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Graham

Fictional Countries for Pulp Scenarios

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Graham

Fictional countries pop up from time to time, some of the more famous being Ruritania (Prisoner of Zenda) and Hatay (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.), this is the start of a thread dedicated to the more obscure ones, starting with a country that is a perfect source for 'baddies' in a pulp game. I stumbled across it in a 1950's 'Boys Own Adventure' novel where I had expected the villains to be generic communists, but they turned out to be mercenaries from the fictional Republic of San Paulo located '...somewhere in South America..."

 

To give context this edited quote comes from the scene where the villains lay out their plans, not knowing the heroes are outside the room listening at a convenient window, at this point the henchmen have just learned the 'boss' was much closer than they thought.

 

Quote

"...there is room for men of enterprise no matter what their nationality... 'Small but Strong' is our motto. This is the age of ascendancy for small nations... In these days a scientific secret can make a small nation a great power. On that thesis my Government builds. ...a country organized for espionage on a scale never before dreamed of. We fish in every water and sell our catch in the best market. We are proxy spies for the great nations and they pay dearly for the embarrassment we save them when their own agents are detected. Politically, economically and militarily my country progresses."

 

Barrier Reef Espionage, John Gunn, 1955, Pg. 85

 

This is the only information given on the country in the novel, I am sure Keepers could make something useful out of that in a pulp game.

 

I leave this open to anyone else who has other good examples, but with a preference for ones from obscure literary sources.

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Mysterioso

I have used Kafiristan which is a real place but in Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King is presented as a nation unto itself:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafiristan

 

Tintin has Syldavia and Borduria to work for neighbors of Ruritania:

http://tintin.wikia.com/wiki/King_Ottokar's_Sceptre

 

If Hope and Herge don't work for European countries, this map might also be helpful to someone who wants a European destination that does not have associations with current national names:

https://imgur.com/Afxy1ia

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HJ

Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen stories feature a lot of historical fictional islands & countries.

 

I've used Ruritania in an Achtung Cthulhu Prisoner of Zenda \ Glass Books of the Dream Eaters mash up scenario and set it at the far eastern end of inter-War Czechoslovakia. 

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yronimoswhateley

I've used a few for different purposes:

  • Ruritania
  • Latveria (comic book character Doctor Doom's home country; borders Ruritania and Symkaria)
  • Symkaria (comic book character Red Skull's home country; borders Latveria)
  • Freedonia and Sylvania (from the Marx Brothers'  Duck Soup...; I treat both places as war-torn, run-down and highly superstitious little European states loosely inspired by Universal Horror Transylvania, puppet-states of Latveria and Symkaria that are locked in a semi-permanent "cold war" that frequently ignites into open warfare that threatens to escalate at any moment into a world war; in my world, they are located in some complicated way on the borders of Ruritania, Latveria, and Symkaria)
  • Leng (of course)
  • Xanadu (an outdated name for China, appearing in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kubla Khan", and re-appearing in later fiction such as The Shadow, where it is home for a Fu Manchu rip-off)
  • Xembala/Shambhala (a state of mystical purity from Tibetan Buddhism, which would later be the subject of several misguided real-life adventurist expeditions to find the "lost city", and then got entangled in Theosophy; my version mixed in some of the pre-UFO-Conspiracy paranoid-schizophrenic pulp ravings of the "Shaver Mystery", as an underground city of "spiritual enlightenment" and home to the inhuman, vampiric "Deathless Chinamen" mentioned briefly in The Call of Cthulhu)
  • Shangrila (a fictional country inspired by Shambhala, representing a paradise-on-earth; my version is nestled somewhere in a valley in the mountains of Cambodia bordering on the Dreamlands, where the markets deal in goods traded with the Tcho-tcho peoples, the people of Leng, Zoog tribesmen, and several Dreamlands cities....)
  • Inquanok (taken from Lovecraft's Dreamlands, and appearing once as an antique lost city in the arctic tundra bordering - impossibly - on western North America, Greenland, and Lapland....)
  • Khem (an antique word for ancient Egypt; my version is a sort of a mirror-image Egypt located deeper in Darkest Africa, with its own pyramids, strange dynasties, dark history and sinister Lovecraftian religions)
  • Oneiros (a Dreamlands library-city that came upon a nameless doom almost certainly related to its collection of monstrous tomes from all over the universe, and now exists only as a haunted, ever-smoldering ruin; inspired by the real world Lost Library of Alexandria and by the ruined Nightmare Land of the same name from Clive Barker's Undying video game...)

 

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rylehNC

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick from The Mouse that Roared.

DC has Corto Maltese and Bialya.

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Dante7

I've toyed with the idea of finding some way to fit Green Antarctica in

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/GreenAntarctica

 

After all, why go small for sources for baddies?  ;)    

 

The Tsalal could easily be a nation of cultists.

 

(I'd thought about possibly doing it on a small scale as a sort of nature preserve made by the Elder Things. I've had similar thoughts regarding Henders Island from Warren Fahey's "Fragment", with the idea that the Henders creatures were the original wildlife on the planet before the Elder Things started messing with everything)

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Taavi
13 hours ago, HJ said:

I've used Ruritania in an Achtung Cthulhu Prisoner of Zenda \ Glass Books of the Dream Eaters mash up scenario and set it at the far eastern end of inter-War Czechoslovakia. 

 

Tell me more! 

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HJ

I set my scenario in  the Grand Duchy of Ruritania, part of the Carpathian Ruthenia at the end of Feb \ beginning of March 1939, just before the Hungarian \ German invasion. 

Plenty of cultural \ religious and political issues bubbling around.

The Duchy had been vacant for a couple of generations and the town council had been taken over by Soviets in order to quarry blue clay (you'll need to read The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters to know why).

The Nazis then found a sympathetic claimant for the Duchy. In retaliation the Soviets also found a claimant and the Royal College of Arms was asked to adjudicate between the the conflicting claimants.

The PCs were infiltrated into the Royal College team by Military Intelligence and sent out.

Lots of stuff on male primogeniture, Savoy Chapel weddings, coparcenary, heirs presumptive, bribery, threats, industrial disease, NKVD, SD, brain washing and an amorous German sporting official scouting the town for the forthcoming FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1940.

It all ended with the PCs fleeing a firefight with the NKVD in a stolen Kübelwagen clutching a stuffed owl packed full of clay samples.

They never did decide who was to be the Duke.

 

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mvincent

Wikipedia's List of fictional countries is pretty comprehensive, but they also have lists of:

Fictional European countries

Fictional American countries

Fictional Asian countries

Fictional African countries

And then there are proposed countries (by separatist movements)

 

Some of my favorites include:

Al Amarja (from Over the Edge)

Borovia (from G.I Joe)

Mypos (Perfect Strangers)

Zubrowka (Grand Budapest Hotel)

Kukuanaland (King Solomon's Mines)

Parador (Moon Over Parador)

San Marcos (Archer/MacGyver)

Val Verde (multiple)

 

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SunlessNick

You can't go far wrong with Herge's rivals Syldavia and Borduria.

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JeffErwin
1 hour ago, SunlessNick said:

You can't go far wrong with Herge's rivals Syldavia and Borduria.

 

As a kid I actually statted up Tintin and his friends for Call of Cthulhu.

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SunlessNick
1 hour ago, JeffErwin said:

 

As a kid I actually statted up Tintin and his friends for Call of Cthulhu.

 

Did you give Captain Haddock a special Invective skill, or just give him a high Oratory?

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JeffErwin
2 hours ago, SunlessNick said:

 

Did you give Captain Haddock a special Invective skill, or just give him a high Oratory?

 

The latter. I think I was about 12.

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