Fantasy City brainstorm based on the title "Where the Streets Have No Name"
Ideas surrounding a city/world inspired by listening to a U2 song. The world has not much to do with the lyrics and everything to do with the title of the song.
I've decided to call this place "The City of the Nameless Gods."
Image used is by Walkerssk on pixabay.com
1. Why do the streets have no name in this city?
The streets have no name because streets are seen as sacred. And no things that are sacred allowed to be named in this city. This is like a religious decree but it doesn't have to be enforced because no one would ever think about breaking this rule. The streets have no name, the Gods have no name, and all sacred things have no name. They must be described in other ways.
2. What is this city like?
The city lies in a fantasy world where technology is somewhat primitive. The internal combustion engine has not been invented here, but there are other, different technological marvels that we do not have on our earth. The city is on the edge of a desert and a mountain, within a rain shadow.
It's kind of like an ancient, sprawling Arabian city. The people there believe in magic, and the power of the gods. Some of the people actually use magic and call upon the gods. The city is know for it's beautiful textiles and exotic incense.
3. How do people know where they're going?
People know where they're going just based upon memory. They spend their whole lives memorizing all of these circuitous routes so they won't get lost. It takes almost no effort for a denizen of this city to remember a route even after using it only once or twice.
4. How do you give directions to a place when you have no names at your disposal?
Directions are given through a sing-song series of sounds. The sound indicate where you go. "Bah" means make a left turn and "Nah" means turn right. When there are multiple turns of the same direction the vowel sound changes predictably. "Bah-bo-bu" means take a left, and another and another. "Nah-no" means take two rights.
To indicated that you pass some paths without turning you say "Seh" and if you are telling a person to pass multiple roads you go back and forth between "Seh" and "See". "Bah-seh-see-seh-see-Nah-no" means, Take a left and then walk past four streets then take two rights. Finally the sound "Und" means walk to the end of the road. So "Nah-No-Und-Bah" means take two rights then walk to the end of the road and take a left.
5. How do you call upon the gods if you don't have their names?
You can only call on gods that you've already encountered. After encountering God you will be left with an impression of that god and it's from that impression that you'll know how to call upon the god again. You do it by using a description that is personal to you and your experience of that god.
You may be left with an visual impression of the god's red hair, and the smell of roses and burning sandalwood. You would use this when calling upon that god in the future. Most people never forget the impressions they receive when they encounter a god. No two people will call upon a particular god in the same way.
So that's how gods are called upon and you can't call upon a god unless you meet one. That's why adventuring is so important in this city. The people here value adventuring over all things, which is part of the reason why they will not name the roads. Without roads being named you're more likely to take a wrong turn and have an adventure. And who knows, during that adventure you might meet a god!