Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cleaning Up the Invented Region


I've been at the mercy of a virus since December 1; on my days off I fight it back and it comes back on me as I start working again.  I don't know what it will take to kill this thing.  So I haven't written today, because I've been crashed.

Details need managing, however, so I'll get them managed.  First, the image on the right shows the invented map so far.  It need one more highland and three more references.

Also, the poll has closed.  It wasn't that helpful; people were drawn to virtually every settlement.  Port Tethys made a surge at the end to become the city.  Cork barely managed to be one of the two towns.  Unfortunately Avalon, Nagoya and Ferris ended up in a three-way tie for six votes each.

I could just roll randomly, but where's the fun in that?  So I'll ask a skill-testing question, the answer to which can't be found on the web.

In my book, How to Run, what feature did I add to every chapter heading, and what was peculiar, or "wrong," with that feature.  First person to answer right gets to pick the town.  And in turn, you can also give a name the region.

I really respect that no one felt the need to give a silly name to any of the settlements.  Well done and much appreciated.  I've never enjoyed the need to mock the game.  Perhaps that is because in my first campaign, the asshole player ran a character named Exlax, whose henchman was Fruit of the Tomb.  Though it might be that I've never found this particular brand of humor to be very funny.

I can't help noticing that readers isolated every settlement.  Interesting, since it was done as a group effort.  I could see that some did it intentionally, deliberately cutting off a pre-existing settlement with water or highlands.  Overall, it gives a kind of continuity to the region.  The long inlet offers tremendous access to the sea and communication, though each individual town lacks a close, productive hinterland (except that Fenris is on a fairly open plain, even if the last highland is plonked on one side or the other of the place).

Just a reminder that none of the references has been placed.  They are just shown on the map as a convenience; we're going to shift them around later.  Any of the settlements shown might become the second market.  Port Tethys, as the largest settlement, will certainly account for one of the markets ~ though Serai or Hoth might be the other one, even though both are firmly established as villages now.

So, I'll sign off.  I do intend to deal with the next part, though likely not until Thursday or Friday, after I've finished my work-week and I'm more fit.


  1. Good morning, hope you had a good rest.

    Skimming through 'How to run', I noticed that at each heading there was
    Chapter number,
    A title
    A quote.

    In your last entrees you made note of the quotes and their references. But looking at the table of contents, there was no reference to the title for each chapter. While useful to set the tone of the chapter, I had a hard time finding each chapter without their corresponding page number.

  2. Each chapter header had a quote which was modified from its original source to involve roleplaying games in some way.

  3. Yep. The quotes were from movies, but all the quotes (save one) were inaccurate. Maxwell, you want to name the town from among Avalon, Nagoya and Fenris, then name the region?

  4. I choose Nagoya, for its location. It seems plausible that Port Tethys might control one end of the water corridor 0203-0303-0404, and Nagoya the other.

    For the region name, I choose Wowotu.

  5. I think I see your Asian studies influence there, Maxwell. I'll accept it, but with this caveat.

    If you're designing a world that you want your players to embrace, one thing you must remember is that words are musical forms; some musical notes, or combinations of notes, are hard on the ear, while others are pleasant. In one culture, a combination of notes will sound very much like home, while sounding discordantly in another culture.

    In the map above, we have Avalon from Britain, Fenris from Australia, Nagoya from Japan, Sarai from Mongolia (anglicized), Hoth from Star Wars, Port Tethys from what sounds like Irish and Cork which is definitely Irish. Then Wowotu, a distinct departure.

    It is fine for this context, no one is getting run in this world. But it is important to know that people don't get to decide what sounds pleasant or what does not, to them. It is an hormonal or cultural instinct. When choosing names for your game, remember that these words have to fit into the mouths of your players, repeated and repeated. It is something to think about.

    That said ... I'll suspend any further adds to the map at midnight, EST, and update it following that time.

  6. I did indeed mutate a Chinese word to get "Wowotu."

    What makes that stand out to you as less suitable, among names from nearby Mongolia and Japan? Just curious.

  7. "People don't get to pick what sounds good to them" in action, then?

    Anyway. Looking forward to the continuation of the series.

  8. Port Tethys is named after a greek god (well, titan), via a Sci-Fi novel, as it happens.

  9. Ah, quite right, daughter of Gaia and Ouranus, sister of Saturn. I had forgotten all about that. My bad. Thank you, Archon.

  10. I didn't know that Fenris (or Ferris) was from Australia. It's also a reference to a Marvel comic book character, itself based on Fenrir from Norse mythology.

    I think these serve as examples of "what sounds good to you." If you ask a person to make up a fantasy name, unless that person has a particular background involving creative thinking, you're likely to get answers like these.


If you wish to leave a comment on this blog, contact alexiss1@telus.net with a direct message. Comments, agreed upon by reader and author, are published every Saturday.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.