03 August 2014

Need a quick scenario? Stuff You Can Use

One of my weapons is a magnificent book: the Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. Now I'm a folklorist generally, which is why I got the book, but I realized that it's a terrific tool for gaming. Alright, let me open the book to a random page, five times. I'm going to take the first motif listed on the second page revealed:

* Egg curing. This is a folk medicine technique wherein an uncooked egg is rubbed over the patient's naked body. If used to dissipate fever or evil curses, the malady is supposedly sucked into the egg, and it's then buried in a stream.  (I'd wager that it'd be bad to cook the egg and eat it.  Something might be made of that.)  If used for diagnostic purposes, the egg is split open and examined by a haruspex.

* Moonstone. An examination of the folkloric properties of moonstone; its divinatory properties, that in some cultures it brings good luck, that in others it brings terrible luck if it isn't your birthstone.

* Soul-bird. A bird born in the forest at the same moment an infant is born, and the fate of the one depends on the fate of the other.

* Lauma. The New Guinean belief that a soul leaves a man at death and has an independent existence thereafter, something that can also happen temporarily, causing illness in the living person.

* Eagle dance. An Indian dance mimicking an eagle's flight, often associated with weather or battle magic.

There. Anyone who can't whip up an evocative scenario incorporating all of those elements isn't trying hard.

(The book's out of print, but you can find it in abundance on Amazon for as low as $8.  That's less than you'd pay for a hamburger at a restaurant these days.  Heck, you can even find the 1949 edition for sale.)

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