It’s a special time in your young Merfolk life, you’ve come of age, a time of great change when you’ll find out what kind of person you’ll be. Humans undergo the same sort of changes both mentally and physically and we know it can be a difficult time. Though, it would be an oversight not to acknowledge what we go through is not quite to the same degree of what you have to worry about. It’s now time for you to do as others of your kind have done for generations. Your amphibious nature and ancient ties to humanity mean you have a very important choice to make soon – do you rejoin the human race on the surface, or remain with the rest of your kind under the sea?
As such, as a representative of humanity, I’m here to help you along and show you a few things you’re going to need to know when you come here to the surface. Luckily, you already seem to be off to a good start, as you’re reading this article on what I imagine to be a waterproof phone you’ve been keeping in a cave or a laptop that managed to not be destroyed when a yacht went down. Either way, you’ve somehow managed an internet connection and that shows a degree of savvy that will get you far up here. But one of the great problems ahead of you is the fact that some of the information you’ve likely been given is…inaccurate, at best. For instance, this:
The Centaur, once a vital part of society, now relegated to the fringes of civilization due to circumstances beyond their control. Though one would suspect it were the fact they literally walk around as a half-horse who could be recognized from a distance, the truth is that the world has long ago abandoned a need for raw, natural horsepower. Though still appreciated by your lady friends, few tasks in this world truly require the work of a stallion anymore. Yes, while the horse is still sometimes used for a variety of tasks as a matter of tradition or for the simple joy of owning one of these magnificent beasts, few Centaur can appreciate the same status in today’s world. Why, it’s been generations since anyone would ride a Centaur in public without an exchange of money – particularly in seedy bars south of the border.
And because of this, the life of a privileged Centaur has become a dull and isolated existence. Generations of doing heavy lifting no other race could accomplish has managed to make your family quite wealthy, even comfortable. Certainly some Centaur still work, deep in some Gnome’s mine or on a Kappa’s cucumber farm. But such menial labor is no longer a part of your family’s life, things are good for you. Still, you yearn for something else, something is missing in your life. Being waited on hand and hoof has made your life terribly uneventful as you lounge your days away on the private Mediterranean property passed down through your family for generations. Your parents insists that this is merely a phase, but you know what lies in your hearts.
Gardening, it’s a surprisingly complex field of work for something that most people just take on as a hobby. In today’s high stress world a lot of people take on gardening as a method to unwind. The slow, gradual process of tending to a garden and watching it grow can give you hours of productive work to do that doesn’t actually require a great deal of thinking, worrying, or bickering with coworkers. As such, many people, including the psyche major working in human resources, have recommended that you should take up gardening as a method of staving off the strain of your soul-crushing job. However, after only a short time, you’ve realized something’s gone terribly wrong.
The act of growing a living thing that only requires sunlight, water, and soil should be a simple task. But anyone who has ever tried it knows that it’s filled with hidden pitfalls and challenges. You may have planted in the wrong location, over-watered, under-watered, failed to properly fertilize, or trimmed it in the wrong way. Any number of these can lead to having a dead plant in your garden. And, for some of us, it’s fortunate that plants aren’t sentient or we’d be serial killers.
But one of the greatest challenges of gardening is pest control. Pests, whether they be bugs, small animals, or simply children, are the sworn enemy of a thriving garden and will generally require you to bring out the poison. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work, with some bugs being resistant and children being illegal to poison. And for those exceptions it can take a trickier approach that may involve organic solutions or even grabbing some sort of psychological device like a tiny scarecrow or a dog that hates small kids. However, should it turn out that you can’t manage to make anything grow, it may not just be that you’re terrible with plants, you may have a pest you didn’t account for.
From time to time, everyone gets lonely. Unlike others you know who have formed tightly knit groups, you have always just kind of tended to be a solitary soul. Frankly, it’s hard to deal with people on a regular basis. You’re not exactly the social butterfly. You’ve never been very outgoing, certainly could never be described as an extrovert, and sometimes you’d prefer if everyone just left you alone. But sometimes, even someone like you could use some company. Unfortunately, you’re an Ogre – and not the civilized kind.
Yes, a lot of Orcs and Ogres have kept up with modern times, but you’re not one of those. You’ve managed to somehow fall behind the curve and it has greatly impacted your social life as the rest of the world passed you by and took your friends with it. Once upon a time you were fairly standard for an Ogre, but several of your friends have long ago settled down with a nice woman who has gotten them into shape. In fact, since then, they haven’t really come by your place that much either. At first you thought they were sick, but they’ve clearly decided she smells better than you do – not that it was much of a contest.
This makes things tricky. Simply being an introvert or anti-social is a hard enough mountain to climb. But an anti-social backwater Ogre? Even the ice breakers generally involve a lot more screaming than you’re willing to tolerate. You can’t remember the last time you invited someone to dinner where the guest didn’t bring a pitchfork. And let’s not forget the shed. Frankly, you’re a little surprised that so many women were interested enough to get there. Maybe it was the intimidation factor, the wealth, your reputation, or that fabulous beard – it’s kind of hard to tell.
Regardless, now that the season of parties is upon us, you’re looking to make some invitations and try again. If you’re ever going to get back in touch with your brethren, you’re going to have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, this time, nothing will get set on fire… Continue reading Being A Modern Ogre→
Being a giant can be a rough, lonely experience. In a world simply not built for you, some things just have to be accepted. You’ll always have to purchase two seats on an airplane. No bicycle is meant to withstand your weight. Doorways will forever require you to duck before you can enter any room. There are ways around this, but for the most part you’re just going to have to get a lot of custom work done.
But that’s fine, in the modern world getting something custom made can be as easy as finding the right people to do something for you. If you have the will and the money, someone will have the way. But it’s not enough to simply run to Etsy, you’re going to want to get the best. More than anyone, you know that things in this world are not made to last, so how about things meant for someone like you?
Golems, nature’s most huggable landslides. Often upstanding members of the community, these gentle rock hard giants give new meaning to the description “cut like granite”. But with their stony exterior comes a severe problem. As the summer sun comes around and it’s time for everyone to show off their beach body, you’re left wondering if you can really be presentable. Dry, scaly skin is one thing, but skin with the same texture as the beach you’re standing on just might be too much.
After all, in today’s climate you just can’t risk looking natural. In the age of spray-on tans, wrinkle creams directed at 20 somethings, and cosmetic procedures designed to make you look like a doll – flaws are unacceptable. Once upon a time it was unusual to look like a Barbie doll, but now people are paying for it. And, let’s be honest, you never thought you’d live to see the day where people could honestly have a debate on whether or not someone got butt implants.
So let’s go ahead and attack that nasty skin problem of yours, shall we? And remember, only do some of these if you’re a Golem because they would just be stupid otherwise.
In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week we cover:
Brought to life with sacred rites by holy men in need, the Golem is a symbol of divine protection. As time goes on, these creatures have evolved from simple living clay statues to elementals willed to life by a variety of means. However they’re depicted, these creatures stand as guardians over those who have summoned them and the people of their community.
But where would the Jewish have gotten the idea to bring to life earthen figures? How would they know that such a feat were possible? Why is it that they were so sure such a spell would work when few miracles of this sort did not involve actual intervention from the heavens?
The Muses, guiding the human race since the dawn of civilization and showing us the path to grand new ideas. Throughout the history of mankind we’ve called on them for their inspiration and wisdom. This has led us from living in simple huts to constructing glistening towers of glass and steel. We’ve gone from struggling to tame animals to being able to surpass their talents with powerful machines. We’ve achieved things never dreamed of, reaching an age of endless wonder and scientific miracles.
But sometimes those Muses are not doing it with our best interests at heart. For every story of inspiration out there, there have been just as many stories of tortured and tormented minds, chasing a dream. Writers, artists, and great thinkers throughout history have been consumed by their goals and driven to the brink of madness. Some of them have turned to drugs. Others have become isolated loners with severe social issues. The stereotype has long held that the most brilliant of minds are often also the most unhappy. This can certainly be blamed on the Muses.
Why do they do this to us? Is it because they have a sinister goal to consume us? Do they want to profit from our hard work and leave us shattered people in their wake? Are we just really neurotic monkey people who happen to need a scapegoat for the fact we sometimes lose our minds once we’re stuck on a thought?
We may never know the answer to these questions. But what we do know is that, when the Muse is upon you, she may drive you to your limits. Certainly you’ve felt it: the thinning patience, the build of stress, doubts and fears beginning to creep through your mind. It’s time to learn how to deal with the Muse, before she destroys you! Continue reading Coping With A Pushy Muse→
The days are growing shorter and the humans are starting to act a little strange again. You’re seeing them hang skeletons in their windows, corpses on their lawns, and they’re buying pumpkins in bulk. And let’s not even get started on what else they’ve been doing with the pumpkins.
But the one thing that truly intrigues you is the idea of this Halloween they do every year. Sure, you were around when it was called the Samhain, but now they’ve gone and made it more fun and less solemn. You can get to drink, eat ridiculous foods that shouldn’t exist, and play games with complete strangers. And, best of all, for the first time all year – you’ll fit right in! Yes, the costumes are on the way and that means you can disguise yourself as something completely different.
Just one problem, the costume choices aren’t doing it for you. You spend all year being a little… quirky, so you really don’t need to be doing it again for Halloween. The standard vampire, werewolf, zombie and grim reaper options are pretty mundane as far as your day-to-day goes. It’s time to go wild, go crazy, and do something really wild. May I suggest to you the perfect costume: normal people. Continue reading Dressing Up Like A Human→
Life is full of challenges, everyone can tell you that. One day you may be on top of the world only to find yourself waking up the next day with signs of a nosebleed and a complete inability to remember where you left your pants. This is normal, or at least as normal as some people can get, so all we can ever really do is learn to live with the random things that may befall us in our lives. But not all things that could happen to us are random acts of nature or stupidity. No, some things are coming to challenge you directly and aren’t going to just let you brush them of. When that happens, are you ready to face your inner demons? Or even your outer demons?
Case in point: swimming or even walking on the waterfront can be dangerous. Sure, you’re probably thinking about things like undertow, flash floods, and not being beach body ready. But there are bigger things to consider, worse things to deal with, you’re going to need to be ready for the real threat of the deep. And the question is: when that happens, are you ready for the ultimate challenge?