I’ve been having a lot of difficulty incorporating magical creatures into my setting because they complicate matters. Dragons, giants, undead, demons, whatever you can think of — they bring tropes with them, like… narrative baggage. You can ditch some baggage by changing the name of creatures, but that only fixes part of the problem. They still have to be different enough to be different.

Undead are an easy one because while there are some pretty significant Undead personages in fiction, there are very few universally-accepted tropes about being undead. I mean, except for the “already died once,” or simply “can’t die” concept, which can still vary from story to story.

Zombies, vampires, and ghosts vary tremendously from one work to another. Vampires in Buffy, for example, are a mixture of classic interpretations of vampires and ghouls, and in the context of the series itself, they’re often referred to as a weaker variety of demon. Vampires in other stories can differ a lot in their presentation, too.

Some creatures haven’t been “codified” in popular culture, and that’s actually where I’m hoping to get in and make my changes. It can be hard to see when you’re a player of Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft, but some creatures that are staples of those games aren’t as well-defined outside their worlds. Giants and dragons, for one.

With each new creature added to a world, there’s a question of where they came from, what they eat, what kind of culture they have, how they think and act and talk, how they interact socially, and how they get along with humans and the gods. Seeing how it’s difficult to define humans, you can imagine problems raised by other creatures.

To keep things simple, I figured I’d make a point of pitting each creature, mortal or otherwise, against at least one of the gods. Maybe they have the power to ignore or overcome the spheres of influence for a deity. For example, the Undead would be a pretty standard enemy of Hades. As for the other gods, who knows?

I want to eventually incorporate giants and demigods (standard in Greek mythology), fantastic beasts (like Sphinxes), in addition to the Undead.