Monday, April 23, 2007

Victorian Horror Beast - Werewolves of London

I love to read and I always have a book that I am currently reading. Most of the time, that book is a "work book" - that is, it is a book I read at work when I have free time. What makes a work book different from any other book is that I tend to avoid reading my work book when I am not at work. This is for no particular reason other than it makes the book last longer because my available reading time is much shorter at work than at home.

My current work book is Heroes of Horror, a D&D supplement about utilizing horror in your game. I love horror and the grotesque, after the style of Dante, and I am thoroughly enjoying the book. Some of the examples are ripe for the picking (such as the jealous bard who is slitting the throats of other singers) and some inspire wildly different details (such as the one I will detail). The more technical explanations, such as the various types of horror villains and their typical motivations, are also of great use to me.

On to today's topic:

While reading through a selection of example plot lines, I had an idea that had little or nothing to do with the particular example I was reading (so much so that I have completely forgotten the example).

The scene: A Victorian town with subtle airs of steampunk. A young woman and bemoustached gentleman are chatting in a doorway at dusk. The clocktower bell sounds and a mixture of fear and alarm washes over their faces. The woman hurries inside the home while the man, gripping his cane in one hand and holding down his tophat with the other, makes all due haste down the street towards his own home as the clock continues to sound. Once inside, he takes the stairs two and three at a time, throwing his hat and cane aside as he ascends. The clock continues to sound. He lunges for his bedroom door just before the clocktower falls silent. The door automatically slams shut behind him and emits the unmistakable whirring of gears. He is now locked inside his room until the clocktower sounds the sunrise.

Why? Because a curse holds this town hostage. Each night, one member of the community transforms into a horrid beast that seeks nothing less than the final rest of all its fellows. Anyone failing to sequester himself within his locked and armored room is at the mercy of the bloodthirsty creature. Come the morning, the locks will disengage and life will return to normal for all but the poor soul who transformed. He will have to remove his damaged furniture and replace it.

Scenes such as the above are typical of my creations. There are many unanswered questions and, in fact, many variations of the same idea. I have thought of the same scenario taking place in space and in a mental hospital. I have thought of the poor people being locked away not only to protect themselves from the wandering beast, but also to prevent the beast from wandering in the first place (in the case that the beast possesses enough intelligence and dexterity to endanger its prey without physically touching them, such as setting fire to their homes or disengaging the airlock/damaging the life support systems of the ship).

And with that, my obligation for today's post is met.

1 comment:

Eldric IV said...

I cannot access my blog's administrative functions from work due to the web filter. Ergo, I cannot add new posts. However, the stupid web filter does not block me from reading or commenting on my own blog so I can add content through comments and change them over to actual posts later.

The following idea came about while reading the section on Dreams and Nightmares in Heroes of Horror.

Idea - A race of humanoids that are very closely connected to their dreams and the dream world. Through physical contact, they can enter another's dreamscape. If both are sleeping while in contact, they jointly create a dreamscape wherein neither is dominant to the other (entering another's dreamscape puts you somewhat under his control as it is his dream). This linking in the dreamscape is of utmost importance to their marital relation. Husband and wife spend, essentially, every waking and dreaming moment with each other. An intense bond of empathy and love develops from and is sustained by this daytime and dreamtime contact. Permission to sleep in physical proximity to one of these creatures is extended only to the most intimate of relations (best friends, family, and lovers) due to the nature of the emotional bonds created.

So powerful is this bond that, combined with the semi-reality of the dreamscape, the race procreates through dreams. In the physical world, they possess no external genitalia. Within the shared dreamscape of a husband and wife, however, the pair is able to reshape their bodies and mate. This act results in the female becoming impregnated in the physical world.

These creatures, because they retain consciousness even while unconscious and in the dreamscape, would have radically different outlooks on life. They are highly learned and experienced as they get nearly if not truly a 24 hour day every day.