09 December, 2015

Naming Things on the Blue-print Maps


I've been working on these maps and deliberately avoiding names for different parts of the setting. A pat of this is because I've been trying to ensure appropriate names for the towns, and suburbs of the main city. I thought about picking one of the Micronesian languages, Chuukese, Yapese, or something similar... but the most common language across the region is English, and if this is designed to be a new island erupted volcanically in the last century and/or established from a meteor strike (I haven't really decided, but I'll get to that shortly), it makes sense to use the current language to name things. But I'm in two minds, because I still like to ensure naming conventions convey a sense of the culture in a place.

I've used an assortment of English place names, Chuukese, a few Yapese, and some Japanese place names (because the Japanese language is fairly prevalent through the region, especially after the Japanese military involvement in the area during WW2).

The completion of this map has also allowed me to consider overall population for the setting. This is not a sprawling cyberpunk metropolis, it is an idyllic tax haven and gateway to the orbital stations of the rich and powerful corporations. It is a setting that looks clean and pristine on the surface, but beneath that veneer maintained for the tourists and wealthy, there is corruption. Crime cartels, colonial bureaucracy, religious pride and hubris, and a desire to push outward above the pettiness of the Earth toward the things outside. Around 100,000 people live in the main city of the setting, roughly 20% of whom are transient visitors. There's almost double that amount of population scattered across the whole archipelago, with a quarter of the population as tourists and long-term visitors.

While naming things, I considered the mythical trade empire of the Pacific, Mu. There has been a bit of discussion from various sources regarding the beliefs of Theosophy, so Mu seems linked into a current zeitgeist from that direction as well. And as a KLF aficionado, I couldn't go past the idea that the stone money (Rai) is both justified and ancient. So that naturally Mu became the name for the capital city of the Micronesian Free Trade Zone. That naturally led to the rail network of Mu city being called the Transcentral.

Many of the locations are given obvious names. "Caldera" exists on the edge of the central crater lake/atoll. "South Landing" is the major shipping dock on the south of the main island. "North Beach" is near the northern coast of the main island, and obviously has a beach near it (though this isn't specifically depicted on any of the maps. "Giriin Paan" is Chuukese for "Green Grass".

There are also a few named locations that imply a back story. "Jack's Junction" was obviously named after someone, but who, and why? "Orchard Estate" definitely has orchards growing near it, and other farmlands around it, but now it exists as a high tech industrial park, with clean factories possibly producing semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, exclusive electronics, or other luxury goods. Maybe it was once an estate of some kind, but it has been long engulfed by industry.

I've deliberately left things a bit vague here. There need to be gaps for players to fill in as they adapt the world to their own stories.

But that's enough for the moment.
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