Fantasy Races Workshop! Alright, I'm here to give you all a lovely workshop on some of the lesser-known fantasy races. I'm not going to bother with Elves and Dwarves and Vampires because, frankly, there is way too much debate there. I could be talking about tiny Keebler Elves or Legolas. There is too much variation because they are so well known, so I'm going to assume that you all don't need to be informed on what they are. Hopefully you'll come away from this workshop learning something new and maybe even inspire a new character! First up we've got the Manticore. This ugly beast has the body of a lion (typically a red lion), a human head with three rows of teeth (Yes, I did say three! Think shark!), and the tail of a scorpion. Some tales also say the creature is winged, as if it needed to get any more scary points. The tail is used to shoot poisonous darts that can paralyze a victim and make them easy prey. Manticores are originally Persian, and the name literally meant man-eater. I guess that was before women got the title. Manticore (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Manticore (open) Manticore (close) Next up, we have the Cyclops. Now, I'm sure that we all know the Cyclops is a giant with one eye. Anybody who watched Hercules as a kid could tell you that. But did you know that the myth may have started from blacksmiths wearing an eyepatch while working, to prevent flying sparks from getting on both eyes? Apparently sacrificing just one was fine, but they saved the other. I assume that the damaged eye was taken out or just covered after the blacksmith could no longer use it. However, that is just one theory. It is also said that Zeus set three Cyclopes free from Tartarus (The big jail pit in the Underworld. You would know this if you watched Wrath of the Titans.) and the three provided Zeus with his thunderbolt, Hades with his invisibility helmet, and Poseidon with his trident. Cyclops (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Cyclops (open) Cyclops (close) Let's move on to the Nymphs. Now, there are a lot of different Nymph species. Water, trees, Nympho.. I'm kidding. Seriously, though, talking about every sort of Nymph would be an entire workshop in itself. So, I'll just give you a basic outline of the facts for every species. They are generally described as not being able to leave a certain area, whether it be a specific tree or an entire river. Nymphs are said to be beautiful, young, and most of all, female. There are no male Nymphs in Greek mythology (which is where they originated). I have, however, seen male Dryads (tree Nymphs) in several books and roleplays. They are generally described as shy and elusive - perfect for all of you who enjoy playing a proper damsel! Nymph (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Nymph (open) Nymph (close) The Satyr. Surprisingly, this creature was not always the half-goat that we've come to know. Originally, Satyrs were in the form of a man, with pointed ears like an Elf and long curly hair, with a full beard to match. They are typically male. They often wore ivy wreaths, as was usual in the Greek culture. Satyrs didn't start getting goatish until the myth mixed with the Roman myth of Faunus. His mirror in Greek mythology would be Pan, who you are likely more familiar with. Bacchus, the Greek god responsible for those wild Bacchanal parties, is said to be the 'divine sponsor of Satyrs'. Satyr babies and children appear in many artworks, even drinking alcohol and dancing. Clearly the Greeks weren't winning Parent of the Year at the time. Satyr. Warning! This statue has manparts! (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Satyr. Warning! This statue has manparts! (open) Satyr. Warning! This statue has manparts! (close) But Layne, why stop at two hooves when you can have four?! Right you are, imaginary audience! I present to you, the Centaur. Torso of a man, body of a horse. Unfortunately for all of you who don't want to bed a horse, Centaurs seem to have the same problem that Mermaids do - their lower halves aren't made for human use. A pity, since most renderings of the Centaur are very attractive. According to myth, Centaurs were very wild and untamable - worse than horses due to their ability to speak and intelligently resist the humans. They are noted as barbaric and unridable. This is obviously not the case in Harry Potter. Centaurs can be either gender and have any human/horse appearance that you can imagine. Centaur (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Centaur (open) Centaur (close) Medusa is not a race. If you say 'I'm going to make a Medusa!' then I will duct tape your lips shut. Medusa is a specific woman who was a Gorgon. Now, how she got that way has a few different variations. Some believe that she was born a Gorgon and had two sisters of the same variety. Others say that Medusa was a beautiful woman who had sex with Poseidon in one of the temples devoted to Athena, and in retaliation, Athena cursed Medusa with the Gorgon looks and effects. Either way, the end result is the same. If you look at a Gorgon, you're not going to be moving for a long time. They are occasionally described as having wings, clawas and tusks, but more commonly you'll hear about the fangs and scales. One thing is for certain - this myth is not a friendly one. Gorgon (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Gorgon (open) Gorgon (close) Since we're already in the unfriendly zone, let's move on to Redcaps. These nasty little buggers murder people and dye their hats with the blood of their victims. If the hat dries, they die, so it's a constant string of murder for these guys. They are fast, supposedly unable to be outrun - so I don't recommend letting one see you. Their preferred weapon is an iron pike, and they are said to have clawed fingers and very sharp teeth. This myth is said to live along the border of England and Scotland. I guess I won't be walking through that area any time soon! Redcap (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Redcap (open) Redcap (close) Contrary to the Redcap, the English have also come up with a myth called the Bluecap. These are actually quite lovely creatures in comparison. They are said to live in mines, with the appearance of small blue flames. If miners respect them and treat them well, the Bluecaps will supposedly lead them to rich deposits of the minerals that they seek. It is also said that they will warn miners of cave-ins before they happen, giving them enough time to escape with their lives. Bluecap (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Bluecap (open) Bluecap (close) Next up we'll take a look at Brownies. No, I'm not talking about those delicious chocolate squares, or even the small girls that come around asking for cookie orders once a year. This is another Scottish/English myth. Perhaps it'd be more familiar if I mentioned the book The Shoemaker's Helpers? These small creatures enjoy doing housework, but they don't like to be seen doing it. Personal opinion: They're shy. They work at night and are usually gifted with food or small trinkets in return. A lack of respect and they'll leave the house to find another one. I really wish I had a group of these in my house! Brownie (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Brownie (open) Brownie (close) I found two versions of our next creature, the Ovinnik. One source claims that it is a malevolent spirit who likes burning down the storage building filled with grain. The only way to get him to contain his pyro tendencies was to offer him roosters and a thin sort of pancake called bliny. In this version, having an Ovinnik touch you on New Year's Eve decided how your entire year was going to go. If the touch was warm, you'd have good luck and good fortune. Cold touch, you're going to be miserable and probably poor. In the second version, the Ovinnik is still prone to anger. It barks like a dog even though it looks like a big black cat, but if you neglect it, it'll start eating your livestock. Omnomnom. Ovinnik (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Ovinnik (open) Ovinnik (close) Okay! Those are just 10 races. There are many, many more out there for you to discover this month! Feel free to search around and find one that you really enjoy! If enough people ask for it, I may do a part II to this workshop later in the month. Enjoy!