February 23, 2018, 12:55:05 AM

Author Topic: Fantasy material from Northeast Europe  (Read 133 times)

Offline Yora

Fantasy material from Northeast Europe
« on: December 04, 2017, 07:24:36 PM »
I've stepped back from my barbarian treasure hunters on dinosaurs idea for the time being and instead aim for something that is more in line with the kinds of stories I actually read and watch the most. Which would basically be Noir in a fantasy world.

And somewhat to my own surprise, I am actually warming up to the idea of setting it in a world that draws its main influences for culture and environment from the various lands around the Baltic Sea in northeast Europe (Germany, Poland, the Baltics, Russia, Finland). I always liked the idea of doing something based on my local culture and Noir might be the one solitary thing for which our tepid drabness is actually an asset.  :D You could reasonably describe it as Vikings without all the cool stuff, but the Byzantine and Mongol influences from the south and east spice it up in ways that most people have never encountered before.

Thing is, even as a local with great interest in the subject, I don't really know that much about the historic and mythological elements from the region that would make for good fantasy material. Scandinavian and British material is so much more known and accessible. But that's also been done a thousand times (in this case certainly literally) and I am looking for more stuff that might perhaps just unconsciously a baltic atmosphere.

The one mythological creature that I know which I think is really a genuinely local thing are the necks, in their countless different spellings. Necks appear as young women swimming in lakes and river. They lure people to them who then find a sad end by drowning.
The baltic basin is a vast expanse of sand deposited and spread out flat by the glaciers of the Ice Ages, which makes the whole region very swampy and full of ponds and small rivers. And there is always something sinister about black bottomed ponds and they were often used to send sacrifices into the underworld.

A curious side effect of these swamps is that they are often completely lacking in oxygen which makes decay and corrosion more or less impossible. Corpses can be extremely well preserved for thousands of years and still appear very life-like.  There are a few in the British Isles, but it really seems to be a phenomenon primarily of the Baltic region. Bog wights totally have to be a thing.  ;)

Sadly I don't really have much more than that. Do you have any ideas for other local references I could draw from?
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Fantasy material from Northeast Europe
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 09:24:01 PM »
As a local, you have a huge advantage over everyone else, which is that you're right on the spot. Hit up your local museums, tourist and less-touristy sights, and definitely hit your local library. Tell the librarian what you're interested in. There will be local, on-the-spot resources that the rest of us have no idea about. At the very least, you will get some idea of things to look up and read more about.

Offline Peat

Re: Fantasy material from Northeast Europe
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2017, 08:56:41 AM »
I'm afraid to say the only things I really have to offer here are the whole "Google it!" and a few scraps of myth, many of which are fairly similar to Norse.

Still, there are some interesting figures, particularly Veles. And some fun stuff that can be done with the Bogatyrs, Leshii and Domovoi, the story of Koschei the Deathless... but I can't say more than that. And that feels like obvious stuff.
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