How in the hell do they name these places?

After having quite a bit to drink on Friday night, and then piling two oddly-timed power outages on top of that, this weekend has been something of a haze. And yet, still work has been done.

This card game is starting to look mostly like a way to enable my Wikipedia addiction. To compound things, I've always enjoyed following the citation as much as actually perusing the articles, which is probably the closest thing we have to Alice's rabbit hole that isn't a psychotropic drug. Over the past several days I've racked up a web history ranging from the Greek city states to medieval methods of torture and execution, to what names were innovated by Shakespeare [an odd gap for me, since I actually studied those plays pretty extensively in college].

Oh, names. I'm been compiling kingdoms for this game, and there's one aspect of fantasy literature I just cannot wrap my head around - how in the hell they name these places. I once again like I screwed myself for not taking Latin or German or something at some point, so I could actually come up with something that was sort of... fun, airy, but evocative. Magic comes up with "Lorwyn" or "Innistrad" and Tolkien comes up with "Mirkwood" and "Gondor" and I... sit on great little gems like "Edgewood," "Riverport," and "Hilltop." None of which really fit what I'm doing now. And typically, when I think I've finally come up with something sort of interesting, I remember, no, wait, I've stolen it from an SNES RPG.

So if anyone has any nifty tips and tricks for coming up with names for fantasy kingdoms, I'd appreciate it.

For the game mechanics themselves, I'm still sticking pretty close to "Keep It Simple, Stupid" as I develop, though I've thrown a couple of extra things in just since Friday that sort of excite me, and that I can't goldfish out myself to see if they work or not. They feel like things that, if they don't work, they can be easily removed, but if they do have the interactions I expect... they'll become the most important part of my game. A off-handed suggestion by Justin kind of cracked things open for me, so I think the thanks have to go to him for any work I did this weekend.

2 comments :: How in the hell do they name these places?

  1. 1. Old or Middle English root words. ex:Wort=Plant, "Wortlan" land with plants.
    2. Troll the WorldWideWiki for scientific names. Particularly botanical ones. You can also mine (HA!) the geology fields. The Ordovician period could become Ordovica.

  2. I'm seriously going to try these out. Especially the first one. Old and Middle English research? Hell yeah.