23 September 2011

Skrymmorie monsters few daur look upon

Raise your flippers to the sky!

Pattern: More Than A Fish
Yarn: KnitPicks Chroma worsted in Pool Party (green/blue) and Smoothie (red/orange)
Needles: 3.25 mm / US 3
9mm locking toy cat eyes
Raveled (see my bookmarks for pattern errata)

As I mentioned last week, murlocs are common amphibious monsters in the Warcraft game universe. If there is water in a zone, there are probably murlocs in it.

Murlocs are social creatures; they live in shoreline villages and it's hard to fight one without having several more join in. This makes them challenging opponents, especially for low-level characters who don't have much in the way of hit points (health), armour, or burst damage.1 . Most people who play World of Warcraft have experienced the horror that is watching a character fall in battle against a swarm of gurgling fish-men.

Death is rarely a permanent state in video games, and in WoW all you need to do is run, as a ghost, back to your battered remains in order to resurrect. There are penalties for dying -- broken armour, for example, that costs in-game currency to repair -- but it's the shame that stays with you. I'm a mage. I can shoot fire from my fingertips and turn grown men into sheep. And I was taken down by walking fish.

So why knit one of these little monsters?

You could argue that after enough beatdowns, you develop a certain respect for your adversaries, who are formidable opponents.

You also find, as you go along, that murlocs are not entirely unsympathetic characters. There's a quest in one place that asks you to help free enslaved murlocs from evil serpent-like masters, and another that requires you to ally yourself with a murloc tribe under attack. You learn that murlocs aren't stupid -- brutal and xenophobic, certainly, but not mindless piranhas with legs. They have a language (Nerglish), they use currency, they have religious beliefs, and they want you to help rescue their tadpoles. In short, they're like us, just shorter and slimier.

I think the the real reason, though, is that knitters like challenges. We'll knit anything, no matter how apparently impractical, from Fiestaware to Ferraris to fairy tale cottages for the same reason that George Mallory climbed Mount Everest: because it's there.

Also, murloc tadpoles are just so darned cute.

Rescuing Winterfin Tadpoles in the Borean Tundra, on Photobucket

By the time the embattled murloc tribe has enlisted you to rescue their children, you've learned Nerglish and can understand what the tadpoles say: 'Play now?' 'Snack time?' and, once, 'Mam-ma?'

If you can resist a big-eyed baby calling you Mamma, then I don't know what to say to you.
1Burst damage is the ability to do a lot of damage very quickly (i.e., in a controlled burst), especially to finish off a weakened opponent.

Hugh Macdiarmid

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