sure, you want to include sexual dimorphism in your alien species, go ahead. I’m actually pro-basing your alien species off of existing species, because every life on earth evolved to fill specific niches. Your aliens could have evolved to fill similar niches and thus look the same as like, a bat or something
and as they say, life takes many forms, ed boy.
oh, but hey, the only sexual dimorphism you’re familiar with is like humans?? and all of your females are smaller, wane-creatures?
uuuuh, but what about species where the female is larger than the male??
what about species where the male is colorfully decorated?
or hell, how about when they look exactly the same?
(as a side note, golden tamarins also practice “polyandry” where two males and one female raise the offspring together with the males doing most of the work, where’s that in my sci-fi Star Trek??)
There are literally so many configurations of sex, family structures, social hierarchy, mating rituals, and general evolutionary tactics to survival, the animal kingdom is rich with inspirational material. Please use it!
You know what really get me while watching S&B? That being queer is NORMAL, that we don't need The Talk™ about Nadia wanting to bang Zoya or Jesper making out with the stable boy because it's... Normal, natural that queer people exist in this world
“So, we had to have another fucking hall meeting about people teleporting in the halls.”
“Her parents are high elf sorcerers, so obviously they bought her her own Pegasus already and everything.” “Ugh, rich kids.”
“What are you gonna do with a minor in Dragonology?”
“Well, if you fail this class you can always sell your soul to obtain power through unholy means.” “I can’t! I already sold my soul to pay my student loans!”
“He’s got the Chosen One scholarship. Full ride,” “Really? I was going to apply for that, but my parents are still alive, soooo...” “I applied but I think they’re looking for more of a farm-boy-raised-by-aunt-and-uncle type. I mean, I’m adopted, but I grew up in the city.”
“Really?” “Yeah, so that’s why the freshmen aren’t allowed to learn fireball anymore.”
“Don’t you dare bring weed into my dorm. My RA’s a werewolf, she can smell that shit!”
“I’ve got an alchemy class in ten minutes, think I can afford to skip?” “Who’ve you got?” “Zorbo.” “Ehh, better not, he tests mostly from his lectures. His exams are whack too, last time he spent so long on transmuting copper alloys and it was barely even in the textbook.”
“Yeah, so the cat’s actually the RA’s familiar, so that’s how she found out I had a waffle iron in the dorm.”
“Oh, I know the girl with the seeing-eye spider! She’s on my hall!”
“I guess I could always sell my body to the Dark Lord’s undead armies to pay off my student loans...”
“So I’m doing a group project with a bunch of Heroism majors so that’s how my life is going.”
“Guess who didn’t get any fucking sleep because someone backfired a spell in the bathroom at 3am and the whole fucking dorm had to evacuate?”
“I’m taking Dark Omens 312 as an elective.” “Really? I thought you needed Interpreting Vague Prophecies as a prerequisite.” “Oh, I have transfer credit.”
“I love the Witchcraft building, it always smells like bog water and bone dust.”
“I left my fucking battle axe in one of the bathrooms and now it’s gone!” “I dunno man. You could check the Lost and Found desk.”
“Maybe we can hang out in your dorm?” “I dunno, it’s a full moon so I’m pretty sure my roommate is wolfing out right now.”
“So I’m majoring in Mad Science now.” “Oh, have you taken your Unethics class?”
“Hey, wanna go to the Abandoned Dark Tower and hang out in the torture dungeons?” “Nah, I have like a hundred sigils to learn before the test Monday.” “Come onnn! It’s one of the best spots on campus!”
“Done with that exam, pretty sure I failed it, time to run into the woods and join the roving bands of undead wolves.”
“Do you think it’s too late to change my major to Necromancy?”
“My professor came in this morning and she’d forgotten to change back from a cloud of crows into a person, so that was something.”
“You can tell the freshmen by how freaked out they get at hearing the werewolf club do their howl-off.”
“Look, just because a professor is a demon doesn’t mean I can sacrifice my firstborn to him to get a better grade. Anyway, I already promised my firstborn to a witch to pay off my student loans.”
“Yeah I forgot to take a towel or anything to the showers so I had to cast a glamour over myself and walk back ass-naked to my room.” “Don’t you have a robe?” “I mean. They don’t really make bathrobes that work when you have wings.” “Oh, that sucks.”
“I almost got an A. It was the fucking question about flight magic vs. levitation magic that got me.”
“There’s this one guy in my Divination 100 class who keeps derailing every class arguing with the professor about predestination...” “Lemme guess, an Arcane Languages major?” “I think he’s like double majoring in Cursebreaking and Arcane Engineering.” “Oof, even worse.”
“Ha, my professor spent like 20 minutes ranting about how shit the Dark Lord’s foreign policy is this morning.”
“We’re going into town, want to come with?” “Nah, I’m taking a nap. Still gotta work on stuff for Dreamwalking Club, and I haven’t got a lot of sleep lately.” “Aw. Ok.”
“So, yeah, I cast a purifying spell on the dining hall chicken nuggets and they just straight up vaporized into dust, so, no.”
“My parents are all like, go into something useful like Cursebreaking or some bullshit like that, blah blah blah...”
“So like, my roommate like bailed at the last second or something, right? And I got stuck with a rando and she’s a vampire and so she’s like, completely nocturnal and it’s driving me crazy because I can’t sleep when she’s up banging around heating up her blood bags in the microwave or whatever...”
“Fuck, I still haven’t got the chicken blood for the ritual due tomorrow. Shit.”
“I’m so tired, I think my soul is too thin to even be worth selling to pay off my student loans.”
“Fuck this shit. I’m going back to my room and making garlic bread.” “But...You’re a vampire...” “It’s finals week, do I look like I care?”
(inspired mostly by conversations with @awhellstothejoe, lol)
Picture yourself at a banquet held at the local Lord's castle. The music is playing, the people are chatting and rustling about in their best clothes. You sit at a table and what sits before you? Not chicken nuggets, my friend.
Food is always one of the staples of any world you build. You can get a feel of class, society and morality just by looking at the spread before you on the table.
Food for lower classes (Peasants)
Most peasants lived off the land, rearing flocks, tilling fields and tending orchards. If they lived near the sea, lakes, rivers or streams, they would fish. But since they lived on land owned by churches or lords, they would only be allowed a portion of what they grew. In cities, the peasants would buy food from one another at the market.
Peasants would make bread out of rye grain, that would make the bread very dark. In some communities they would make sourdough, which involves using a piece of dough you made the day before to make that day's bread.
Eggs were a source of food that was easy to come by as farmers kept chickens on hand.
Cheese and butter would be sold and used in the farm.
Jam would also be made as it was easy to preserve and sell.
Peasants would not eat much meat. Chickens made money by laying eggs, pigs could be fattened and sold for profit and cows and goats would be used for milk. By killing any of these animals for food they would loose a portion of money. Poaching (hunting on private land owned by the lord) would come with severe penalties.
Pottage and stew were a favourite of peasants as they could throw any vegetables or bit of meat or fish in a pot to cook for a few hours. It wasn't a difficult dish to make and often inexpensive.
Pies, pasties and pastries would be a favourite at inns and taverns in towns and cities most containing gravy, meat and vegetables.
With most villages and farms set close to forests, many peasants could find berries at the edge of fields. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries would have all grown wild.
Food for Nobility & Royalty
Nobility and Royalty could always afford better food than the poor. However it might be a patch more unhealthy than the poor's fare. Nobility and Royalty weren't fans of vegetables.
The rich would eat a lot of meat, much of which they would hunt down themselves on their own land. Deer, wild boar, rabbits, turkey and other wild creatures would all be on the table.
Nobility and Royalty would be fond of fish as well. Lamprey eels was a delicacy only preserved for special occasions.
They could afford salt which was important for preserving meat and fish. This would allow the castle/manor/palace to be stocked in times of winter or famine.
They could also afford pepper and other spices, all of which could cost a fortune, to flavour their food.
During a feast, they would eat off of platters made of precious metals but only if you were seated at the high table. Other less important guests would eat off a trencher, a piece of hollowed out stale bread.
Sugar would be the height of dessert. The sugar would be shaped into fantastical formations to impress the noble guests. Tudor chefs would create edible sugar plates for Henry VIII to eat off of.
Swans and peacocks would be served in their plumage. Swans would be more royal diners as in England the monarch owns all the swans. In Ireland, it is illegal to kill a swan mainly because they could be children trapped in swan-bodies. Long story.
At certain events, the noble/monarch might throw a party. Most parties would begin with a dinner.
The high table would seat the family throwing the party and the honoured guests. All the food would come to them first to be distributed to their favourites. They would drink the best wine and have the finest bread.
The rest of the hall would be seated together at trestle tables, eating off trenchers. They would be sent food by the thrower of the feast on account of their personal importance or social standing. The closer you were to the salt cellar, placed at the head of the table the more important you were. The further away you were, the lower your status.
Servants called cupbearers would serve wine and drink and move about the hall to carry jugs of wine to water the guests.
Dogs would often be found in the hall, to be fed scraps by the diners.
No world or party is complete without the booze. Since much of the water in Mediaeval times was putrid or dirty, the classes would avoid it.
Beer: was both a favourite of peasants and the nobility. It would be brewed in castles or in taverns and inns, each site having a different recipe and taste. It would be stored in barrels. Beer was widely available across the world and could be brewed at home. So therefore it was inexpensive.
The two main types of beer would be:
Ale: Ale in the middle ages referred to beer brewed without hops (a kind of flowering plant that gives beer its bitter taste). It is sweeter and would typically have a fruity aftertaste.
Stout: is a darker beer sometimes brewed from roasted malt, coming in a sweet version and dry version, the most famous stout being Guinness.
Wine: Wine would be made on site of vineyards and stored in cellars of large houses or castles. They would be expensive as they would have to be imported from regions capable of growing vines.
Port: Port wine or fortified wine would be made with distilled grape spirits. It is a sweet red wine, and also would be expensive to import from the counties able to grow the correct vines.
Whiskey: is a spirit made from distilled fermented grain mash in a device called a still (which would always be made of copper). The age of whiskey is determined by the length of time it has been sitting in a cask from the time it is made to the time its put in bottles. Whiskey was a favourite drink in colder climates and could be made any where in the world.
Rum: Rum is made by fermenting and distilling sugarcane molasses/juice. It is aged in oak barrels and would have to be imported as it could only be made in lands able to grow sugarcane.
Poitín: (pronounced as pot-cheen) is made from cereals, grain, whey, sugar beet, molasses and potatoes. It is a Dangerous Drink (honestly i still don't know how I ended up in that field with a traffic cone and a Shetland pony) and technically illegal. Country folk in Ireland used to brew it in secrets in stills hidden on their land.