Strange Forest - References [Edit: BIG SPOILER ALERT]

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Strange Forest - References [Edit: BIG SPOILER ALERT]

There are tons of references in the game as we know, and some of them have been discussed many times (and occasionally confirmed by Dan). But the Strange Forest has been confusing me a bit, and if it's a Michigan thing, I didn't find it. So since I couldn't sleep, I did some serious overthinking of the matter, trying to come up with theories. :D
Here's a run down of all the clues [SPOILERS] and my hairbrained theories:

- The Strange Forst aka Hades Glade is an eerie, dark, unnaturally quiet place: Clearly some type of an entrance to the underworld / a place that connects to the realm of the dead. (Btw, its description always kinda reminds me of Mirkwood, despite the obvious lack of spiders. :D)

- Protected by a giant 3-legged monster, presumably a giant Enfield Horror: Well, Hades and all types of "entrance to the underworld" locations usually need a big, scary, deadly guardian creature, and a Michigan crypto-monster serves the purpose just as well as Cerberus would. I kinda also like the neatness of turning the three headed monster into a locally bred three legged one, whether it's accidental or purposeful. ;)

- The Lady in White: Tons of white ladies/ladies in white appear in all sorts of ghost stories, hauntings and legends all over the world. She could literally be anyone.

- The imprints that she leaves behind, that are not those of a human: This is a bit confusing. I've been assuming she's a ghost, and ghosts would leave no imprints, right? My second thought was that she was inspired by Leuce (or Leuke), the nymphe of the ancient greek mythology, who would fit the "alluring" bill of NEO's text, whose name means White in Greek, and who is associated with (alternatively a lover of) the God of the Underworld Hades. But I can neither remember nor find any reason why nymphs would leave footprints different than those of normal humans, unless it's a reference to Leuce being turned into a White Poplar tree (feet->roots). Then again maybe ghosts and/or nymphs simply leave weird footprints, who am I to say? ;) My third idea, is that this may be referring to a Lamia of some description, which were basically ancient greek vampiric type of creatures, appearing hauntingly beautiful and luring poor, innocent men to death, while also occasionally sporting a serpent's tail instead of legs. This one would indeed leave non human imprints, though it makes less sense with the rest of the hints. But hey, maybe she's a three-for-the-price-of-one kind of lady. :D

- The smell of cinnamon: This one was a bit tricky too, mainly because google apparently loves its cinnamon roll recipes! :) But the scent of cinnamon seems to crop up often enough in connection to hauntings, appearances of ghosts etc. So it could be that simple, maybe.

- This annoying line: "Does that* also explain her middle finger? The one that... no matter." [*"That" refers to the smell of cinnamon muddling your mind]. I've been hitting my head against that line for a while, and here's the only assumption I've made that makes any sort of sense:
Apparently one of the versions of the corpse bride story/legend (assuming Lady in White = Ghost in Wedding Gown) originates in 19th century Russia and refers to actual persecutions of Jews, including waylaying of jewish wedding parties (link). In some jewish traditions, the wedding ring is positioned in the index finger (link). So that line could potential be: "The one that..." has a wedding ring on it? I'm really not sure about this, but I have 0 other ideas.

- The stuff she leaves behind: A Medi-Kit, a Dog-Be-Gone, and a fake DMC bracelet. In my head this collection of stuff is almost too weird to have any connections to ghosts, nymphs, lamias or anything at all really. :D This may just be a bit of a game-y treasure chest. ;) No clue whatsoever.

If anyone has any more weird theories, ideas, assumptions, I'd LOVE to hear them. :D

P.S. Oh and Dan, feel free to jump in with hints and/or explanations, please and thank you! :)

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

I'll admit that the lore in this case is on shakier ground than most. It's not wholly a Michigan thing.

Originally, I was struggling with the mythology/cosmology of Merga in such a large universe. Since other civilizations are almost guaranteed to exist through sheer probability, it was likely that other Merga-like beings must exist. (This assumed, of course, that the "reality is what we believe" law exists everywhere.)

If there were Mergas in other places, how soon would they encroach on Earth? And how would they stack up against Merga?

Cameron, early on, suggested that the game would be interesting if it featured a three meddlesome beings: a benefactor, a malefactor, and a trickster. Originally, Stoat was the benefactor, The Lady was the malefactor, and Bob was the trickster. And the cosmology discussion turned toward these beings coming from other civilizations, operating as delegates contending for power on Earth.

After some time, I decided that other civilizations were more than I could handle (for now), so they were demoted to native beings. Stoat's prescience was replaced with entrepreneurialism. Bob invisibly changed from trickster to crazy coot.

The Lady was a bit more weird, however. And her forest no less strange. She's still a supernatural being, but is now vaguely shaped after the Deer Lady in Ojibwe culture. She and her forest are steeped in illusion and deception.

In game terms, she's an unexplained mystery. The player never receives a satisfying answer to their questions about her :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

I very much appreciate the run down. :)

Well that solves the question of her odd presents at least - they're exactly what a creature of illusion and deception would give you! Weirdly enough I had run across white deer/deer women when googling around yesterday night but never made the connection. I should have added the Ojibwe to my list of search terms, didn't think of that.

I really love the three meddlesome creatures idea, it's one of those overarching concepts that when done subtly can actually offer depth instead of being cliche. Maybe keep that one in a drawer? :D

I have to say I'm still a bit fuzzy on the Merga's exact mythology, but I suppose that's how mythologies work. ;) But Merga-like delegates from other civilizations grappling for power is an interesting conundrum in a world where the 'supernatural' is basically a collection of thoughtforms which operate under the "majority rules" premise (which is how I read the "reality is what we believe" concept, emphasis on the 'we'). One thing is for sure, there is so much room for creating more mythology there, it's begging for a sequel. ;)

Anyway, the late night attempt to solve an unsolvable mystery was entertaining AND I got some interesting answers! Time well spent. :D

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

Must say I am happy you decided to roll-back a little on those cosmology threads - I'm not a big fan of putting all-the-importan-stuff-in-the-universe (TM) on the shoulders of a hero of a single story. It's good to know that the theme is there, for the future use. And I was always assuming the extra-terrestrial origins of the Lady anyway.

Although, I must admit with a degree of shame that it never even crossed my mind that she could be the malicious one. I always simply assumed that her harmful gifts were all given in a honest, helpful fashion, them not working as intended caused by her lacking a cultural/technological context to know/choose better... Seems I got myself played over and over again. Must be loosing my edge :D

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

the extra-terrestrial origins

Wait what? O.o

What am I missing here? Is the Wraith...? HUH. Why did I never hear/read of this anywhere before? Is it true?

Edit: Of course that would explain the Realm.... Why did this never cross my mind?! More info welcome! :D

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

The Wraith is extra-terrestrial in that it comes from someplace one couldn't just walk to (or swim or fly to). It isn't from outer space, though.

The short story is that Merga figured out how to exploit the "reality is what we believe" rule to become more powerful, and was the first to use that knowledge to weed out competitors. And as that power grew, Merga was able to control more and more of reality.

As a thought experiment, if you had the power to alter reality to anything by tricking people into believing it, one incremental change at a time, imagine what you could do with a captive audience and centuries of time :) Merga built a pocket dimension that follows its own rules, with servants and "technology" to match.

The biggest threat to Merga's power is people finding out this secret (both the rule and Merga's existence), so people at risk of discovering it are enemy #1. The Merga Wraith is a bloodhound dispatched to mitigate this risk. And here, "mitigate" usually means discrediting first, and disappearing if that doesn't work.

Unfortunately, Philip wasn't so easy to discredit. And worse, disappeared himself before Merga could handle it.

So extra-terrestrial? Yes. But not a little green man :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

When I wrote "extra-terrestrial" I was actually thinking in a more... Lovecraftian sense. Its a simplification but in his work the "space" is actually a sort of barrier between dimensions, so in effect being from space also means being form another dimension as well, cause "out there" the reality might be constructed in different fashion.

So I assumed they are spacemen, both the wraith and the lady, but not the space-saucer kind of spacemen. More like beings from a places where the reality is different enough to grant them different effects on the physics. That would also make them the explorers interested, for one reason of the other, in learning/exploiting our part of the reality. And, it turns out, I wasn't that far off, but not on the subject either...

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

Okay, that word choice did trip me. Your explanations make much more sense and are much much closer to what I had assumed but couldn't put well into words. Basically I was assuming the Realm functions as the secret headquarters of what is essentially a cross between the New World Order and MI6, carefully stashed away in an alternate reality. ;D So I wasn't too wrong - sort of. :D

All well and good, the world is not falling on its head no more. The concept of little green men somehow had made my brain do mental somersaults. That said, I am still so pleased with myself for getting absolutely everything wrong in this thread: it forced so many interesting explanations! I always believed there's nothing wrong with some access to authorial intent now and then. ;) So, thank you both for taking the time!

P.S. Thread title edited to better reflect the spoilerificness of this discussion. :)

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

cerberus the three headed dog, or anything gaurding things, comes at the later bit when you have already enter'erd the underworld, and are at the 'proccesing' bit, the enterance to the underworld is where chrion, the person sometimes asssociated with chiron,(no idea how to spell either of them, or at all), chiron is a immortal centaure (man horese creture) who trains demi gods like hurcules and the like, chiroin is someone who ferries the dead to the prosccesing part of the underworld, he allows people enterance and sails across the river of the damned, forgot the greek name, and then leaves you sailing back to where he came to ferry more dead people. this is all to do with greek mytholagy, and no one knows who chiroin is as he is most accosaited with death, as he normmaly collects the souls. but no one knows what he realy looks like, or his gender. so he could be the ghost-type-woman thing. also bad spelling i know kindle i wrote it on and MASSIVE rush.

And oldie and I would say goodie but not particularly