Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Anatomy of a Horror Setting #20: Things Never Human

There are more things between Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. That is unless you're one of the ones to dream of such things. Or such a thing comes visiting. Once ghosts come up in the setting, especially the more spiritual kind, then another door is opened. The door is a question. What else is out there? Are there demons or devils? Are there things that are neither, or less definable and outside of more religious views? The choice can be to use none, one type of thing, or several things that aren't and never were human in addition to the more human parapsychological beings. Using more than one type immediately spawns a host of questions and decisions about the interaction between the potentially disparate groups.

The author of a setting has to define the inhuman supernatural forces first before getting to the connections and the tangled skein of relationships between entities. Biblical forces of evil are the easiest to make use of since so much information has been written already. Of course literature and Hollywood have their stamps all over the subject as well. There are different tacks to take in dealing with them as story elements. Do such infernal beings act independently or are they forced to work through proxies, including possessed victims? Within possession there are two apparent lines of thought that come to mind. Sometimes there is only one force involved in the possession. In others by default there has to be more than one entity involved in a possession.

The roles played by entities--sometimes identified as their own group--and beings from beyond the realm of human understanding can be the same as spirits, or the same as the psychics. They also can represent yet another layer, or complication to the setting. This new wrinkle has the potential to really make the setting diverge in a different direction, one that the setting's creator may wish to ignore. Some of these creatures may possess magic. Magic is differentiated from psychic ability past a certain level by being able to do just about anything. With the right kind of setting focus magic might also be something available to anyone. It can be an equaliser against the power of psychics. The addition of magic certainly changes the game and maybe in unwanted ways.

Mood: tired.
Music: If That's What You Want by Twisted Sister and Climb by No Doubt.

Twisted Sister: Love is for Suckers
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No Doubt: Tragic Kingdom

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