I read a post here, about The Most Generic Country Ever.
It's an 1897 British map for explaining geographical terms. I printed it out and showed it to Ailsa. We promptly agreed that it was a wonderful setting for a generic gaming campaign and set about worldbuilding the background history.
Broad swaths of geography and then fine tuning the details. Kingdom is obviously Kingdom, except that the inhabitants (or expatriates) call it Country.
"But the rest of Continent can't be empty"
"Of course not, the eastern part of Continent is Empire."
Water Shed used to be a good protective barrier until Canal was built. Canal was built in the interests of cooperation and mutually beneficial trade, but it was only twenty years later that Empire used it for their supply train as they annexed Meridian Plains. (This was a few hundred years ago). Canal was built because shipping around Cape was controlled by the Duchy of Eastern Peninsula. Empire does not have good ocean going ships. So distant trade is transshipped at Sea Port Town. Duchymen are great sailors and have taken many soundings of Ocean. A blind eye is turned to the smuggling through Creek.
Currently transportation through Canal is controlled (and taxed) by the Principality of Watershed. Empire has a powerful military that is unsurpassed in the plains, but is not well suited to the mountains and narrow valleys of Watershed.
Marsh is the boundary between Principality and Duchy. Empire has the Delta.
"Hmm, generic River and generic River. Possible confusion."
"But it couldn't be clearer. Obviously, it is East River and West River. However some ancient maps of Empire, only describe one River." East River is the boundary between Duchy of Peninsula and East Empire. Principality is bounded by West River, Marsh, and East River. The boundary between Kingdom and East Empire is disputed."
East Empire is ruled over by nobles from West Empire who are rotated back into West Empire every five years. Many romance novels have been written about people who have to tear themselves away from the beautiful country between Precipice and Headland. The area between Lake and Bay is famous for grazing.
Kingdom used to extend east past Inland Sea, but was driven back by the fierce nomads of Desert to whom Oasis is holy.
... To be continued.