about 1 year ago
– Wed, Apr 04, 2018 at 03:35:26 AM
Names. Dagobah. Cardassia. Ultramar. Names invoke swathes of images, often based on knowledge of the source material. But how do we name new places?
Some spring from the reference material. Yesterday, Loz posted Gibson’s Bunk Hostel. Ragano And Sinatra At Law (see the Adventures of Lil Cthulhu) is a reference to the legend that Frank Sinatra had Mafia ties*.
Sometimes the reasoning behind the name is a bit sideways. Hedeteti is an obscure Egyptian scorpion god - this was one of the earliest cards I wrote, and I was trying to make all the names gods - like our solar system, and the few exoplanets that have names.
Quite a few names are descriptive. Somewhere in Cumbria, there is a place called Torpenhow Hill. According to one interpretation, that’s Hill-Hill-Hill Hill. Historically, a lot of places have been named descriptively. Think about how many -fields -ports or -woods there are. Then add in the Roman forts - chester, caster, or similar. North America benefits from taking root words from dozens of different indigenous languages. Toronto is ‘trees standing in water’. Milwaukee is ‘the good land’ (according to Alice Cooper, anyway).
If you’ve ever been to Wales, they take this to extremes. We had a mate lived in Small Pile of Rocks (Penmaenbach) which is a tiny village next to Big Pile of Rocks (Penmaenmawr). And a couple of stops down the railway from Bangor, where Loz and I went to Uni, is “Llanfair PG”** as it’s known to the locals. This being because the full name is longer than the village.
One quick trick to name a planet, or a location, or even a person is to use Google Translate. Think about what the essential nature is. Stick it into the English side. Press languages randomly (or if you've got a cultural aesthetic, start with related languages) until you come up with something that sounds right.
Or, of course, you could back at the IN SPAAACE level and name a card after yourself!
* And Frank Ragano was a mob lawyer of note --Loz
** Full name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - it was renamed that to be the longest place name in Europe in the 1860s, and (according to Wikipedia) “The name means: Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch).” -- Loz