Saturday, May 10, 2014

Voices of Calidar

I'm about to begin work on map labels for the Great Caldera poster map. The map itself is practically complete, thanks to Thorfinn Tait's tenacious efforts. Coming up with hundreds of unique, cool-sounding, and evocative map labels is usually a thankless, fastidious, if not mind-numbing process. I probably will generate many of the tags myself, but I thought I'd extend an invitation to anyone willing to pitch in. If you're interested, pick one of the realms, as defined below, and organize labels as shown at the end of this message. You can post them as comments here or on the original discussion thread (for the sake of feedback and such). Please don't kill yourself with hundreds of names. Keep your list to a manageable length. There is no guarantee I'll use all your suggestions (or use them without modification), but they will certainly help. I included a few below to give you some ideas of where I'm going with the various nations, etymologically or as far as their approximate ethnic consonances are concerned.

Meryath: all done! (But you already knew that, didn't you?) These are mostly Polynesian in style with Greco-Byzantine influences. :mrgreen:

Ellyrium: pseudo-Greek-Byzantine, with some Romanian influence (more or less in Karameikos style if you will) -- Teosopolis, Teosion, Hadradas, Hurion, Lamazu, Rasku, Arathon, Taitu, Lammathu, Mormion, Bellerion, Antas, Nervion, Gynaion, Arthenion, Trithon, Locathas, Minothas, Aranion, Basilion, Elyrikos, Antiatis, Temenopolis, Thrakesian, Helioklios, Erebos, etc. Many of these came from Meryath's early map and got moved since then to Ellyrium proper. So I do have a head start here.

Alfdaín: pseudo-Old-English/Celtic/Elvish -- Andolien, Mythuín, Sherandol, Lathraël, Lathias, Tòrr-Gàrraidh, Fëoros, Elëan, Aërin, Boërúnn, Tægrinn, Niergrúnn, Mierinn, Pierfúlka, Dhollëann, Seágrinn, Reádal, Hælfúre, Mælgronn, Glawëndel, Lanthaínn, Gilreánn, Glyfuín, Ybhdal, Oppadaínn, Dúndal, Dúnnatar, Duengyl, Ustwë, Fernuín, etc.

Araldûr: those are more or less based on the dwarven language I posted earlier. Kragdûr, Bhalrûd, Hâradhir, Dârgilath, Rothbrîm, Hamarfold, Kragfold, Domkark, Arohgan, Fehrkrag, Falsdam, Gor-Burudh, Makhfold, Grimhol, Hol-Tarkhan, Dor-Mirgûl, Bal-Fedor, Buhrodor, Dol-Haddir, Grimalsfel, Felsnyad, Rothgor, Ishturdûl, Glorandûr, Ghuladûm, Dûm-Kharad, etc, ad nauseum.

Belledor: I haven't worked on this yet. This is the land of the "civilized" fellfolk (hobbit-like fellows). Style-wise it probably will feature simple names labelled in modern English (the capital city is named Seahollow for example.) Ground-work needs to be done here to move ahead, without wanting to make a pun.

The Magiocracy of Caldwen: Those fellows are related to the wizards of Gandaria (a much older magiocracy on Manaan, the native moon of Calidar's human race), which is definitely old-Persian/Zoroastrian in nature. Names would be inspired from this ancient culture, though they'd have to be somewhat anglicized because this region has seen much immigration and is now ethnically diverse. Elven cultural and linguistic influence in Caldwen is strong. Caldwen is derived from the name of a national hero (Caldwa the Wise) who wasn't of Gandarian ancestry. The capital city is called Arcanial.

Narwan: is essentially middle-eastern in flavor -- Osirim and Nizarim Mountains, Ad Dhimah, Tel Al-Maksur, Jhufar, Manzibar, Fuscat, Ta’izz, Al Barami, Khosab, Taiffah, Ibbar, Al Mukaidah, etc. I'm sure you get the idea.

Nordheim: unmistakably Scandinavian-inspired. These fellows are related to Vikings who strayed into Calidar's universe centuries earlier, and who therefore retained much of their original culture -- Steinfold, Grimsvik, Bergmark, Bjørnstad, Eisholm, Nordhavn, etc. I have a long list of prefixes and suffixes thanks to Justinov's kind assistance, which needs some streamlining. Local deities are modeled after those of Earth's Viking pantheon, and can be worked directly into geographical entries if need be.

Osriel: this is the great merchant kingdom. This one is most diverse in nature. It is intended as a place where ethnic minorities make up the majority of the population, including humans from Manaan, elves, dwarves, but also a kaleidoscope of cultures related to people from Earth's history who became stranded in Calidar's universe centuries earlier and established local communities with very strong cultural characters. So here, we have a plethora of medieval European cultures, tending toward the middle-eastern in the south along the border with Narwan. There is no "typical" Osriel. The common "official" language would be a trader's mix of Scandinavian, Ellyrian, and Narwani interspersed with French, Italian, German, Spanish terms. The capital city is Lorical.

Calidar John Dollar Draecan
Phrydias: It was once a Bongorese colony. The Swamp Kings of Bongor hailed from Manaan and were able to establish a colony on Calidar during the Age of Discovery. Picture Bongor as the Songhai-Empire-from-outer-Space, except that its kings formed a federation ruling a vast swamp (rather than a Malian-like desert). Bongorese are reputed diviners. When an army of rather adventurous half-elves abandoned a war zone between Ellyrium and Alfdaín, the Bongorese saw this intrusion more as a benefit than a nuisance (or so the oracles determined), and actually took it as an opportunity to overthrow their own colonial governors as a means for achieving their own independence. So there we have it: a culture now equally Bongorese and Elven; the two ethnics thoroughly mixed since the Calderan Wars of Independence. Though the capital city is called Phaeroth, plenty of names ought to reflect their Bongorese ancestry with or without varying degrees of Elven influence.

Chinese/Japanese-inspired realms are located on another planet, as are pseudo-pre-Colombian and North American tribes, and so on. Many cultures from Earth actually exist in one place or another in the vast space surrounding Mighty Soltan. There are also Caniseans, Feliseans, the orcs of Ghüle, space-Vikings, the Kahuulkans (Calidar's version of a fallen Martian civilization that plunged itself into chaos after nuking their own world), and mysterious starfolk who prowl silently at the edge of the Known Universe. These will come up in following books.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Great Caldera.

In general, try to organize your lists, splitting names into the following categories as needed (in your opinion):

Urban Centers
Bays, Lakes