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I have quite a few forms of transportation planned out. These include travel via river (riverboats, etc), ocean (ships), land (horses, primarily), teleportation (game checkpoint, others). Also the possibility of the player acquiring wings through a minor faction.

As you can see it's pretty one-sided to surface transportation. And also there are plenty of mountains in my province.

Some guidelines:

  • Perhaps a costly option would do well (whether in actual money or just lack of quantity of said vehicle.)
  • There is magic in my game, however limited.
  • Nothing steam-punk/mechanical whatsoever. Simple contraptions should be fine (forms hang gliding, zip-lines.)
  • I would prefer nothing cliche -- so no dragons. Birds are better, but a bit close to Middle-Earth (Eagles).

Bonus:

  • Are there any mythological creatures/vehicles of sorts that fit this question? (preferred Celtic/Norse, if any!)

To sum it up: What are some non-cliche(E.G, dragon), non-steam-punk forms of travel by air?

EDIT:

Thank you all for your answers so far! To add on to my question just slightly, what about non-living forms of transportation? Forget all of the guidelines above except "nothing steam-punk" for this.

EDIT(2):

Thanks once again. I have decided on a number of choices. I will use a form of hang gliders and ziplines for travel around a mountain, balloons for general travel (however costly for fuel), and a form of bird for other sky travel. Skylarks sound like the perfect type of bird for this, as well.

I am also still thinking about some of the other answers (flying squirrel & valravn being the top).

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    $\begingroup$ As said in the answers there aren't a ton of flying creatures in Norse mythology (that are large enough to be flown on anyway). You can always create something though, just look at Appa from Avatar. Not sure what sort of setting you are in though. $\endgroup$ – James Jan 23 '15 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @James, Very true! I'll remember this if I think of a good place where a morphed creature could be used well. $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 23 '15 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ Why not balloons? $\endgroup$ – RBarryYoung Jan 24 '15 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ @RBarryYoung, I've had that thought before, and I'm not sure if it fits my game's mood/theme. However, I do like the idea and I'll just need to think of a good way to shape/decorate the vehicle. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 24 '15 at 6:49

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Here is my not mediaeval nor steam-punk answer not-living answer.

Although he lived during the renaissance, you could elaborate your means of transportation, basing on Leonardo da Vinci's designs for flying machines, and overcoming difficulties with magic, if needed.

Here are the two I would consider if I were in your shoes.

Vite Aerea (Aerial Screw)

I'd personally go with this, maybe coupled with some kind of rope system.

aerial screw animation

It is a relatively simple and cool looking concept that could do the work: people use the handles to turn the spiral helix that creates an upward force, lifting the machine.

I am not sure about directing it, but a good idea could be elevating and then use some kind of flappers or parachutes to direct the controlled fall.

Macchina Volante (Flying Machine)

flying machine illustration

Else, this one is suitable if you need an individual flying system: it uses handles and pedals to control the flight attitude.

This really calls for some cool kind of in-game control like alternatively pressing two keys to maintain stability and direction, like when rowing in a canoe.


Also, this page has an comprehensive list (you might need to translate some descriptions) of his flying-related work.

PS. Please let me (us) know if/when this game is released, unless I'm wrong!

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  • $\begingroup$ While the screw gets off the ground it cannot remain aloft because the operators lose purchase on the ground to force the screw to rotate. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Nov 21 '15 at 3:09
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For Norse mythology, there isn't a focus on winged animals so much as there are just versions of ground animals who can fly. Flying horses are popular, with Sleipnir and Hofvarpnir being two examples. Thor also has a chariot drawn by goats which seem to be implied to be capable of flight. Valkyries also fly around, but whether they are capable of flight on their own or ride flying horses depends on the source.

There's also some instances of magic items allowing people (well, gods, for the most part) to fly. Freyja has a cloak made of falcon feathers that she uses to fly, which is occasionally loaned out to other gods in need of flying abilities.

If you want to keep with a Norse theme, these animals probably aren't a part of everyday life. Flying animals and magic tend to be tied to the gods and the giants, so it's likely that if a mortal hero gains a flying mount, it's a one-off gift from one of these sources, rather than something produced by mortal hands. Dwarves also produce magical artifacts, so something like a flying chariot or ring might come from them. In any case, these are usually rewards for heroic undertakings.

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Valkyries can fly. So if you wanted to exploit them as a transportation system, you would simply need to…

  1. …stage a great battle.
  2. …manipulate events such that you're one of the ones chosen to die in battle.
  3. …manipulate events such that you're one of the ones selected to be flown to Valhalla.
  4. …manipulate events such that (2) and (3) don't actually end up with you dying.
  5. …somehow get away from them when you're actually over your destination.

Norse? Check. Costly? Check. Non-Cliche? Check.

And depending on how strongly you feel about (4), you could probably put a check by Non-Living as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ This extremely complex to the point of being paradoxical, but it deserved an upvote $\endgroup$ – Reinstate Monica. Aug 3 '18 at 8:46
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I think that flying sailing ships would work great in your world.

In general sail-powered airships wouldn't work and this answer explains the main problem. However, a limited amount of magic could solve it, that is, provide the enough counterforce to hold the airship and produce lift.

If you would like something more fancy, you could make it so that this force is available only between special relay towers (or mountain stations), a bit like highway network or raiload tracks. Off-road sailing would be possible by something like a lighthouse, which focuses its beam on the ship, but of course such a thing would be expensive and available only to few.

I hope this helps $\ddot\smile$

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for replying. I like the idea of mountain stations of sorts. I'll take this into consideration! $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 24 '15 at 1:19
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The ones I can think of

Dragon

Roc (large bird like Tolkien's eagles)

Flying Carpet

Pegasus

Flying brooms

Gryphons

Hippogriff

Could always try Harpies...

Nine League boots work almost as well as flying...

Doesn't look like the Norse had much other than a dragon Hidhogg.

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    $\begingroup$ For Norse, Sleipnir can fly. Thor's goat chariot can also fly, I think, as can the Valkyries. There are other flying horses as well, like Hofvarpnir. In general, there isn't a focus on flying animals having wings or anything, they're just standard land animals that can fly. $\endgroup$ – ckersch Jan 23 '15 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ I don't like this answer because it's just a list. Much better to focus in on a few of the options and explain why they would be good... $\endgroup$ – Tim B Jan 23 '15 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate you taking the time to answer this! However, I mentioned in the guidelines for my question nothing cliche, and a lot of those up there range from somewhat cliche to very cliche. Perhaps people have different ideas of cliche, but I think of stuff that is done repetitively in stories/movies/games. Dragons, Eagles, Flying carpet, Flying brooms, etc. are all pretty cliche. Sorry! $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 23 '15 at 23:25
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If you're looking for Norse, it seems like an incarnation of Ratatoskr as a flying squirrel would be ideal.

Further, if you need these to be plentiful creatures, perhaps the flying mounts are the descendants of some unholy union between the Four stags of Yggdrasil and Ratatoskr. The stags represent the four winds, mix that with a flying squirrel and the Yggdrasil-orgy-chimera creatures would attain the power of flight.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for bringing Ratatoskr to my attention. I wouldn't have though of a flying squirrel for this, as well as a combination between those two you mentioned. I'll definitely keep this in mind. $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 23 '15 at 23:32
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How about allowing the character to make or buy wings along the lines of Icarus & Daedalus?

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  • $\begingroup$ I do have that as a minor faction, which I may or may not allow the player to join (and therefore get said wings). Completely forgot about that until just now... thanks! $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 23 '15 at 23:38
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@Bowlturner did an excellent job, here are some more obscure ones that I happen to like:

Dandu Monara - (Indian mythos) a vimana, or mythical self-moving aerial car (sometimes serving as a seat or throne, sometimes self-moving and carrying its occupant through the air; other descriptions make this vimana more like a house or palace, and one kind is said to be seven stories high).

Stupa - Baba Yaga (Northern Slavic mythos) has a flying vehicle, often described in western sources as a mortar (as in mortar and pestle), but more accurately depicted as a magically imbued hollow trunk.

Valkyries are powerful flying figures in the Norse mythos, often associated with death, but also appearing as lovers of heroes. Perhaps your heroes might persuade them to provide transportation.

Roth Rámach - the whirling wheel (Irish mythos) is a druidic magical flying machine, said to be capable of rowing on clouds.

Valravn (Late Norse mythos) A giant (sometimes half-wolf) raven that feasts on the bodies of the fallen, and can assume their shapes and/or gain the cunning of the dead they consume.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your reply. I found the "Valravn" to be most interesting! $\endgroup$ – Shyy Guy Jan 24 '15 at 6:55
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The classic case here would be the Pegasus, it's a winged horse so already familiar to people as a mount.

You can see them as being a very expensive upgrade on the horse, needed much better food and care, and costing an absolute fortune. They would be ridden or used to pull enchanted vehicles.

Imagine a stagecoach but pulled by 6 winged horses, using enchanted wheels to make itself weightless and then pulled through the air. It would be epic!

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My first thought would be a set of ancient airships, perhaps entirely magical, perhaps metal (and all rusted or pitted with the depredations of time). These sinister (nastily shaped, barbs etc) metallic craft have no moving parts, their artifice is entirely of evil, ancient magic (maybe large-scale Mayan-style blood magic?). They are grim, small, and quite rare. Owning one is almost unheard of, and they are seen rarely, usually commissioned by the rich.

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