I’m making a vampire & werewolf story, they’re separate, on is LL on is Ink, are there any good/interesting/important facts about vampires & werewolves that I can include?
so I just learn the other day a descendant of a vampire is called a dhampir,
Although shapeshifting folklore is almost a universal in human culture (with regional variations, such as weretigers or werebears, depending on who is the most fearsome predator of the region), before movies got involved, the only canon part of werewolf legend was the part about the moon.
All the rest were invented in the cinema, including the silver bullet thing. The rest is up to you as the storyteller. Like vampires it’s a kind of “salad bar” approach. Take what myths you need for your story and ignore the rest. (Although try not to ignore everything, I’m looking at you Stephenie Meyer…)
I’ve read quite a few werewolf novels, read a lot of history and folklore material, seen as many films as I have been able. I’m a fan. If you want to bounce ideas off me, feel free to DM me.
The White Wolf “Werewolf The Apocalypse” and “Vampyre The Masquerade” RPGs have a rich mythology, but it’s their copyright, so may only be somewhat useful for inspiration. They do use a lot of the same folklore source material however.
There are lots of great books out there on the history and mythology, as well as some good and entertaining novels.
During the period from 1520 to 1630 there were over 30,000 werewolf trials in France alone. Most of the people who were tried as being werewolves were poor, and came from lowlands with elevations less than 500 feet above sea level.
A recent theory is that many of the werewolf accusations were a result of a fungus found in their rye crop. Rye bread was a staple for the poorer people of France, and after cold winters the rye developed the Ergot fungus. Unbeknownst to them, the fungus was a strong hallucinogenic. This theory contests that the werewolf hysteria was a result of mass hallucination since most of the accusers and the accused were poor. The wealthy staple was the more expensive wheat, which was immune to the Ergot fungus. This explains why the wealthy were immune from the werewolf hysteria.
Other names for werewolf include:
American Indians: limikkin or skin walkers.
Brazil: lobisomem. , also boto, a dolphin that transforms into a boy, and a uirapuru, a little brown bird that transforms into a boy.
Canada: wendigo or witiko
Chili: chonchon, a witch that transforms into a vulture.
China: Lang Ren
Ethiopia, Morocco and Tanzania: boudas, a werehyena
France: loup-garou, bisclavret
Greece: vrykolaka, a word for werewolf which is used for vampires and sorcerers also.
Haiti: loup-garou that can change into anything, both plant and animal.
Iceland: hamrammr, a shifter who changes into what it has last eaten, and gains power by eating more.
India: rakshasa, a shifter who can change into any animal it wants.
Indonesia: layak, a spirit that shift into anything
Italy: lupo manero or benandanti for people who permanently become wolves and fight witches in the underworld.
Japan: kitsune, a werefox, also the tanuki or minjina, a wereraccoon, dog or badger. In general shapeshifters are called henge.
Lithuania : vilkatas
Mexico: nahaul, a were wolf, cat, eagle or bull.
Normandy, France: lubins or lupins
Norway and Sweden: eigi einhamir
Philippines: aswang, a vampire / werewolf.
Portugal: bruxsa or cucubuth , a vampire / werewolf, the lobh omen and lobis-homems
Russia: Oborotyen, Werwolf/Verwolf, Vurdalak
Scandinavia: varulv, ulv, ulfen
South America: kanima, a jaguar-shaped spirit
Spain: hombre lobo, lupino
The Werewolf Page has loads of stuff.
Interesting (at least to me) fact:
Werewolves, unlike vampires do not have a seminal, defining literary work to draw from. In folklore there were loads of ways to become a werewolf, beyond being bitten by one. One I remember is drinking the rainwater that collects in the footprint of a wolf. Important safety tip, kids!
And, although Dracula is the definitive seminal vampire novel, it isn’t even the very first example of vampire literature. But it did establish a whole lot of rules.
That claim to fame goes to Doctor John William Polidori (7 September 1795 – 24 August 1821) who wrote “The Vampyre” as his contribution to the “ghost story contest” that Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley engaged in to amuse themselves.
However, Mary’s creation “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” was the only one to gain lasting fame and success (and is in fact the very first science fiction novel, since the monster is created using science rather than magic). Byron and Shelley never finished and ultimately abandoned their stories.
The earliest defining work of lycanthropy are the films “Werewolf of London” 1935,“The Werewolf of Paris” and it’s better known Hollywood successors “The Wolf Man” (1941), and the lesser known (original) “Cat People” (1942), adapted into the 1982 movie. I just managed to see the 1942 Cat People this week and although there’s a lot that’s dated about it, the noir cinematography is brilliant, and has one of the cleverest, subtle transformation scenes I’ve ever seen in a low-budget film, using lighting and shadows rather than special effects. Both these latter films define the tragic nature of the lycanthrope which was a staple of the genre for decades. “Even a man who’s good at heart and says his prayers at night, may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
Off topic, but I’ve seen your responses around the forums and you’ve caught my attention. Mind if sometime I stop by your DMs to discuss some of the more cinematographic elements to Episode writing? I’m an adept coder but I fall short in establishing meaningful shots and plot devices.
As for Vampire and Werewolf lore, @GRH covered it perfectly. Though in Episode, I’d recommend you take on the widely used “glowing” eyes that Werewolves often have. Those amber yellow irises. In media, the transformation to wolf is often excruciating (see American Werewolf in London, The Vampire Diaries, etc). Some are in control of their wolf form, whilst others have no recollection of events from their transformation.
As for Vampires, their greatest strength is often that they look just like the rest of us (unless we are looking at Nosferatu and other such characters). They don’t need to be otherworldly good-looking, as they often possess a charm that is inhuman. This might manifest as “compulsion” or “hypnotism”. Their tell-tales are, of course, fangs, aversion to light and inability to cross the threshold of a home without permission.
I would be delighted. DM away!
The transformation scene in Cat People (1942) was achieved by shining a light in the actress’ eyes, while dimming the lights on her body (or more likely brightening the set behind her and increasing the contrast), so that you go from a normal look to a silhouette with glowing eyes, then reaction shot from victim, then cut back and PANTHER! Very simple and effective.
AAWWIL was the first to do a transformation on camera, and it’s very well done (I would’ve expected no less of Rick Baker). My favourite is the mid-leap transformation in the television series Lost Girl as Dyson goes from human to wolf in the same shot (man, transition done digitally, then real wolf running. That, and sidekick Kenzi’s line immediately following:
KENZI: Holy f—ing sh–balls! That was AWESOME!
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