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Agentorange

Anybody here speak Danish ?

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I ask because I'm trying to find out some info about a Danish supernatural monster called a Valravn. It's a sort of undead raven/crow type thing. Wikipedia and various other sites state that it had supernatural/magical powers...but not what those powers are. So I'm after someone who might be able to dig through some Danish sites for me and come up with a little more info.

Thanks in advance...

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You can always try one of the free online translation programs ... ;)

By the way, you should perhaps have asked whether someone here can read Danish,

as there is at least a chance that a Norwegian or Swede might give it a try. But to

speak Danish is impossible for foreigners, even Danes admit that it is more like a

severe throat infection than a pronounciation of words. :)

Edited by rust

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I translated Olivier Legrand's French Jane Austen RPG, Weatherley, using (I think) Babel Fish via cut and paste. This was possible because it's a relatively short, rules-lite game (10 PDF pages, large print and with pictures). The results were ... interesting. It helped that English borrows a lot of French words and that I'd had previous e-mail contact with the author. However, Babel Fish's way of translating French idioms was strange and often hilarious.

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I am danish.

I am a bit busy at the moment, but if you can wait, I'll be happy to work my way through some ballads and folksongs.

Danish isn't the easiest of languages, but most Swedes or Norwegians can understand it (once they stop making fun :) ).

Some Norwegians find it fairly hard to understand though:

(english subtitles to the Norwegian-English speak 5-6 pages back in commentaries)

;D

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Reading danish is like reading norwegian, except they write in a roundabout manner… if you still need some help just link or pm me, I'm sure I can read and give you at least a general translation that would be better than google-translate, which is not very good (i.e. sucks) with norwegian at least…

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Well, I dug around a bit…

It seems that there are conflicting notions around the origin of this particular creature, though one thing that seems to recur is the drinking of infant blood, turning into a knight, and being half raven half something else, usually a wolf. In heraldry the Valravn is depicted as a half-eagle half-wolf.

One story goes that the Valravn is actually a knight changed into a raven by magic, and only the blood of a male infant can free him and turn him back into a knight.

The stories of the Valravn are similar to south-scandinavian folklore on werewolves.

Other stories (fables) portray the Valravn as a creature that hunts for infant blood.

I guess you read the english entry on wikipedia, the above is from the norwegian.

The danish entry has even less data, but the general gist is that by savouring infant blood it can change into a knight.

If you're familiar with 4E then some guys have been talking about making it into a monster for that system here.

I guess you would need to decide upon size really, because one depiction has a woman riding a wolf-body with a birds head, which means its pretty big. The 4E guys above seem to think its bird sized, which of course is one way to see it.

Here is another site, in english, that gives more information about the creature.

I have found little that says anything about magic powers in these creatures, except that they might possess superhuman powers or abilities, which I interpret to mean strength, speed and such stuff, with reference to the above about werewolf beliefs sharing many similarities with the Valravn stories (in Scandinavia at least). Other abilities could be powers related to labyrinths and leading people astray, changing the paths and trails the party might follow through a particularly dense part of the forest, and the Valravn can change the trail leading the party where it wants. Other powers might be a power to confuse, charm or in some other way mislead the party… I don't know, just some thoughts.

I have found nothing specific about these powers, so this might not be more than you already dug out for yourself, but at least this is what I found after a few googles…

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Thanks for that Jegergryte, I've tracked down most of the English language sites. It's interesting that neither the Norwegian or Danish sites have much more to say.......maybe the original source material simply didn't say very much. Perhaps Dr Mabuse will dig something up going through the old ballads and folksongs.

It does mean of course I can give them pretty much what powers I like as long as it's stuff that fits in with the feel of Norse mythology. Like the 4E guys I envisaged them ( in their first stage at least ) as being bird sized, though larger than a normal raven. For such a bird to kill a human this would imply:

extreme strength

enhanced natural weapons

immunity ( part or total ) to non magical/blessed weapons

The immunity to weapons would fit in with were creatures and also Draugr

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Well, what I would recommend you to do, perhaps, is to look up the stories where the valravn appeared, it is, as I understood it, mainly two stories.

I guess you're right though, the stories might not have said too much about the specific powers, perhaps because the stories where intended for quite something different than rpgs ;) which essentially means you're free to do as you will yes…

I would still recommend powers that deal with confusion and misleading, it seems to be the most recurring and present theme about these creatures, in addition to those you've already mentioned. Those would all fit quite snugly into the "Norse" feeling I guess, been a while since I read Snorre and other the old "Norsey" stuff…

EDIT: It seems this: Grimm, Jacob (James Steven Stallybrass Trans.) (2004). Teutonic Mythology: Translated from the Fourth Edition with Notes and Appendix by James Stallybrass. Volume III. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486435482 book would be a good choice for looking into these stories, its the only one in English I found. You could probably find excerpts, or definitely, a torrent somewhere…

Edited by Jegergryte
extra info

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EDIT: It seems this: Grimm, Jacob (James Steven Stallybrass Trans.) (2004). Teutonic Mythology: Translated from the Fourth Edition with Notes and Appendix by James Stallybrass. Volume III. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486435482 book would be a good choice for looking into these stories, its the only one in English I found.

Sorry, no. Grimm mentions the Valravn only in a single sentence in a paragraph

about the mythology of ravens, where he claims that it has basically the same

mythological role as a troll. Otherwise there is no useful information.

The few German sources I am aware of share the opinion that the Valravn is a

very late (18th/19th Century) relative of Odin's intelligent raven Huginn, who ate

the corpses of slain warriors, and who somehow got mixed up with were creatu-

res into a raven-wolf.

Edit.:

Thinking of it, Odin had two ravens and two wolves as companions, so the combi-

nation of raven and (were) wolf could indeed have such a mythological background

- of course pure speculation.

Edit. 2:

Interestingly the raven is also called "wolf-bird", there are quite a number of such

references to be found via Google. Here is an interesting site about the ravens, it

also mentions the "wolf-bird" thing:

http://www.druidry.org/obod/lore/animal/raven.html

Edited by rust

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Yes you're right, I just looked it up… and trolls, well, those creatures seems to vary too, Norwegian trolls are quite different from the portrayal in standard fantasy games…

Still an interesting read on mythologies.

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