Take Your Name Game to the Next Level | How to Make Fantasy Place Names

Take Your Name Game to the Next Level | How to Make Fantasy Place Names

Zabrynn Lander ·

Place names don't come from nowhere.

When people give a name to a village or a river or a mountain range, it usually has a meaning behind it. That might be a description of the place, a reference to the people living there, or something more reverant (referencing a god, for example). 

Many places in England or the USA are called "New" Something. Newcastle, New York, etc. 

Or a place name might relate to its location: Berwick-upon-Tweed means "barley farm upon the River Tweed". 

A lot of place names in England get their origin from the person or people living there. For example: Kenilworth (meaning: enclosure of Cynehild) and Hastings (meaning: the settlement of Heasta's people)

So what does that mean for your worldbuilding?

Something that really makes a fantasy world feel alive is the names of the people and places within it. That doesn't mean you need to create a whole new language! Instead, creating a list of vocabulary you can use for your place names (and a few "common" names too!) can help make your world come alive. 

Here's an example list of words with their equivalent in my own fantasy language "Asterian":

  • River, rasu
  • Cave, vomu
  • Kingdom, Country, gardu
  • Ditch, nigaulu
  • Forest, reli
  • Woods, sey
  • Hill, arlu or vovu
  • Lake, mennu
  • Garden, tedzmu
  • Gully, ey
  • Mountain, storru
  • Field, rru
  • Farm, zamu
  • Spring, mgualearru
  • Port, damnva

(for more inspiration see here)

Your list should probably be a lot longer than this, but it's a jumping off point. Combine these terms with the names of your word's deities, words for common animals (for example "pig farm"), and boom you have yourself a list of place names you can use for your fantasy that feel authentic and consistent. 

Tip: all languages have a set of sounds that they use. This is called a "phonology". Here's some resources to help you make a phology for your list (remember, go for the ones who can pronounce yourself!)

What everything sounds like

Generate a random phonology

So you have a bunch of words but you're looking for inspiration?

Check out my place name generator here


Here's an example!


@dndalley #stitch with @dndalley #conlang #dndalley #fantasyworldbuilding #fantasyplace #fantasylocation #dndelves #dndelf #dndhomebrew ♬ original sound - Zaz

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