1. Gammer
    Offline

    Gammer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    4

    Naming Gods

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Gammer, Jul 6, 2010.

    I'm in a stage of my fantasy WIP where I'm coming up with the Pantheon and mythlogy for the world. I have most it planned out, but what's really giving trouble is naming the Gods. Usually I just throw some letters together or go online and look up names in a baby book. But for Mythical gods, I don't know, no name i think of really fits.

    For the main god who created everything I just called him "Father." But after that I couldn't think of anything.

    Am I overthinking it or is there a way to come up with a good names for divine figures?
     
  2. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59
    If the Father is supposed to be more mysterious and or of a higher ranking then the other Gods(seeing as he created everything). Then I would find the name just fine. Maybe they don't know it, but the other Gods or Goddesses simply refer to him as Father. Of course that is if he were to create them.

    So far in my fantasy writing I have just used the names of a pantheon in a MMORPG I played. They are palceholders until I can think of my own and more original ones.

    But my advice would be to try and avoid unpronouncable names. :p
     
  3. Mantha Hendrix
    Offline

    Mantha Hendrix Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Northern Ireland... the place I've taken for grant
    It would help if we knew what kind of Gods they are. New agey... or ancient Roman. If you get my drift.

    I think that Father is a pretty good name though.
     
  4. Gammer
    Offline

    Gammer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    4
    The world is mostly Asian based with some other cultures thrown in (IE. African tribes, some Native American culture...etc...).

    The Gods themselves are all powerful in their own domain (IE. the God of the Sea can do anything he wants with the sea but can't do much on land).

    "Father" is omnipotenet since he created everything (Gods included)

    Does that help?
     
  5. Cacaw
    Offline

    Cacaw Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    1
    When you say "Native American", you don't happen to mean native Mesoamerican, do you? Because then using Nahuatl words might be appropriate.
     
  6. Legacy1306
    Offline

    Legacy1306 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    U.S.
    That's kind of similar to my own pantheon. My super create everythinig god is named Deity :)

    I generally use short, one-two sillabyl names for my gods. If I'm really stumped, though, I go to a latin translator, type in the name of their domain, and mess with the word a bit. Ex:

    Fire god
    Latin for fire is:
    Incendia, Ignis, or Flamma.
    Then I'm going to pick Incendia cuz I like its sound
    I can make it INCENDUS, god of flames,
    Or: AGNOS (from ignis)

    It's really good. It works for characters too, just pop in a character trait and do the same thing. Hope I helped :)
     
  7. JTheGreat
    Offline

    JTheGreat Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Well, in my planned story there isn't really a pantheon, so much as the country being mostly monotheistic with a few dieties on the side. I felt a little uncomfortable naming the god God, so I simply call him Creator. The two dieties are called Wysdom and Power. I called the diety Wysdom as opposed to Wisdom because most of my female characters have names with "Y's", so I thought this would be a good explanation.

    I refuge in vagueness, but as Legacy said, it's also cool to derive dieties' names from Latin and Greek roots. In the Queen's Thief series, the world is based off of the Mediterranean, and the author was a Greek mythology junkie, so of course there was a pantheon. Her supreme goddess, of fire, was named Hephestia.
     
  8. Gammer
    Offline

    Gammer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    4
    That's actually a good idea. Names always sound cooler or more epic when its in Latin, even if is just gibberish. :)
     
  9. Legacy1306
    Offline

    Legacy1306 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    U.S.
    Yeah german or norse is really cool looking word-wise, but they're basically unpronouncable :p

    @Jthegreat If your civilization is monotheistic, how is there more than one deity? Monotheistic specifically means faith in one deity. Triotheism (yes i just made that word up) would fit well, though if you don't count the creator it could be duoism (and no, I didn't make that one up)
     
  10. SilverWolf0101
    Offline

    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    New York State
    Everyone pretty much said the good ideas, so I'm not really going to repeat them.

    As for me though, I'm athiest so I really don't play around with god/goddess characters. Though I've had a few in my writing. My current demi-goddess really doesn't have a fancy name that makes you stop in awe, I just call her Ice (until I can think of something better, if I ever do).

    In the past I had two other almighty figures, one I merely named God of Life and the Goddess of Animals. But yeah, I was a kid then so the names were lacking.

    Anyways, you seem to know what kind of cultures influence your writing and what you want out of them, so play around with some of the words in that cultural language that relates to what your looking for and see if any of them can work for you.
     
  11. Addison
    Offline

    Addison Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Occasionally Illinois; at other times, Norway.
    There's all these, and Greg.
     
  12. w176
    Offline

    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Luleå, Sweden
    Irl, gods names are often simple 2-3 syllabells. Yawhe, Allah, Thor, Freia, Kali, Krishna, Diana, Zeus...

    But the best example of a fantasy pantheon I seen done that felt real and understandable was GRR Martins to A Song of Ice and fire. (The Mother, the maid, the crone, the father, the smith, the warrior and the unknown one)
     
  13. Layla
    Offline

    Layla New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I've used street names for deities and I've also cheated a bit by tweaking names I already liked by say switching the letters around or switching syllables, adding a letter here and there, etc. Neither method is terribly creative, but I've wound up with a lot of names that really seem to fit that way.
     
  14. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    My current pantheon- which is made from three cultures slamming into each other and mixing their religions in various ways-

    Ckren, the god of Life. Official primary deity, large temples.
    Baker (often Bakir), the ascended god of Heroism. Once human. The pantheon is named for him.
    Ikar, the goddess of War and Iron. Not directly worshipped (lots of oaths, though).
    Bulala, the goddess of the Wild- chaos, animals, nature. Once a part of Ckren.
    The Alshak Triune, the three agents of Ikar- the Heart, the Mind, and the Blade of war.
    Mil or Vamil, the goddess of Fertility. Adapted from the southern tribal religions.
    Darum, the Trickster. Not officially a goddess, but the spark of most stories.
    Bilin, Guardian of the City. Represented as a wall or shield, keeps gods seperate from humans.
    Oram, the Messanger. Mostly unworshipped, but big role in stories.
    Zathock, the End. Manifestation of the inevitable decay. Worshippers destroy small things to keep him from destroying big things- appeased, rather than adored.
    And of course, a variety of smaller gods that have fallen by the wayside.

    Is Father a role of the god, or the actual name? Think about the society that produces the gods, the way in which they are worshipped, their roles in times of peace and war. Also, what are their followers called? What rituals are done in their worship- think of Christian communion, baptism, burial, marriage etc.- and how do those define them?

    Names are fairly easy for me. Just spackle a couple odd syllables together with a good vowel in there and you're away.
     
  15. PurpleCao
    Offline

    PurpleCao Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mmm. Gods. I remember naming some of those in my fantasy universe.
    The solution in my case was considering their language.
    There's two major forms of Human race in my world. One speaks a language known as 'Imperial English' to us. It's essentially the same form and structure as our english, but the words have latin, greek and roman influence on them, or the origin of the word has been traced. Such as 'suck' is 'felltos', 'feltus' is latin for 'to suck'.
    The other has a far more... obscure, ritual feel to it. Word fragments that are words in themselves. So the name of a God, translated could simply mean "She who is Matriarch of all" or "She who looks over us", but when combined into word fragments gives a common name, akin to how in Egyptian the name 'Ankhasenamun' means 'She lives for amun'.
    You may want to consider a method like this based on how your races have developed.
     
  16. MissBelle
    Offline

    MissBelle Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    East coast,USA
    You could look at words from different Languages, like Latin maybe. Just a thought.

    One that that bothers me when people just make names up by throwing random letters together is that I cant figure out how it would be pronounced. I dont know why, that just bugs me sometimes and distracts me.
     
  17. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Damn straight. If you're going to name someone Mxyzptlk, at least have someone else mispronounce it so that it can be explained. That particular example is pronounced MIX-y-spit-lick, if you don't know. Easy to handle in dialogue:

    "Hello, Mr., Mih- oh, lordy," Kate said. She'd screwed up. She decided to blunder on with a smile "um... Mixy... mixes-top-"

    "Mixy-spit-lick, darling." The voice on the other end of the phone was energetic and happy, and surprisingly British. "It's just as it's written. Mxyzptlk."

    Kate looked at the word on the call sheet and tried it out, silently. She was pretty sure what he just said wasn't Mixy-spit-lick, but she was tired and too busy with the utterly engaging conversation that her author no longer cared about.
     
  18. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    If you wanna make it realistic, have the people of your world argue, fight and kill eachother over which name is the correct one to use...

    I think it's a cliche of Bad Fantasy that everyone in the world agrees on how the world is put together and only differ in what stance that have towards it.
     
  19. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Expanding on HorusEye's point- remember that, here on earth, we have at least three major religions that all believe in the same deity. And they do not get along. Some parts of them try- some parts of them try real hard- but they disagree in fairly fundamental ways.
     
  20. jonathan hernandez13
    Offline

    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    5,040
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Mount Vernon New York
    yeah, and then you have gods like...quetzalcoatl:rolleyes:


    Robert E. Howard's Conan character often swears by Crom. Howard admitted that Crom was derived from the celtic god Crom Cruach. He also began to write a story called Hand of Nergal, and Nergal was a mesopotamian god.

    Some Lovecraft beings like Dagon and Cthulhu borrow from ancient mythos (Dagon was a semetic god and a so-called chthonic deity is a god of the underworld or a god of the deep earth; a perfect basis for his 'dreaming one').

    Many authors will freely borrow from antiquated sources, I recommend it, the past is very fun. Being a mythology and ancient history buff taints my opinion slightly, but meh.:)
     
  21. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    I'd say be careful with the Latin ones - they are such an easy way to go that every other newbie fantasy I've seen uses them, and a fair few of the published ones I've looked through have some sort of Latin or Greek bias. It's starting to feel like in 100000 years time someone sorting through the wreckage of our civilisation will write books about the odd underground religion expressed only in fantasy novels, where the old pantheon religions were kept alive. :p

    When I come up with a pantheon I generally use words that aren't that common in the first place, then change them a bit. For example, my dad was going on about Tamarisk trees, and a few weeks later I was trying to name a god, and tada, Tamarysk. I like making up fantasy names, but they have to be obviously pronouncable, so basing them off words people might not know immediately anyway, but are long, is a good way to go, I think.

    Or find a friend who speaks a language that isn't Latin-based, and see what they can help you with. Same as the suggested method for Latin names.
     
  22. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Honestly, I like this approach best. Simple names. I think the 5-syllable-long over-spectacular names can get a bit Mary Sue-ish and unrelatable.
     
  23. sereda008
    Offline

    sereda008 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    1
    Unogog, serpentarus, inrelliga... I can think a whole library for you:).
     
  24. Lee Shelly
    Offline

    Lee Shelly Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    My water/sea god is named Nekar. I took the word 'kraken', spelled it backwards, and took off a letter. This approach has always worked for me, just spelling related words backwards and finding the interesting parts.
     
  25. Masli
    Offline

    Masli Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Netherlands
    If you like an Asian theme and your gods all have elemental kind of powers, why not simply rever to them by say the Japanese elements

    for example:
    Chi (sometimes ji) or tsuchi, meaning "Earth", represents the hard, solid objects of the world.
    Ka or hi, meaning "Fire", represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world.
    Sui or mizu, meaning "Water", represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world.
    Kū or sora, most often translated as "Void", but also meaning "sky" or "Heaven", represents those things beyond our everyday experience,

    or some variation of it....
     

Share This Page