Howard Names for the Lazy

Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian age uses a lazy man’s nation building: take historic cultures in stereotype, apply an archaic name, and viola fantasy world.

Okay, maybe not quite that lazy but not far off either and certainly a D&D tradition. The hard part is finding the archaic names.

Enter Wikipedia.

2 thoughts on “Howard Names for the Lazy

  1. Howard deliberately used historical names because of the nature of the Hyborian Age: it's supposed to be an age lost to history, where names from myth, folklore and legend had a basis in reality. The Aesir & Vanir are called that because they are meant to be the prehistoric basis for Norse and Germanic mythology, which was distorted by their descendants until they became the gods and giants of their spiritual lives. Other names like Stygia, Cimmeria, Ophir and the like deliberately evoke names remembered vaguely in Greek folklore.

    It isn't lazy, it's part of Howard's attempt to imbue verisimilitude into an age before the beginnings of recorded history that was nonetheless linked to the modern world. Howard certainly didn't have problems making up names from whole-cloth: it's just not what he intended. It isn't the same as concocting a fantasy world completely unrelated to earth, but choosing mythological names for the places anyway, of which certain D&D settings are certainly guilty.

  2. I understand what Howard was doing and that it wasn't lazy. I meant to imply this Wiki article made it easy for “the lazy” to do what Howard did.

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