Fantasy names for Real World nations

Henry

Autoexreginated
No one beats Robert E. Howard for such names, IMO:

Aquilonia - reminiscent of Rome and the "Roman Eagle"
Nordheim - the Northmen or barbarous viking-type
Pictland, Pictish Wilds - the celtic regions of France pre-rome
Khitai - an Asian conglomeration of China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand
Shem - Israel and neighboring lands

and so forth.

Anagrams are another route - Old One's "Emorian Empire" is a beautful Rome-parallel - though the name is not obvious until the culture is alluded to.
 

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Dogbrain

First Post
Quasqueton said:
I want these nations and ethnic groups to exist in my campaign world,

So why are "Africans" all lumped together? If you're going to do that, you might as well just have "Europeans" as one group.
 

Quasqueton

First Post
So why are "Africans" all lumped together? If you're going to do that, you might as well just have "Europeans" as one group.
The same reason that some people are African-Americans and others are German-Americans or Italian-Americans.

I may just be ignorant, but I don't know the difference between a Nigerian and Chad(ian?). I do know/recognize a difference between a Italian and a Greek.

Quasqueton
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
that's because most african-americans don't know the difference either - not really their fault though. ;)

at least separate the northern africans from the southern africans - very very different cultures there.
 

Quasqueton

First Post
at least separate the northern africans from the southern africans - very very different cultures there.
Got a couple names to go with that suggestion?

Henry: Yeah, REH chose perfect names for Hyborean realms. I am so tempted to just yoink them and hope I never have any Conan fans for Players (small chance of that luck).

Quasqueton
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
For some names, you could just go to an atlas (or historical atlas) and pick relatively obscure sounding small town names or regional names that might not be very well known in the country you regularly play.

For example, in a Greek-culture area in a campaign setting of mine, I called them the Cycladean city-states based on a name I found on a map of Greece.
Or Murcia for England, from an old historical kingdom dating from before the Norman invasions.
Thuringia for Germany, from an old elector seat in the HRE (and state in modern, federal Germany)

Atlases are your friend.
 

Gez

First Post
Perfect name? I don't know... Picts were French celts? Eh? I won't claim to be a history major, but that seems dubious. Pictland could go for Scotland, but as a name for France, I find it confusing.
 

Afrodyte

Explorer
BOZ said:
at least separate the northern africans from the southern africans - very very different cultures there.

The difficulty with doing African cultures (and Asian cultures too, for that matter) is that there are so many of them. There are some 1000 spoken languages there besides those introduced by Europeans and Arabs. There are also numerous ethnic groups whose ancestral homelands do not neatly correspond to the way the map was redrawn in the colonial era. Trying to fit every single African into neat little categories won't really work. What would work is taking the dominant groups of each region and then explaining that there are indeed more, but more information is not yet available.

Geographically and culturally, the major divisions of Sub-Saharan Africa are: West Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa. Southern Africa may be an interesting conglomeration of all three, but I'm not certain of that. Now, depending upon whose perspective you use when naming the areas in what would be Sub-Saharan Africa, you may want to use the people's names for themselves and their homelands or use the names created by foreigners for them. You can take a cue from foreign languages and name the continent Bantu (meaning "[the] people"), which is the dominant linguistic group in Africa (though splintered and divided after millenia of migration and interaction with foreign peoples). Instead of naming the countries after their historical counterparts, perhaps naming them for the languages could work, although in many cases, I'd imagine that there would be some overlap. Besides the Bantu languages, there are also the Khoisan languages (from the Khoikhoi people). There are far too many of them to list and categorize here, so you would have to do some pruning if you want to make it manageable.

If you want to go completely fictional, you can steal the contry of Zamunda from Coming to America.

The same thing can apply to Asian cultures as well. Instead of doing China and Japan as the great monoliths of East Asian culture, perhaps breaking them down and renaming them. China's name for itself is Zhong guo, which means "middle land/kingdom." However, if you take some ideas from historical periods and ethnic groups in China, you can have something like Ming guo ("bright land/kingdom," named after the Ming dynasty) or Han guo ("Han kingdom/land," named after the Han, the dominant ethnic group in China). The same could go for Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.

I hope this helps.
 

Old One

First Post
Thanks, Henry!

Henry said:
Anagrams are another route - Old One's "Emorian Empire" is a beautful Rome-parallel - though the name is not obvious until the culture is alluded to.

*waves at Henry*

Anagrams or slight changes to old names is a great way to go. The original provinces of the Emorian Empire include:

* Noricia (Lost Northern Province)
* Dalcassia (Lost Northern Province)
* Westphalia
* Armorica
* Galenia
* Pannoria
* Pyladia
* Tuscania
* Capulia
* Emoria
* Greater Sythia
* Lesser Sythia
* Arthosia
* Brindisia

Most of these were derived from the names of various Roman provinces, cities or other historical geographical areas. Westphalia is German and a couple are just made up. The easiest way I have found to come up with place-names is to grab a history book on a particular area, read through the index, jot down a couple of dozen names that jump out at you and change a couple of letters.

Within in hour, you can have 50+ names for towns, cities, countries and NPCs!

~ Old One
 


Dogbrain

First Post
Well, let's just reduce Europe to "East Europe", "West Europe", and "Central Europe", then. Why bother with differentiating more than that?
 


Quasqueton

First Post
Well, let's just reduce Europe to "East Europe", "West Europe", and "Central Europe", then. Why bother with differentiating more than that?
Because I like and can work with the subtle cultural differences found among fantasy European-like nations.

If you can offer up some detail on the differences between the various African nations, I may include them in my world. If you can't, well, then why are you complaining that I don't?

Quasqueton
 
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Imagicka

Explorer
Greetings...

Or, you can use AEG's Theah...the game world used for 7th Sea...also known as Swashbuckling Adventures.

Britain = Avalon
Ireland = Inismore
Scotland = The Highland Marshes (I like Caledonia better)
Norway = Vendel (They also use Vestenmannavnjar)
France = Montaigne
Spain = Castille
Italy = Vodacce
Germany = Eisen
Russia = Ussura
China = Cathay
Arabia = Empire of the Cresent Moon
 

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