Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disney's Maleficent and The Real Public Domain 'Sleeping Beauty' For Your Old School Campaigns

Disney's Maleficient teaser trailer has hit the interwebs today and is causing quite a stir. Yeah there is enough CGI eye candy to shake a stick at. Looks great, sounds wonder, incredble  CGI artwork, and the trailer looks great. But you've only gotten half of the story and the story is much, much, darker then anything you'll see on screen! The real fairy land isn't owned by Disney and the "real "Sleeping Beauty is in the Public Domain. And its rifle for adapting to OD&D as well as AD&D . 
Original Source Available
Right over
According to Wiki :
"The Sleeping Beauty" (FrenchLa Belle au bois dormant "The Beauty sleeping in the Wood") by Charles Perrault or "Little Briar Rose" (GermanDornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairytale involving a beautiful princess, enchantment of sleep, and a handsome prince. Written as an original literary tale, it was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passéin 1697
 The basic elements of Perrault's narrative are in two parts. Some folklorists believe that they were originally separate tales, as they became afterward in the Grimms' version, and were joined together by Basile, and Perrault following him
Plot Overview of Part One 

At the christening of a king and queen's long-wished-for child, seven fairies are invited to begodmothers to the infant princess. At the banquet back at the palace, the fairies seat themselves with a golden casket containing golden jeweled utensils laid before them. However, a wicked fairy who was overlooked, having been within a certain tower for many years and thought to be either dead or enchanted, enters and is offered a seating, but not a golden casket since only seven were made. The fairies then offer their gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song and music. The old fairy then places the princess under an enchantment as her gift: the princess will prick her hand on a spindle and die. One last fairy has yet to give her gift and uses it to partially reverse the wicked fairy's curse, proclaiming that the princess will instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awoken by a king's son.
The king forbids spinning on spinning-wheels or spindles, or the possession of one, throughout the kingdom, upon pain of death. When at the end of the fifteen or sixteen years, the king and queen are one day away on pleasure bent, the princess wanders through the palace rooms going up and down and then chances upon an old woman who is spinning with her distaff in the garret of a tower and had not heard of the king's decree against spinning wheels. The princess asks to try the unfamiliar task and the inevitable happens: the curse is fulfilled. The old woman cries for help and attempts are made to revive the princess, but to no avail. The king attributes this to fate and has the princess carried to the finest room in the palace and placed upon a bed of gold-and-silver-embroidered fabric. The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy is summoned by a dwarf wearing seven-league boots and returns in a chariot of fire drawn by dragons. Having great powers of foresight, the good fairy sees that the princess will be distressed to find herself alone and so puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The king and queen kiss their daughter goodbye and depart, proclaiming the entrance to be forbidden. The good fairy's magic also summons a forest of trees, brambles and thorns that spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the princess.
A hundred years pass and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the happenings in the castle until an old man recounts his father's words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years, whereupon a king's son is to come and awaken her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the princess lies asleep on the bed. Trembling at the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her. The enchantment comes to an end and the princess awakens and converses with the prince for a long time. Meanwhile, the rest of the castle awakes and go about their business. The prince and princess head over to the hall of mirrors to dine and are later married by the chaplain in the castle chapel.

Part II 
File:W.E.F. Britten - The Early Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Sleeping Beauty.jpg

 "Little Briar Rose" (GermanDornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm
Available right over

Plot Overview Part II 
According to Wiki :
After having been secretly wed by the reawakened Royal almoner, the Prince continued to visit the Princess, who bore him two children, L'Aurore (Dawn) and Le Jour (Day), which he kept secret from his step-mother, who was of an ogre lineage. Once he had ascended the throne, he brought his wife and the talabutte ("Count of the Mount").
The Ogress Queen Mother sent the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods, and directed her cook there to prepare the boy for her dinner, with a sauce Robert. The humane cook substituted a lamb, which satisfied the Queen Mother, who then demanded the girl, but was satisfied with a young goat prepared in the same excellent sauce. When the Ogress demanded that he serve up the young Queen, the latter offered her throat to be slit, so that she might join the children she imagined were dead. There was a tearful secret reunion in the cook's little house, while the Queen Mother was satisfied with a hind prepared with sauce Robert. Soon she discovered the trick and prepared a tub in the courtyard filled with vipers and other noxious creatures. The King returned in the nick of time and the Ogress, being discovered, threw herself into the pit she had prepared and was fully consumed, and everyone else lived happily ever after.
Older Variations of the Myth of The Sleeping Beauty 
According to Wiki:
Perrault transformed the tone of Basile's "Sole, Luna, e Talia". Beside differences in tone, the most notable differences in the plot is that, in Basile's version, the sleep did not stem from a curse, but was prophesied; that the king did not wake Talia from the sleep with a kiss, but prayed to the gods to wake her,[3] when the gods visited he she gave birth to two children, one sucked on her finger, drawing out the piece of flax that had put her to sleep, which woke her; and that the woman who resented her and tried to eat her and her children was not the king's mother but his jealous wife. The mother-in-law's jealousy is less motivated, although common in fairy tales.
In Giambattista Basile's version of Sleeping Beauty, the sleeping beauty was named Talia. When checking out her horoscope, her father had found out that Talia would be in danger from a splinter of flax. This splinter was the cause of Talia's long deep sleep. Unlike the version most of us know from Sleeping Beauty, Basile's version consisted of a more gruesome plot. After Talia (sleeping beauty) died/fell into the deep sleep, she was seated on a velvet throne and her father, to forget his misery of her death, closed the doors and abandoned the house forever. One day, while a king was walking by, one of his falcons flew into the house. The king knocked hoping to be let in by someone but since no one answered, he decided to climb up the ladder he had brought with him and go inside the house. There he saw Talia. He called on her but she was unconscious. Instead of finding out what's wrong or even being worried about this, he carried her to bed and raped her while she was unconscious. Then he just left her in the bed and went back to his kingdom. Even though Talia was unconscious, she gave birth to twins. One of whom kept sucking her fingers. Talia woke up because the twin had sucked out the flax that was stuck deep in Talia's finger. When she had woken up, she saw that she was a mother. She did not know what had happened to her. One day, the king had decided he wanted to go see Talia again and went back to the palace to find her awake and a mother to his twins. He caught her up to who he was, what had happened, and they ended up bonding. After a few days, the king promised her that he will return to take her to his kingdom and went back to his realm. The King's wife kept hearing "Talia, Sun and Moon" coming out of her husband's mouth in his sleep so she bribed the king's secretary and also scared him to tell her what was going on. After the queen learned the truth, she pretended she was the King and wrote Talia asking her to send the twins because he wanted to see them. Talia sent her kids to the "king" and the queen told the cook to kill the kids and make dishes out of them. She had wanted to feed the king his children. The cook instead of doing what the queen had told him, took the kids to his wife and hid them. He then cooked two lambs and served it as it was the kids. Every time the king mentioned how good the food was, the queen replied "Eat, eat, you are eating of your own". Then queen later invited Talia to the kingdom and was going to burn her alive, but the king appeared and found out what was going on about his children and Talia. He then ordered that his wife be burned and not Talia. He also burned those who betrayed him. Since the cook actually did not obey the queen, the king thanked the cook for saving his children by giving him rewards. The story ends by the king marrying Talia and living happily ever after.[4]
There are earlier elements that contributed to the tale, in the medieval courtly romance Perceforest (published in 1528), in which a princess named Zellandine falls in love with a man named Troylus. Her father sends him to perform tasks to prove himself worthy of her, and while he is gone, Zellandine falls into an enchanted sleep. Troylus finds her and impregnates her in her sleep; when their child is born, he draws from her finger the flax that caused her sleep. She realizes from the ring he left her that the father was Troylus; he returns after his adventures to marry her.[5]
Earlier influences come from the story of the sleeping Brynhild in the Volsunga saga and the tribulations of saintly female martyrs in early Christian hagiography conventions. It was, in fact, the existence of Brynhild that persuaded the Brothers Grimm to include the story in later editions of their work rather than eliminate it, as they did to other works they deemed to be purely French, stemming from Perrault's work.
The second half, in which the princess and her children are almost put to death, but hidden instead, may have been influenced by Genevieve of Brabant.
File:Sleeping beauty by Edward Burne-Jones.jpg
This fairy tale is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 410.[7]
The princess's name has been unstable. In Sun, Moon, and Talia, she is named Talia ("Sun" and "Moon" being her twin children). Perrault removed this, leaving her anonymous, although naming her daughter "L'Aurore". The Brothers Grimm named her "Briar Rose" in their 1812 collection.[8] This transfer was taken up by Disney in the film, which also called her Aurora.[9] John Stejean named her "Rosebud" in TeleStory Presents.
The Brothers Grimm included a variant, Little Briar Rose, in their collection (1812).[8] It truncates the story as Perrault and Basile told it to the ending now generally known: the arrival of the prince concludes the tale.[10] Some translations of the Grimm tale give the princess the name Rosamond. The brothers considered rejecting the story on the grounds that it was derived from Perrault's version, but the presence of the Brynhild tale convinced them to include it as an authentically German tale. Still, it is the only known German variant of the tale, and the influence of Perrault is almost certain.[11]
The Brothers Grimm also included, in the first edition of their tales, a fragmentary fairy tale, The Evil Mother-in-Law. This began with the heroine married and the mother of two children, as in the second part of Perrault's tale, and her mother-in-law attempted to eat first the children and then the heroine. Unlike Perrault's version, the heroine herself suggested an animal be substituted in the dish, and the fragment ends with the heroine's worry that she can not keep her children from crying, and so from coming to the attention of the mother-in-law. Like many German tales showing French influence, it appeared in no subsequent edition.[12]
Italo Calvino included a variant in Italian Folktales. The cause of her sleep is an ill-advised wish by her mother: she would not care if her daughter died of pricking her finger at fifteen, if only she had a daughter. As in Pentamerone, she wakes after the prince rapes her in her sleep, and her children are born and one sucks on her finger, pulling out the prick that had put her to sleep. He preserves that the woman who tries to kill the children is the king's mother, not his wife, but adds that she does not want to eat them herself but serves them to the king.[13] His version came from Calabria, but he noted that all Italian versions closely followed Basile's.[14]
Besides Sun, Moon, and Talia, Basile included another variant of this Aarne-Thompson type, The Young Slave. The Grimms also included a second, more distantly related one, The Glass Coffin.[7]
Joseph Jacobs noted the figure of the Sleeping Beauty was in common between this tale and the Gypsy tale The King of England and his Three Sons, in his More English Fairy Tales.[15]
The hostility of the king's mother to his new bride is repeated in the fairy tale The Six Swans,[16] and also features The Twelve Wild Ducks, where she is modified to be the king's stepmother, but these tales omit the cannibalism.

Using Sleeping Beauty In Your OSR Game 
File:La Belle au Bois Dormant - Sixth of six engravings by Gustave Doré.jpg

Enchanted fairylands, cannibalism, weird curses, and strange events that straddle reality as we know it. Sleeping Beauty the fairy tale has all of the elements of a horrifying OD&D or AD&D game in the making. All of the themes are easily convertible to your favorite old school game because they're already written into the system. 
The themes of the tales have always seemed like they'd make a kick ass D&D adventure or campagin all the way back in college when I began to look into them to convert them to one of the White Wolf games. What I found is that these tales are more readily converted into a D&D style adventure.
The lands of enchantment, the princesses, the orgesses and more more make this stuff classic fodder for a game of horror or high fantasy adventure. There have been classic modern retellings of the tales.
Once again wiki : 
There is a huge amount of room for a DM to come into these tales with adventurers helping or hindering the plot and their interaction with the weird fairyland aspect of sleeping beauty. Even though this is a fairy tale there is much to do with these tales. Adventures can take place within or around the events of both tales. The fact that many players are very unfamiliar with the niceties of these tales enables a DM to weave the mythology of snow white into the background of their own campaign.
 Much of the action of Sleeping Beauty can take place in a fairy realm or demi plane so as not to impact or to convey the weird timelessness of the setting. 
Suddenly, Elves, Dwarves, and many other Demi human races don't seem out of place at all among the the landscape of these fairy tales. They might also be used as bridge gaps into places like HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands or the other classic fairytales of Grim and those of an older variety. Osric, Swords and Wizardry, and the works of Jack Shear can easily simulate the ins and outs of this timeless, classic, and very deadly tale that is the Sleeping Beauty Saga.

Finally  in 1842 Day Dream by Lord Alfred Tennyson was written about Sleeping Beauty 

The Day-Dream (1842)[edit]

  • The bodies and the bones of those
    That strove in other days to pass,
    Are wither'd in the thorny close,
    Or scatter'd blanching on the grass.
    He gazes on the silent dead:
    "They perish'd in their daring deeds."
    This proverb flashes thro' his head,
    "The many fail: the one succeeds."
    • The Arrival, st. 2.
  • And on her lover's arm she leant,
    And round her waist she felt it fold,
    And far across the hills they went
    In that new world which is the old:
    Across the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    And deep into the dying day
    The happy princess follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 1.
  • O eyes long laid in happy sleep!
    O happy sleep, that lightly fled!
    O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!
    O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!
    • The Departure, st. 3.
  • And o'er the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    Beyond the night, across the day,
    Thro' all the world she follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 4.
  • So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
    And if you find no moral there,
    Go, look in any glass and say,
    What moral is in being fair.
    Oh, to what uses shall we put
    The wildweed-flower that simply blows?
    And is there any moral shut
    Within the bosom of the rose?
    • Moral, st. 1.


  1. Wow! Great insight into this fairy tale. I thought I knew a little about it, and now I know, how little I know about it... ;)
    And: There is this children verse, that is sung in kindergarden in Germany, that starts "Dornröschen war ein schönes Kind, schönes Kind, schönes Kind..." and I couldn't stop hearing it in this creepy version in my head, like children verses in movies are always creepy and scary... ;)

  2. Very cool. I enjoyed the fairy tale, the original Disney Movie and now this new one quite a lot. We had this old book of fairy tales when I was a kid. The version you have above is very similar to the one we had.

  3. rorschachhamster- There's a ton of fairy tale material out in the ether to use and its pretty damn creepy. That rhyme translated into English goes ~
    "Sleeping Beauty was a beautiful child, beautiful child, beautiful child , Sleeping Beauty was a beautiful child, beautiful child." I grew up with a lot of German, Lithuanian, and lots of Eastern European grand kids of many immigrants who came over through Ellis Isle. They've always been in my collective unconscious and so its really influenced my campaign. I hope you use it and other fairy tales for your gaming.
    Thanks for the great comments.

  4. Timothy Brannan- I'm glad you've enjoyed the post and I had several old fairy tale books growing up and European neighbors who taught me several cycles of the 'real' Sleeping Beauty tales. They used to get upset with their grand kids who used to watch the Disney films and not take on board the folklore. When you dig into the fairy tales some really interesting material surfaces that can really be used your old school games. Thanks for the comment Tim and there will be more to come.