology that your work will be in the context of, decide:

– What you like about the existing stories. (Your creation doesn’t have to be 100% different from other werewolves to be fresh and not a cliche!) Do you think that a weakness to silver is nifty? If so, keep it! Nobody’s gonna stop you. Just be careful to only pick the parts that you REALLY like and find interesting. Don’t toss it in there just because it’s status quo. And maybe try adding your own spin on it, based on what seems logical to you (does the silver act more like an allergy, or lead poisoning?)

– What you think the current stories are lacking. Did you notice that most of the werewolves seem to be male (or are presented very differently than females)? Do you think that that’s lame? Make some lady werewolves! Do something different, or correct something that you don’t like about the stories that exist already. 

– Finally, and I cannot stress this enough- figure out your unique take and angle. What do werewolves mean to you, personally? What could they represent in the context of the story that’s a new way of looking at things? What parts of your research stuck out as being interesting and unique to you? Build up your own ideas, and create something that really comes from you. 

-Evvy

I recommend The Complete Book of Werewolves by Leonard R.N. Ashley as a good reference point to get you started. It covers historical lore, fictional werewolves, European, American, and world legends, and werewolves on the silver screen. This one is just a compiling of legends, historical lore, and modern fiction. It’s more akin to an encyclopedia, but if you want an in depth look at the history of werewolves this book is an excellent starting place. It’s got everything from Scooby Doo episodes to the werewolf legends surrounding the British Royal family.

There’s also Monsters: An Investigator’s Guide to Magical Beings by John Michael Greer. Unlike Ashley, this one is written by a self-proclaimed monster hunter, so take some of what he says with a grain of salt. However, it does provide some interesting suggestions on how it could potentially be possible and different shapeshifter legends, including the concept of astral projection and modifying the body’s electrical field to create the appearance of a wolf. If you want to develop a story about werewolves and monster hunters, this might provide you with some interesting insights.

If you’re looking to do wolves in a modern setting or play in the Fantasy Kitchen Sink, I suggest looking at White Wolf’s Werewolf: the Apocalypse roleplaying game, especially for the way it discusses and coaches integrating these characters into (or out of) society. If you’re looking for a Princess Mononoke style approach of Nature versus Man, I suggest going through this setting. The concept of the Delirium is especially worth looking at if you’re thinking Urban Fantasy because it works around the concept of a mystic magical field that hides supernatural beings from human sight. (Yes, it has a Tropes page.)

I’ll give two honorable mentions to my favorite sourcebooks:

Kinfolk, Unsung Heroes: which discusses roleplaying as and creating characters who exist in the shadows and backdrop of their special relatives. It discusses the important roles the mortal werewolf kin both human and wolf play in World of Darkness werewolf society.  What is it like to stand close to greatness and glimpse a spectacular world that could have been yours if only your genetics hadn’t rolled wrong? This is a great toolkit for creating supporting characters, antagonists, or protagonists and fleshing out the possible friends and family of the characters in your setting.

Ways of the Wolf: Do you want to write a story about a man (or woman) who is sometimes a wolf or a wolf who is sometimes a man (or woman)? If it’s the latter, then this Werewolf: The Apocalypse sourcebook has got you covered. In Werewolf, lycanthropy can occur in both humans and wolves. These wolf born werewolves are an interesting concept that rolls against some of the common werewolf mythology. The book covers wolf and pack behavior from the perspective of writing a wolf who has become more than a wolf, but is still a wolf at heart. It talks about how they interact with their wolf brethren and the human born Garou. Which makes it an interesting read while trying to get around some werewolf cliches.

I also recommend Wolves at Our Door which is a phenomenal documentary by Jim Dutcher about life with the Sawtooth Wolf Pack, whom they raised from pups to develop a better understanding of pack life and wolf family structure in a way that cannot be done with these shy animals in the wild. It’s a treasure trove of information and more importantly may lend some nice visual inspiration. For someone working with werewolves, watching wolf and man live together in harmony might be a great jumping off point.

Wikipedia and TV Tropes are (well, might be) great starting sources but as they are crowd sourced and anyone from anywhere can edit them, you’ll have to do a lot more research (and watch/read the suggested media yourself) to get anything really useful out of them.

-Michi

I’m going to toss two of my favorite Werewolf: The Apocalypse source books on here because they can give you some more ideas on getting away from werewolf clichés.

First is Player’s Guide to the Changing Breeds: this covers all the non-wolf based were-creatures in the setting. It includes wearbears, weresharks, werehyenas, weresnakes, and a bunch of other possible creatures. There are separate guides for each specific group, and if you find one that appeals, then their sourcebook will be more useful, but Guide to the Changing Breeds gives an overview for all of them.

The second is Project: Twilight. This isn’t actually about werewolves, it’s about federal agents who hunt the supernatural, and how to run them. If you want to write urban fantasy, I’d almost say this is a must read. If only to get you thinking about how law enforcement would deal with your characters’ actions and behavior.

-Starke

do you have any tips on playing a vampire?

thetrolliestcritic:

If you’re in a group, they should have guidelines to playing their vampire species that discuss strengths & weaknesses, abilities, etc. I’d stick to that. But if not, here’s my two cents on playing/creating a Vampire, as a person with intimate and extensive history with this species.

PICK YOUR VAMPIRE TYPE

There are different types of Vampires out there, and even more that you could add on to or change somehow to reinvent them. There are sparkly Vampires, Buffy The Vampire Slayer I-have-a-very-strange-angry-face-effect-when-I-turn-on-my-Vampyric-powers Vampires, categories of Vampires, IRL Vampires, more stuff on IRL Vampires, ‘The Four Types of Vampires’ Vampires, ‘Vampire The Masquerade’ Vampires — literally shit tons of different ones out there to choose from or take inspiration from. 

Dive in and explore your options to figure out what kind of Vampire you want to use or base your Vampire off of. Typing in ‘types of vampires’ into Google is a+ helpful. 

CREATE THE MYTHOLOGY

I do not exactly recommend using outdated, overused, old ideas from other mythology to base your Vampires off of. Instead, I’d suggest you invent them all your own using what you know of Vampires already and building off of that.

Things to consider when creating Vampire mythology

  • Do they use clans? If so, how do clans function? How to Vampires outside of clans work? Are Vampires capable of being happy or fulfilled outside of these clans? Are clans a traditional thing that’s outdated in your society, or are they still present? How do other Vampires join these clans, if they can at all? 
  • Is there more than one kind of Vampire? Is there a hierarchy among different types of Vampires, such as ‘this one is deemed lesser than the others’? If so, what is this hierarchy based off of?
  • What do they eat? Human blood only, or animal blood too? How does blood effect Vampires in general, and how could different bloods effect them individually? Can they drink and eat human food, or will it makes them fall ill? Can they eat other supernatural creatures?
  • Do your Vampires follow any kind of religious views that are strictly of the Vampyric realm itself, or are they allowed to believe whatever? Do they believe in anything at all? Are their beliefs dependent on what clan they belong to?
  • How does turning work? How long does it take? Can Vampires turn humans and other species all they want? Are their progeny(s) seen as sacred children of theirs or just another Vampire? 
  • Can they mate to produce more children? Will their children be Vampires too? What about hybrids?
  • Do they hide from the world, or are out in plain sight? Or, do they reign over a selected piece of land?
  • Are people afraid of them? Are they part of the society’s folk lore?
  • How do they act? Does being a Vampire effect their personality? Does being in a clan effect their personality? Is there anything considered ‘bad Vampire behavior’?
  • What is their history throughout the centuries? Where did they come from / begin? How did they migrate? Do they shape-shift at all?
  • What are their fangs like? Rounded? Straight? Do they extend? Where are they located? 

PICK YOUR VAMPIRE ABILITIES, & MORE

Some Vampires smell as well as dogs, or hear as well as bats. Some Vampires are capable of sensing emotions that help them realize what a person is feeling even if they try to lie about it. Others can see visions while they sleep. Again, I don’t recommend using the same old boring folklore throughout history to rip your Vampires’ abilities off of. Get creative. 

I do, however, suggest you keep the whole ‘can’t be in the sun’ thing, since that’s a distinguishing Vampire-mainly type weakness. Their strengths and weaknesses are ultimately yours to play with, so have a bit of fun and think outside the box. 

Things to consider

  • Does Vampyric age effect how strong or weak a Vampire’s abilities are? 
  • What is your Vampire’s individual abilities? Meaning, out of all their abilities, what is their most honed or least good with?
  • How do Vampires die? 

I normally just play/create my Vampires based off everything above or take these things into consideration when developing my Vampires, and they seem to spring to life rather well. Hope this helps you out a bit, anon!

This is really great. I’d also add, don’t forget about vampire variations beyond the Western. These myths are world wide and you can take a lot of inspiration from the different varieties. Africa and Asia both have very interesting myths dealing with these undead.

Wikipedia: Vampire Folklore by Region is a good jumping off point to see the wide variation (and how old) vampire folklore really is and how far back beyond Dracula it goes. Vampires have been an important part of cultural myths all over the world and there are a bevy of interesting stories to draw inspiration from.

Jiangshi: The Jiangshi are a variant of vampire that feeds directly on a person’s energy or life force.

Kindred of the East was White Wolf’s foray into Asian vampire counterparts that that they called the Queijin (specifically Chinese and Japanese, and more specifically “chi eaters”). It’s a wothwhile starting point for research, but take it with copious amounts of salt. White Wolf can be spotty when dealing with other cultures, though their research is usually good. Either way, it’s a nice starting point and may give a few ideas especially if you’re looking to go in a different direction. The powerlist and descriptions in the sourcebook is very helpful.

Wikipedia: Asanbosam from West Africa.

Wikipedia: The Adze

The Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom: this was a secondary sourcebook dealing with the “Laibon” which were the vampire bloodlines out of Africa and based in the continent’s myriad of mythological traditions in the White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting. Again, some interesting stuff that already gears itself towards character building, storytelling, and society crafting.

White Wolf ran historical versions of Vampire in Vampire: The Dark Ages and Victorian Vampire.

The GURPS Vampire Companion, Blood Types, Creatures of the Night, and Undead are excellent investments for the collection of research material that is easy to flip through and are all a treasure trove of ideas. They’re also pretty cheap to order used from Amazon.

However, always be aware of the perils of Exotification and Orientalism in  the works listed, in any you uncover, and in your own work. Always do research on the societies the myths are based in so you can grasp some of the themes these societies valued and feared.

-Michi

thetrolliestcritic:

WRITING GHOSTS

TYPES OF GHOSTS

HAUNTINGS

PLACES

RELIGION

GHOST HUNTING

thewritingcafe:

And now for a Halloween themed post.

HALLOWEEN

Also known as Samhein, Sauin, La Samhna, Samhuiin, Oiche Shamhna, Samain, Hallowmas, Shadowfest, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhuinn, Samhain, Witch’s New Year, Summer’s End, the Third Harvest, Samana, Vigil of Saman, and others.

The name “Samhain”, and its other spellings and similar names, comes from the Old Irish “sam” for summer and “fuin” for end, thus making this holiday the mark of the end of summer.

The celebration of Halloween goes back six thousand years where the Celtic people celebrated the end of the harvest and the coming of winter. This day is traditionally October 31st, though some celebrated it in the early days of November. Its most precise date is when the sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio. In the year of 2013, it will occur on November 7th. The celebration usually began the day before, at sunset.

This day was used to honor the dead and those who had passed away that year, as it was said the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest at this time of year. Rather than mourning the dead, Halloween was a celebration for the death of all things old and the beginning of all things new. 

SUPERSTITIONS

Bird Superstitions:

  • An owl that circles a house three times is said to be a sign that someone within the house will die soon.
  • It is said robins gained their red feathers because they attempted to remove the thorn crown from Jesus’s head, but his blood fell on the bird instead.
  • It is unlucky to kill a robin.
  • The eye on a peacock feather is said to be the “evil eye” and therefore bad luck to bring inside a home.
  • There are countless superstitions about birds near homes and windows that signify oncoming death.
  • Tip your hat at a magpie to avoid back luck.
  • It’s unlucky to kill sparrows because they carry the souls of the dead.
  • A crow at the window represents the soul of a dead person.
  • A nearby robin carries the soul of a deceased family member.
  • If a bird call comes from the north, misfortune will follow.
  • If a bird call comes from the west, good luck will follow.
  • If a bird call comes from the south, a good harvest will follow.
  • If a bird call comes from the east, love will follow.
  • Unbaptized children become birds until they are accepted into Heaven.
  • Pet birds must be informed of important family events or they will die.
  • It is unlucky to find a dead bird outside the home. 
  • A raven near a sick person means death is coming.
  • In Wales, a blind person can regain sight by showing kindness to a raven.
  • Cardinal Superstitions
  • Bird Folklore
  • Crow Folklore

Death Superstitions

General Superstitions:

  • Put almonds in your pocket when you need to find something.
  • Scatter chili peppers around your house to break a curse.
  • Never blow out the first candle you lit before you blow out the others or bad luck will follow.
  • Throw rice in the air to make it rain.
  • Ask an orange a yes or no question and count the seeds. An even number of seeds means no and an odd number means yes.
  • In a photograph of three, the person in the middle will die first.
  • Walk through the branches of a maple tree to have a long life.
  • Carry peach wood to have a long life.
  • Eat a peach to assist in making a tough decision
  • Mix salt and pepper together and scatter it around your house to repel evil.
  • Do not whistle at night.
  • Eat mustard seed to ensure fertility.
  • Place chips of cedar wood in a box with some coins to draw money to you.
  • If you bite your tongue, someone is talking about you or thinking of you.
  • Hanging up a new calendar before the year is over will bring bad luck
  • Animal Superstitions
  • Irish Superstitions and Folklore
  • Superstitions
  • Superstitions From Europe
  • Superstitions in Shakespeare’s Time
  • Folklore of Puerto Rico
  • Old Irish Superstitions

Halloween Superstitions:

Home & Hearth Superstitions:

  • Hanging a pair of scissors over the front door will cut off negativity
  • Hanging a cluster of acorns on the front door will protect those who live there
  • Put thorny branches on your doorstep to keep evil away
  • Smell dill to get rid of hiccups
  • Place cotton on an aching tooth to relieve pain
  • Place a sliced onion in the room of an ill person to draw out the sickness
  • Hang a pea pod with nine peas above your door to draw your future lover
  • Place a pine branch above your bed to keep illness away

Love Superstitions:

Sleep Superstitions:

  • Smell peppermint to help you sleep
  • Eat a bit of thyme before bed for sweet dreams
  • Putting garlic under the bed will prevent nightmares
  • Rub a lettuce leaf on your forehead to help you sleep
  • Placing a full glass of water by your bed every night will collect any negativity in the room, but don’t drink it
  • Putting a broom on the bed brings bad luck
  • If you leave laundry hanging outside during the night, a spirit will attach itself to it and possess the wearer
  • Never put a hat on the bed
  • Place morning glory seeds under your bed to cure nightmares
  • Place an onion underneath your pillow to have prophetic dreams
  • Never sleep with your head pointing east
  • Never sleep with your head pointing west
  • If you go to bed backwards, you will have good dreams

Sea Superstitions:

BOOKS

It’s not what we usually post, but in the spirit of things (heh) have some myth, folklore, and good ole ghost story collections.