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Author Topic: Schrat/Woodwose/Leshy/Basajuan  (Read 3593 times)
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Alexandre Scriabin

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« on: 21 May 2014, 09:12:15 »

So I've been looking into something seen in Slavic, Norwegian, Basque, German, and Old English mythology: the wild man of the woods.

Basically speaking, the wild man of the woods was kind of like medieval Europe's sasquatch/bigfoot, except for more intelligent and mysterious, much more human-like. I think it would be a lot of fun to "Santharize" this concept as there is a lot of material to draw on and between all of the different versions of the story out there I can come up with something utterly unique and very "Santharian" too.

Just for some basic exposure to woodwose/schrat and leshy, so you folks can see what I'm talking about:

A Leshy usually appears as a tall man, but he is able to change his size from that of a blade of grass to a very tall tree. He has hair and a beard of living grass and vines, and is sometimes depicted with a tail, hooves, and horns. He has pale white skin that contrasts with his bright green eyes. A Leshy has a close bond with the gray wolf, and is often seen in the company of bears as well. He is the Forest Lord and carries a club to express that he is the master of wood. He has blue blood, which gives his cheeks a blue tinge. Legend describes him as having a red scarf and his left shoe on his right foot. He also, is known to have no shadow.

A person who befriends a leshy can learn the secrets of magic. Farmers and shepherds would make pacts with the leshy to protect their crops and sheep. The leshy has many tricks, including leading peasants astray, making them sick, or tickling them to death. They are also known to hide the axes of woodcutters. A person gets lost in the woods when a leshy crosses their path. To find the way out, you have to turn your clothes inside out and wear shoes on opposite feet.

Leshies are terribly mischievous beings: they have horrible cries, and can imitate voices of people familiar to wanderers and lure them back to their caves, where the leshies will tickle them to death; they also remove signs from their posts. Leshies aren't evil: although they enjoy misguiding humans and kidnapping young women, they are also known to keep grazing cattle from wandering too far into the forests and getting lost. Sometimes cow herders will make pacts with a leshy by handing him their crosses from around their necks and sharing communion with him after Christian church gatherings; these pacts are said to give the cowherds special powers.

Sometimes more than one leshy inhabits a forest, and then they will fight for their territory, knocking down trees and scaring animals.

On top of mythological influences, medieval wild man lore also drew on the learned writings of ancient historians, though likely to a lesser degree. These ancient wild men are naked and sometimes covered in hair, though importantly the texts generally localize them in some faraway land, distinguishing them from the medieval wild man who was thought to exist just at the boundaries of civilization.

The fragmentary 16th-century Breton text An Dialog Etre Arzur Roe D'an Bretounet Ha Guynglaff (Dialog Between Arthur and Guynglaff) tells of a meeting between King Arthur and the wild man Guynglaff, who predicts events which will occur down to the 16th century.

A wild man is described in Konungs skuggsjá (Speculum Regale or "the King's Mirror"), written in Norway around 1250:

It once happened in that country (and this seems indeed strange) that a living creature was caught in the forest as to which no one could say definitely whether it was a man or some other animal; for no one could get a word from it or be sure that it understood human speech. It had the human shape, however, in every detail, both as to hands and face and feet; but the entire body was covered with hair as the beasts are, and down the back it had a long coarse mane like that of a horse, which fell to both sides and trailed along the ground when the creature stooped in walking.

I have emboldened some portions I find very interesting and would like to consider implementing.

My main questions right now would be these:

Where is the best place for such a creature? What might we name it? And are there any interested artists like Seeker or Bard that would enjoy creating their own illustrations for me? Is it possible for this idea to culminate not just in a bestiary entry but it's own race?
« Last Edit: 21 May 2014, 10:01:06 by Alexandre Scriabin » Logged

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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #1 on: 21 May 2014, 10:20:02 »

Well, new races are off the table.  That has been a fact for years now.  Too much to do with the existing races as there is.  If everyone got to create a new race, we'd have more races than we do entries.  None of them developed to a degree that this site is famous for.

That said, an in depth "mythological" being could work.  A People entry, where you could go into as much detail as you wanted.  Tie it to a certain area and tribe (like the Natives of the Pacific northeast in North America and the Sasquatch legends).  You could have stories of "modern day" sightings, but no real interaction for at least a few hundred years in order to give the "mythological feel" to it.

Take a look at TAURIAN MYTHICAL RACE by Tarquet Galbar  and Viresse, which goes into quite a bit of detail.

Hope this helps. :)

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« Reply #2 on: 21 May 2014, 10:43:44 »

I agree with Altario.  Not a race but a beastiary entry of some sort would be more appropriate.  As far as a picture. We will have to wait and see.  You never know what strikes an artists fancy.    ;)  I'll say this much though, I am going to lean towards drawing entries for those that are active on the site.  thumbup

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Alexandre Scriabin

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« Reply #3 on: 21 May 2014, 11:37:06 »

I figured as much, interesting example by the way. Any ideas you folks could bounce off on me when it comes to name and place? I was considering this as a mythical creature somewhere around the Kuglimz folk, and in the Hovel Frond forest, because of the Kuglimz similarities to Norwegians and Slavs.

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« Reply #4 on: 21 May 2014, 15:54:24 »

As a mythical creature this could work for sure, Alexandre. I'd also consider the Ash'mari barbarians as a possible origin for such creatures. If you look at the picture a barbarian like this already has a certain resemblance to "Schrats". Schrats according to German lore are also supposedly capable of magic, a bit like "wood spirits", leaning towards a druidic concept maybe. Anyway, on the Ash'mari: The Ash'mari were enslaved by the Diorye'oreal elves, and while they were not a magically inclined tribe, it could be that such "Schrats" were by-products of this enslavement, after all the  Diorye'oreal enslaved them through their powerful dark magic. So at least this is an option for this creature that could be rumoured. That's just an additional idea of course you might want to consider.
« Last Edit: 21 May 2014, 15:56:15 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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