Why is the planet called Golarion?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


I was wondering is there any significance to the name Golarion for the planet? Does it mean anything? Is it an anagram or an acrostic? Was it just something random that Paizo came up with? As someone who really loves names and naming things, I’m very curious.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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It means nothing. It's a nonsense word we made up because it sounded good to us.


James Jacobs wrote:
It means nothing. It's a nonsense word we made up because it sounded good to us.

I appreciate such a quick answer directly from the source. I'd say mission accomplished with the name, as it sounded cool enough to make me wonder if it actually meant something.


I assume this is the Taldan-Common word for it. Other languages presumably call it something else.

European languages tend to use much the same word for the planet as the stuff it's made of (Earth, La Terre, jörð, Erde, La Terra, maa, etc) but this (on a quick skim with Google Translate) doesn't seem to hold for all other languages. Which implies that some Golarion languages will call it "Dirt" or "Ground" or the like.

Of course it could be an import brought in by elves or extraplanar creatures or the Vault Builders or someone else who got fed up of visiting dozens of planets all called some variant of "Mud". Which must have been confusing. So maybe "Golarion" actually means M347C.

Or "The Cage".

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Mudfoot wrote:

I assume this is the Taldan-Common word for it. Other languages presumably call it something else.

European languages tend to use much the same word for the planet as the stuff it's made of (Earth, La Terre, jörð, Erde, La Terra, maa, etc) but this (on a quick skim with Google Translate) doesn't seem to hold for all other languages. Which implies that some Golarion languages will call it "Dirt" or "Ground" or the like.

Of course it could be an import brought in by elves or extraplanar creatures or the Vault Builders or someone else who got fed up of visiting dozens of planets all called some variant of "Mud". Which must have been confusing. So maybe "Golarion" actually means M347C.

Or "The Cage".

I have indeed always assumed the word itself means "The Cage," and that it's from a language far older than Taldan, since I like to assume that folks still called Golarion Golarion back in the time of Azlant thousands of years before Taldor was a thing. Aklo's my go-to language for this type of thing, but it's not something we've nailed down in print—we try to avoid giving too many definitions to fantasy words we invent since each one of those we create that links to a specific language construction makes it progressively more difficult to invent new words and maintain integrety.

For something like Lord of the Rings (which was created by a linguist) or Star Trek (which has a much higher budget than we do), creating entire languages and then being able to use them in print or on screen is a luxury afforded by virtue of it being a one-expert-property or an exceptionally well-funded team. Golarion, alas, has neither—it's a multi-expert property with a not-nearly-as-well-funded-as-Star Trek team. ;-)


I just think it's sometimes interesting to think about how people in the diagesis won't all use the same word for some common reference. Like does everybody call her Sarenrae, or is there a Zeus/Jupiter thing going on somewhere? Certainly things like country names are not going to be the same in every language (they're not on earth, c.f. Deutschland, Germany, Allemagne). The names of classes don't really correspond to the mechanics of the classes in the setting; that is anybody who fights is a fighter. While the Iruxi call themselves that, certainly not everybody else does, so most ancestries would have different names in different tongues, even if it's just a corruption of the word for "Dwarf" in Dwarvish using the local dialect.

But it's easiest to just not think about the linguistics too much- magic makes radical translation possible.


I mean, it's better than what we called our planet. We basically live on a planet called "dirt".


Tender Tendrils wrote:
I mean, it's better than what we called our planet. We basically live on a planet called "dirt".

The connotation is closer to 'useful dirt', than just dirt, but yes.

Shadow Lodge

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James Jacobs wrote:
I have indeed always assumed the word itself means "The Cage," and that it's from a language far older than Taldan, since I like to assume that folks still called Golarion Golarion back in the time of Azlant thousands of years before Taldor was a thing.

Tellingly, the name of the Cyclops realm in Garund which predated Azlant sounds very close to modern "Golarion." If you'd like a fictional history, the Azlanti picked up the name of this realm, Azlantified it a bit, and used it for the name of all lands not their own with which they were in contact, in much the same way the Eastern Romans, Arabs, and Turks used "Frank" for all European peoples. After the loss of Azlant in Earthfall, the word got transmitted down the generations and lost the exclusiveness (since there was no longer an Azlant to exclude from the world conceptually).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

They both start with G and end with N, that’s about it.

Shadow Lodge

Rysky wrote:
They both start with G and end with N, that’s about it.

They're much closer than that. "Golarion" and "Gol-ghan" share the same first syllable. They have the same first two vowel sounds (O-A), in the same order. They have many of the same consonants (G-L-N) in the same order. Differences can be explained by either Azlantization of the original loan-word, or the literal 10,000 years of linguistic drift.

Shadow Lodge

I recall reading a thread about this topic a while back.

While there's no official secret reason why it's called that, I liked the idea that it's like a portmanteau of the Celestial and Elven words for "World" stuck together.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I can confirm that the Golarion and Golghan thing is a coincidence.

If I had to say, in print, what the source of the word "Golarion" was, I would probably say it means "the Cage" and is a word in Celestial, Aklo, Infernal, or Abyssal—some language that was around in the era of prehistory when the gods defeated Rovagug. Which took place well before any cyclopes built up nations.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I can confirm that the Golarion and Golghan thing is a coincidence.

If I had to say, in print, what the source of the word "Golarion" was, I would probably say it means "the Cage" and is a word in Celestial, Aklo, Infernal, or Abyssal—some language that was around in the era of prehistory when the gods defeated Rovagug. Which took place well before any cyclopes built up nations.

It wouldn't be that strange if the four languages all shared at least one word. Perhaps it was even a word coined from Pharasma that the other languages decided to pick up on and use as one of the words for "cage", perhaps with different connotations as the languages evolved over the eons ("cage", "prison", "enclosure", "pen", etc...).

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
I can confirm that the Golarion and Golghan thing is a coincidence.

Oh, you're no fun anymore.

(RIP, Terry Jones).

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