EDIT: Yeah ok imgur is purposefully mocking me by changing the quality settings of every single image I upload so whatever, I will upload here.:EDIT
Place names are hard. Place names are also pretty pointless in this case because there's probably like one or two people here who might care about me mangling Chinese.
The difficult comes from myself, because I don't want to reuse real place names from Real China. Taoyuan is meant to exist in a multiverse together with our Earth: it's a recreation, a sanctuary for Chinese mythological fluff. An imperfect, yet more perfect recreation of the world, a merger of Earth and Heaven.
So there's basically two things I can do:
1. Use Chinese mythological places. This is more difficult than it sounds, because it is hard to find good sources on this on the internet beyond some funny PDFs without hanzi and hard-to-verify sources and claims, and Wikipedia, and also because lots of Chinese mythical places are associated with real life places. The more mythological and the more historical/mythological a place is, the more I like to use it (like Kunlun and Buzhou and Fusang), but then there's stuff like the great rivers and mountains that I might like to rename or use an archaic name for.
2. Generate new names. This is relatively simple, if tedious and unimaginative, but you can pretty easily generate Chinese place names by using common toponymic words with something else. The earliest place names I did where the provinces (-> provincial capitals) and the imperial capital: those were colour terms associated with the cardinal directions and geomancy + -zhou or -jing like in Guanzhou (Canton, capital of Guangdong) or Beijing (Northern Capital). Red Provinc(ial Capital), Yellow Capital, etc.
The new stuff you see now is two batches. Western cities that are named after the Kings of the Chinese Underworld (the ten kings in the Taoist version, and I mean version because it's all a hodgepodge of Buddhist and Taoist stuff). I took their names and maybe parts of their titles, and made them place names. There's a king whose title is Chu River King, so there's a city named after Chu River, and the King's name itself became 歷 + 州 Lizhou.
The new cities in Taoyuan proper are named after the Zodiac animals. Pig Country, Dog City, Snake (river) Junction, South of Snake, North of Snake, Dragon Hillock etc. Dragon Gate was an earlier place from myth, where carps who leap through the gates turn into dragons. The myth places it inland at the source of a river, there's a real life place on the southern coast but whatev.
I hope the themed names don't sound too ridiculous. Taoyuan is a place where every person is a shape shifter, and people have animal surnames (though they aren't necessarily their name animal). Most Chinese place-names are pretty pragmatic: [Thing][Place], like Pearl Harbor or [Direction][from][Other Thing Like River] or alternatively various lucky sounding words like Double Fortune or A Lot Of Happiness.
I made zodiac themed names because that's a must-have group, but I'll probably add lots of more animal places, after all, names for those don't run out that fast. Lots of stuff to use.
Last edited by Naeddyr; 08-24-2013 at 06:23 AM.
You could also use names of mythical characters.
I like where your map is going, your doing good.
Just some translitterations and English guesslations.
Some background lore that's been growing in my head.
In the first post I said that this was a setting for a multiverse within a kitchen sink adventure manga universe, and that Touenkoku / Taoyuangou was supposed to be the background Magical Realm for a bunch of themed magical girl characters (think Sailor Moon).
I already had an idea for another Domain within that multiverse (ESP) that tied into a fortune telling boom in a middle school in Not Sunnydale, and only later realised that I could easily tie other domains into it, in this case the Magical Girls who, it turns out, had Onmyodo/Yin Yang magic/Fengshui style divination-based powers (dodging, knowing instinctively what to do etc.). Using onmyodo/taoist/five elements magic as a theme led to a Chinese Magical Realm and a Qilin as their Magical Pet (these are genre conventions), which led to this map.
Anyhow, the girls find a magical book, I think I'll call it Fusangmenji, Fusoumonki, the Chronicle of the Mulberry Gate, which opens up the titular Fusang Gate into Taoyuan, and then they have to defeat the spirit monsters that arise from the earth and try to get through back to Taoyuan. I even wrote a bit with one of the Sun Crows that Yu the Archer shot down in Chinese mythology was one of the monsters...
As I worked on the map, I made Alterna-Korejapon into the eastern province of the Empire, because the East is the domain of the Green Dragon and the element water. Fusang, as in the Leaning Mulberry Tree on which the ten Suns sit waiting for their day of the ten-day Chinese week, became associated with Japan because obviously the Fusang is somewhere in the east, and Fusang / Fusou became a poetic name referring to Japan, so of course the Fusang was on *Japan from the very beginning.
As I worked on this map, Taoyuan became more and more fantastical, Heaven merging with Earth. In Chinese mythology, the Heavens became in time more and more like a large Imperial bureaucracy, with ministries and ministers in charge of, well, Acts of God. But the Chinese are also very pragmatic with their gods: if a god is underperforming, sack them and replace with a new one. If a god is doing well, promote them! Partly religious, sometimes diplomatic or political, the Chinese pantheon was pretty fluid, and in addition to that, mortal people on Earth became associated with those "positions" that the gods had in the Heavenly Ministries: a virtuous or great minister might become worshipped as an aspect of divinity sort of thing. So, on Taoyuan, this is even more real: the Imperial ministries do control the world, as far as they can. The ministries of rain and rivers are stocked with Dragons, there's a bunch of ministries related to health that control diseases, etc. etc.
But you can't control that which is beyond your grasp. The Empire conquered the western provinces so that they would have access to the gods that dwell at the rivers' origins, obviously. So what could they seek in the east?
Here's a small derail: there's a tale in Chinese mythology about Yi the Archer. One day, all the Suns decided they'd stay in the sky all at the same time, and the world burned, so Yi was sent out to shoot them down, and he did, shooting down nine (and getting punished for it, but that's another story). Obviously, Suns can be a problem, and why shouldn't there have been a new bunch of Suns on Taoyuan? I can imagine it, tired of dangerous Suns messing with their calendars and burning fields or staying away too long, the Empire conquers the eastern isles.
They also do a calendar reform, and synchronise the motion of the Suns and the Moon to get a good, even number of months and days.
But again, some of the Suns perish, and go into the ground and become evil spirits waiting for their chance of revenge, and this is where the original plot comes along.