Hypothetically speaking, if all the mythological and folkloric beasts on this wiki had existed since antiquity alongside humans and society accepts all sapient species, which of those species would be the dominant one? Or, would there be no dominant species, just a constant struggle for power?
Please provide an answer and an explanation. Nothing created for the SCP Foundation Wiki or anything similar, please - only monsters based off historical legends.
You ask for answer. You ask for explanation. I give you the worst from both worlds. The... speculation.
Considering various gods and their counterparts exist in mythology. Depending on time and age they also walked on Earth. It would be too easy to say it would be a clash between different pantheons.
But if we take gods and such out of the equation, we're left with stuff like Fenrir, who has the size and the strength to eat the Sun. Power levels are quite absurd in mythology when you compare them to modern standards. Norse jötunn "giants" are a tad weaker than average god, but make up for it in their numbers.
Various giants from Greek mythology also have god-like powers, and were usually restrained or governed in some manner by actual gods. These Norse and Greek god-spawns could be the two forces battling for power. Jötunn could function very well as the growing, looming threat that most powerful creatures from other pantheons are trying to keep in check.
However, all these creatures share lineage with gods. If we somehow try to figure out a species that's somehow limited in their power (ie, not throwing mountains around or eating heavenly bodies) but still rising above all other such creatures. That's tough. Especially if we take a look in how the creatures function in particular mythologies - being power hungry is somewhat rare there.
Some form of undead apocalypse sounds plausible. All the undeath and their self-centered evil combined might eventually as time goes by crush any other form of existence. This could happen without an actual agenda, unless more intelligent undead form necroecological movement to preserve life as a source for their nourishment and hatred, envy or whatever they need to maintain meaningful existence.
Of course there are different kind of more or less powerful fairies or such that are magical and perhaps immortal. However, their presence is generally quite local and don't spread their influence and/or plague as reliably as the undead would do.
An interesting theory. However, let me play devil's advocate for a moment.
Whether or not the old gods exist in this world, their presence hasn't been felt for millennia at least, or perhaps they were never truly there in the first place. Creatures like Fenrir are a one-off entity; should he fall, that's it. No more Fenrir. And should we consider giants and jötunn god-spawn, they would either fall into the same category as the old gods and be absent or be mortal, who can be killed albeit with some difficulty. Let us imagine that all of them - the gods, the one-off monsters, the giants - are absent from the world, or maybe never existed in the first place. We're left with the creatures like fairies, vampires or ghouls.
While the undead (namely the things we call zombies) may have strength in numbers, imagine that in this world, they are slow, dumb, and infect through biting. They have no more individual strength than your average human (or whatever the individual's base species was) and cannot build things, cannot climb. With enough effort they could be corralled and contained, and therefore no longer a threat.
Imagine that in this world, a folkloric creature by default stays in the area where its legend came from. For example, if the Mothman were a part of this story, his species would be most dense around the Point Pleasant area in what we call West Virginia. The wendigo would be found mostly in the northern forests of Nova Scotia, the East Coast of Canada, and Great Lakes Region of Canada. Individuals of each species can travel to other places, but as a general rule they do not.
Finally, imagine that a great number of these creatures aren't sapient, aren't self-aware. That leaves a smaller number. It's these, these creatures with human-level intelligence, that I would like to learn about. Centaurs, werewolves, succubi, anything that's smart enough to participate in politics as we know them. A dog couldn't run for office, so the Loch Ness Monster probably couldn't either. It's not a brute-force power struggle necessarily, though of course there are some whose abilities would be helpful.
So the base question, with this information out there is thus: In this world, where some semblance of civilized society exists, which sapient species, if any, would be the dominant one?
My take on undead included the awful lot of them - vampires with all cultural variations, zombies, ghouls, ghosts and whatever there are. Just about every culture has an undead myth, which would make them quite prevalent all over the globe. Now, if they had existed as such from the dawn of ages, slowly doing their thing throughout millennia, I'd figure world of this day could very well be overpopulated by masses of the undead. But hey, at least oceans wouldn't be filled with plastic trash. Never mind the undead, possessed demon whale inhaling water and exhaling poison.
And about the Fenrir stuff and such, the point was that if gods weren't able to kill it - how would mortals stand a chance in killing it? But yeah, original question just gets murky like this.
To the base question, I think various demon creatures like succubi would have a major impact, as being able to influence minds and thoughts of other beings in a supernatural way is strong ability in politics for sure. I can already see a dystopian scenario where ruthless demons have enslaved leprechauns, playing on their deepest fears and basic instincts to produce wishes on demand. Wish Factory, so to say. No return policy on faulty products. Wait a minute. Isn't that what Santa alrea... oh my.
A valid point. I guess in my mind, when I think "undead" my mind goes straight to zombies and similar things. This all is related to a story I plan to create, and one of my major characters is a vampire who acts human, which I think a lot of vampires do in this world. So, vampires are included in the "sapient creatures" pool instead of the "undead" pool in this context. And I find it plausible that, should zombies and such be dangerous to all creatures, human or no, that there would be some sort of alliance between the species to deal with the threat. By modern day, zombies are rather like certain animals, maybe large rats - they're everywhere in the wild and can be dangerous in numbers, but unless you let a single one close enough to bite you you'll be fine. Everyone knows how to avoid them if you stray into their territory and it's extremely rare to find one in a city.
It's entirely possible that those like Fenrir don't exist at all, and are just old legends. Or - and I like this idea - at some point in the past, they all decided to withdraw from the world of mortals and are hibernating. On mortals killing him, well, humans have done some pretty crazy things in the real world. Who's to say that with potential aid from outright magical creatures they couldn't fell a god?
I can see it now - leprechauns running wish factories, fairies running law firms, succubi and incubi running brothels. Hopefully the governing body ensures these all remain sane and consensual, but there's of course no guarantee...
One friend told me that centaurs would be a logical ruler, as they're often depicted as both intelligent and warlike. Whether or not they could stand up to the more psychokinetic types is uncertain, though. Someone else said vampires, because they've probably mastered the art of seduction, but then again, succubi and incubi exist, too. It's a difficult question, but hopefully fun to think about?
What do you think?