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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Harginn (Fire Grue)

So while Fire Elementals are already a pretty dangerous and unpredictable bunch, as pure elementals, their attitude towards others is generally fairly neutral. Sure, they'll feel the compulsion to burn things, but it's not because they're especially mean or whatever.

Harginns are especially mean or whatever. They like burning living things. It's fun, you know.

Grues are elementals born out of sections of their Planes which have been touched by evil magic. Because of this, they're especially nasty, territorial, sadistic, though fortunately they're on the weaker side of the spectrum. However, grues are especially sought after by wizards because the combination of elemental and evil magic crystallizes as a small magical object in the core of each elemental, which remains even after the grue is slain. This object can then be studied to gain new spell knowledge.

So as far as I know, grues originate from Zork, a 70s text-based videogame. I played it once. It's quite difficult. Grues are creatures that lived in the darkness and it was inadvisable to wander out there. It is pitch black. You may be eaten by a grue. There was no physical description attached to the grue, since no one has ever survived an encounter. But I always pictured them looking like cranes (grue sounds like grúa which is Spanish for crane, both the bird and the machine), which isn't very scary. Somehow it made it more intimidating, the idea of this gangly beaky thing being able to devour you though.

1 comment:

  1. Language nerd interjection: I think grue actually comes from Jack Vance, via Zork, and possibly originally from a philosophy term related to colour (green/blue) that I never really understood. I can't track down whether Vance's grue predated the philosophy one, let alone whether he'd have known about it. Grue used to be a word (like in gruesome) so Vance might have just encountered it in a dictionary or even reverse-engineered it himself.

    I love the idea of sinister cranes though. I used to watch herons on the riverside, and there's the primal dinosaur predatory look to them (so sleek, so silent! those bladed beaks!) that makes them quite threatening.

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