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Inspiration of Babica Preja

Demented

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I am something of a fan of folklore and mythology and I've done quite a few dives into such tales in the past. Babica Preja is something of an amalgamation of a few bits of Folklore with some Dungeons and Dragons underpinning mixed in. 

The first source of inspiration of her was, of course, the oh so famous Baba Yaga. If you have no knowledge of folklore at all you've still probably heard the name said somewhere before, perhaps in the movie John Wick as that is his nickname. In folklore, Baba Yaga resides deep within her forest where few return. She was the regional boogeyman used to get children to behave. However she was not just used as a threat. Baba Yaga was known to be nice to good children and act to them like a kindly grandmother, but to bad children she was a cannibalistic witch who use those brats bones as pickets for her fence outside. Baba Yaga is not "evil" in these folklore, but rather someone with an extreme and violent worldview where the "good" are treated nicely and the "bad" are worth nothing more than meat for her kitchen. 

It is that stark and extremist morality that molded how I had Babica Preja interact with people. The Warlocks are the "good" people that run into her,  usually demi-humans who've been unjustly persecuted or wronged by humans, and she offers them power to fight on her behalf to extract revenge on those same people. The rest of her creations are what happened to the people she considers "bad." Once someone is considered "bad" by Babica they are nothing more than material for her to make more wolves and ogres and such. 

The second source of inspiration for her was some of the earliest versions of Werewolves in Ancient Folklore. You see, back in the day Werewolves were not seen as cursed people changed under a full moon. No that's a more modern interpretation of werewolves. The earliest known stories of werewolves is of a much different flavor, where the werewolf is actually something like a witch who actively changes themselves under the cover of darkness to cannibalize people. Accusations of being a werewolf were happening at the same time as accusations of being a witch were taking place.

The idea of being a wolf charmer, someone who can control wolves and use them to attack people, was seen as a type of witchcraft back in the day, and suspected practitioners were even prosecuted as such. Those wolves didn't just attack that traveler, Old Man Jeb got them to do it with his magic. That kind of idea. Werewolves weren't just seen as a singular wolf back then because of this, but rather someone who turns into a wolf and leads wolves to attack people. This served to inspire how Babica Preja utilized her powers and lead her minions into combat. It's very similar to how the folklore described these accused werewolves to operate. 

Another aspect that comes from the earliest versions of werewolves was her Cloak. One of the versions on how people turned into werewolves is very similar to how I depict Babica changing. Instead of it being a metamorphosis, the witch like werewolf would have a wolfskin they would keep hidden from their neighbors and when they donned it they transformed into the werewolf. The wolfskin was actually seen as something like a Lich's phylactery, in the sense that if you destroyed the skin when the user wasn't wearing it you'd end up killing the person linked to it. This is only one of many depictions of how people saw werewolves back, then, but it was one I latched onto for Babica. I very much like the idea of her werewolf transformation being something more akin to an Eldritch Iron Man suit, where she uses it to protect herself as well as attack people in ways she normally can't. 

Third source of inspiration for her was limitations I put on this story. These are not all the limitations, but these are two that I'm willing to share now that the season 1 finale is done. 

Limitation 1: NO NECROMANCY. it's banned. No zombies, no liches, no ghosts, no spirits, no undead of any kind. Chop out the entire school of magic. Necromancy is a far too easy crutch to lean on for your bad guy in these kinds of stories, and by actively and purposefully cutting that type of magic out of the equation it forces me to think up ways the other schools of magic can be used by nefarious people. 

Limitation 2: DRAGONS TAKE A BACK SEAT. Dragons get all the fun in these fantasy stories! They always get the spotlight cause they're the quintessential giant scary monster. Well they are going to take a back seat in this story. They are there, but they are not the movers and shakers of the story. Giants play the role that Dragons normally play, but even they are not going to get to hog the spotlight all the time. 

So with that in mind, it crossed my mind of what would it be like if someone could use living people like a necromancer uses dead bodies? That is what inspired Babica's variety of MageCrafting, where she can only work with bodies while they are still alive. The second they are dead her MageCrafting doesn't work on them anymore. 

There are other inspirations melded into her, but that would get into spoiler territory for future stuff, so I'll leave it at this for now. 



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