A recently-opened Facebook page is seeking to bring a little bit of Maltese history to an ever-growing audience of nerds. Seħtet is-Swar (or The Curse of the Old Stone Bastions) is taking our worst nightmares as children, and transforming them into playable creatures in tabletop games.
Each post comes with a description of the beast, the characteristics it normally displays, some information on its lair, and a creepy tagline to really get you in the mood.
Malta’s rich history and superstitious nature has helped to create some thrilling tales, and with a tabletop renaissance in full swing, it’s about time they got a little taste of the island life. In the haunting words of the community’s page: Why fear an imp when you’ve seen a xifajk? What’s a ghoul got on a belliegħa? Here are some of our favourites.
“Who’s opening doors in the middle of the night; what was that at the end of your bed?”
The creature that has terrified generations of Maltese kids, reborn once more to haunt a new wave of players.
“Don’t sing songs into the well; the echo is not your own.”
Another nightmare plucked straight from our childhood. The best part about this one is the poignant quote that came with the post.
“If a child goes missing cut your losses. Board up the wells and watch your problems disappear.” Ġanni l-Mastrudaxxa
The Sabbara ta’ Sisal forest
“Stalks that tower towards the sky; leaves that cut like knives”
The page didn’t focus on monsters alone. Generating a complete setting for games to be played in, it also took elements of the Maltese landscape (such as the ħarruba, or in this case the massive aloe flowers we see growing in regions like Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq) and turned them into unique battlegrounds or adventures.
“That vase didn’t tip itself over; that laugh you heard was real.”
It’s more than just a cute pet name. The little demon is not something you want to cross.
There are many more nasties like these on Seħtet is-Swar’s page, so if you’re looking to spice up your game with a little Mediterranean flare, or you’re just curious to see the creatures that once haunted our tiny island, be sure to like them and let them know which creature you’d like to see next.