Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thief Of Names

I recently found that I have a nasty tendency to steal names without even realizing it. When I first started working on my eternal back-burner setting project, the Freed Lands, I unknowingly stole the name of one of the major civilizations from RuneQuest's Glorantha, gave my lizard men a name swiped from Etruscan mythology, and named another culture after a city in Cyprus. Even though I doubt anybody would have really cared, I felt like I had to go back and change them, and I still catch myself thinking about them under their original (stolen) names.

As I continue to read A Distant Mirror, I'm struck by how awesome the names of some of the cities of medieval France and Switzerland were. If I wasn't being careful not to pilfer real-world names, I'm sure Thann, Olten, and Solothurn would pop up somewhere.

These days, I've resorted to cribbing stuff from the random word verification system used right here on Blogger... and have gotten some pretty awesome names, I might add.

(And since I don't have any relevant images, please enjoy this nice Angus McBride orc attack I had saved on my hard drive for some reason.)


  1. Need more names? Google "Chris Pound Name Generator". Enlightenment will follow.

  2. i don't care if it's a real-world name from history, you GOTTA use Solothurn...

  3. Funny, I recognized Solothurn from my WWII historical miniatures geekery:

    One of the things I love about Joe Dever's Magnamund setting is the names. They seem both familiar and fantastic at the same time. I recently figured out that a big part of that equation is that he seems to use Dutch as an inspiration for syllables and naming conventions. Makes sense--Dutch is so close to English without actually being English. One option is to go with a similar model and do mash-ups of medieval place names. Oltenthurn, anyone?

  4. (@ sirlarkins) Yeah, Joe Dever really did have a way with names, even though I still don't really know how to pronounce "giak".

    The medieval mashup method is something I've used several times.

  5. Yo, Go with the original names. They're good.

  6. Anagrams mate: they're the wave of the future. ;)

    That said, most placenames in the Bernese Oberland are pure fantasy setting fodder. One of my fave maps ever is an old tourist map of Thunnersee and environs.


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