This is RPG-ology #16: Creatures, for March 2019.
In seeking a topic for this month, I kept coming back to one covered in Game Ideas Unlimited, August 3rd, 2001, which discussed envisioning and describing fantastic creatures. I thought of rewriting the idea for this column, but as I reviewed it I was more and more persuaded that I couldn’t improve on the original. Thus I offer here a republication of
Game Ideas Unlimited:
Empiricist philosopher David Hume espoused the opinion that we can’t imagine anything we’ve never experienced.
To support his position, he adduced evidence from the descriptions of mythical creatures. The Gryphon, for instance, has the body and legs of a lion with the head and wings of an eagle. Pegasus similarly is just a horse with bird wings attached. This is a small that, that a large this. Even the dragon proved to be nothing other than a giant lizard or snake with the wings of a bird or bat.
He did concede one point: he thought it might be possible to imagine a color that was a shade between two other colors.
I don’t want to suggest that I’m smarter than David Hume; let’s say I had the advantage of a century of technological advances. It seemed to me almost immediately that that exception was a crack in the wall which would ultimately admit the flood. Read more