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Thread: How to go about naming a very large amount of things?

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    Guild Master Falconius's Avatar
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    Default How to go about naming a very large amount of things?

    Anyone have any tips on naming a couple hundred entities, like towns etc.? I've notice I spilled a bunch all over my map (and even worse it still looks sparse, though I'm sure the labels will take care of that).

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    Guild Journeyer Guild Sponsor Turambar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    Anyone have any tips on naming a couple hundred entities, like towns etc.? I've notice I spilled a bunch all over my map (and even worse it still looks sparse, though I'm sure the labels will take care of that).
    If you don't care too much about the linguistics/uniqueness of your names there are countless generators out there. If you want to put more thought into naming, it can be a time consuming process. For my world of Edha I developed names of hundreds of places based on consistent linguistic roots associated with languages for different parts of the world. I derived a lot from real-world linguistic roots. Based on that, I developed long lists of names for each language group that followed the linguistic rules and then used those to name more minor places which I hadn't previously named. It was a very time consuming and research heavy process though.

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    Professional Artist Tiana's Avatar
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    The easiest way is the Wonderdraft word generator, you can even build your own word banks and just click and a new name appears.

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    Guild Master Falconius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turambar View Post
    If you don't care too much about the linguistics/uniqueness of your names there are countless generators out there. If you want to put more thought into naming, it can be a time consuming process. For my world of Edha I developed names of hundreds of places based on consistent linguistic roots associated with languages for different parts of the world. I derived a lot from real-world linguistic roots. Based on that, I developed long lists of names for each language group that followed the linguistic rules and then used those to name more minor places which I hadn't previously named. It was a very time consuming and research heavy process though.
    I do care about that to a degree, I want the names to sound like they belong together and be moderately distinct between the various language regions. That said the languages are just theoretical not developed. I have a somewhat Greek derived region, so I've been trolling through a bit of Greek history for some names. Other than that so far my strategy has been to make up a name and then to separate and group the ones that sound like they belong together. Whilst doing so I'm also trying to develop suffixes and prefixes that are common, like we have "-berg" or -vil", within a set of names.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiana View Post
    The easiest way is the Wonderdraft word generator, you can even build your own word banks and just click and a new name appears.
    I've been thinking of using a random generator, but that doesn't seem directed enough. The problem with random generators is that they are very random (and at the same time never really random). I came up with about 30 names last night whilst trying to fall asleep, so I figure if I can just do that for about a week I'll have enough random ones of my own (notwithstanding the lack of sleep).

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    Guild Novice Inky's Avatar
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    When I come up with names I like to come up with words that would be descriptors for the environment or what vibe a group of people would assign to different environments and work from there. Like if a country of people were very weary of the mountains and view them as dangerous they might give them sharper sounding names if that how I'd imagine their language working. Names like Krasq or Trex.

    Sometimes I just go for simple descriptors too. Like "The claw" for a claw shaped formation or "the Catch" for an area that retains water after a tide.

    If you don't like how random generators seem to be a little too random you can choose a top five that go well together than build with similar elements stemming from those words if that makes sense.

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    Guild Master Falconius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inky View Post
    When I come up with names I like to come up with words that would be descriptors for the environment or what vibe a group of people would assign to different environments and work from there. Like if a country of people were very weary of the mountains and view them as dangerous they might give them sharper sounding names if that how I'd imagine their language working. Names like Krasq or Trex.
    That's a good idea. I missed that for some reason.
    Sometimes I just go for simple descriptors too. Like "The claw" for a claw shaped formation or "the Catch" for an area that retains water after a tide.
    I'm trying to make some names like that, because I think they are very common and also, of course, informative, but I honestly find them the most difficult to feel like I pulled it off.

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    Guild Journeyer Guild Sponsor Turambar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    I came up with about 30 names last night whilst trying to fall asleep, so I figure if I can just do that for about a week I'll have enough random ones of my own (notwithstanding the lack of sleep).
    This was a main part of my process as well

    If you end up deciding you need more speed, a compromise would be to find a variety of generators based on different real world languages and cultures and assign them to analogous cultures in your world. Then either use the names directly from the generators or else use the word roots and create your own names that sound better.

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    Guild Master Falconius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turambar View Post
    This was a main part of my process as well

    If you end up deciding you need more speed, a compromise would be to find a variety of generators based on different real world languages and cultures and assign them to analogous cultures in your world. Then either use the names directly from the generators or else use the word roots and create your own names that sound better.
    With the "speed" I'm making my map I'm well on track to get all the names before I get anywhere close to needing them . Now I just have to come up with enough so that I can group them in linguistic regions in appropriate amounts.

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    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    A lot of the British names are done as a descriptive name for what they are. For example Oxford is for a ford to let oxen pass (Hereford, Chelmsford, Rutherford etc). Then Cambridge is the bridge over the river Cam. A lot of names ending in 'ton' are for town so that Seaton is a town by the sea and Kingston is the Kings Town. Then Exmouth is at the mouth of the Exe, Yarmouth is at the mouth of the Yare and Dartmouth is still at the end of the river Dart. A Ham is a low lying river like Durham, Wrexham, Nottingham, Birmingham etc, then there are the obvious Wakefield, Sheffield etc which are normally named after the person who once owned said field.

    Carterton, Cartersfield, Cartermouth, Cartershire, Carterford, Carterly, Carterham, and Carterborough etc are all pretty reasonable sounding names.
    As would be:
    Knightston, Knightsfield, Knightsmouth, Knightshire, Knightford, Knightly, Knightham, and Knightsborough.

    So combining the type of place that it is with some descriptive properties like the person who owned it or the river it is on can generate a lot of more sensible sounding place names than just phonetics munged into fantasy sounding names.

    Personally the more I know about the areas terrain and its economy and populations the easier it is to name it.

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    Guild Master Falconius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrobes View Post
    A lot of the British names are done as a descriptive name for what they are. For example Oxford is for a ford to let oxen pass (Hereford, Chelmsford, Rutherford etc). Then Cambridge is the bridge over the river Cam. A lot of names ending in 'ton' are for town so that Seaton is a town by the sea and Kingston is the Kings Town. Then Exmouth is at the mouth of the Exe, Yarmouth is at the mouth of the Yare and Dartmouth is still at the end of the river Dart. A Ham is a low lying river like Durham, Wrexham, Nottingham, Birmingham etc, then there are the obvious Wakefield, Sheffield etc which are normally named after the person who once owned said field.

    Carterton, Cartersfield, Cartermouth, Cartershire, Carterford, Carterly, Carterham, and Carterborough etc are all pretty reasonable sounding names.
    As would be:
    Knightston, Knightsfield, Knightsmouth, Knightshire, Knightford, Knightly, Knightham, and Knightsborough.

    So combining the type of place that it is with some descriptive properties like the person who owned it or the river it is on can generate a lot of more sensible sounding place names than just phonetics munged into fantasy sounding names.

    Personally the more I know about the areas terrain and its economy and populations the easier it is to name it.
    That's a good idea, I'll concentrate on naming the features first, like rivers and such, and then some names should just pop up as derivatives thereof.

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