Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/13/17: Houses of Ill Repute

happy times in a bordello

How do (mostly male) adventurers spend their hard-won leisure time? They might visit a brothel.

Game of Thrones has shown fantasy fans what such a brothel might look like, but whorehouses, or rollicking inns  filled with willing (or working) women have long been a staple of the genre, especially in sword and sorcery. Straight female characters have so far been shut out of the fun, but here’s hoping some creative authors come up with alternatives.

Here’s some randomly generated names to use in your own worldbuilding work.

Houses of Ill Repute

Brothels

The Mistress’s Last Moan

The Scarlet Lips

The Dungeon of Endless Spanking

The Siren’s Orgasm

The Honeycomb of Exquisite Whispers

Taunea’s Blushing Palace

The Virgin’s Secret

The Lusty Tower

The Black Velvet Inn

The Four Strokes

Palace of the Punishments

The Queen’s Hundredth Release

The House of Blissful Whispers

Grotto of the Forbidden Cry

The Maze of Irresistible Pleasures

The Emerald Pillow

The Wench’s Happy Groans

Cave of the Nymph

The Trollop’s Four Punishments

The Whore’s Singular Delight

The Lusty Maiden

The Ruby Garden

Prostitutes (Female only)

Velvet Plum

Deep Tongue

Honeycream

Bellona

Talsa the Skilled

Turmeena

Joreva

Mistress Janilla

Shekira

Lady Janda

Zarduna of the Whip

Fara Breedlove

Taleva the Dark Lotus

Cinnamon Moon

Nomeena the Huntress

Misty Blossom

Saroka the Morning Pearl

Karuna the White Opal

Dalzha

Hot Legs

Feather Rose

Fresh Velvet

 

Eye Irritation

I thought I felt something in my eye!

Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/6/17: Barbarians

A Barbarian ponders some imminent worldbuilding. (conan_the_barbarian_by_uncannyknack-d5y8z00.jpg)

A barbarian ready for action on the battlefield. Note the cleanly picked skeletons.
(Conan the Barbarian, by Uncanny Knack)

 

Without dispute, pulp author Robert E. Howard invented the fantasy character trope of The Barbarian Hero, specifically with his creation Conan. But the roots were laid before that in the Tarzan tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli. Both pitted a stoic, nature-wise man (or boy) of the wilds against corrupt human civilization. Conan went further, though, in his manly-man appetites for pleasure and acclaim.

During the fifty year span of the 1930s to the 1980s the Barbarian remained a popular character among readers, building to a peak in the mid 80s when the trope entered movie blockbuster territory, and popular culture, with Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s depiction in Conan the Barbarian (1982.) In turn that begat Clo-nans like Krull, Beastmaster, Deathstalker, The Sword and the Sorceror, and Ator the Invinceable, all beloved by schlock cinema aficionados, not to mention me. Since it was the 1980s, many of these had a post-apocalyptic theme as well, taking place after some nuclear holocaust as well as in the distant past.

Sadly, The Barbarian Hero declined in popularity after that. His rise and eventual fall is charted excellently here in this post by Castalia House.

But Clo-nans existed way before that, in the heyday of the pulp age. Tarzan beget Jo-Jo of the Jungle, Ki-gor, Ka-Zar, Korak Son of Tarzan, and Turok Man of Stone: meanwhile Kull the Conqueror, Kane, Brak, Wulf, Thongor, Kothar the Barbarian Swordsman, Kane, Vandal, and Dagar gave Howard’s creation a run for his money. The Barbarian was dressed up, as in Michael Moorcock’s angsty Elric of Melnibone series, and dressed down, as in the Saturday morning cartoon Thundarr the Barbarian and before that, The Herculoids. He appeared as an object of fun, as in Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd stories and the humorous character Conan the Librarian.

Following the very simple rules of Barbarian name generation (lots of Ks and Zs) here are some to use in your own work.

Barbarians


 

Vazkas of Koboria

Strong-Skulled Thygor

Tiger Son Shovung

Zotran the Shaman Prince

Saygor The Viking

Saak the Marauder

Tradak the Demon Prince

Aalach the Ghost Raider

Kysur The Ranger

Naman the White Champion

Mighty-Thewed Thangobo

Cassark the Savage

Panthez of the Jungle

Abraak, the Black Marauder

Tarsur the Defender

Kamuz the Storm Hunter

Samark the Chieftain

Turgor the Challenger

Jondogorn of the Savage Land

Jor-Jor of the Ape Clan

Kindradi of the Lost World

Avung of the Emerald Forest

An-Chan of the Leopard People

Zhalak of the Forgotten Kingdom

Zolaan of the Secret Valley

Tark-Ark of the Wolf Clan

Fire Bringer Shaylak

Mamban of the Cobra

Kazan of the Canyon

Nammak the Nomad

Zardan the Conqueror

Thuvar the Challenger

Tujor, the Blue Demon

Rashtor the River Prince

Janjor the Moon Lord

Panthas the Jungle King

Reek the Raider

Kronsul the Destroyer

Hawk-Eyed Tolak

King Kindrados

Kazan of Tabornia

Fire Speaker Sagan

Tarbo, the Forest Warrior

Jophran the Sun Bringer

Jorjak the Forest Prince

Tigrath the Stone Chief

Kamjor the Forest Warrior

Simbu the Moon Lord

Kronas of the Rainforest

Aragor the Dark Moon Warrior

Thurak the Spirit Warrior

Star Sentry Farder

 

Dracolich

Undead dragon, or dracolich

The Dracolich, or undead dragon, is the most terrifying and powerful of all dragonkin.
Fortunately they are few and far between.

 

(Rotten Meat, by Edward DeLandre)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/30/17: Mundane Fare

Let’s face it. Most of the food in a typical Medieval European kingdom wasn’t very exciting.
This is what gruel looks like.

This is better than most, folks.

Historically, the peasant staple in Europe and the Near East was porridge, which is, basically, a form of oatmeal —  whole grains boiled in water or milk, decanted into a bowl and eaten with a spoon. Its thinner cousin was gruel, which was slurped rather than eaten. Wheat, rye, rice, millet, barley, oats, and hemp served as the base. If you were lucky, you had salt or butter to flavor it, and depending on season, fruit and meat. Porridges and gruels were also made with legumes such as peas and lentils. Modern Indian dhaals and rajmahs, as well as Middle Eastern  hummus, can be considered a form of porridge, albeit with more varied ingredients.

That said, I admit porridge or gruel isn’t very picturesque to write about.

So, here’s a (randomly created) list of realistic but not very exciting food a typical fantasy character might eat, perhaps at home or in some poor inn. The second column is what a character might eat while traveling on a quest. Note that they rely on ingredients that are cheap and easily obtainable.

Mundane Fare


 

Home Meals

Poached venison and creamed peas

Baked carrots and leeks, served with barley

Cornmeal crackers and a thick, buttery, lentil stew

A generous serving of rabbit with a side of mashed turnip

Goat and lentil soup

Mutton chowder spiced with thyme

Fried buckwheat and parsnip cakes

Whole grain bread and spicy cheese, served with raspberry preserves

Mushrooms simmered in pork stock

Day-old bread topped with creamed herring

Poached fish heads served with pickled turnip

 Road Food

Fermented goat’s milk

Stringy sausage made from a suckling pig

A tough, tasteless pie made with fish and onions

Wizard’s blueberry, a pale blue berry with starchy flesh

Trail crackers of wheatberry and dried quince

Cold slices of headcheese and pork

Travel biscuits of wheat and dried fig

Thin slices of sheep’s lungs dried in the sun until hard

Dwarve’s Loaf *

Gulllunga, a hard, crunchy cheese

Dehydrated pear strips

 

 

* I will leave it up to you to decide what Dwarve’s Loaf is.

 

Fantasy world utensils and bowls

Authentic tableware for your fantasy world.

 

Geek X Girls has an amusing version of RPG “Rations” (Food) for various AD&D races, complete with pictures. Gives you an idea of what adventurers might really eat on the road.

If you want to prepare your own gruel, here’s a recipe.

Basic Gruel

Ingredients
3 tbs. of groats (any combo of finely crushed grains) or, my favorite, grits!
3/4 cup water (more if you like it wetter)
Dash of salt
Little bit of butter, if your character isn’t too poor

Cooking Instructions

  1. Boil the water and salt in a saucepan on the stove. Slowly stir in groats or grits.
  2. Add butter. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low.
  3. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like your gruel thicker, continue cooking until you have the consistency you like.

I eat this dish Mexican-style, topped with hot sauce and grated cheese.

 

Gummy Bear

This is one treat you don’t want to eat.

 

Gummy Anatomy Toy, by Jason Freeny

Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/23/17: Jungle Girls

Jungle Girls are the female counterpart to Tarzan, Sabu, and countless other wild men and boys clad in flapping loincloths swinging through the trees. Modern interpretations of her began with Rima the Bird Girl, a character in the 1903 novel Green Mansions, which makes her older than Tarzan who debuted in 1912. Like Burrough’s creation she was often an orphan raised in the wilderness by animals or natives, but unlike Tarzan she also appeared as seductress, the wanton Queen or sorceress of a lost civilization. She also played the role of victim for the male adventurer to rescue. Her popularity took off with the pulp and Hollywood age, and she appeared in hundreds of books, adventure magazines, comics, and movie serials. Many incarnations came and went over the years, most forgotten now: Vooda, Nyoka, Lana, Rulah, Taanda, Luana. Sense a pattern here?

Following are some evocative Jungle Girl names writers can use in their own work.

Jungle Girls


 

Black Shayina

Jansa the Jaguar Queen

Nammina of the Jade Jackal

Karida, Lady of the Zebras

Ganzha Queen of Paradise

Thuvoka the Forest Girl

Staranee the Eagle Girl

Thuruma, Princess of the Moon

Fantna, the Black Huntress

Jania, Mistress of the Jungle

Farmeena, Queen of the Forest

Sabra the Rising Witch

Faroka the Falcon Girl

Fanta the Elephant Girl

Turanee the Lion Girl

Nyona the Hyena Girl

Beluna the Dingo Girl

Farida the Leopard Girl

Zanida the Emerald Forest Maiden

Rashalina the Swamp Goddess

Princess Jondanee of the Sighing City

Oyna, the Secret Queen of the trees

Thurra the Gentle Huntress

Mokkira the Divine Mistress of the Moon

Mambalina the Jungle Orchid

Yvezana, White Moon of the Rainforest

Sauma the Blue

Reesa the Barbarian Princess

Warrior Queen Rashika

Aquilia, the Conqueror Queen

Leina of the Lion Clan

Vinmeena, the Viking Princess

Kyzara the Mercenary Princess

Queen Tarona the Savage

Oukana the Sacred Queen

Nozola, the Destroyer Queen

Talkana, the Nomad Princess

Tona the She-Devil

Thuria the Witch Queen

Savage Princess Wiluna

Amazon Queen Rhomeena

Nika, Princess of the Steppe

Green Zanna

Karina, the Witch Princess

Jaydina the Huntress

Alya, Green Ghost of the Forest

Tarmeena the Sorceress

Queen Cassanee of Sarhonistan

Sazha the She-Wolf

Mokkana, Savage Lioness of the Plains

Xenasa, the Mountain Pearl

Ganthonga of the Witch Kingdom

 

Our Trash Will Eat Us

…eventually. All things take time.

 

(artwork by Phil McDermott)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/16/17: Dragon Names

Dragon Names

No other creature is as evocative of the contemporary fantasy genre as the dragon. They combine snakes, lizards, dinosaurs, large mammalian predators, and human intellects into one massive, armored, fire-breathing package. (Their drives, however, are their own.)

The current version of the dragon dates from within the last 100 years. Tolkien gave us a deadly foe in The Hobbit’s Smaug, but it was really the 1960s when the dragon literally and figuratively took off. Perhaps it was folk trio’s  Peter, Paul and Mary’s song Puff the Magic Dragon, or the very dragon-like Cecil the Sea Serpent in the Cecil and Beanie TV kid’s show. It may have been excerpts from Walt Disney’s The Reluctant Dragon (1941) shown ad nauseum on The Walt Disney Show every Sunday night, or the spectacular metamorphosis of Maleficent from evil witch into dragon form in the animated film Sleeping Beauty. Or, perhaps, the many dragon-like creatures populating such Saturday morning fare like The Herculoids. But whatever the case, dragons arrived and made their titanic footprint on the scene, supported in no small way by the growing popularity of dinosaurs among the small set.

That presence eventually bore fruit in novel series like Anne McCaffrey’s The Dragonriders of Pern (begun in 1967) and Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea, and fantasy writers began using them more frequently. But what really lit the fuse was the mass-marketing of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game, with its creatures color-coded to evil (primary colored) and good (metallic) dragons, with different breath weapons and tendencies for each. Over the years these germinal reptiles mutated into dozens if not hundreds of other forms, some fairly ridiculous (Fairy dragons anyone?)

And dragons continue to stretch out their snaky necks in new directions. They’ve recently claimed a section of the urban fantasy market, transforming into slabs of beefcake for the delectation of romance readers who enjoy shapeshifter characters.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to come up with a distinctive name for a dragon character. Here’s a list of randomly generated names to use for your own creations, following the Tolkien, McCaffrey, and LeGuin conventions, sprinkled with some Latin and sibilant sounds.

 


 

Zynth

Shezuth Star-song

Ronth

Enuphion the Tyrant

Ancalasez the Scourge

The Skyghost

Jucaumer

Grisgrax

Ancalpyax

Stormwreck the Great Wyrm King

Kraitbandar

Ansrit

Thisme the Burning Maw

Nagrumox the Great Worm

Sjiag the Clawed Shadow

Cnothgon the Wise

Gauntgrim the Gray Empress

Flamegorger

Meblak the Vengeful

Ftafer the Burning Plague

Ancaruhan Rain-bringer

Master Hellscream

Luthigne, the Winged Destroyer

Tyrlon the White

Luthanzi Sun-jewel

Ballag the Tyrant

Shashos Moongray

Ancalluth the Armored

Anhkphar the Erudite

Rievetaur, Plunderer of the Badlands

Incamodan

Spyug

Tyrphaz the Ancient

Nagnaw

Thristhrax the Red

Grisgrund the Stormlord

Unthaug, Ravager of the Western Hills

Nagaes the Ice Storm

Magraulle Skyribbon

Skymourn the Blizzard Queen

The Coalstriker

Old Hellscrew

Flamespark the Wise

Aneylong, Bane of the Elven Forests

Grisbagon the Terror of the Canyon

Old Greenfellow

Mistress Moongray

Bharcant Sun-ribbon

Naegnaw

Luthang the Gray

Anliredon the Peaceful

Anshas the Despoiler

Drakpang, Empress of the lands of men

Kakunth the Icy Destroyer

Balsez Cloudseeker

Steug

Krautch

Unshulagon

Scheig

Yetroid

Cnaufier the Brown

Blauph

Braum

Wynth

Vinsripan the Deadly

Sveug

Smaucnau

Mnetzlong the Ravager

Sazsent Storm-mist

Kletaur

Hfaux

Yevkhaat

Augrund the Dark Watcher

Itzelagon

Sziug

Irsagon

Yaluoj

Vermaur

Essrit the White

Ansrinx

Eutrapyon the Protector

Vermischan the Invulnerable

Angme, the Icy Furnace

Luthkas the Blue

Harkrieve the Wicked

Onzilagon

Phdaugh

Ainsez Stormjoy

Bharin

Baluin

 

 

Sea Monster

sea creature

The last thing the oceanographer saw.

 

(Concept art from the Syfy movie Dinoshark)