Ethnonyms and Etymologies

So, whilst explaining Empire to a friend I was asked why the Brass Coast is called the Brass Coast. I have to admit, being in Highguard, I am only really familiar with Highborn history. This lead me to wonder: what is the meaning and origin of each nation’s name?

Is the action of marching linked to the Marches? What is Dawn the dawn of? Is the Navarr an Iaith word? Etc.

On a related note, what do you call people from each nation and why?

Are people from the League called Leaguers? Leaguists? What is free about the Freeborn? Is context the only way to distinguish between the people and nation of Imperial Orcs? Etc.


I typed out a lot here, and then realised that finding out about the origin of the nations is something best done in uptime. Sorry. They’re damn good stories though… If you ask again I will answer, as it’ll be far too long till the next event…

Citizens of:
Dawn = Dawnish
Marchers = Marchers
League = Leaguers
Highguard = Highborn (if polite)
Brass Coast = Freeborn (if polite)
Varushka = Varushkans
Wintermark = Markers/Steinr/Suaq/Kallevesi
Urizen = Urizeni
Navarr = Navarri
Imperial Orcs = Imperial Orcs (do NOT call them the Impies)

Until the last few years, every orc within the borders of the Empire was an Imperial Orc, and a member of the nation of the Imperial Orcs, and a member or associated with the Legions of the Imperial Orcs. Defining them now this is no longer the case (Jotun thralls, Sandfishers, Therunin orcs) is an interesting social and linguistic problem…


You mean Winterfolk


Yes! The people that became the Marchers literally marched away from Dawn.

An excellent question! I don’t believe there’s a single accepted answer. Notably, a common symbol for Dawn is a sun on a blue field.

I honestly don’t think so - Iaith was not the primary language at the fall of Terunael nor is it the language of Navarr, and Navarr doesn’t mean anything (to my knowledge) in Welsh.

One potential etymology is that the Freeborn are brazen - which both means bold/without shame and made of brass.

Imperial Orcs - fairly obvious, in that they are the only orcs to be Imperial Citizens (at the moment at least).

Urizen - no idea!

The League are literally a League of cities - I suspect the name came from the Hanseatic League of our world.

Wintermark is literally a winter (cold and icy) mark (an archaic term for a region).

Varushka was formed when two tribes - the Vard and the Ushka - merged into one.

Highguard is probably somewhat metaphorical.'s_Dream


Within the League, there is also the discussion of what adjective to use for those who come from Sarvos; the Wiki lists ‘Sarvosan’ most of the time, but I do believe there are one or two uses of the word ‘Sarvosi’ in there too.

Even within my Carta, I call myself a ‘Sarvosan’ doctor while others call themselves ‘Savosi’ traders and crafters.

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Wonderfully comprehensive answers, thanks siblings!

@AnthonyHJ that’s so true. I hadn’t even considered intra-national names. As I’m from Necropolis, does that make me Necropolitan? (Like an ice cream, black and white with skulls).


HeHe, Brass Coasters

angry Freeborn noises

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“Urizen” is derived from “Horizein” an ancient (greek) word meaning ‘to define’,or ‘a boundary’, the same root as the modern “Horizon”.Given who they are, even pre-imperial, this makes sense as they are the people who through careful study and witnessing define the world around them, while simultaneously having pushed to the boundaries both between land and sky, and survival in their Mountainous homes.

(On an OC level the name is lifted pretty much directly from the (villainous) God of Reason in the works of William Blake.)

Navarr is named after its Eponymous founder who, along with her lover Thorn, started the great ritual of walking of the trods to defeat the Vallorn and restore Terunael. They are both remembered in the Ritual “Dance of Navarr and Thorn” which rebuilds trod networks in a given territory. Navarr as a name seems to have its roots in Ancient Asavean in a word meaning ‘plains’