Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Leafly

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
1
Arts, Crafts, Music & Drama - The Artisans' Guilds / Re: Tusky drew a thing
« on: November 21, 2020, 01:57:07 PM »
You're welcome Tusky!  :) They're super, and the original sketch is awesome too, fantastic drawings!

Looking forward to finding out what you will be designing next!

2
Arts, Crafts, Music & Drama - The Artisans' Guilds / Re: Tusky drew a thing
« on: November 21, 2020, 10:48:39 AM »
Tusky, these are fantastic  :) Really cool, how did you complete these drawings?

3
Exilian Articles / Seven More Things to do with Giants by Jubal
« on: October 24, 2020, 12:36:43 PM »
Seven More Things to do with Giants
By Jubal






Sinbad Plots Against The Giant by Maxfield Parrish
Used under CC license by, Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
.

Giants are a core part of many fantasy settings, and there are very good reasons why. Literally larger than life, giants are a core part of mythologies worldwide. They provide over-size mirrors for us to hold up to ourselves, with our passions and our best and, more often, worst sides oversized along with them. Whilst there's a fairly standard fairytale giant that commonly appears in fantasy settings - big, brutish, kicking houses down and getting outwitted by farm-lads - the possibilities of giants are actually much wider across world folklore and literature. In this article I explore a few more options and thoughts on how you can use giants narratively to best effect, whether for an RPG, a story, or anything else you might be working on.

Giants around the world

A few of the other items in this article draw upon folklore from parts of the world outside the Anglosphere and Western Europe more generally. Giants are often assumed to be the creatures of a standard jack and the beanstalk narrative, usually presented, but a huge range of world cultures have some sort of giant myths, and not necessarily ones in keeping with our standard understandings of giants as brutish antagonists.


In Somali folklore for example giants like Biriir ina-Barqo are heroic characters: it's perhaps a peculiarity of western myth that whilst super strength is seen as a good power - a sign of heroism - super size is generally seen as a negative. This need not be the case.

There's also no reason why giants can't travel, and arguably many reasons why they should in a fantasy setting. The prodigious size and appetites of a giant both give them the ability to travel and many reasons for leaving (one too many disappeared sheep) or heading for new places (how many lords would like to hire a literal giant for their army)? As such, it is perfectly explicable to have a giant who is from outside the mainstream culture sphere of your setting. One caution to perhaps give with that would be to avoid the "monstrous races" trap in which giants are solely coded as a foreign "other" to your default setting area: whilst this trope did exist in medieval writing, there's a fair point that uncomplicated use of this sort of portrayal has had a very dark historical pedigree, especially in the colonial era. Nonetheless, there's a lot to be said for portraying giants who come from a variety of different cultural backgrounds, and for upending the idea that it's necessarily the protagonists who travel to the giant rather than vice versa.



Giants as endurance hunters

If we're going with bad giants that eat people, how they hunt is worth considering regarding their threat to other characters around them. This is one place where I disagree with Dael Kingsmill's brilliant video on giants: her view is that giants, being big, should also be fast, able to catch up with horses. There's undoubtedly a good chase scene there, but I think that it somewhat clashes with our view of giants as lumbering, and that we can do scarier things as alternatives. Whilst the giant's long legs of course would give a giant a short speed advantage, big bipedal predators like Tyrannosaurus were probably ambush, not pursuit, predators: and besides, there's a far scarier thing we can do with giants as predators, which is to scale up the predation strategy of arguably the most successful apex-predator meat-eating species in earth's history: us.

Humans don't hunt by outrunning things, and we don't usually hunt by ambushing them: we are neither faster over long or short distances than a quadruped like a deer. What we're really good at, instead, is walking. And keeping walking. And keeping walking. A prey animal can run as fast as it likes - we'll catch up eventually. We don't need huge amounts of food and can keep going for days and eventually most things will get tired before we do. Endurance predation is the hominid strategy: and giants, being hominids scaled up, could very validly become scaled up endurance predators.


Dear reader, apply this to a giant hunting you and it's terrifying. Sure, you can saddle up on your horses and outride the giant: the giant doesn't care. He can still see you (an extra five or ten feet of height gives a good vantage), and possibly smell you too if we're going with giants having the blood-smelling fairytale characteristic. So he'll keep walking after you, quickly but never running - and also never stopping. Your horses can outpace him for hours: he can keep walking for days. You could try and hide, but how well can you mask your smell? You could hope the horses sate him, but do you want to negate the rest of your speed advantage? There are probably at most small settlements anywhere near, and you'll have to decide if you want to risk setting a hungry man-eating giant on innocent villagers for the slim chance offered by safety in numbers.

The endurance hunting giant presents a more tense, longer-term potential threat, and a difficult tactical and moral situation, and I personally tend to find those more narratively interesting than a rapid chase - your mileage may vary, but it's an option to have in mind.


Giants finding humans cute

Humans' inevitable reaction to tiny things is to find them cute. If confronted with an entire village full of waist-high or knee-high people, many people's first instinct would be to see them as children. Especially if you're not going for explicitly evil or man-eating giants, one could plausibly and amusingly have giants with exactly the same reaction to human beings around them. What if a giant just thought you were kind of adorable, and didn't really see you as a serious being?

Now, there are some narrative issues with this, the biggest one is that protagonists often really don't like being talked down to. Nonetheless, especially for a lower level group where they don't pose any threat to the giant, this does make for a narratively interesting problem: it may well be that the giant has something that you need, or can do something that you can't, on account of being a giant, but how do you persuade them to help you? What does a giant want, and how can you get the giant to take your request seriously? Perhaps indeed they never do take you or your request seriously, and you have to find some way to get them to treat it as playing along with your "little game".


Giants as resource denial

I feel that we're sometimes insufficiently imaginative in the threat that bad giants pose. The tendency is that the threat of the giant is direct and physical - the problem is that the giant wants to eat you. Sometimes there's also a power structure issue: the king is, or has, a giant and you need to defeat it, David and Goliath style.


David and Goliath by Carravagio
Used under CC license by, Caravaggio Wikimedia
.

But societal power and direct murder aren't the only ways that a giant's strength can allow them to be a threat. Think of the various things humans need for life - whether that's water, food, shelter, company - and it quickly becomes obvious that, especially for resources that are already stretched, the power of a giant can simply be in denying resources to other people. This could be either unintentionally, perhaps we can't hunt because the giant is eating all the wild oxen, or entirely intentionally, if say the giant has a hidden cave that only he has the strength to open the giant door of, and he keeps a key resource hidden in there and forces people to do things for some limited access to it.

This particularly struck me in the Somali myth of Xabbed ina-Kammas and Biriir ina-Barqo, where Xabbed, the evil giant, doesn't eat people, and he doesn't - he just uses his prodigal strength to put giant rocks over all the wells in the area and then extorts camels from people to eat, only allowing them access to their wells if they provide him with food. This is a really interesting way of playing the giant, one that recognises and emphasises his incredible strength, but without him being reduced to a symbol of brute force. We're more uncomfortably reminded in Xabbed's story about very human ways of using power and strength to extort, rather than simply as brute force, and that can very effectively set the giant as villain apart from other monsters and make their role more individual.


Giants as role embodiments

We accept the idea that giants are larger than life versions of things we do as humans, but often this is restricted to general traits - like appetite, or boastfulness - or to roles in kingship or war, where the giant's prodigal strength could be seen as a natural qualification. But we can also scale up other traditional roles and embody them in giant form. We could have a mother-giantess that looks after the women of a particular valley, or a smith-giant who teaches the craft to young artisans, or a woodcutter giant who lives out in the wilds and watches out to help those who venture into the woods alone. A particular inspiration for this is the Musgoso, a giant from northern Spain, who is a "shepherd of shepherds" and looks after the herdsmen on the mountain hillsides, being called upon when they are under threat.


We often give these sorts of hyper-embodiment roles to elderly characters - but giants, great in size where the elderly characters are great in age, can also work well for them. Much like an older character's age, a giant's size can set them in a somehow magnified position, and give them an easily visible hook that displays why they in particular have this role. Some roles don't work well for this - especially those that rely on nimbleness or dexterity, so a giantess as the embodiment of roguery and theft probably isn't on the cards. Nonetheless, if our characters are going to go and seek help or take an NPC to the master of their craft, having that character be a giant can be an interesting and less immediately common way of setting them apart and one that, because the scaling up of the giant's size somehow logically fits with the scaling up of their societal role, oddly does work on an intuitive level.

Giants as heroes


As noted above, giants' size is often portrayed negatively: we tend to like stories of the smaller, quicker witted hero defeating the bigger, lumbering villain. The idea of the giant as villain isn't universal though: we've met the giant heroes of Somali myth already in this piece, and the legendary ten foot tall Emperor Keikō of Japan also deserves a mention among other giant heroes worldwide. For these heroes, their giant nature allows them to fight otherwise impossible enemies, achieve tasks no other person could, and may be a sign of particular favour or being marked out for big things in some way (no pun intended!)

There are some interesting twists one could run on moving giants into a more protagonist role - Gullivers' Travels in Liliput, where Gulliver, there in the role of the giant, has a variety of demands made of him by his tiny hosts, and those sorts of situations can provide excellent opportunities for particular sorts of adventure. It's important that where the protagonist and hero is bigger than surrounding people, that we establish clearly the morality of the situation through other means, though: nobody wants a situation where the giant hero just splats tiny enemies with relative ease and there's no sense of threat or challenge. Rather, we have to focus on the giant's size enabling them to take on proportionally bigger challenges that ordinary people could not - and perhaps also we need to establish that size isn't everything, with potential drawbacks to being a giant whether that's the cost of food, the inability to fit into the same sized spaces as everyone else, or the jealousy or hatred of others.


Giants as landscape designers

One thing that giants are especially good for, compared to other kinds of monster, is having roles in shaping the landscape and world around them. This is because they combine the scale and strength needed to feel like potential landscape-shaping creatures with enough rationality and humanity to allow them to do so in a more thought out way than, say, a hydra or most dragons. The real world has plenty of examples of this, from the giants' causeway to the 'cyclopean walls' of Mycenean Greek cities made of stone blocks that seemed otherwise unmoveable.

All too often, the worlds of fantasy settings lack the powerful link between creatures and the land around them which is a massive part of most real-world mythologies, settling into being a generic backdrop of trees and hills. Linking stories and creatures like our giants back into that landscape, even when they're not visible, can be useful in a number of ways. First, it can be a trailer: you set up the sheer enormity of the giant when you see the huge lake that locals say he dug one day just so he could have a bath big enough to sit in, or the mountain ravine that she cleft out with her axe because she was angry that the mountain was bigger than she was. Second, it can show the giant as existing beyond, and potentially having utility beyond, its role as a combat encounter. Could the characters trick or bribe a giant into reshaping the landscape to their benefit in some way? Third, it can create a sense of spectacle and draw characters, players or readers back towards the physicality of the world they're moving through.


~

As a final point, it's worth me pointing you to a few other sources that sparked this thinking. Most notably, I mentioned Dael Kingsmill's ideas for giants video above, and friend of Exilian James Holloway's Monster Man podcast also has lots of episodes with giants (seriously). I hope you find these useful additions to your thinking.

So there you have it - some more ways and thoughts on how to use giants and why they can be such useful and versatile parts of a setting. Have you had particularly good uses of giants, or have you used one of the tropes discussed in this article? Do let me know in the discussion below!




4
Announcements! The Town Crier! / Updates from the Forge 39: Autumn 2020
« on: September 30, 2020, 07:29:46 PM »
Issue 39: Autumn 2020

EDITORIAL

Dear reader, hopefully everyone is well, healthy and making the most of the current situation we are all going through. There's lots of great reads for you this autumn, or as some may refer to it, fall.

Great game development, musical tracks, and Exilian exclusives too - that have been designed to share with you all! There are even a few light reading articles and did you know interesting reads as well. Phoenixguard09 has released an all exclusive, find the article here on Exilian two weeks - before it is posted anywhere else: Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow - A Norbayne Campaign Log. Do not forget to let us know what you think in the comments!

Tusky announced the winner of Exilian's pub quiz as: Clockwork! Congratulations to you - your award looks excellent! If you would like to take part in the next pub quiz, Tusky plans to set another one up in autumn. Feel free to participate, Exilian users and visitors, enjoyed the last quiz - we hope you will too.

We have lots to get to, please read on!

Always, make sure you: 'Enjoy your stay!'.

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Game Development
    • The Game Is ON
    • Balbor’s Tides of the Old World
    • Warcrafthero’s Iazyges mod
    • New updates on Tourney
    • KurdishNomad’s Prince Caspian units
  • Arts & Writing
    • Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow – A Norbayne Campaign Log
    • Sharing My Music and Sound Effects – Over 2000 Tracks by Eric Matyas
  • Miscellany
    • And Another Thing (Silly/Quirky News Thread)
    • Cool things on the Open Web


GAME DEV


The Game is ON


What English idiom might involve a warning sign, a gale, and a tall building? Or how about a set of four boats and a large pile of peaches? Can you work out what number to phone to get some rest at the end of a shift, or what order a set of night-time photos should go in? You can find the answers to all of these and more in the Game is ON!

In this new project from Bigosaur, creator of great games like Son of a Witch and Windmill Kings. In this new game, Boris, a confused southeastern European trying to learn English, needs your help to discover English idioms cunningly hidden through a range of quirky puzzle levels. As you play through the game you will also be able to find puzzle pieces cunningly hidden in each level, enough of which will unlock even more idiom puzzles for you to discover. Some puzzles also have tricks that allow you to complete them in more or fewer moves, which can unlock even more puzzle piece options. The Game is ON!





Balbor's Tides of the Old World


In this awesome new project, Balbor is working on a big new rules supplement and expansion for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying's Second Edition, to allow players a great deal more fun and adventure on the high seas! Rather than sea travel just being a route from point A to point B, there are a great number of perils out on the ocean from sea monsters to dark elf corsairs and Lucciniese pirate companies, and different characters and their vessels may have a wide range of ways to deal with them.

The eventual project is hoped to include naval rules for all the major factions in the Warhammer world, as well as the detailed rules for naval combat which are at the heart of the game and possible later expansions to allow aerial combat and dragons to interact with the ship combat rules. If you're a WFRP player, or if you want inspiration for how to do ship combat in any other RPG setting that you favour, this project will be well worth checking out.





Warcrafthero's Iazyges mod

Yet another new project in this issue, from the old Rome Total War mod forges. A number of planned factions were cut from the original plans for Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, notably the White Huns and the Moors - but there were also a few files left in for three additional factions: the Iazyges, Marcomanni and Quadi.


The Izayges, the easternmost of these, were a Sarmatian people with many mounted warriors who migrated west to the Danube, and fought with Rome in Trajan's wars against Dacia before a number of wars with Rome in the second and third centuries. The Marcomanni, who had a powerful kingdom in what is now Bohemia, fought against Rome in the time of Marcus Aurelius, making them the presumed enemy in the battle at the start of Gladiator: they Christianised in the fourth century but are little heard of thereafter. The Quadi, meanwhile, occupied an area somewhat southeast of the Marcomanni and were closely associated with them, and were likely among the many Germanic peopls who crossed the Danube and founded new kingdoms in the fifth century.

Warcrafthero has worked to add these factions back to the game, replacing the Burgundii, Langobards and Roxolani. They have full unit rosters and appropriate starting locations, and allow players to replay the later history of these fascinating and oft forgotten peoples. There are a number of other minor changes in this mod too including the ability for Alemanni, Celts and Saxons to become a horde and a new repurposed model for the Celtic Kerns. Click below to find out more!





New Updates from Tourney

Tourney, the indie jousting sim from Tusky, continues to grow and take shape! In this game, you get to design your tournament field, host competitions - perhaps with a finger on the scales here or there - and watch as knights prosper or fail, prove their worth or slink off in embarrassment. Along the way there will be apothecaries, roast hogs, cheering peasants, jesters, shrubberies, and everything else you'd expect from a proper contest of chivalry and honour.


Recent updates have included the lovely new stables shown above, as well as a new improved armour type for knights, and a new event management menu to help you keep track of the archery, melee, and jousting contests that you set off around your tournament ground. The environment design for new levels has also begun with a hilltop castle for the Avalon location which will be revealed in the coming months, so there's tons yet to look forward too. The devlog thread also contains numerous interesting side-pontifications from our resident medievalists so if you're interested in seeing how ideas about the medieval and games fit together, or just want to watch this brilliant and very funny game come into shape, it's very well worth a look!




KurdishNomad's Prince Caspian units


Jubal's Narnia: Total War is one of the most in-depth and complete fantasy mods for Rome Total War 1.5 - and now, new Exilian member KurdishNomad has stepped in to create a new Prince Caspian Units Patch for the game. He's working to produce a more filmic experience by providing alternative unit skins and models that match those in the Prince Caspian movie. This has included a number of beautiful new creations, including not only adapted centaurs and satyrs but also fauns and even a mighty gryphon to allow the Narnians to truly rule the skies.

These epic additions will make one of the most lovingly crafted mod additions to the Rome: Total War engine even mroe beautiful, and will allow players to experience the movie-style battles and experiences far better than in any previous versions. If you're a fan of fantasy and of Total War, this is definitely one patch not to miss.




ARTS AND WRITING


Exclusive - only at Exilian: Seven Stones and a Pale Shadow - A Norbayne Campaign Log

This is session three of this brilliant series. Set in a mystical and carefully described land, there are a group of people travelling. But where to? What for? The excellent authors behind this story did not envision the direction the storyline took but were really happy with the final story " I guess part of this may be down to how the character dynamic developed in an opposite fashion in this one. In the previous two sessions, the characters were separate and then met and came together. In this game however, all three were well known to each other, and then spent most of the session pursuing their own individual goals.". Each character is described in colour and really show their true qualities amongst their otherwise tough exteriors. The authors have even hinted an opinion "As an aside, I love _______. What an absolute nightmare of a character." - can you guess which character this is?

Check out the full story here....





Sharing My Music and Sound Effects - Over 2000 Tracks by Eric Matyas


There are so many different music media providers, with subscription fees and sample tracks - but Exilian's Eric Matyas will create his music and share it with you for free. From futuristic sounds to carefully pieced together clips which you can listen to and share with others. There are looped songs that you can listen to because we know you'll really enjoy these sounds. From Winter In An Alien City to Dreaming in Digital - there is absolutely something here for you. If you like the tracks, be sure to let us know in the comments below and on Eric's website!

On Eric's Fantasy 11 page:
THE LAND OF LOST HOPE – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/fantasy-11/

On Eric's History page:
ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/ancient/

And Eric's my Sci-Fi 9 page:
WINTER IN AN ALIEN CITY – (Looping)
https://soundimage.org/sci-fi-9/





MISCELLANY


And Another Thing (Silly / Quirky News Thread)

Across the internet, there are so many unusual stories out there. Jubal recently posted one on our "And Another Thing" (Silly/Quirky News Thread). In the digital world, security is everything. So is access to confidential data, worth...absolutely priceless amounts. On September 15th 2020, Jubal found an article about the former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott - and how his passport number was found on the most unlikely places there are...
 
Did you know that a boarding pass is not only a door to your destination, but also contains data a hacker could use to identify the most sensitive data which belongs to you? Unknowingly, Tony Abbott posted his boarding pass with a caption, to Instagram for his followers. Finding data from the boarding pass, such as the booking reference: this was used to log in to manage flights etc. A hacker known as "Alex" is able to find out all of your booking details, just by accessing your boarding pass and logging into your account with the flight provider.

And please, when you are on Instagram or any other social media channel: be sure to protect your data. All it takes is one piece of information to intercept even a former Prime Minister!







Cool things on the Open Web

Gardening is a big hobby at the moment for many people! It is a great way to get involved with nature, make a better environment for you and all kinds of animals. Here is a fantastic blog about the different varieties of flowers, creative ways to grow produce using plastic bottles, and even recipes!

If you've never really been into gardening, now is the time to get growing! No matter what space you have available, there are so many things you can plant and grow - such as herbs, flowers, even watercress for your meals!

At times when you might not know what to do, visiting this blog could unlock several ideas for you. And do not forget, Exilian has its own gardening and food forums to visit! Happy gardening!








It is now Autumn, unbelievably so. We will see you soon, in Winter. We're looking forward to it, hopefully you've enjoyed the newsletter and we look forward to the next edition! Stay well!

5
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 11, 2020, 07:34:23 PM »
marvellous

6
General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:22:47 AM »
You're welcome Clockwork! Super award too! :)

7
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:14:46 AM »
light

8
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 09, 2020, 08:48:59 AM »
happy

9
General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 09, 2020, 08:44:21 AM »
 :) Congratulations Clockwork! That was tricky, well done to you!

And once again, Tusky, cool quiz!  :) Thank you for putting this together!


10
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 04:58:28 PM »
similar

11
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 01:13:58 PM »
dearest

12
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 08, 2020, 08:32:12 AM »
endearing

13
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 07, 2020, 05:08:07 PM »
confectioner

14
The Welcome Hall - Start Here! / Re: Ahoy beardlings
« on: September 07, 2020, 05:02:12 PM »
Hi Balbor, welcome-back :) looking forward to your projects as well!

15
Forum Games - The Beer Cellar! / Re: Word Association
« on: September 07, 2020, 11:54:36 AM »
assortment

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10