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Old 11-21-2020, 08:02 AM   #11
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Chatham, Kent, England
Default Re: How do you name things?

Tend to use the assumption that in the PC's own culture, things are described with their own (or older forms of) language so; Newport, King's Road, Stoneybridge, Farleigh, Brynach's Wood.
Sometimes a legendary / mythical / historical event will intrude: Four Fox Landing, Wolf Island, Deadhorse bridge, Aillel's Ford.

When they travel, we tend to use the foreign language versions of the same names.
It's been fun to discover that others know us as some variant of 'many-coloured madmen of the North'.

Oh, that's places: things, things...
Depends on the source; a magical sword might be called 'swiftness of a thousand blades of grass', a spear 'light of the moon piercing shadows'.
More mundane things have names like 'that cloak from Bronze Hill', or 'my reindeer-herder's-gift belt'.

Works quite well in reminding players that this is a non-literate society.

Last edited by sgtcallistan; 11-21-2020 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Correction
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:51 AM   #12
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: How do you name things?

I like using Native American words. They are familiar enough to not sound too alien, at lesst if you live on the East Coast of the USA, but different enough to be obviously non-European.
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Old 11-24-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
jason taylor
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: How do you name things?

I use names that are from Earth history as I am positing a planet settled mainly by Terrans. Names that just strike me as "cool" are used. Insofar as there is preference, I often though not universally, use Anglo-Hebraic for personal names. Nicknames come from a variety of sources. Political institutions are have several names depending on what is meant to be implied in a given context but Italian is favored (in the most formal usage, Capo Albergo is used instead of chief).

There is a minority of Vilani names as well.

Males generally have patronyms, females have matronyms, before being wed. Afterwords the second name is the spouses for both partners ("XSworn").

One curious trick was to translate Sikh usage into Ganglic (John Lionfolk, etc).

Clan names often use the first starship the clan ever used. Historical heroes are also common. Curiously ships often have a matronym and are accounted dynasties.

Ships pets (especially cats) are given family names as if they were humans.

Tools and weapons are named according to the choice of the owner with various customs. One notable usage is a reference to the first use: if a hare is caught in the rear by first using a weapon in a hunting park, Tailbiter might be used.

There are often large lists of nicknames, so that they can be adapted to context. Someone might for instance have a nom de guerre regularly used at a club or society for various reasons (much as the SCA has fanciful names in pre-Starflight Terra).
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
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