World-Building, Part 9: Places and Names

We now have a great deal figured out regarding our pantheon and creatures of the world. Returning here, we can assign some stereotypes and establish some general naming rules to make each region feel a little bit different.

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We now have a great deal figured out regarding our pantheon and creatures of the world. Returning here, we can assign some stereotypes and establish some general naming rules to make each region feel a little bit different.

First, let’s update our map, shall we?

Druskan Empire West.jpg

Druskan Empire East.jpg

Those look so much better, don’t they?

Remember that we’re treating this world like a fantasy-analogue Roman Empire, so we have the Khemta-Elenas alliance as Macedonia-Egypt, the Dvergaric Holds as Slavic regions, the Barbaric Coasts as Northern Africa, and Hibernas and Eire as uncontrolled Gaul / Iberian / Britannic analogues (it doesn’t match one-to-one). Elon corresponds with Parthia, a unique culture and empire on Druska’s border that remains unconquered.

In our world, people have a habit of naming settlements “Whatever”-“town.” You can substitute the suffix, but whether it’s “-ton,” “-ville,” or “-burgh,” people have done that in many cultures. The temptation would have been to use “-polis,” given my Mediterranean roots, but for Druskan cities I decided I’d rather use “-bad” as their generic city ending. This also doesn’t mean that all Druskan cities will have this as an ending, but as you can see from the map a lot of them do.

For several of these cities, I borrowed Greek or Latin names to give them a more archaic feel, but the names are also intended to say something about the place. “Auricbad,” for instance, or “Gold City,” is a Druskan settlement that has over the years grown into a refuge for the “gold dwarves” (named for their lighter skin tones) who want to join the empire. These dvergar are outcasts in their home or just hope to make a profit, and the city is essentially named after them. “Thalassabad” or “Sea City” is home to the finest minotaur sailing ships and the wealthiest port in Krata.

Other words try to give a different feel to other areas of the empire. The Elpanic cities, somewhat similarly to Greek words that have rules for ending them, all deliberately end in “s.” “Darakhem” comes from “Darakh,” intended to represent “dragon” in whatever language also uses sobekhi for lizardfolk, and the more or less Middle English “-hame” or home. Nearby you can also see “Hibernian Darakh,” a city that apparently had the same name but over time was labeled differently to avoid confusion. Both of these are cities with sizeable draconian populations, as you might have guessed. Sharagzir is an orc term, chosen to represent one of their settlements deep into the Empire. You can also notice that, partly due to its vast size and partly due to its militaristic history, Druska encompasses a lot more linguistic variations within its borders–they’ve conquered a lot of people, and in many cases they slightly modified or maybe even left unchanged the names in existence.

I know this seems wordy and maybe even too precise, but thinking about how different languages sound can help you create areas that feel like they actually have different cultures.

Next: we talk through different pantheons based on what we have so far.

Author: lpivellius

I am a gamer of all kinds. Sometimes I write about them.

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