Lately, I’ve been looking at the very common OSR idea of campaign unique monsters and spells. I wondered, what if you took the LBB groups and did the same thing uniquely. A group of humanoid monsters, a group of undead, and a group of…well, what do you call them, monster monsters.
There is this linguistic theory called linguistic relativity. Read the Wikipedia article for the detailed and not screwed up by me defition. I first heard of it as the Sapif-Whorf hypothesis in a Heinlein story (Gulf if memory serves). I’ve always understood it as “the words you have influence what you can think about” but Wikipedia tells me it’s more complex than that. However, I think there is a kernal of truth.
See, when I was coming up with my three basic groups I was looking for a word to describe what Delta called “a block of chimerical and serpent-like monstrosities”. Then, one hit me. I wrote down kaiju. At that moment, as silly as it might sound, just choosing the word to define the group of non-humanoid, non-undead monsters put it into focus. I immediately started thinking not only of Godzilla but Rodan and Gamera.
Maybe, in the end, the monsters won’t end up that different. After all, they’ll still be based on real animals in some way. I certainly don’t want to create some “Japanese” setting. To be honest, if I wanted to use Japanese media as a primary inspiration it’s more likely to be for a space fantasy game using Message from Space, The War in Space, Atragon, and so on. However, I do think choosing that word got me out of what I’ll call the D&D mindset, the whole Elfy/Dwarfy thing.