"Lamia" What comes to mind first?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Lion/bigcat-type or snake-type? Or something else?

Maybe it's my growing up with videogames, but even in the 2nd ED days the snake-type was always what "lamia" meant to me in terms of general fantasy gaming.

Now iwth Lamia Matriarchs(and all the other lamia variants) in the game, I'm wondering if that's changed anything for other folks. What have they always been for you, what are they now?

Got to idly wondering about this while thinking about plugging a "serpent continent" somewhwere in Golarion populated primarily by the various snake-type creatures. Then I realized "lamia" probably means "lionbutt" to enough people that it could throw off the flavor for a moment. At least everyone can agree what couatls, yuan-ti, and serpentfolk look like.


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I had a look around, and it appears that the snake-tailed lamia is a mostly a modern invention. There are instances of old drawings of a lamia as a lion-like creature.


The first time I heard of a "lamia," the description was more along the lines of the matriarchs (snakebutt). The source that I was given was Greek myth.

Later, I heard of Topsell's "scaly lionbutt" version.


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The picture from the AD&D Monster Manual.


this amazingly beautiful girl I knew in college. actually her personality kinda fit as well.

I first heard of lamia having snake or dragon characteristics, but a little research on wiki says that's mainly a 19th century interpretation. I tend to think lion-taur now just because of the original monster manual.

I ran a serpent kingdom adventure once and just used Naga races- the typical D&D human-headed ones were the rulers and the lesser castes resembed the nagas in the old Oriental Adventures with snake tails instead of legs. The most human were the lowest caste, but useful as spies- pure blood yuan-ti basically. Lizard folk were slaves. I think I named the place Kaliya after the Hindu story. link.


I usually think of a lamia as somewhere between a cannibal woman and a sea serpent when I think of the general fantasy lamia. I don't know why I have that association, but it's definitely the association I have with lamias. I think of them attacking ships, and mostly as a monstrous feminine face coming from a cave. Maybe I'm thinking of a different monster altogether.

I've never seen lamias as centaur-style creatures outside of D&D, either with a lion-butt or a snake-butt.

To me, the snake-butt creature is the Medusa like in Clash of the Titans. I found it a little jarring when I first learned D&D medusa have legs. (There is a serpent-tailed medusa in one of the Pathfinder modules though, as I recall.)


Wolf Munroe wrote:
I think of them attacking ships, and mostly as a monstrous feminine face coming from a cave. Maybe I'm thinking of a different monster altogether.

I think that's Scylla, who was often conflated (or otherwise associated, usually as a daughter) with Lamia.

Scylla was on one side of a narrow channel. She would jump out and grab six sailors off of the deck (with her tentacles, or with her many yapping wolf heads, depending on the exact version of the legend) if she saw a ship. But she was considered the lesser of two evils: If you steered out of her reach, Charybdis, the whirlpool-maker, would then be within range to pull the whole rig under.

Liberty's Edge

bottom half snake/serpent. top half a mix between a succubus and a siren.

At least that's what comes to mind first for me :)


I think of a nasty camel like creature that spits on people.


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Xanesha!!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The messageboard policies preclude me from answering what word I first think of when I see Lamia.

Suffice to say, it rhymes.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
I had a look around, and it appears that the snake-tailed lamia is a mostly a modern invention. There are instances of old drawings of a lamia as a lion-like creature.

John Keats' 1819 poem Lamia is a modern invention?


Mikaze wrote:

Lion/bigcat-type or snake-type? Or something else?

Maybe it's my growing up with videogames, but even in the 2nd ED days the snake-type was always what "lamia" meant to me in terms of general fantasy gaming.

Now iwth Lamia Matriarchs(and all the other lamia variants) in the game, I'm wondering if that's changed anything for other folks. What have they always been for you, what are they now?

Got to idly wondering about this while thinking about plugging a "serpent continent" somewhwere in Golarion populated primarily by the various snake-type creatures. Then I realized "lamia" probably means "lionbutt" to enough people that it could throw off the flavor for a moment. At least everyone can agree what couatls, yuan-ti, and serpentfolk look like.

Snake tailed.


Nothing appropriate. (icky girly parts)


wspatterson wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I had a look around, and it appears that the snake-tailed lamia is a mostly a modern invention. There are instances of old drawings of a lamia as a lion-like creature.
John Keats' 1819 poem Lamia is a modern invention?

Next to Greek myth, yes.


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The Lamia Monsters from Final Fantasy 4


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For better or worse my image of Lamias was largely formed by anime and manga, so the snake-woman is what I tend to think of.


Draper's Lamia.

And Keats.


An attractive woman (shapechanger? or just too rare for a reliable description?) who is actually a monster that eats people, usually children. They give me a fay vibe due to their trickery and child-eating ways.

I've never actually used them in D&D or Pathfinder, though.

Scarab Sages

Honestly I think of Llamas first. You know the funky looking not-cow not-goats that people sometimes raise because they think its a good idea.

I blame a a large number of simular letters.

The Exchange

Non-turbulent fluid flow. That's because I misread it as laminar and dropped in here to see why we were discussing fluid dynamics. *blush*


This lady.


A somewhat draconic creature associated with the elements, or with guarding a magical item (i.e. a tree with golden fruits) the hero must obtain. Often fought by the zmey or a young hero. Not quite unlike the hala. It can, and often does, have several heads.

Hey, that's what the lamya means where I'm from.


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I'm ashamed to say that, without trying to joke, I think of a llama.

Grand Lodge

This is the classic first and second edition Lamia.

It is the same type of Lamia you fight in the third edition TOEE video game. The graphics were very good.

Later,

Mazra

Liberty's Edge

I tend to think of the woman with the lower half of a lion first, then one with the lower half of a snake second.


Mazra wrote:

This is the classic first and second edition Lamia.

It is the same type of Lamia you fight in the third edition TOEE video game. The graphics were very good.

Later,

Mazra

So...

According to that link, if that's an accurate representation of 1st Edition materials, lamias in 1e have the lower body of a lion but lamia nobles, which can be male or female, have the lower body of a serpent.

Liberty's Edge

Wolf Munroe wrote:
Mazra wrote:

This is the classic first and second edition Lamia.

It is the same type of Lamia you fight in the third edition TOEE video game. The graphics were very good.

Later,

Mazra

So...

According to that link, if that's an accurate representation of 1st Edition materials, lamias in 1e have the lower body of a lion but lamia nobles, which can be male or female, have the lower body of a serpent.

That link is from a 2nd edition source, and yes, that's how it was in 2nd edition (I can't remember if it was the same in First).


The Skinsaw Murders wrote:
In the days of ancient Siv, the Shrine of the Fateless was among the world's most respected oracles. Deeply devoted to the mysteries of the goddess Pharasma...

I really really liked the origin write up in RotRL. Forever more they are refered to as the Fateless in my Golarion games. And I play up the antipathy of Pharasma.

PrePaizo...lion girl often confuzzled with a sphinx.

Greg

Shadow Lodge

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The 1e lamia didn't have the body of a snake or a lion--the lion was a 2e invention, and the related "lamia noble" has the snake body.

The 1e lamia's "lower body is that of a beast" and the picture by David C. Sutherland III shows it to have extremely clawed forequarters (similar to a lion, but with more claw) and hindquarters more closely resembling an ox, with a horse's tail.

I still sometimes miss the old art from the 1e days.


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I think of the 1E AD&D version -- woman on top, quadruped on bottom, wisdom-draining touch.

The Exchange

This.

http://www.lomion.de/cmm/lamia.php


I always thought it was a plant... not sure why. Some sort of flower, like a lamia petal.


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This comes too late for the discussion, but others looking here for info in the future may be interested in this screed on the origins of lamia in mythology and in D&D, at Cayzle's Wemic Site.

http://www.cayzle.com/screeds/lion048.html

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One letter off from a very naughty bit indeed.

Oh, and an evil race of centaur-like people, but replace the horse part with a lion and the word "people" with "women." Who knows how they reproduce? Probably magic. Yeah, that's it.

Liberty's Edge

I actually address the two types of lamia in a large article I wrote for last issue of Kobold Quarterly "Slithering in Moonlight". As you might guess from the title, I (and the lamia themselves, according to the article :) see the 'centaur-like lamia as pretenders. They call them 'gesh velk' (false lamia)

I'm travelling and posting on my iPhone or I would give a link to it ...


I would think of serpent bodies, but I also tend to think that when I think of medusae, I think last time I used a lamia I settled on a capricorn body, in part to throw my players off a bit and to make the encounter more challenging jumping around while shooting poison arrows.


Admittedly, I always thought of the snake body. But again, I got it from video games and anime.

What I don't get is the wolves on Scylla. I don't remember that description in the Odyssey at all.


Odraude wrote:
What I don't get is the wolves on Scylla. I don't remember that description in the Odyssey at all.

She has 6 dog-heads in the Odyssey, quote-

"Inside lives Scylla, yelping hideously; her voice is no deeper than a young puppy's but she herself is a fearsome monster."


That quote seemed more like a metaphor to me, not that she has wolves heads. I know she had six heads that would pick off sailors, but I thought they were admittedly attached to long necks, like a hydra.


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I think of a pink half snake slap-cursing Cecil on Mt. Ordeals.


I always think of the snake. I don't think I've seen the lion body portrayed before. Never run into it in pathfinder or any other game I can remember. I was raised on anime and JPRGS and it was always the sexy snake lady instead of the vicious lion lady.

I was told by my professor Scylla represented the top half of a woman while the bottom half of her was the dangers of a lady and that's why she had many biting mouths and tentacles to draw you in. Your choice was the black hole whirlpool of certain doom or Scylla. So yeah... How's Scylla come up in a thing about snake/lion ladies again? My first thought about Scylla is actually an adorable little girl from a JRPG.


I did come across an article that described how the Catholic Bible mistranslated Lilith into Lamia when going to Latin and Lilith was heavily associated with snake imagery so that may be where Lamia acquired the snake imagery as opposed to the leotaur form.


What first came to mind when I saw Lamia? "Llama."

Dark Archive

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Alipheze "Alice" Fateburn.

I regret nothing.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I well remember the lion-half lamia's from 1st edition, but honestly Pathfinder's lamia matriarchs (serpentine) come to mind first.

That is probably because I never used the lion half lamias in a meaningful encounter, whereas I have used the matriarchs in a couple meaningful encounters and that really sticks with you.


Jim Groves wrote:

I well remember the lion-half lamia's from 1st edition, but honestly Pathfinder's lamia matriarchs (serpentine) come to mind first.

That is probably because I never used the lion half lamias in a meaningful encounter, whereas I have used the matriarchs in a couple meaningful encounters and that really sticks with you.

Same here. Until a few weeks ago it was the old MM version... but then we fought Xanesha. Hooboy. Left an impression. A very firm impression on at least one party member:)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

J. Christopher Harris wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:

I well remember the lion-half lamia's from 1st edition, but honestly Pathfinder's lamia matriarchs (serpentine) come to mind first.

That is probably because I never used the lion half lamias in a meaningful encounter, whereas I have used the matriarchs in a couple meaningful encounters and that really sticks with you.

Same here. Until a few weeks ago it was the old MM version... but then we fought Xanesha. Hooboy. Left an impression. A very firm impression on at least one party member:)

I've always been a Runelord's GM not a player, but I've ran it twice. I really know what you mean. ;)


Wow, everybody has some really insightful thoughts about what comes to their mind when someone says Lamia.

All that comes to my mind is that whatever it is, it's half-chick and doesn't wear a shirt, so I'm happy. That's pretty much my thoughts with most monsters of Mediterranean and middle eastern descent.


Odraude wrote:
That quote seemed more like a metaphor to me, not that she has wolves heads. I know she had six heads that would pick off sailors, but I thought they were admittedly attached to long necks, like a hydra.

Ancient Athenian artists depicted Scylla with the six dog-heads at her waist. So they took the description in the Odyssey literally.

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