Saturday, April 7, 2007

Real-world equivalents in GE: part 2/4

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

To continue this series of informative articles, today I'll be talking about the real-world equivalents of the towns in the in-game world of Granado Espada. There's even some information on the derivation of the names of two dungeons.

I devoted the introduction of the previous article to Porto Bello and mushrooms; well, since then I've found out one more significant factoid regarding that name.

Several places in the United Kingdom bear the proud name of Porto Bello; and there are even namesake towns in New Zealand and in Dublin in Ireland.

But most important to us in this article is the location known as Portobelo in the country of Panama. Formerly known as Puerto Bello and also called Porto Belo by some, this port town in the province of Colón played an important role during the heady years of the Age of Exploration.

It was one of the great silver-exporting ports on the Spanish Main [the mainland coast of the Spanish Empire around the Caribbean, including Florida, Mexico, much of Central America, and the northern coasts of South America]. The great Spanish treasure fleets, which included the Caribbean treasure fleet and the Manila Galleons, ferried the riches of the New World and Asia back to Spain via Portobelo.

Portobelo's location on the Caribbean and the Spanish Main also made it a haunt of pirates and privateers, and one might just be able to imagine someone like witty Captain Jack Sparrow to have landed there.

At present, the fortifications at Portobelo are among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Before getting the levels to tackle Porto Bello, though, one might be advised to first hunt mobs and do the challenging quests inside the monster-infested Tetra Great Ruins. Strange as it may seem, though, this firmly landlocked dungeon might owe its name to a fish you might even now have in your friendly neighborhood aquarium.

The often brightly-colored tetra are freshwater fish of the families Characidae and Alestiidae, and are distinguished from other fish by the presence of a smaller fin between the main one on its back and its tail. They are actually rather easy to care for and thrive in captivity, and are therefore among the most popular species of aquarium fish.

On the other hand, the word "tetra" might also be familiar to math and geometry buffs as the numerical prefix meaning four. A tetrahedron, for example, is a shape composed of four triangular faces, three of which meet at each vertex. To be a "regular" tetrahedron, all four of the triangles that make up its faces must be equilateral.

If you play tabletop RPGs, you'll know this shape as the d4 die.

Now for our beloved safe zones, the towns of Granado Espada.

In this blog entry, sGE Community Manager Hrin says that the second part of the novice adventurer's tutorial will take place at the Port of Coimbra.

While not quite a port itself, the real-world city and municipality of Coimbra in Portugal might see almost as many people as those on the streets of the fictional port. The real Coimbra is a university city, host to the University of Coimbra [founded 1290], and to its students and the tourists from around the world who come to see one of the oldest universities in Europe.

Coimbra is one of the most important urban centers of Portugal, second only to the capital Lisbon, and is the chief city of central Portugal. It was even the capital of that country from 1139 to 1260.

The city itself traces its roots all the way to Roman times, when it was a town called Aeminium.

Today, Coimbra is the center of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Coimbra [16 municipalities], the district seat of Coimbra district, and the capital of Portugal's Centro region.

After conquering the many maps around the Port of Coimbra and the ship-dungeon of Porto Bello, many GE players often opt to move on to the City of Auch, where they can get the next levels of weaponry and armor, or trade in looted yellow and blue weapons and armor for Enchantment Chips.

But did you know that in the real world, the town of Auch is located in southwestern France? It's the préfecture, or capital, of the Gers département, and is located in the région Midi-Pyrénées.

An ancient town dating from around 50 BC or so, Auch was first occupied by a tribe called the Aquitanians. At the time of the Roman conquest the town of Auch was known as Elimberris, and was then renamed Augusta Auscorum.

Auch can also be used as a surname, and in this aspect it has both German and French origins. The French surname, of course, refers to the town of Auch.

The German one, on the other hand, derives from the Middle High German word Uhte, and originally denoted people who watched livestock [sheep, cattle, goats, etc.] at night.

That might tie in to the generally more Germanic names of some RNPCs in Auch, such as Gurtrude Peterson and Lorch Furuholnen.

Unfortunately I was unable to find information on either Cite de Reboldoeux, or on the Ustiur Base Camp - but if you know anything about their possible real-world equivalents, send it on to me and I'll happily post it up, with your name credited of course.


In the next two entries, I'll wind up this series by talking about the RNPCs and their possible real-world equivalents or derivations.

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