The bunyip is a creature from Australian folkore that appears to have originated in Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology. Descriptions of the bunyip vary widely, though it is typically portrayed as a lake-dwelling monster with a coat of fur, flippers, and walrus-like tusks or horns. According to legend, the bunyip is said to lurk in various shallow bodies of water (e.g., creeks, ponds, etc). It has been hypothesized that the bunyip is, perhaps, a relative of the pre-historic Diprotodon australis.
In some aboriginal legends the bunyip is credited with a variety of supernatural powers, including the ability to manipulate the water level in its home and/or a roar with the ability to inspire fear, paralyze or even kill.
There is … some debate … as to the exact appearance of bunyips and the word is occasionally translated as "demon" or "evil spirit" so it may be that the term originally applied to the entire class of 'water monsters'. That at least might explain the variation.
Game and Story Use
- The bunyip is a real, albeit elusive, creature that inhabits the Australian Outback.
- The PCs have been hired by a wealthly collector to procure a living bunyip specimen.
- Recently, several locals have gone missing near the watering hole. Is a bunyip the culprit?
- With a little memetic mutation, perhaps a bunyip in human form might be found running a pub somewhere in the Outback.
- For a Scooby-Doo style plot, someone could be using an imitation bunyip to intimidate the Aboriginies.
- The bunyip might also be a good emblem for a terrorist movement based around Aboriginee nationalism.