Zombies are staples of late night horror cinema. The walking dead have shambled across the countryside for the past several decades in their never ending quest for fresh victims. Theirs is an existence dominated by the driving urge to consume living cranial matter. Humanity has but one purpose for these rotting creatures: They’re what’s for dinner!
Through years of study and practice, some people have learned to harness the powers of the universe that are outside of normal human perception.
Dolphins, porpoises, and whales have intrigued humanity for centuries and belong to the cetacean order, which is divided into three primary groups. The toothed whales (odontoceti) use their teeth to catch food. Odontoceti have one blowhole (nostril) and hunt by echolocation. Dolphins, porpoises, and 64 other species fall under this classification. Toothed whales frequently hunt, crave!, and migrate together.
When one mentions of vampires, Braham Stoker’s Dracula often comes to mind. As time passed, the genre has grown as other authors have developed the vampire’s nocturnal world, added myths of their malicious nature. This has caused great angst for the undead who stalk the world’s streets because they would prefer such things to be left in the past as it would make their existence much easier.
Superstition and legend tell of strange creatures that prowl dismal, desolate areas. Outsiders may scoff at the superstitious fools who believe in these tales, but there are those know the truth: They’ve seen these creatures with their own two eyes! Heroes might face a mythical minion of a voodoo priest. A backwater village could choose a bride (sacrifice) to offer up in exchange for their safety. One might even help a legendary creature protect its domain from poachers.
Lurking beneath the waves is an amphibious creature responsible for terrifying mariners that dare to sail the waters. Thalassines are humanoid, with scales in place of skin and webbed hands and feet. Their mouths are filled with row upon row of needle-like teeth. Their sole source of sustenance is blood; whether animal or human, they care little.
Tauntors resemble dwarfish humans, with large heads and spindly bodies. Their eyes have a yellowish cast to them, and their finger nails are long and clawlike. They appear in groups, the number of which is always a multiple of three or five.
The regal white beauty of the swan cannot be matched. These charming white-feathered birds have been seen for ages as instruments of wisdom, creativity, divine inspiration, and love. Some places, such as Finland, once considered the swan to be a holy bird. In others, it’s a form taken by supernatural beings. It’s quite likely that characters could encounter a bird endowed with supernatural abilities, such as providing a protective aura, transferring extraordinary gifts, and serving as divine messengers. The swan also has its own constellation, Cygnus (which means “swan”).
Snakes have played the pan of villains since biblical times, and few creatures have the reptile’s natural ability to evoke primal fear in humans. Snakes can be cast as familiars for occult villains or might become the vessel for a vengeful druid’s spirit. An escaped serpent could adapt to life in the sewers of a large metropolis and dominate the subterranean world of an urban jungle. Heroes might also find themselves searching the jungle for a rare snake to harvest its venom for medicinal purposes.
The aftermath of the French Revolution resulted in the formation of mass armies, which were used with great aplomb by Napoleon in his bid for Empire. The mass armies of the Napoleonic era led to the almost universal adoption of conscription by the continental European states, a tradition that is only now beginning to end in favor of professional, all-volunteer militaries. The United Kingdom, ever apart, has a tradition of a small professional military, though they did use conscription in both World Wars (and after the Second World War into the 1950s).