Posts belonging to Category Biology

On My Abrupt Generation of (Usually) Giant Monsters

Sometimes, you have time to come up with the huge nasties that dot your world. To figure out their biology, their natural enemies, what would get them in conflict with the main characters, to come up with awesome powers that make them a challenge and a description that makes everyone who so much as reads [...]

Seven Traits to Make the Monster

I spent yesterday’s post talking about things that make a monster or equivalent thereof lose my respect. Since it’s my rule to try not to post don’ts without corresponding dos, here are some things that get that respect in the first place.

Intelligence. Sure, this is an alien sort of creature, and I’m not sure I [...]

Seven Monster Traits I Can’t Take Seriously

The fun thing about fantasy worlds is that we aren’t limited to mundane opponents. The huge, the nasty, the impossible—they’re all fair game, and when they take the field, they’re bound to strike fear into all who see them. Fear… just like…. Why are you laughing?
The problem with creating new and intimidating creatures is that [...]

Enhance Your Story With Other Fields: Biology

One of the best things about writing and gaming is that they take skill synergy like almost nothing else in the world does. No matter what you do or learn, odds are that some part of it can apply to the writing desk or the game table. Sometimes it’s direct, sometimes it’s obvious when you’re [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: The Creature in the World

Over the last couple of days, I’ve talked about getting ideas for new creatures from relationships with humans that aren’t just opportunities for random monster events. Today I’m going to take the humans out of the equation, focusing instead on creatures’ relationships to the world around them.
Yes, I realize I probably lost half my gamer [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: Animals Get Metaphysical

Apparently I can’t stop talking about animals’ relationship to the humans or equivalents thereof in one’s setting.
It doesn’t need to be resource-based in nature; that’s just easier. Animals are just as good for inspiring emulation, populating legends, creating rites of passage, and otherwise filling more metaphysical and symbolic roles.
Animals have been associated with personal qualities, [...]

Ecology for Worldbuilders: Humans’ Resources

One of my favorite tricks for coming up with new species of animal is trying to figure out what uses humans would have for them. It’s two birds with one stone, after all—new animals for the world, cultural detail for the people.
And the list of physical resources humans and their ilk can get from the [...]

Ecology for Worldbuilders: The Predator Issue

People trying to design a new ecology tend to start with the predators. It’s understandable, particularly in RPG worlds; after all, half the creatures tend to be designed with the expectation that the protagonists will fight them, and it’s not quite as heroic fighting off something that only eats leaves, unless you’re trying to protect [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: Why Does It Matter?

Consider the fantasy world. Most of the time, when we experience in it, we’re being exposed to new and interesting cultures, dealing with exotic political systems, seeing the effects of magic on society, being introduced to alien creatures with an intelligence all their own, you name it. But there’s one thing that a lot of [...]

Homebrew – Bears Mentioning

Yesterday, I talked homebrew astrology. But what’s the fun in astrology if you don’t have someone to use it?
Inextricably intertwined with my homebrew variant on Exalted astrology are the Arthchwyl, a race of polar bear savants who boast a near-unparalleled gift for divination and understanding of the future.
They began with an image, which rapidly dovetailed [...]