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Thread: How do you name your World? (Or nations, etc., for that matter...)

  1. #31
      Korrigan is offline
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    I try to find names that sound "natural". I try to avoid mixing things like "K", "Kh", Gh" with vowels to sound exotic. I usually just find it lame...

    Last time I had to develop different races and cultures, I try to find a real-world language that would fit for each one. Then I made up names mixing different words in those languages. For example, I chose welsh for the elves, icelandic for the dwarves, britton for one of the human kingdoms,... In this kingdom, the capital was made of white marble, so I wanted to name it "the white city", which is said "ker gwenn" in britton. So I simply named the city Kergwenn. Easier is better.

    The other advantage of this method is that I can provide my players with lists of real-world names in those languages, which links them to the cultures they'll play in.
    Back to business

  2. #32
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Yep, very similar to what I did for the races in my old campaign world.

    Some fun reading for those who wish:

    Aster
    Little exists of the Asterian culture. With the end of the Simulacrum Wars, and the defeat of the Que’Aslan Empire, the majority of the Asterian people were subjugated into the Arelene Empire. This is not to say that all Asterian people are extinct or absolved into other cultures. The Kingdom of Ishten still survives, and until recently, the nations of Elder and Exter held out (though the former has been absorbed into the Theocracy of Kaeln, the latter in Haxton).
    The Asterian people are fair skinned, some almost albino. The hair color ranges from blonde, or platinum blonde to a light brown, and is always straight. Eye color is predominantly blue, with green or violet sometimes occurring.
    Under the Asterian culture, land could be owned by any who could afford it, though this meant that often the lower class was indebted to the upper class. In cases where one cannot afford to own land, they are able to rent if from one who could afford to own it. The greater the land holding, the more rich and influential the owner.
    Asterians also do not have a true class structure as other cultures, but rather follow a Caste system. When a child is born, the event is always attended by a member of the seer's guild. The seers would then perform a mystic ceremony, and determine the child's caste in life: warrior, religious, merchant, worker, or seer caste, are example castes, though there are certainly others. Often the child's caste will be the same as that of the father, but sometimes their caste will be that of the mother or different from both parents. Once a child's caste has been determined, it is difficult for it to be altered as the child's entire life is lived towards that goal. As the child grows, they are attended by others to prepare him for that life, and at around 10 years of age, they leave home and enter into an apprenticeship with their Caste.
    A further addition to the Caste system of Asterian culture is the concept of equality between males and females. In Asterian society a female can hold a position of authority and/or power just as easily as any male. This equality is unique amongst all the human cultures. In this system, it is accepted without an argument or even a second thought when a female holds a position of power and authority over males as being normal, and is never second guessed.
    Asterians have a common name given to the at birth, as well as a family name they are born into. Furthermore, they are also known by their Caste, so while Tlana was born into the Jardna family, she is also a member of the Seer Caste. Her full formal name than is 'Tlana Jardna of the Seers'.
    Asterian names are often harsh, and guttural sounding, and difficult for non-Asterians to pronounce.

    Typical male names are: Ahexotl, Atlan-Tonnan, Cacama, Chantico, Citlali, Copil, Ecatzin, Eyahue, Huetzin, Huicton, Mamexi, Matlal, Maxtla, Mextli, Mutex, Nopaltzin, Olintecke, Ometeotl, Opochtzin, Oquitzin, Pimotl, Pizotzin, Pochotl, Quilaztli, Tayauh, Tecocol, Tenoch, Tizoc, Tlacotzin, Tlaloque, Tlotzin, Xipe-Topec, Yaotl, Zolin, Zolton

    Typical female names are: Atototl, Centehua, Centeotl, Citlali, Ixchell, Malinal, Nimilitzli, Papantzin, Tayanna, Teicuh, Tepin, Tlaco, Toci

    Clinden
    Owing to their isolated origins, the Clindenese people have a tendency to be quite xenophobic. Distrustful of others, they prefer to live their lives amongst their own kind. The Clindenese are only found in the Nations of Agon, Naxtil, and the five kingdoms of Kosqra.
    They have golden-hued skin tones, with eye color always being brown. Hair is blue-black to dark brown. They also prefer plain clothes, only wearing brightly colored costumes on special days, and for festivals.
    In Clindenese cultures, the ruler of the country (a hereditary title) always owns land. Use of land can be granted to another, but not the ownership. When use of land is granted, an oath of fealty is sworn with both parties offering services to each other in exchange for the granted land's use. Typically, this means the lord offers to protect the vassal in exchange for goods (often food or production), and services (both military and actual work). A person who has been granted use of land can and often does offer a portion of that land in turn to another, but ultimately all land is held by the ruler.
    Amongst the Clindenese, men have more rights than women, and women are prohibited from owning land or property. A women who comes to own land or property (through the death of a husband usually), may hold it until a male heir becomes of age, a female heir has been married, or she herself remarries. If she unable to do any of these things, the Lord whom fealty was given too may either grant the land to surviving male relative, take the land back, or least likely, grant the land to someone new, thus making the woman a vassal to the new owner.
    In addition to the prohibition on owning property, women in Clindenese culture are often discriminated from taking on any role other than a domestic role. This is not to say that one will not find female business owners, workers, or adventurers, but rather that they are the exception to the rule.
    Of all the human cultures, the Clindenese have perhaps the easiest naming practice. The family name is the most important, and comes first. This name is also comprised of a single syllable. The personal name is always two syllables, and is usually written hyphenated.

    Typical family names: Bae, Chin, Chol, In, Joo, Ku, Lee, Soo, Sun, Won

    Typical male names: An-Kor, Byung-Chul, Byung-Joon, Chae-P'il, Chang-Sun, Ching-Ying, Chon-Sik, Chul-Soo, Dae-Hee, Eui-Tae, Gi-Su, Ha-Neul, Heung-Soo, Hye-Jin, Il-Sung, Jae-Hwa, Ji-Wook, Joon-Hee, Joon-Ho, Joon-Seo, Joon-Sup, Joong-Kyung, Joong-Yang, Ju-Hyeon, Ju-Kan, Ki-Chul, Ki-Whan, Kwang-Su, Min-Soo, Po-Sun, Seong-Tae, Sun-Sin, Sung-Hee, Yee-Tai, Young-Jae

    Typical female names: Ae-Sook, Aei-Young, Chae-Ok, Choon-Yei, Eun-Bi, Heui-Jeong, Jae-Min, Jee-Ae, Kong-Jee, Me-Jin, Nu-Ri, Ok-Hee, Soo-Kyung, Soo-Min, Yang-Gae, Yeon, You-hee, Yun-Ah, Zung-Bok


    Nexton
    Developing their kingdoms out of the tribal clan holdings of the past, the Nextonish people have spread little from the lands they held in the past. A dark people, both in physical appearance and manners, the Nexton people have suffered few crushing defeats in battle and only one nation has been conquered or subjugated, the nation Lastandor (now modern Naxmor). They are a hardy, and robust people, surviving in some of the most intolerable areas of Auren, including the sweltering jungles of Bromon and Telorani.
    The Nextons have a bronze colored complexion, ranging from a lighter, copper shade to a very dark, almost deep brown. Hair color is brown, brown-black, or black, is almost always wavy or curly. The eye color is dark brown, brown or amber, in declining order of occurrence. The people of Telorani, Bromon, Naxmor and Noroda are all examples of Nexton people.
    Strong clannish ties to the lands they have held, and clan loyalties and hatreds stretching back hundreds of years typify Nexton culture. Land holding in Nexton culture is on a clan basis, with the clan leader an elected person. This position is a life term, and ends only with their death, at which time a new clan leader is elected. The clan leader can assign land use, rule over his clansmen in regards to political marriages, disputes, trade rights and whether to war or not.
    The Nexton people hold their clan in the highest regard, above even that of their country. There is nothing one would not do for their clan. Due to high importance that the clan holds in Nexton society, most major mercantile houses, military units, even communities are built around a singular clan or alliance between two or three clans. Any clan rivalries that exist by one clan to another will extend into this arena as well, with merchants refusing to trade, units refusing to work together, or even outsiders expelled from communities. This can be quite dangerous for non-Nextonish people who form an alliance with the wrong clan.
    Women in Nextonish society hold a strange position. While they are seldom afforded the rights and privileges of men, property is inherited along maternal lines as opposed to along paternal lines. This includes family names, and hereditary titles. Even with this cultural power, women are seldom permitted to enter into military services, travel, or take on any careers that may take them outside of the house, or clan lands, though it does occasionally happen. When it does happen, the woman in question, is often a 4th or lesser daughter, standing to inherit little property, titles, or even be in a position of desirability for marriage.
    Nextons have a common name, which they use in daily life, but they also have a surname which is their clan name for members outside their clan, or their profession of place of residence for people within their clan.
    Common clan names are: Afteni, Decoadian, Nemlos, Ramse

    Typical male names are: Abazu, Abiade, Adusa, Apara, Boseda, Chima, Chuka, Cis, Danjuma, Dumeto, Ebere, Ebuka, Foluke, Gorom, Ikedi, Jeneta, Namdi, Obaseki, Okorie, Onuora, Onwuka, Opita, Orji, Rumun, Sopulu, Taiwo, Tolani, Udoka, Wafor, Wole, Worie, Yobachi, Zina

    Typical female names are: Abebi, Adaku, Alaba, Ama, Ashabi, Boseda, Chidi, Dosumu, Ebere, Ejii, Eluma, Folami, Gozie, Ime, Ina, Isoke, Kemy, Mukoso, Noni, Okwii, Onyi, Ozo, Rolake, Sokari, Tachiko, Tarana, Tobenna, Uru, Wonu, Zikora


    Orlien
    The first to form permanent communities, and abandon their hunter/gatherer ways, the Orlien people have always been regarded as fast learners, and a people quickly able to take advantage of a given situation. They excel at almost any task given and their almost total occupation of Euros attest to their ability to overcome hardship.
    The Orlien race has skin tones ranging from light, fair tones to tan and even olive. Hair color ranges the gamut from light, almost white through brown and black, with brown and reddish brown being the most common. Likewise, eye color is highly variable, with brown and gray/blue most common. The people of Arelene, Shimark, Brighton, and the entire eastern portion of the continent of Euros on the east side of the Tilnos, save Rostia are considered pure Orlien.
    Orliens culture is typified by a system where the lord owns all lands in a general area, renting out parcels of this land to servants and vassals alike to use. Unlike the feudal system employed by the Clindenese, the lord does not own the vassals that work the land, nor does he guarantee protection for them in return for services rendered to him. The lord can and sometimes do sell or grant lands to loyal subjects, often as a reward for a great service rendered, or from lands captured from a rival. Under this system, a commoner of means can hope and aspire to eventually own his own land, though it's more rare than common.
    Of all the human cultures, women (and men) have the most freedoms in the Orlien culture. Anyone of means, regardless of sex, if they are possessing of the means may take on any career of their choosing, though, men do find their options more open to them, and possessing of the least amount of discrimination.
    Naming practices for Orliens usually entails the person possessing a common name that he is called since birth, but except for the nobility and upper-class, the middle and lower-classes often do not have a surname or family name. Should one need to differentiate from one Allain who is a butcher and another Allain who is the son of the local sheriff, Georg, the first would be called Allain the Butcher, while the second is called Allain, Son of Georg. Further, if either Allain were to travel to another town, they would then be known as Allain of Datrid (if Datrid were where they hailed from). This naming practice may seem odd, but because most Orlien of low birth seldom travel far from the place of their birth, a common name is all they would need in their home town.
    Orliens who own land (whether they always have or have been granted it), receive a surname that is a hereditary name either associated with the land (in the case of a barony, dukedom, or county), or one that may be based on some factor for which they are best known for. This could easily explain the sheer number of Trollkillers, Blueshields and other minor lords in border land holdings. As an alternative they may choose to either have one bestowed upon them by the kingdom's ruler or create one themselves. Some nations follow old Orlien laws that dictates only a landowner may have a surname. Well known Orlien surnames are: Alaf, Cronnor, Marduc, Sumner, Tyson, and Zublon.
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

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  3. #33
      cypruss11 is offline
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    I don't like to worry about names.

    I have a rather simple way of naming places
    I close my eyes and the first thing that pops in my head, possibly the second, is the name of that place.

    My latest world Queinthas is still just a sketch on some paper so i don't need to worry about names much
    (Not that most of my maps have ever gotten further than a sketch)

  4. #34
      Tyo Solo is offline
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    I've kind of copped out on this. I figured there are pleny of good languages and place names in the world, and I agree that the names of places should have meaning.

    I order to make my places/languages meaningful and consistetnt, I've created a cipher that will transform any input language into my world languages. I use English as my "common tongue" because it's my first language, but for place names and incantations, the cipher comes in handy.

    For example:

    In english, Germany is Germany, but in German, its Deutschland.

    My cipher would therefor output:

    Valnery (Translation from English)
    Daogsĵherd (Translation from German)

    Therefor to outsiders, the country would be the former (with the etymology remaining intact, albeit with an alternative alphabet), and the latter to those who speak it's language.

    There are a couple of extra rules in there to replace common doubles with alternative letters, i.e. "Balloon" would become "Pehir".

    I think the important things are consistency and meaning, and this is the way I have got round them.

    Cheers

    Tyo Solo

  5. #35
      Conaruba is offline
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    I usually try to familiarize my self with the linguistic feeling i'm going for.

    Say I am creating an elven forrest, I would want to have something very flowy with a lot of vowels and not too many hard consonants. Once i have a pretty good idea of what the name to sound like I would just start randomly saying things that sounds Elvish. Sometimes this takes a really long time to get something that fits just right but if the name is a really important element of your project to you than the meditation on a good name will, I think, pay off.

  6. #36
      Conaruba is offline
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    You probably also would want to think about how your name looks. I experiment with a lot of different spellings from different languages.

    Just one example I came up with off the top of my head:
    English: Ahye Yoada
    German: Aje Joada

    Same sound, Different spelling

  7. #37
      Meridok is offline
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    Tyo Solo - That's a neat way of using a cipher! I've only used a cipher once in world-building myself, but it was fun to take the results and mess around with it some to create names/word/place-names and so on.

  8. #38
    Guild Applicant aratherstressedgamemaster's Avatar
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    In terms of coming up with names quickly, something I often find myself doing as a gamemaster as well as in fantasy/sci-fi cartography, I find simply reading foreign languages that I do not know aloud helps me get into a mode for slinging out names. If I want a Hungarian feel, I'll read a half a book in Hungarian, since I don't know any Hungarian, my mind tends to lock in on the sounds and string them together. What comes out on the other end has the feel of the original language but is absolute gibberish.

  9. #39
      NCA777 is offline
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    For my storyworld, which I'm still trying to figure out a good name for ironically enough, each culture/country is more or less based vaguely off of the a subgroup of folklegends. I tend to base the names and words in general off of what would be a feasible linguistic progression if contact were made between the different languages of the folklegends, or general bastardizations of prevelant parts of the folklegends. (Yesh, I'm a MAJOR linguistics nerd... ConLangs and all) For example the continent where the majority of my stories are set at the moment, the Maelyarian, is based off of mostly Celto-Franco-Ibero legends and so most of the real names for those countries are based off of those languages... Although does anyone else use placemark names if they can't think of one that's completely right at a time? IE inserting a completely obvious stock fantasy-name until you can come up with one that fits better?

  10. #40
      Lukc is offline
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    With my gaming group we tend to use silly names, make them up as we go along, and yes - we do use "placemark" names. Such as the necromancer's tower, which was referred to simply as "the tower" and "the necromancer's tower" and a bit later as "my tower" by the necromancer PC ... this actually replicates the way we use names in the real-world. Referring to the nearby big city as "the City", the big river becomes "the river" and so on.

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