Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/22/17: Supernatural Beings

 

Abaraxas, a Gnostic deity

There are all sorts of fairies, elementals, grues, demons, devils, angels, nature spirits, and the like in fantasy. Often they serve a purpose in the story, and just as often they are there for window dressing, like the offhand mentions of pookas or kelpies causing trouble. In fact, things wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t there. The more bizarre, the better. Take the above character for instance: the Gnostic entity Abraxus, a rooster-headed man with snake’s legs.

Here’s a list to embolden your own work or act as inspiration.

 

Supernatural Beings

Ganjader: The Messenger of the Gods, a divine hawk with the head of a beautiful silver-eyed maiden.

Valkagers: Winged men who serve the gods. They have twelve eyes and stentorian voices.

Psitemph: A divine horse with silver horns and a plaintive moan when saddened.

Gongstait: A tree spirit in the form of a green ape with six arms and bulbous, bloodshot eyes.

Sorenphid: A muscular demigod with the head of a stag and tanned, brawny arms. He created the first bow, stringing it from his own forehead hair.

Zaftaloon: The demon king of centipedes. He appears in the form of a one-eyed centaur and can knowledgeably discuss alchemy and philosophy. Instead of four hooved legs, he has a hundred.

Mantiunda: Also known as the Swan Queen. In the form of a maiden she can be recognized by her white, feathered ears.

Vroleth: An arcane being that looks like a clam with the head of a camel. Sages say it created the world from a ball of its own dung.

Lion-King Theraclasp: A legendary ruler with the head of a lion and scarlet wings. He has a snowy white pelt and travels in a giant juggernaut pulled by fifty groaning slaves.

Yelwherry: A heavenly messenger with a cheetah’s head and the torso of a comely youth. On his head he bears two golden horns. Sacred writings say he farts loudly when startled.

Vampamon: A mysterious entity with the antlers of a deer, the lower body of a serpent, and hot, steaming breath.

Sulsodyne: The God of Divine Inquisition and Torture. He sends out plagues of locusts to punish infidels.

Jamposs: The Golden Hare of the Sun. He craves the taste of honey and is said to defecate when alarmed.

Sphagniron: An immortal giant with the head of an elephant. He is fond of eating spiders and has beautiful feathered wings.

The Lyphrae: A tribe of fierce warriors that wear loincloths made of catskin and cut off their own ears.

The Cult

The Cult regularly punished those who failed to recruit new members.

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/15/17: Venice or Venus

Masquerade time in Venus (Venice)

 

Fantasy writing published in English-speaking worlds relies heavily on Medieval England as a setting. I suppose it’s because most early fantasy writers were, in fact, English, and then there’s the influence of the Inklings that included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It’s a heavy base that has only gotten heavier over the years. Even much of anime takes place in an English never-never land of castles, lords, and country villages. I hear enough grousing about it on social media to suggest that readers, writers, agents, and publishers are tired of it by now.

In contrast, Italian-based settings are not used as much. Historical fantasies using Renaissance Italy can be found without too much trouble, such as R. A. McAvoy’s Damiano trilogy,  but I know of only a few alternate-world Italies. There’s the city of Citttgazza in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, the Peninsula of The Hand in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, and the city of Venus in Tanith Lee’s The Secret Books of Venus quartet, based on an alternate world Venice tilted slightly askew, which is the richest of the three works. I am sure I am missing more.

Writers wanting to create a world with an Italian feel, without it actually being Italy, can use these randomly generated character names.

Alternate World Italian Names

Female

Gialladella Elanco

Lanrica Bartenzano

Belitalia Bernessa

Morlina Sante Valsaria

Violina Spinzola

Ensatra Bronerio

Candrelle Castrota

Chanitta Polifazzo

Vitterica Anneta Cerricchi

Sindelise Viparini

Elsatra Ezlisco

Stelladise Romesa

Melandrisa Barzagna

Sabrana Ilazzi

Fioria Scarese

Marghelisa Firoghi

Vittalia Montecricero

Silvria Tazasca

Denaura Rissa Fafitti

Issia d’Pomegiore

Male

Iolamo della Qualmonti

Fortipal d’Pozzio

Antonesco Ercozio

Lucisto Zapala

Terumbro Strazonti

Netasio Paprina

Darchetto Grazzietto

Fiertisto Stratziella

Fornnato Rivghetti

Olmero Firalbio

Palanzo Barbasco

Eurnetto Castroria

Bentavio Torssito

Orestopal Villaligneo

Givtonio Tellgliata

Ranchetto Sforiano

Luvino DeBonatti

Lucigi Bugcina

Givido Canobano

Lesmero Mezzadini

Black Queen VI

Black magic was one of her passions. Over time, she found the blackest.

 

(Artwork by menton3)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/8/17: Fairground Rides

So many of them sound like video games, don’t they? Probably because both are designed to take their users to a strange, disoriented world full of action and violent motion. With a dozen lists and a randomizer, here’s what I came up with, to create your own travelling carnival or Midway.

 

Nausea-inducing fairground rides

Hyper-Kat

Rocket Loop

Hypersteel

Techno Drive

Sky Demon

Air Chief

Devil Twirl

Sky Panic

Planet Force

Blastwave

Nitro Twirl

Devil Chief

Lunar Jam

Hyper-Vyper

Sky Attack

Magna-X

Megalactic

Lazertumble

Pop-o-Slam

Predator Holocaust

Ultradrop

Schizomania

Exojump

Voodoo Run

California Revolution

UFO Strike

Ultra Thrust

Techno Spin

Fly Master

Exo-Star

Interspin

Sky Destroyer

Aeroquin

Jet Jammer

Hyper Dragon

Crazy Twirl

Jet Spin

Skymaster

Hyperdance

Interpool

Rebel Force

Dynowave

Kinetic Drop

Interscramble

Polar Shot

Star Abyss

Quadromax

Voodoo Riptide

Ninja Twist

Double Slalom

Polar Expedition

Devil’s Empire

 

 

 

Tigerpillar

A little known creature from Chinese mythology, the Tigerpillar combined the ravenous appetite of both creatures.

Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/1/17: Quaint English Towns

Are those Hobbits in the foreground?

 

You’re driving along in the English countryside on your way to the next bed-and-breakfast. Villages and towns appear as you turn a bend or crest the hill, then disappear as the road steers you away. Or you’re reading some cozy mystery book set in the British Isles, or a tale of Eldritch horror where innocent characters gather at the pub or on the green. Or you’re a country lad or lass on a fantasy quest, or a Medieval village witch.

Here’s a list of names for those very towns and sleepy villages, whose modern names are distortions of Celtic, Roman, Gaelic, or Saxon forebearers. All randomly generated, but you knew that…

 

Quaint English Towns

Pendmig

Crossnun

Faybrand

Shaftgrin

Candlenor

Hollylindon

Swallowgrin

Bricklon

Charmkess

Rushpod

Borncross

Spyfox

Featherpear

Roylick

Walkwinter

Huntside

Silvermount

Lockmarch

Creampeach

Plainwind

Sandalsnip

Helmby

Cherrymount

Furrowfern

Wayroyal

Arsevek

Harpkill

Buttonform

Grachrull

Grincup

Buttonedge

Lutespire

Watersnip

Helmsrush

Broadwine

Ramburrow

Mournbrow

Camleaf

Lankplume

Teachbrood

Pennybreath

Crosskip

Blisterwit

Sparway

Mighead

Caramask

Histacup

Blandwallow

Strawpenny

Silverspit

Broodgrin

Chickpike

Liegehawk

Gingerthread

Maidgood

Rivergrove

Firebitter

Hullsheaf

Ninethread

Dustfields

Tresswell

Pendlestick

Burnwill

Sparrowkeep

Stoneport

Mountkill

Shaftburn

Broadpan

Spitrake

Fiddlewit

Windnap

Middlewit

Briarcherry

Spellspire

Rivermuster

Scarlock

Lyrebottle

Snipstance

Candlehawk

Chicknum

Stargay

Meeting with Medusa

Medusa Illustration by Simon Eckert

Illustration by Simon Eckert

Meeting with Medusa

An erotic short story for Halloween. Note that it’s comparatively mild, but still NSFW.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have tangled with a Gorgon.

It could have Medusa. She’d been reported working in Vegas by the other Hunters I’d been in contact with. Or it might have been Stheno or Euryale, her lesser-known sisters. But it didn’t matter, really. I’d been hunting her, saw her, and been seduced against my better judgement. When I saw her hair — snakes, rather — that had been it. After a most delicious girl-on-girl orgasm, I was now a block of stone up for auction by Sotheby’s.

I still held hope my colleagues would rescue me, knowing who I had been pursuing and the probable outcomes of my defeat. I wondered if they were logical enough to look for me at an art auction. Being unable to move or speak, of course, was a hindrance to my rescue, not to mention a frustration for someone as athletic as I was. I also knew there wasn’t much point in stewing in the feeling.

In the meantime, I watched the crowds file into the hotel ballroom beyond the velvet rope where I was displayed with all the other fine sculptures and exquisite furniture. The buyers were well dressed, wealthy, a mix of old money and new. They gaped at me, consulted their auction catalog, snickered, and gaped again, longer this time, for I had been petrified at the height of my passion and was stark bonkers naked to boot. A more humiliating scenario couldn’t be imagined.

A good thing marble doesn’t flush. Continue reading

The Queen of Vampires

Sleek, stylish, discrete. All hail the Queen of Vampires, Catherine Deneuve,
from the 1980 horror movie The Hunger.

 

A Haunting Strain of Music, Part 2

Some “lively” music always makes work go more
quickly, don’t you agree?

 

Rockabilly fun with The Creature from the Black Lagoon, who also moonlights as a record juggler. The title is a pun on “instrumentals.”

 

Swedish lady sings some early rock and roll. The picture is cool and shows she’s not afraid to have some fun with the idea.

 

Dracula gets into the act. I can guess this was a popular instrumental because there are even foreign versions of the song. The picture is from a British Hammer horror film, but Christopher Lee’s handsome face has been scrubbed out and replaced with this pointy-eared, goofy looking creature.

 

Spike Jones was a musician and bandleader who satirized popular music of the day with comedic singers and goofy sound effects, much like Weird Al Yankovik did in the 1980s. Teenage Brain Surgeon makes fun of rock and roll and then-current movies like “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.”

 

This illustration looks like one of the older ones, but it is actually fairly recent, from the 1990s punk band The Misfits. Here’s their cover of Monster Mash.

 

Bang dem bones! The skeleton certainly looks complacent being the medium for this cheesy cocktail lounge jazz music from Vic Geldman.

 

The Mummies, by their LP cover, look like they’re from 1965, but the music actually dates from 1992. Their blistering sound is pure, raw punk.

 

Calling all monsters! Clockwise from bottom left, we’ve got Toho Studios creations Anguirus, Godzilla, Ghidorah, Minilla the Son of Godzilla, Mothra in its larval stage, Varan, and Gorosaurus. The pic seems haphazardly slapped on to sell some Japanese  surf-punk music, including this gem,  Nati Bati Yi, by The Spiders.

 

Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters was a late 1960s Japanese tongue-in-cheek horror movie that serves as a backdrop for these guys, why may be comedians (not sure, because I don’t know Japanese.) I couldn’t find the music music, but you can see the movie trailer here.