Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/13/21: The Best of Twittersnips (Local Color I)

Kintsukoroi, by Alsares Lynx

One of the things I’ve noticed about illustrations of dragons (and many imaginary creatures in general) is how closely they resemble dogs. The charming beast above is a sleepy German Shepard through and through, in spite of the wings, long tail, and feathered goat-featured face. This is not a criticism of the artist, mind you. It’s how mythic animals are made appealing and familiar through the the use of real-life analogs, making them seem more real.

Another way to bring the unfamiliar to life is by using off-hand mentions of familiar-sounding but nonexistent people, places, and things, what I call Local Color. Below is a list of many examples taken from my Twitter feed, 2017 – 2020.


Local Color I (Fantasy)

Gems and Minerals
Pixie Glass
Firefly Malachite
Tuberculosis of the Cheeks due to drinking alcohol
Screaming Argathera
Speckled Bubscratch
Torture Devices
The Coquette-mincer
Scarlet Trimmer
Concrete Buskins
The Wheel of Impressment
The Royal Masticator
Stars and Constellations
Weszar and Jorab, the Twin Archers
Anulior, the Falling Thief
Eubregeuse, the Healer’s Braid
Irulces, The Studious Beekeeper
Geltut, the Human-Headed Crow
Mirakneba The Gryphon
Villsturus and Valdkaa, The Twin Stars
Faunabi, a dim red star in the constellation of the Lioness
Vatrima, a white star also known as the Salamander’s Tongue
Secret Societies
Archers of the Ebon Hawk
Sons of the Midnight Eagle
The League of Celestial Illusionists
Elders of the Silver Maggot
Inns and
Pleasure Houses
The Bitter Stag
The Frolicsome Dragon
The Minstrel’s Manor
Twenty Ponies and a Sip
Elanara’s Saucy Dungeon
Noble Crests
Hippocampus holding an anchor on a field of yellow and white stripes
Scarlet serpent entwined around a yellow fish
Two crossed axes inside a hexagon
Mermaid riding a sea-lion
Wyvern’s head impaled on a pike
Mythical Realms
City of the Jade Dingo
The Lost City of Umbergay
The Medieval city of Fairmarvel
The City of Gnarlwood, ruled by Lady Ivorolor
Tarot Cards
The Gryphon: The creature holds a bouquet of flowers in its beak and its head is crowned with stars. In the background is a plowed field. The card implies good health, but when reversed, a broken bone.

The Steward: He wears a fur doublet and fights a cockatrice with an axe. Behind him, several people have already been turned to stone. It means a close associate will betray the subject.

Adaptation: Depicts an anthropomorphized rooster riding an ox. Its meaning changes with whatever card is placed at its right.

The Widowed Lady: A weeping woman dressed in black swings a censor trailing smoke. Behind her is peaceful farmland. Means ill fortune for the near future.

The Hawk: A brown and white hawk hovers above a burning furnace about which men work. Can mean either industry or the need to remain watchful.


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