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Peripheral Preternatural

Long ago and far away, I started to mull over how cultures outside of "the Western world" would view the preternatural, in-game (particularly when I noticed that the old legends of Hopping Ghosts had little to do with Euro vampires). I noticed that back in the day, real-world Europeans seemed to deal with the supernatural in a more appeasing way -- Fairies were referred to as "the good neighbors" (sucky roommates, but great neighbors), and if some Viking or Roman went out into the spooky woods, they often wouldn't try to ward off the resident swamp demons, but instead would treat it like they were guests entering the swamp demons' homes. Obviously, in the last 2,000 years or so, your standard superstitious Euro has leaned more towards the "warding off" attitude. This seems to fit pretty well with the eras that the in-game preternatural world was tied in with the in-game mundane world (note how many werewolf terms are nicked from the Vikings and Romans), and the eras that the preternatural were spurned.

In doing a casual broad-strokes glance over the Far East (yes, yes, I know. At least I'm more accurate about it than LKH is), it seemed that most folks would take the appeasing stance over the warding stance, thus my notion that the preternatural are more accepted there.

Ok! With that in mind, does anyone have any clue how it'd probably be for other areas of the world? Say, India? The Middle East? Africa? Oceania? South America? Do the modern real-world superstitious folks who go out into the deep dark woods tend to take a more warding "protect me" stance, or a more appeasing "Hi, I'm just passing through" stance?


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Feb. 9th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
When I was last looking at making a vampire, it occurred to me that the Far East was really an unexplored area. It also occurred to me that the religions there have a large amount of common ground, and tend to believe in people who hang around after enlightenment to guide others towards enlightenment. It didn't take too much effort to think 'vampire = boddhisatva', and from there I ran with it.

In the background of my character, it was the Westerners who hated and feared; the peoples (and particularly peasants) of India, Tibet, China and Japan were mostly neutral to friendly, and a holy Maharishi on pilgrimage was never short of somewhere to die for the day. When the character chose to settle near a friendly village in Bengal he was sought for his wisdom and teachings, and in return for having a wise man nearby to settle disputes, judge the guilty and lead the way to enlightenment the villagers donated blood. Over time, the character was even advisor to one of the more open-minded Islamic rulers (I reckoned that the Islamic faith would be rather more anti-vampire, but when the Islamic Mughals ruled a mostly-Hindu population, traditions would creep across after a few generations - and wise holy men are often welcome).

Regions can vary, of course, and villages and people can vary too; the character was always careful to travel in friendly areas and approach those of compatable faiths, and to behave as a holy man of his initial caste should (though he was behaving naturally, rather than pretending). He was also from an India of the days before the Westerners arrived; their attitudes and growing influence forced the character out of the Far East and off around the world, where he met vampires (not Maharishi) for the first time.
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