Several players have expressed interest in learning more about what goes into the divine roles we play, particularly our thought processes and inspirations. Eventru already commented on his ideas in an earlier post, so I felt it was high time to discuss mine. I know I said before that I picked up Shikari because of a casual joke, but I only mentioned in passing what it was that caused the idea to stick.
Now, I have always had an interest in tribal cultures. However, I have absolutely no real education regarding them, whether from four years of university or from self-study. My knowledge is very superficial and limited — and might, in fact, contain more romanticism than I’d like — so if I make any gross errors, please correct me! I’d love to learn.
At any rate, my number one love has, for many years, been the native Maori culture of New Zealand. I was smitten with the idea of warring tribes with men who excelled in combat and women who knew no fear. Warriors painted their faces with black spiral designs; they showed the whites of their eyes and stuck their tongues out at enemies, a gesture that said, “I will eat you,” for they did indeed eat the flesh of their foes for mana, or authority over a land or territory. (In New Zealand English, mana now indicates a personal strength or greatness.) Their weapons, both long and close-quarters clubs, were crude by today’s standards, but they were designed to split skulls. And, of course, there are the war dances, meant to instill a bloodlust, a killing spirit, into the men.
Other strong influences on my view on Shikari are aspects of various Native American cultures. This is present in the herbal remedies (specifically, Shikari’s healing shrines), the innumerable mentions of animal hides, bone talismans, and oral tradition, the last of which I haven’t visited yet in-game. I want to revisit the idea of dance, particularly in the form of the Sioux Sun Dance, but whether I’ll be able to implement it remains to be seen. From my incredibly limited knowledge of Native Americans, I also draw Shikari’s strong sense of family and community: the family comes first, always, and the family is Glomdoring.
Other cultures, events, and mythologies impact my view on Shikari to a lesser extent. When I envisioned His Temple, for instance, I imagined a combination of a guerilla camp deep in the heart of the Vietnam jungle and the capital of the old Zulu Kingdom, KwaBulawayo, or “place of slaughter.” Shikari’s god realm was not originally my creation, but I hope to transform it into a twisted combination of Dante Alighieri’s nine circles of Hell and the endless battle of the Hjadningavig in Norse mythology. Whether I succeed or not will be up to you, the players, since both Shikari’s Temple and god realm are still quite small.
Finally, the one thing I revisit many times to get into the mind of Shikari is this boss battle against Cronos in God of War 3. Warning: There’s quite a bit of gore, a bit moreso than I can stomach… And that’s why I use it as my primary inspiration.