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.




Shezuth Star-song


Enuphion the Tyrant

Ancalasez the Scourge

The Skyghost




Stormwreck the Great Wyrm King



Thisme the Burning Maw

Nagrumox the Great Worm

Sjiag the Clawed Shadow

Cnothgon the Wise

Gauntgrim the Gray Empress


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



Tyrphaz the Ancient


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


Luthang the Gray

Anliredon the Peaceful

Anshas the Despoiler

Drakpang, Empress of the lands of men

Kakunth the Icy Destroyer

Balsez Cloudseeker






Cnaufier the Brown




Vinsripan the Deadly



Mnetzlong the Ravager

Sazsent Storm-mist




Augrund the Dark Watcher






Essrit the White


Eutrapyon the Protector

Vermischan the Invulnerable

Angme, the Icy Furnace

Luthkas the Blue

Harkrieve the Wicked



Ainsez Stormjoy





Sea Monster

sea creature

The last thing the oceanographer saw.


(Concept art from the Syfy movie Dinoshark)

Worldbuilding Wednesday, 8/9/17: Bureaucracies


Portrait of Auster Denoerval, by Virginie Carquin


Fantasy organizations are not limited to the grandiose and world-shaking. Scores of bureaucratic organizations run silently beneath the surface, serving to frustrate and stymie your characters in pursuit of their goals. Terry Pratchett, Franz Kafka, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stanislaw Lem, and J. K. Rowling all used them to good effect. Often they also serve as humorous interludes, as in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker series. Can they be satirical or offer social commentary? You bet. Often a minor character appears who offers up some pompous resume tidbit, and with this in mind, I created a list of impossible and not-so-impossible bureaucracies below.




Division of Unmentionable Mummification

Ministry of Reptilian Petrification

Department of Gustatory Purity

Task Force for the Relinquishment of Religious  Idols

National Institute of Mercantile Transformation

Regional Institute of Virtuous Education

Managerial Division of Domestic Communication

Imperial Task Force on Strategic Studies

Federal Task Force for the Creation of Healthy  Aesthetics

Managerial Institute for Strategic Hygiene

Druidic Hearing on Intelligent Horticulture

Bureau of Eldritch Battlecraft

Imperial Federation of Paranormal Persuasion

Federal Division of Philosophical Inquiry

Civic Bureau of Artful Labor

Imperial Institute of Human Love

Robust Hearing on Witches’ Adventuring

Federal Institute of Magical Freedom

Managerial Bureau of Insidious Comedy

Imperial Commission for Free Athletics

Managerial Commission on Spiritual Freedom

National Institute of Mercantile Management

Scholarly Societies

Bindenum Institute of Ophidian Intelligence

Imperial Task Force for the Study of Military Oddities

Royal Academy of Archaic Discoveries

Crossneedle Royal Campaign for Demonic Rights

League of Imperial Scholars

The Order of Hooded Sages

Professors of the Phlegmatic Trillium

Bright Wheels Literary Society

College of the Iron Laurel

Studious Society of Perfumed Fools

Way of the Fiery Wheel

Students of the Fulsome Heart

Scholars’ Conference on Gently Persuading Religious Literature

Sage’s Conference on Progressive Legendary Diseases

The Blacksmiths of Literature

Drovers of Civilization

Tricksters of Intelligence

Buskers of Warcaft

The Flaming Faction of Hell’s Scholars

The Eternal League of Skywise Scholars

Imperial Academy of Draconian Discoveries

Academy of Dignified Military Education


laughing mannequins full of evil

They are laughing at you always.
And they never stop.

Worldbuilding Wednesday, 8/2/17: Inns, Taverns, and Eateries

Much story development took place in a typical Medieval Inn.

The Granddaddy of all Fantasy fiction tropes must surely be the Medieval Inn, with its open hearths and wenches in low-cut bodices, unsavory characters lurking about, and bowls of hot stew. (No less a luminary than Tolkien created the seminal template with The Prancing Pony.)

In truth, inns served a vital function in the Medieval/Renaissance world. Travel and commerce were becoming more common, and at the same time, highwaymen and robbers began to make open-air camping unsafe near settled areas. Where there was a business need, then as now, a business sprang up to serve it.  The hospitality and food inns served was diverse, depending on the area’s resources and its wealth.

Here’s a list of randomly generated inn names you can use in your own works, and a list of House Specialties they might serve to their hungry patrons.

Inns, Taverns, and Eateries


The Grotto of the Dark Virgin

The Merry Peacock

The Whistling Fox Retreat

The Longshoreman’s Treasure

The Double Apple Inn

Bunker of the Foolish Dragon

The Windlass

The Laughing Moon

The Bard’s Dogfish

The Four Bottles Alehouse

The Monk’s Tumbling Mug

The Sapphire Phoenix

The Whistling Horse Inn

The Dagger and the Pearl

Four Mugs Hideaway

The Minstrel’s Jewels

The Tipsy Pine

Golden Dragon Tavern

The Black Star Inn

Inn of the Sleeping Moon

The Admiral’s Blue Haven

Mermaid’s Golden Alehouse

Keep of the Prudent Virgin

The Happy Basilisk

The Captain’s Crab

Shanty of the Puzzled Mug

The Silver Compass

Alehouse of the Blue Dog

Fifty Crown Alley

The Grinning Raven

The Mermaid’s Flying Anchor

The Stumbling Weasel Inn

The Thirsty Frigate

The Salty Cockerel

The Prince’s Plow

The Wench’s Dirty Dungeon

The Fainting Gypsy

Retreat of the Four Jewels

The Pirate’s Plot

The Singing Shark Tavern

Manor of Dancing Spirits

The Golden Dog

On the Menu… (House Specialties)

Devil’s Pudding:   Pureed mussels and collard greens.

Goodwive’s Wonder:    Slow-roasted bacon glazed with raspberry juice and the whites from goose’s eggs.

Poslim:    Eel and pumpkin stew.

Geltonshaft:   A creamy cheese with a red-orange rind.

Gorgon’s Omelet:     Slow-roasted gizzards glazed with berry juice and scramble-fried with hen’s eggs.

Blueberry Sinner:    A nutty ale from the east.

Dibbleqat:    Fermented goat’s milk sweetened with apple-quince syrup.

Duke’s Dice:    An alcoholic drink made from bulgur mash beer mixed with milk.

Peach Wonder:    A delicious ale from the far south.

Whore’s Stew:    Roasted fish mixed with collard greens.

Dascups:    Fried oat and garbanzo bean cakes.

Savorfern:    A savory pasty cheese made from mare’s milk.

Grundyrice:    Thin slices of suckling pig dried in the sun until chewy.

Vanbittant:    Cold fermented kefir blended with mead.

Scullylunga:    A soft, filling cheese flavored with lemon.

Spinsalt:    A starchy white cheese made from unicorn milk.

Dashobble:    A dark, pasty tea brewed from alini leaves.

Scaddylak Scarlet:    A local beer.

Dame’s Cross:    Frothy cucumber juice flavored with nutmeg.

Gobblelunge:    Fried goat with pickled mushrooms.

Gods’ Broth:    Slow-roasted pork soup decorated with the whites from chicken’s eggs.

Funnack:    Roasted pike stuffed with boiled broad beans.

Bobbleflan:    Roasted tripe served with lentils.

Rummyborne:    A northern brandy that tastes of cherry and fennel.

Caskdrop:   A local beer.

Raspberry Envy:    A bright pink alcoholic beverage brewed from hyzenberries.

Scullybeck:    A soft cheese flavored with bacon.


Black Queen III

The Black Queen’s personal life was full of misery, which was odd for such
a powerful figure. Sad to say, she wasn’t above taking it out
on her slaves.


(Misery by FrankT on DeviantArt)

Worldbuilding Wednesday, 7/26/17: Secret and Arcane Societies

Secret societies are a staple of fantasy fiction (Necromancy_by_Lyndseyh.jpg)

Necromancy, by Lyndsey Hayes

Secret and Arcane Societies

Secret societies are a mainstay in popular fiction. (Just look at Dan Brown.) In fantasy and science fiction, we have the Bene Gesserit, The Dharma Initiative, The Talamasca, The Sith.

In mundane life, there are many, from the sinister to the accepted. Freemasons are one. But there’s also Aleister Crowley’s occult group Order of the Golden Dawn, the mystical St. Germaine Foundation, The Skull & Bones Society of Yale, and the Opus Dei of the Catholic Church. They may be secular, commercial, community, or spiritual in nature. Often their membership is restricted, and members cannot speak of what goes on in them.

Here’s a list of randomly-generated names you can use for your own.


Brothers of Euphoria

Association of the Shadowed Sword

Starry Institute of the Bright Seafarer

Egalitarian Sanctum of Enchanters

Mothers of Fate

Coven of the Stringless Lute

Brotherhood of the Savage & Wondrous

The Starry Disciples of Sidefess

Minions of Solitude

Enclave of the Emerald

The Elder Syndicate of Dracotis

Union of the True Lantern

The Mist & Lightning Society

Citadel of the Iron Mage

Legion of the Scarlet Pyramid

The Minds of Profane Silence

Beauty of Ancient Ivory

The Golden Solitude

Apotheosis of Ash

Diviners of the Chimeric Veil

Legion Primal Clay

Order of Unconventional Fire

Utopia Of Hidden Beauty

Heaven’s Minions

The Nuanced Silence

The Looking Glass

Commune of the Twilight Eagle

Enclave of Perfumed Earth

Servants of the Idol

Society for fhe Study of Aquatic Phenomena

The Eternal Sanctum

Mothers of Dauntless Purity

Conclave of Night

Brethren of Harmonious Shadow

Black Alliance Of Tamschim

The Spellmasters Union of Eurä

The Fire & Water Society

League of the Behemoth

Kin of the False Stone

Fraternity Of The Fiery Cowl

The Onyx Hegemony

Brothers of the Contorted Star

Sanctum of the Violent Dawn

The Sylvan Breath

The Salient Shadow

The Free Energy Syndicate

League of  Bright Transcendance

The Clear Day Coalition

Kin of Kharmic Discovery

Eternal Sanctum Of Winter

The Spiritual Fire

Dawn of Luminous Gold



Dungeon Quest [Review]

Dungeon Quest Book One by Joe Daly

Dungeon Quest

by Joe Daly
Fantagraphics, 2010

As I often do, I picked up this graphic novel at random. The name intrigued me, as it implied AD&D gaming sessions, and also the figurine on the cover, which did not fit the name at all. It seemed more Pre-Columbian, Toltec maybe, except for that very big Brainiac  head.

The head in question belongs to the titular character, Millennial Boy, who, being bored one day, decides on the spur of the moment to go on a quest, eliciting friends and collecting supplies and equipment on the way. His adventures have a Gen-X, slacker vibe, mixing the fantastic and the mundane. Instead of dungeons and feral wilderness Millennial Boy and his companions trek through vacant lots and back alleys, encountering petty thugs and Molelocs (a cross between orcs and moles.) It’s haphazard and good-natured in the way of underground comic artist R. Crumb. Millennial Boy is snarky and cynical — at times I expected him to betray or take advantage of his companions in pursuit of his own goals — but he’s actually a stauncher companion than you’d think, and someone whom you’d want along on a mythical quest, even if he is too assured that he knows the best for everyone else.

The artwork I found enjoyable. There is some nudity, chiefly penises, but it’s employed in service of the story. For example, Lash Penis, who serves as the generic Fighter of the group, is wounded and enters a Pool of Healing where he encounters a oneness with the universe. I was expecting, given the snarky tone of the story, some ironic punchline for this episode, but it was played straight, and oddly affecting because of it.

In this full-page pic the adventurers trek out of a stand of trees by a canal/sewer. It’s mundane, yet grandiose.

I’ll continue to follow these characters on their odd yet endearing quest.