Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The War-[x] Game

Put the word "chaos" in front of almost any animal name (or any object, pretty much) and instantly you get a monster idea. Try it. Chaos butterfly. Chaos dog. Chaos toad. Chaos cow. 

The same is also true of "war". War bat. War hippo. War heron. War owl. 

What I like about the "war-[x]" gambit is that you don't just get a cool-sounding monster name. You get an implied setting and culture surrounding it too. What society has war bats? Maybe a race of troglodytic jungle cave men who use their war bats, trained to fly into people's faces, to blind enemy warriors. What about war hippos? Clearly one that resembles Ancient Egypt, Nubia, or maybe Great Zimbabwe. Its elite warrior class, its knights, ride around on hippos and are even able to use them to travel up and down rivers (legends still tell of a famous battle in which an army of war hippos, together with knights, crossed the sea to sack a city of the Ancient Greece analogue in the setting). War herons are trained by a marsh-dwelling people to peck out the kneecaps or pierce the feet of intruders as they pass by thick reed beds. War owls are used by a society of nocturnal elves to scratch out the eyes of the foolish humans who enter their forests - or maybe to hunt down and devour pixies.

Try it and see. 

11 comments:

  1. Did somebody say war-hippo knights?

    https://flowerzzxu.deviantart.com/art/Monsoon-560850595

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    1. It terrifies me how many amazing illustrators there are on Deviant Art.

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    2. OMG I love it Peachie Kean Zoobie Cow Wow Great Stuff there!

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  2. I completely agree. "Doom" is another good adjective here, e.g. Doom Bats, Doom Drakes, Doom Bolts (this latter being a spell ... these all stolen from "Master of Magic"). But the implied setting offered by "War" is passing good

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    1. Yeah, "doom" works. There's also "dark".

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    2. A bit passe now, but zombie i think is in the same list. Is there a name for this? They arent purely adjectival (i dont think 'ravenous' follows the same logic), but more like noun adjuncts.

      Useful strange nounjuncts does have a ring to it (maybe not a NICE ring haha)

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    3. I like "nounjunct". Something in the mists of my memory tells me in grammatical circles that you call that sort of thing a "complement" (or possibly "compliment"?).

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  3. I think I read in 'Fantasy Wargaming' that British folklore had 'venomous' animals including venomous sheep.

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    1. Never heard of that, but sheep-headed orcs are an idea I've been playing around.

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  4. Chaos War Realtor. Available soon for WH 40K.

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