S.O.S: I suck at naming Countries!

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Hello Chronicles Community!

I'm The Starving Writer, AND I'M GOING INSANE!

Now, before I tell you my problem, I want to close your eyes. Are they closed? Good, now open them: you can read with your eyes closed, silly. Now, if your eyes are open, stop thinking about whatever you were previously thinking about and imagine this: You've been spirited away to a world once ruled by the Elven Kingdoms of yore, who fought against tribes savage Orcs, terrible Giants, and their Drow Cousins. Now, after a terrible war that ravaged the land, the Elven Kingdoms began a steady decline, allowing Mankind to step in as the dominant race. FAST FOREWARD, and these once proud Nations of Elves live in dark forests that have been preserved through both Magik and treatys as subjects to the petty Kingdoms of Man, who have reached a Pre-Industrial Age level of Technology. These Nation-states wage war with Magik Runes, Musketry, and, of course, the Sword (Pull Winged Horses, War-Trolls, and Orcish Mercenaries, among other things). Pretty cool setting, right? No? Oh, ok.......

BUT OPINIONS ARE SUBJECTIVE!

The fact is, I am in a right pickle. I can't find any names for these Human Nations. What about the Elf or Orc settlements? Nobody cares (yet). It's these Central, story-integral Countries I'm stressing over. I can't seem to come up with anything that:
A. Sounds Good
B. Is easy to pronounce
C. Describes the People of said Nation
D. Is satisfying to say

I could continue to write in spite of this, but even if I finish my novel, I would still have to come up with names before I could publish it.

That said, what wisdom can you bare onto me? If you would like to help in other ways short of bestowing the perfect name on my metaphorical doorstep, I would gladly welcome a discussion on the matter of names.

Thank you for your time,
Sincerely, The Starving Artist

P.S: I need to eat something.
 

hopewrites

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Fantasy name generators. Names for all your fantasy characters.

from my bookmarks collection
WAIT!
before you click the link you should know, it will generate anything you need name wise. So... pick your category carefully, spam the "generate" button till you're happy, and dont say I didn't warn you.

I've been known to loose day's there, just playing with the damn buttons and forgetting what it was I was supposed to be naming.

Medieval Fantasy City Generator by watabou

this one will give you maps of cities, towns, hamlets whatever size you want. Named already!


donjon; d20 Random Treasure Generator
this one you dont need. It generates encounters with enemies and the loot they carry. I dont know why I gave you that one. Probably because it goes with the other two in my book mark section.

Hi.
I'm Hope.
I play D&D.
I used to write back when I thought I could turn my dream diary into some horror novellas. Now I just take the tragic/cheerful characters that wander into my head on epic quests to earn gold and talk the badguys into sitting down for a cuppa; which always goes badly and then I have to kill them. Because they're bad guys and my DM want's them dead.
 

Boaz

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Welcome to the Chrons. I would say to avoid beginning words with X and Z or inecting a plethora of apostrophes in an attempt to make foreign and alien words. For example, when I read something like... U'naxxon of the Zyzalmazez was the King of Xen'xen'a... then I know the author has no imagination and I immediately throw the book in the trash.
 

scarpelius

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Best names are made bending the existing one just a little and/or using uncommon letters.
You should use soft names/particles for peaceful people/tribes/nations, it will be a mistake to name a nation of scholars Krax, instead of Luminaros. You can also look at the latin based languages and borrow names from there, because Latin based languages are softer than English.
On the other hand, for warrior nations you should look at Germanic languages. The above mentioned nation of scholars will loose some or all of its peaceful meaning if you call them Koryphäe, a word you can work it a bit and transform it even more Korxyphäe.

You can also use your lore to name nations/tribes, e.g. The Hammerfall Tribe.
In the past some nations were know by the most representative city name, e.g. Athenians.
 

Brian G Turner

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Welcome to the chrons forum @The Starving Writer !

I can't find any names for these Human Nations.
Well, rather than invented names, why not give meaningful names in English? Many place names are originally little more than descriptions of what a place is (ie, little farm, new castle, broad ford) but over the centuries they become corrupted or simplified.
 

Venusian Broon

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Hi TSW,

I was meandering through YouTube and came across this:


Possibly of some help for your problem.
 
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Ok, I've been thinking hard lately, and this is what I've come up with.

Alterria

Elysia

Alysia, Alisia, or Alesia

Aelia

Aterius

Atlysia

Altania

Albania

Alvonia

Anglia

Anglica

Balion

Carovia

Galbany
 

scarpelius

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Albania is actually a country in Europe, so scratch that.
Anglia is the exo-name given to England by some European nations, so scratch that too.

These names does not make any sense to me. I can presume (based on Albania and Anglia) that you are naming a country/kingdom. Without background info they don't stir any emotion.
Some of them seems common fantasy names or variations of the common names used in fantasy, especially everything that starts with A.
 
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The reason everything seems to start with an A here is because I've based my main settings as being a Kingdom built high up into the clouds, a shining beacon to all peoples surrounding it. Therefore, I've tried to work off the themes of Light and Height: most of my efforts culminating in the Latin Words Alta and Alba.

Alterria, in my mind, is probably my best option out of these, at least. Altissia might work better, literally meaning "The Highest", but Final Fantasy already snatched that up. Not that I CAN'T use it, but I'd probably be accused of shameless copycatting.
 
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As for a background, this Kingdom is either an Island Nation or Coastal (probably Island, because I like 'en better than the mainland) with vast wealth from the crucial trade-routes which they guard closely with a swift and powerful Sky Fleet and Griffon/Eagle Riders. They are not an Imperial Power, but their trade influence puts them up there with some of the bigger players in the World. I'm still fleshing everything out, but the setting is akin to the mid-1700, so there's that.
 

Boaz

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Spoiler alert for The Lord of the Rings.

@The Starving Writer I think you're making progress here. Do not be discouraged.

So you like Latin? Great.

This land is above the earth or at high altitude? Okay... Alterria...

Terra fima means solid earth. What about a word for the region of air around the earth? The firmament. Terra Firmamenta. Firmamentia. Firmamenterra.

Or how about a word for clouds? Terra Cumulus. Terra Cumula. Terra Nimbus. Terra Caelum. Portae Caeli.

Personally, I like names in native languages which are seldom used because the characters use other names. I think multiple terms for one place gives a greater feeling of authenticity. For example...

1. Rohan. In The Lord of the Rings, Rohan is the country north of Gondor. Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Gandalf all pass through... and they all call it Rohan, the Gondorian name. But the people of Rohan call it The Riddermark or just The Mark. Mark (border land) can be seen in the words Denmark (march of the Danes) and Ostmark (march of the east, i.e. Austria)... and Ridder is rider... Thus Riddermark is the March of the Riders. But the people of Gondor speak a debased form of Elvish where Roch (horse) plus And (country) becomes Rohan (horse country)... even though the Gondorians called that place Calenardhon before the Rohirrim arrived.

Basically, Tolkien invented Middle-earth and it's stories as a basis for his invented languages. Tolkien put in decades of work into his languages, peoples, geography, and history before he ever went to a publisher. Now I am not saying you need to invent languages, but you can see what some thought can do.

2. Westeros. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin has three main continents. The continent featuring most of the story is called Westeros. The people living there rarely, if at all, refer to their land as Westeros. They call it The Seven Kingdoms. The people living in the eastern continent, Essos, refer to Westeros as The Sunset Kingdoms or the Land of the Andals (the people who ethnically dominate five of the Seven Kingdoms).

3. The United States of America. Other names and terms that we use for our country... America, The United States, the States, U.S., U.S. of A., USA, The Republic, Columbia, Land of Liberty, the Land of Opportunity, the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, the Melting Pot, and 'Merca. Other terms... Great Satan, Norteamerica... I'm sure others (especially Canadians and Mexicans) could add more.

So then you have a name like Terra Firmamenta... but the people call it Airland or Caelum or Caelia or Hightown or Sungate or City of Lights or the Beacon or Second Moon or Flyer's Moon or Cloudport or Heaven depending upon their perspective living on the ground or in the city.

PS - Don't forget to eat something.
 

Joshua Jones

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@The Starving Writer, I can empathize with you here. Some people just seem gifted with the preternatural ability to name things, while the rest of us mere mortals drop our jaws in awe and envy.

So, from one who stinks at this to another, it does get easier as you go, but not necessarily because you get better. Rather, as the society you are creating becomes more fleshed out and 3 dimensional, the sphere of possibilities starts contracting. When this is informed by the backstory, the answer sometimes becomes pretty logical.

One thing that also helps me at least is that the name of something, as long as it is above a certain threshold, can be pretty mundane and still work fine. What I mean is, you don't want to run around calling places "Hamlet of Good Feelings" or "Kingdom of Biting Anguish and Torture", but there are real places named "Greenland", "Iceland", "Finland", and so forth. If your island is, say, rich in obsidian, there is nothing wrong with naming it "Obsidian Isle". If a famous hero named Frank founded a nation, "Frankland" is fair game. At least for me, the central questions are "If real people named this, what would they call it?", "How would it morph over the years?", and, "What would their enemies use to be derisive to them?" But, at the end of the day, names don't really sell books. Titles can get them off the shelf, and characters engross the reader, but what you call your location is not typically that relevant.

Of course, my problem is that I suck at titles too, so...
 

Alan Aspie

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I can't find any names for these Human Nations.

That said, what wisdom can you bare onto me?
1. Pick a language that sounds right. (Latina, Welsh, Finnish, Estonia, Hungary...)
2. Think about most visible things that your nations have in some area. Geography, trade, culture, cloths, habitus, music...
3. Translate that thing to the language you have picked.
4. Try. What you can get if you use those words you have via translation.

Excample...

1. Finnish.
2. Mountains, metalwork, leather, drinking bloody strong liquer or beer and singing songs and fighting.
3. Vuori, vaara, rotko, laakso, vuoristo, viina, kalja, olut, riita, laulu, hoilaus, jollotus,
4. Put words in 3. before and after them: land, county, area, fiefdom, principality, earldom, shire, region, province...

5. You get at least 12 x 9 = 108 different possibilities. Maybe non of them is ok, but you get something where you can start.
6. Nothing works? Nothing leads anywhere? Change the language. You get more.
 

Cathbad

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Mentár was the name I gave the first legendary 'hero' of my world. The city he created, I naturally named Mentária.

After that, I named most of the countries on the northern continent with names that abounded like they belonged to that same "language", even when they also incorporated specific landmarks. Malopia, Cason, etc.
 

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