For the first time in a few months, Joel and I decided to bring back our Top 10’s. So we didn’t want to come back and do things in our usual way. No, we wanted to out-do ourselves by going for a topic that was just so big, it had to be larger than life. We thought long and hard about what to do on the return to Top 10’s and this is what we came up with, our Top 10 Mythological Creatures.
Before we start this post, let us get one thing out of the way with. A mythological creature here is defined as something you would see within myths, that wasn’t a unique myth. An example of a unique myths includes Anubis, the god of embalming and the dead. With that definition out of the way, it’s time to begin – but before we do, we have a pre-top 10 honourable omission to get out there…
Dragons, we love you. Seriously, we do!
I mean what would any good fantasy story, fantasy RPG or Skyrim be without you? Dragons are so damn cool, that we felt they should not be included in this list. It seems unfair, but we just couldn’t get these guys in realistically without them storming through the competition.
However, we did once do a Top 10 Dragons in Gaming, which I would highly recommend you check out if you’ve never seen one of our Top 10’s before! However, check the gallery above, for a quick look through the dragons that made it to our Top 10 Dragons in Gaming list.
But now, it’s time for…
Amongst the many giant lizards slithering in mythology’s shadows, the hydra makes for a most interesting game. Being turned to stone (by, say a basilisk or a gorgon) gets pretty dull or even frustrating after about the fourth time around, and poison is a little bland these days. But no creature embodies rising peril than the hydras increasing number of heads.
A strange name, but this covers many creatures.
Fey folk are basically what I like to call tree people, or leaf people. These cover your Fauns, your Satyr and your Spriggans. There are so many more to list, this could have been a topic unto itself. These creatures are often humanoid in appearance but with some form of connection to nature. Usually magical beings, the Fey are oft used, which we believe is just wrong.
But they have appeared in strange places – Which is a positive. Check out a few of these Feyfolk!
Nothing’s scarier than big. Big things are scary, big things might want to eat us, we definitely can’t kill them easily. From ogres to titans, trolls to brobdingnagians, there’s a lot of variety to be had when you’re making people fifteen foot tall or more.
Skyrim has perhaps some of the most basic, and most fundamental giants, the lumbering mammoth herders were oddly adorable in their way, right up until someone came too close with weapons out. Giants are everywhere though.
Werewolves are big, hulking beasts that are humans who’ve usually gone through a painful process upon vision of the full moon. Whether you say werewolf or lycanthrope, there isn’t actually any set rules behind these creatures. Some of them are actually werewolves all the time, others go through the transformation progress. Some say that a werewolf is the rival of the vampire…
… And how could we forget to put vampires on this list?
We put vampires one place up from werewolves simply because they have had more media exposure. I know, that’s a droll way of dealing with this little war between vampires and werewolves, but why not discuss in the topics below as to which of these two beasts of the night are the more fearsome? I’d prefer to see a werewolf come at me than Dracula, I can tell you that.
Merfolk are a combination of many creatures, but the one I would most like to get to talk to are the Naga. A seriously underrated opponent in any Dungeons and Dragons campaign, these underwater serpent-like creatures, all of them seem to have some form of magical ability. Impressive visually and imposing, these sea-creatures are fearsome even to the most stalwart of heroes.
But there are more than just the Naga in Merfolk. Let’s not forget about Murlocs… I mean they even have a song after them.
These two are a particularly nasty combination. We could have generally pin-pointed demons, as it would have been oh so much easier to find source on the two, but it is important to note the religious and cultural importance of these two particular demons.
Both relate to lust, but one is the female seductress (Succubus) whereas the other is the male equivalent (Incubus). These two beings are truly synonymous with fear, but in modern terms, the Succubus has enjoyed a bit of a face lift, going from the demonic, evil entities that they were to something much more beautiful… Many men would probably be happy being in the same room as a modern Succubus, but let’s not forget: The result will still be the same. Seduction, followed by something not so nice.
The Incubus is a curious one however. Oft-forgotten, but more devious – The male counterpart would typically sleep with those who would, ahem, “sleep around”. They were used to instil fear in those who would give in to lust… But heck, without the Incubus, we would not have had the legend that is Merlin (Born to a human woman who birthed the child of an Incubus.)
3. Kerberos or Death Hounds
Guardian hounds of the dead are not exclusive to the greeks, but who’s going to challenge the classic three headed warden of the gates of Hades? Amongst the many hundreds of variants we know Kerberos (or in the roman spelling, cerberus) best of all, in all his artistic depictions, and it is perhaps the only many headed beast more famous than the hydra.
Hounds of hell are not exclusively three headed though. Those pesky souls keep trying to get out of hell, and heroes will insist on breaking in. Apart from humans, dogs always seem to be the classic choice for undead.
The iconic greek monster. Nothing should be terrifying about a man with a bulls’ head, but somehow being lost and alone with a cannibalistic half-beast is caught the imaginations of a few people and now they’ve become something of a staple of the gaming bestiary. Wherever Grecian themes or dungeon crawling gameplay are to be had, you can be assured a minotaur can be found somewhere.
Often depicted as a race of many rather than a cursed individual – as was the son of King Minos – minotaurs across all games tend to have one tactic that can always be counted on, dipping their heads and charging. The Labyrinth is often an optional extra where settings will allow one to be shoehorned into place.
1. Angels and Demons
Messengers of gods, agents of good and evil, winged immortals of immense power, angels and demons are narrative 101. Most cultures feature some dichotomy of the heavens, the light and dark, the gods that embody them and their servants.
How could we make this list without topping it with these all pervasive images? Thousands of iterations, thousands of roles, from corruptive imps, to watchful seraphs, even death itself is an angel in some cultures.
Cannon fodder and first level staple, in all its’ many variations, the goblin is the undisputed champion of the pointless mob. Many cultures have their goblins, any kind of minor nuisance demon that conspires to little more than sheep thievery and tampering with farm equipment.
But the humble goblin has its’ place in the world, and in countless games, including one noteworthy title, Styx: Master of Shadows, when I have the computer to run it I’ll be investing in that title because I would love to play as the sneakiest goblin. And regular readers will of course know of my love for this particular webcomic…
Alright! So technically the cyclops is a giant, a huge humanoid monster with a big club, but the cyclops has one particular aspect that sets it apart in games: you can hit their weak-spot for massive damage. The eye is rather iconic, it’s in the name, although only Polyphemus is mentioned as having one eye, in fact some myths would suggest that some had as many as a thousand!
The weak-spot is a classic gaming strategy, and the eye of the cyclops is a truly legendary example. But the fact that all they really are is a type of giant relegates them to the honorary mentions section.
Remember ladies and gentlemen – Me and Joel are back to deliver Top 10’s once more… But we wouldn’t make these if we didn’t think they were fun for our readers. As such, we’ve got a quest for you all – To decide our fate. What is our next Top 10? Please select which of the three options you want to see for our next Top 10 post.
What did you think about this Top 10? Do you agree (or disagree) with any of our decisions? Does anyone else love Minotaurs as much as me and Joel? We found a common discussion topic there. As always, please comment below, over on Twitter or on Facebook and we’ll see you again soon!