Monday, February 9, 2009


One of the daily themes in Valley of Blue Snails will be that of superstition. This is mainly due to the prevalence of spirits. Most of the folklore is simply true, and the unwary and unwise can find themselves dragged into a stagnant pool of water by a horse-headed water spirit if they do not take heed. Needless to say these superstitions are taken rather seriously by most intelligent races. Even your run of the mill Kolbold will make an offering of regurgitated fish on a lillypad before crossing a flowing river.

So since superstitions will be an every-day role-playing opportunity I should denote what exactly they are. This will obviously be a growing list and it is certainly malleable towards which ever races or culture are played. No two races would do things the same. Even nearby towns will delineate somewhat on the exact practice of these superstitions, so they are by no means written in stone. The main thing is the effort is made – the spirits will definitely take notice if they are intentionally ignored, and will repute spitefully.

Shooting an arrow into a body of still water is said to slay an innocent many hundreds of miles away. Thus, archers never fire towards enemies standing near a still lake or pond.

Blue beads braided into the horses manes prevent spirits from dismounting them.

Snail shells which are broken while under the call of a spirit will break the spell.

Many wizard place their spellbooks under their pillow when they dream. It is said spells from other realms will seep into a vacant mind should they not do so. Indeed strange spells are known appear to in a wizards memory when they asleep if they have not done so.

Should one suffer from indigestion, taping a wooden spoon on the table and pronouncing ‘unberufen’ will ward the illness away so that the person may continue eating.

Dwarves use grains of the purest tin and fold into a cloth under moonlight. It is usually placed in the nose-guard of a helmet, where only the wearer can see it. It is said to grant a quick and painless death should their time come.

If an owl crosses ones path and hoot the traveler should stop and toss some salt in front of him, waiting at least the time it takes to eat a meal. Else their road will be treacherous.

Repeating any holy words backwards will have a malefic effect. Doing so is definitely evil and only anti-clerics or the insane do it intentionally.

If someone wishes ill of you and you want them to stop, it is common to take the heart of an onion and burn it over open flame while repeating the persons name.

Any flowering plant that grows on someone corpse is very potent. Eating the petals will grant the memories, demeanor and nature of host into the devourer.

Dwarves believe if you measure exactly the height and circumference of an object, it will be doomed to fall (buildings, mechanical things and the like)

Halflings believe if they are insulted behind their back, they must slay the youngest child of the person whom insulted them, else the insult will be predestined to come true (obviously most other races avoid doing so).

Elves believe placing salt in another mans hand will doom them.

Placing a pious dead-mans hair under the threshold of a homestead will protect it from evil spirits for a year.

Dwarves believe if you spit three times upon an enemy when meeting them, they will cease to be your enemy (rarely taken as such however)

Peasantry believe if you spit in your right shoe before entering a dangerous place, it is a wholesome thing.

Standing on a mans shadow for too long will cause them to become short of breath.

Shooting an enemy with a silver arrow and slaying them will cause their spirit to be trapped within the realm of the living.

Tossing a brick through a window during a feast averts any bad luck that may occur in the home (note that windows are not cheap).

Should a man survive the same great peril twice, it is said he will always be greatly injured the third time.

When passing stagnant water, always face it unblinking as you pass, lest the spirits drag you in.

To regain a families honor, boil in water 9 nails, 9 pins and 9 needles. Then place it under the fireplace of that family to regain what they have lost.

Should an innocent child wound itself while staring unblinking at someone, that person will be cursed until they confess their most vile sin.

A lock of hair is very dangerous in the hands of an enemy (intentionally vague)

When baking bread, the coals are often saved and tossed upon the road when traveling long distances. It is said to prevent any hunger upon the trip.

Should you see a spirit, write your name on a pebble and throw it as far as you can into the wilderness. There the spirit will go.

Elves incant a phrase when in great peril of fire or water ‘When thou passest through the waters I will be with three, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.’ They say if you are able to finish the incantation you will always survive.

Lead tablets can be engraved with a persons or an animals name. Should a spirit call for that person’s or animals sacrifice, the tablet can be used in its stead.

If a leaf of the world tree is wrapped upon the clay likeness of a man, he will be immortal for one year (obliviously leaves from the world tree are quite rare)

Driving a silver spear into ones shadow will cause the shadow to erupt with life and its own malevolence. (silver spears are thus contraband almost everywhere)

A flock of crows on the ground is a doomed road to take.

Ashes from yellow paper will grant a boon should they be given to a forest spirit.

Should a very young child be slain in front of its parents, it will become a great evil spirit forever tormenting its killer.

A wife may have her husband burn her alive so that they may become an evil spirit to molest any enemies they had in life.

Should clay be made into the likeness of a person and placed in a shadowy water, when that person died they will become the walking dead.

Cone-shells offered upon a lillypad will grant one safe passage across running water (many races use many different things)

Gold offered to a twisted tree is said to grant protections of ones kin for a year.

Red ribbon tied around a twisted tree is said to sooth the spirits therein.

An evil look can be passed from person to person, but one who sleeps with out passing the look is said to dream of only evil spirits.

Lavender leaves which are carried will protect one self from the sight of a corpse.

A charm of silver, holy water, birch and gold gild will ward the walking dead (indeed most cleric holy symbols are made of such).

Breaking an eggshell while under a fascination of a spirit will break the spell but enrage the spirit.

Dipping ones feet in an honest mans urine will prevent them from stumbling or falling, ever. (easier said than done)

Painted hands shown boldly will ward against aggressive spirits that show themselves.

It is said spirits can not look directly into blue eyes, so those with blue eyes are somewhat protected against their charms.

Halflings believe symbols of the crescent moon are placed by spirits to disrupt their prescience.

A live rabbit released will distract hillock spirits who seek to do one harm.

Open jugs will attract spirits who seek to do harm to drunkards.

Elves believe fairies will overlook anyone who carries a charm of feathers.

Eating a meal alone can result in a spirit sharing it with you.

Placing 50 fish heads in a stork stomach, then boiling and devouring this will cause the next spirit whom wishes you harm to erupt into flames. To drink the water of in which it was boiled to make the persons smell terrible to spirits.

Glass beads offered to a snake will ward one against mischievous spirits.

Melting brown wax will attract the most vile spirits into ones home, certainly causing it to be nigh uninhabitable for quite some time.

Blowing a ram horn in ones home will scare many spirits away (done commonly in most taverns and inns at least once a day)

Beating a child with a pine branch will beat any evil spirits out of them.

The ashes of a rope in which a man was hanged will obliterate any good spirit touching it.

Coral that was stepped upon causing a wound will attract spirits who will have power over that persons blood.

Brightly colored eggs will ward ones garden against mischievous spirits.

Should a beggar eat the fat from a stolen goat, it will transform them into a hungering spirit.

Bloodshot eyes and an unwashed face are said to protect against the spirits of the morning hours.

Fear can be dispelled by adding a drop of blood to fresh water and washing ones face with it.

A white feather upon the road will grant a safe journey.

Cherry seeds worn upon the stockings of maiden women are said to attract fertility spirits (and lustful men as well).

Finding a empty mouse nest is said to grant an unexpected boon from a friendly spirit.

Finding a lost button will grant someone a new friend. Finding a pearl-button is said to grant a spirit-friend who will forever guard that person.

List is getting a bit large now so I will call it here. Clearly the list can go on and on and I expect to add them as I go. Much of the folklore is done out of habit, but not necessarily true. The Elves likely have the most accurate ones to follow and the wise do as the Elves do, no matter how silly or superfluous.

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