I did a little research on the monsters graphically represented in RPGMaker 2003 because I was curious how many were taken from Greek mythology. I was surprised to learn the origins of several creatures I previously thought were inventions of Japanese mythology, plus a few I assumed were shamelessly ripped from D&D’s Monster Manual. (It turns out D&D borrowed them from Greek mythology.)

The first creature that surprised me was the catoblepas, rendered “catoplebas” in RPGMaker. It’s one of the many, many creatures in mythology that turned people to stone or killed them with a glance. (See also: Medusa, basilisks and the cockatrice) Apparently it’s a very normal creature that’s just difficult to kill due to some kind of scales or plating on its back. It isn’t even all that fantastical. Just tough to kill.

The next one was a strange plant creature called “nepenthe.” Now, it seems pretty clear the creature is based primarily on the carnivorous “pitcher plant,” but it just so happens that nepenthe was an antidepressant in Greek mythology, originating in Egypt, and sharing a qualities with opiates. It was used to treat depression via forgetfulness, not unlike the lotus tree, which may also be related to opiates.

The ouroboros, rendered “oroboros” in RPGMaker, is another mythological concept originating in ancient Greece and Egypt, though this one is less an actual creature, and more just a concept. It’s a symbol that’s supposed to represent an eternal cycle. It’s similar in concept to the phoenix, which also appears in Greek myth. The phoenix, by comparison, is a lot more likely to represent a creature than a concept.

The best I saved for last, because this is the one that caught me completely by surprise. The unicorn appears in no major Greek myths I could find, but this is on account of the fact that ancient Greek scholars were convinced the creature was a natural beast that could be found in the wild.