Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rural Communities

You stroll into town... or, at least, you think this is the town. A few old and battered store fronts line the single street, with houses dotting the landscape here and there, miles apart. An old Rural man nods at you from a rocking chair on the general store's porch, sod crumbling to the ground from his wrinkling forehead... Welcome to Bavingdon. Or is it Perstoke? Or Tursham? Or Hanwer-on-Wirth? Who can tell? All these small farming communities are basically the same, so they will all come together for this single post on Rural Communities.

Honestly, I really need to organize my ideas better. For months, I've been talking and writing about the three Rural communities that surround the City: Bavingdon, Perstoke, and Mestloath. Then, in preparation for today's post, I took a look at my map of the Realm of Lives, and saw that there was another, one Sathed, down in the southeast of the map, where I had apparently decided it was too large a blank region to be without a town. So. Yeah. What do I do? Do I trust my initial instinct, which was to have three towns -- or the me that put the map together, and add in a fourth one? Damn it, Past Me's, communicate with me better! Anyway, after a bit of cogitation, I decided two things: First, that Mapmaker-me was right, we need a fourth town, or that part of the map will be noticeably and bizarrely empty; and second, that Sathed is a terrible name. Combine that with the continual irritation I've had every time I have to use "Mestloath" [It sounds like meatloaf. What was I thinking?], I headed to my name generator.

For those who are interested, I use a marvelous random name generator for most of my "foreign language" names (as opposed to those that are based on real words, like Dead-Blooded or Sky-Carver). It's called The Everchanging Book of Names, and you can find it here. It randomizes results from lists of real names, deriving new names that "sound right" by using the same structure, letter combinations, and common prefixes/suffixes that occur in that culture. It's awesome, and the free demo version is remarkably powerful (I just registered it myself, so I'll report back in later on how much improved it is). 

The EBoN gave me a mess of names to choose from in creating my two missing villages. Here are some of the better ones (the ones I considered using), derived from the "English Place Names" EBoNEBoN created for me just now: Uckmon, Searilsouth, Wastead-Frirnorth-Chirby, Brabourn, Chrintmere, Tostlam, Edgothfer, Hackbourne, and Cadgimpstone. When I looked at the original output, I noticed one that really appealed to me, except for one little bit: Hanwer-an-Math. Obviously based on the "Blank-on-blank" nomenclature convention that shows up in English place names, but with a different vowel in the middle. I could easily change it back to "on" and have a good name... but "math" is a word, and not one I want associated with the town -- these farmers can hardly count, much less higher mathematics. A while later, I ended up with "Wirth" and thought that would be a nice suffix to replace "math." The other one I almost went with... another "w" name that has vanished from my files, but decided I didn't want two "w" names, so decided Regitursham was cool, but too long and hard to pronounce... so I hacked off the first two syllables. Voila! Hanwer-on-Wirth and Tursham, the other two villages that, along with Bavingdon and Perstoke, will make up the Rurals' centers of "civilization." name library... Well, that's nice. I somehow deleted my castoffs. Okay, well, here are a few names

These four towns have a combined population of perhaps a few thousand people, and serve as small bastions of "civilization" in the rugged areas outside the City. I don't think they need a full ARTTBavingdon -- the most interesting, as it stands definitively within Crasher territory, and close to the border of Dead Tribes territory, so is always getting raided by one group or the other. Hence, it's a bit tougher than the other villages, and also holds the distinction of being the hometown of the only Rural rich enough to buy his way onto the City of Lives' High Council. treatment. However, I've established a little about

House Solfidley
Description: The home of the only Rural rich enough to buy his way into politics.
Threat: Solfidley intends to destroy the Council and its “corruption.”
Aspect: Secret Vendettas, Hated Wealth
FaceArbron Solfidley — Rich Rural Revolutionary Working From Within 

This Arbron Solfidley has become a favorite NPC in the playtest game, where his "Southern Gentleman" persona, seen by the players as a mix between Colonel Sanders and Foghorn Leghorn, has earned him the nickname "Cockburn Fuckhorn." So... yeah.

Tomorrow we go off-Realm, as we begin examining the various universes that connect to the City of Lives. We'll begin with Niontia Unprime 236, one of the colonies of the 2-dimensional living shadows The Niontians. See you here!