Where do you get your setting names from?

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Bai Shen
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Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Bai Shen » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:41 pm

I've had plenty of ideas for creating my setting but I've been horribly stumped for naming things in the setting. I've found lots of character name generators but those don't help for the places and things.

I need to name countries, cities, religions, ranks, etc. Where do you turn to in order to get names for all of these?

Thanks.
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Ikoma
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Ikoma » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:52 pm

So my favorite method of naming things is Google Translate. I pick a language that has the right feel and then translate a pretty literal description of the thing I am naming. Then I get a word. From there I massage a little. I don't want a Spanish speaker to just know the religion 'Culto Malvado' is an 'Evil Cult'. But 'Tomal Vado' or 'Tomavad' might be harder for them to suss out. And part of the trick is to use languages your players are really not likely to speak.

Anyway, it works for me.
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clintmemo
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby clintmemo » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:27 pm

For towns and villages, I often use geographic descriptions of where the town is, like Hillside, Roadsend, Mountainview...

For people, I take English words that the represent the NPC, mash them together and muck with the letters until I get something I like. You could do the same thing for countries or cities.

Off the cuff examples:
Land of the Lizardmen = LandoftheLizardmen = Lanozarden
East of the mountains = Eastofthemountains = Eastofuntane
Swamp by the lake = Swamp by the lake = Wambylak = Wambelock
Big city on the ocean = Bigcityontheocean = Igotyany

It makes nonsense words that no one else is likely to have an association with but since I probably remember what I used to come up with them, I'll probably remember them.
Just make sure you pronounce them out loud before you use them.
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Glenn
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Glenn » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:00 am

clintmemo wrote:Just make sure you pronounce them out loud before you use them.


This. Also it doesn't matter if i get my names from a module or just make them up, my players will always find a way to make a joke or innuendo about them. Every. Single. Time.

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Leoff
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Leoff » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:27 am

Mostly my dictionary of Anglo-Saxon.

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keithcurtis
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby keithcurtis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:49 pm

In my latest campaign, many of my names are re-purposed from my very first campaign world, as a sort of homage. Beyond that, Google translate is a good resource.
Also, since my current campaign world is a thinly disguised mish mash of historical cultures, I often pick names that are evocative of the real-world cuture, or are archaic or anagrammatic of their sources. England is Albia, Rome is Amor, Classical Greece is Helenica, and so on.

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Bai Shen
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Bai Shen » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:36 pm

clintmemo wrote:For towns and villages, I often use geographic descriptions of where the town is, like Hillside, Roadsend, Mountainview...


Having travelled to some smaller towns this is surprisingly common.
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Bai Shen
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Bai Shen » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:38 pm

keithcurtis wrote:In my latest campaign, many of my names are re-purposed from my very first campaign world, as a sort of homage. Beyond that, Google translate is a good resource.
Also, since my current campaign world is a thinly disguised mish mash of historical cultures, I often pick names that are evocative of the real-world cuture, or are archaic or anagrammatic of their sources. England is Albia, Rome is Amor, Classical Greece is Helenica, and so on.


This is path I'm trying to take. Keeping the various names in a country to the same language to provide a unified feel.

Where do you find the archaic names?
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Leoff
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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby Leoff » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:02 pm

I mentioned my Anglo-Saxon dictionary.
The index pages of the old Norse sagas, and other old literature, are another nice accessible source. That sort of literature, in translation, is also a great source of inspiration for story trivia and plot twist ideas.

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Re: Where do you get your setting names from?

Postby keithcurtis » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:34 pm

Bai Shen wrote:
keithcurtis wrote:In my latest campaign, many of my names are re-purposed from my very first campaign world, as a sort of homage. Beyond that, Google translate is a good resource.
Also, since my current campaign world is a thinly disguised mish mash of historical cultures, I often pick names that are evocative of the real-world cuture, or are archaic or anagrammatic of their sources. England is Albia, Rome is Amor, Classical Greece is Helenica, and so on.


This is path I'm trying to take. Keeping the various names in a country to the same language to provide a unified feel.

Where do you find the archaic names?

Often, if you look in the Wikipedia article for a country or region, there will be a section on the name or the history of the name, or in some cases, what the locals call it. If not there, Googling "Ancient name for __________" can lead to good results.

I did the same for gods in the various pantheons I use. Many pantheistic religions existed for hundreds or thousands of years across widely separated areas. The same god concept may have gone by many names. Sullis Minerva (worshiped in Roman Britain) can be thematically and archaeologically linked to Pallas Athene, for instance. For my Greco-Roman pantheon, I even chose Etruscan names for some of them if I couldn't find an older Greek or Roman form I liked.


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