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View Full Version : Need help in naming a pantheon



Rasilak
2007-11-14, 11:44 AM
Hi all!

I'm trying to create a pantheon for my game setting, but I don't seem to be able to think of any decent names (They usually either sound like cheap imitations of the originals, or just plain stupid) - so I need your help in finding names.
I currently need to name a set of a good dozen Roman-like and Nordic gods. Just post any ideas, I'll pick what I need. If you've got ideas for other cultures, you can post them, too. Maybe I'll use them later...

If you know of a good source for names, I'd appreciate a link...

CabbageTheif
2007-11-14, 12:44 PM
the Kreadonic Gods. from Kreadon.

levi
2007-11-14, 01:43 PM
The best way to make names that are original and work together is to approach it as though you where creating a constructed language. You don't have to make an entire constructed language, but the very basics of one will allow you to make names easily.

Basically, you need to develop the phonology and morphology of the language the names are derived from. These are a description of the sound structure of the language. They are the rules that say what sounds the language uses and how they can be combined to form sylables and words. While it may sound complicated, it's actually quite simple.

As an example, I'll quickly explain the sound of Hawai'ian, which is very simple. The sounds of Hawai'ian are five vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and eight consonants (H, K, L, M, N, P, W, '). The can only be combined into sylables in one way (C)V(V). What that means is that a sylable consits of an optional consonant, a vowel, and an optional vowel. The combinations WU and WUU are not used. Doubled vowels are longer and usually maked with a marcron, but I've not done so for technial reasons. Not all combinations of vowels are used, but the details aren't required for this simple explantion.

Let's take a look at some Hawai'ian words (or names):

aloha -> a-lo-ha
hawai'i -> ha-wai-'i
ni'ihau -> ni-'i-hau
kaua'i -> ka-ua-'i
o'ahu -> o-'a-hu
moloka'i -> mo-lo-ka-'i
laana'i -> laa-na-'i
kaho'olawe -> ka-ho-'o-la-we
maui -> mau-i

Now we can make up some Hawai'ian sounding words (or names):

paku -> pa-ku
onoka -> o-no-ka
kai-la-lu -> kai-la-lu
ani'akoolei -> a-ni-'a-koo-lei

If you know what you want the language of the culture your gods are worshiped by to should like (i.e. it's phonology and morphology), making names is easy. Once you've worked it out, you can also easily make names for people and places too.

Best of luck and keep up the good work.

Abjurer
2007-11-14, 04:14 PM
Or you could just let someone else (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/) do the work for you.

Old_Man
2007-11-14, 06:33 PM
Ideas for creating names for a pantheon. It isn't too hard to come up with names. For example, start with a war god.

1. Use word origins. crack open a dictionary and look up the origin of war. Late OE werre < ONF < Gmc; c. OHG werra strife; (v.) ME, late OE werrien (transit.) to make war upon, deriv. of the n.; cf. OF guerrer, ONF werreier. You have Werra, goddess of war.

2. Use phonological changes. Shift the vowels and consonants. War Var Kvar- Kvoor. You have Var, god of war.

3. Use an English to Latin (Swedish, Norwegian) translator. Look up words characteristic of his attributes like "brave" and "undefeated". You have Fortis Invictus, god of war.

4. Take the name from an existing pantheon and apply changes. Zeus becomes Jupiter (father Zeus.) For our war god, Ares becomes the Undefeated Ares, becomes Ares-Invictus, becomes Aryzachtoos. That sounds like hairy-zach-tooth. Change hairy-tooth to Norwegian and you get Lodden-Tann, god of war. I may be stretching a bit there, but I like the name.

Rasilak
2007-11-15, 08:57 AM
Hey, that's a lot of cool tricks you've got here. Maybe I'll write some program around levi's method, so I can create long lists and pick the best ones...

@Old-Man: I used some of these tricks, and the results sounded quite flat to me. However, using the translation-trick could yield acceptable results for everyone who doesn't speak the obscure language in use. (Maybe I'm just expecting too much of my names, as I saw your techniques being used in lots of commercial products).
(P.S. Lodden-Tann actually sounds quite cool)

levi
2007-11-15, 04:40 PM
The funny thing is, dispite being derived from European sources, Lodden-Tann sounds Oriental to me. It must be the Tan part on the end.

If you're willing to do the work, the con lang method will give you the best results, in my opinion. If not, the name generators at Silver Sanctum use (I belive) these sorts of methods, so they could work too. (Provided you can find one that sounds the way you want.)

If you know any programming, these sorts of name generators are quite easy to create. They're basically just a table of strings and a bunch of random number generataion. I've written several of them myself and have found them to be quite usefull. Of course, the simpler the sound structure, the easier it is to code. English, as an example, is exceedingly complex as to what is and isn't allowed, so I've never tackled writing a generator that makes English sounding names/words.

Old Man's techniques may work if you find a language that you really like the sound of. Also, his recommendation of using phonological changes is actaully a more advanced method of what I've described. Starting from a base language (either real or constructed), one can create a consistant set of sound changes and apply them to create an new language with similarities and differences. Tolkien used this technique to create the several varieties of Elvish in his world.

If your're feeling adventurerous, you can, of course, write a program to impliment stuff like this as well. For any name generation or constructed language utilities, I recommend a scripting language with good string support, such as Perl or Python. JavaScript is also handy because you can use the resulting generator on a website even if you don't have CGI access at your host. On the other tentacle, you'll proably get quicker results if you stick to the language you prefer.

Best of luck.