I did some searching and found this post "Goblet of Fire" vs "Fire Goblet". But I'm not sure I understand the distinction in fantasy context.

For example, I'm making an RPG game where there are stuff like "Fire Sword" and "Lightning Egg". Is there any difference in meaning between those names vs "Sword of Fire" and "Egg of Lightning"?

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    I'm a native speaker, but "Fire Sword" and "Lightning Egg" don't mean anything to me. On the other hand, nor do "Sword of Fire" or "Egg of Lightning". What things like this might mean, and how best to express them, is just a matter of creative / stylistic preference. – FumbleFingers Jun 5 '18 at 17:11
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    As @FumbleFingers is essentially saying, ELU is about English language and [accepted / standard] usage. The success of the Harry Potter books etc (as well as the overall quality of the writing) makes questions about Rowling's choices of phrase etc valid here, but questions about whether novel phrasing A or A' is better are odd-topic. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 6 '18 at 0:14
  • @EdwinAshworth: Excellent summary of my position (and yours, I assume). Interestingly though, I just checked Google Books for what I took for granted would be the more common form: smoke the peace pipe. But that only gets about 4K hits, whereas smoke the pipe of peace gets over 10K hits. It would seem my "ear for idiomacy" seriously let me down on that one! – FumbleFingers Jun 6 '18 at 13:04
  • That (to me, somewhat unexpected) usage preference is even more marked when I look at this NGram. And I see no evidence that there's any significant difference between US/UK corpuses either, so I can't retreat behind that as a reason for me being so far out of touch. – FumbleFingers Jun 6 '18 at 13:08
  • @DD That should have been off-topic, of course. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 6 '18 at 16:54

As @FumbleFingers indicated, at the core of the difference between the two is a creative preference.

From my experience, here's what the two options imply (to me, at least), admittedly exaggerating to illustrate nuance:

"Fire Sword"

A sword that uses fire as its main means of functioning or source of power.

"Sword of Fire"

The sword that is the essence and embodiment of the great element of fire.

"Lightning Egg"

An egg that uses lightning as its main means of functioning or source of power.

"Egg of Lightning"

The egg that embodies the great element of lightning and endows this elemental power to whoever possesses it

In other words, in these cases where a noun modifies another noun in this type of context, going out of one's way to use "of" adds an air of (purposeful) majesty, grandeur, power, etc. "Of" also tends to suggest that the object is the only of its kind, consistent with suggested majesty/grandeur.

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  • +1 I don't understand why you were downvoted; this pretty much aligns with my own understanding/interpretation, especially: "going out of one's way to use "of" adds an air of (purposeful) majesty, grandeur, power, etc." – AleksandrH Jun 6 '18 at 0:44
  • @AleksandrH I downvoted because questions which are essentially 'creative preference' are almost always POB, for which the correct response is a close-vote, not an answer (which encourages similar off-topic questions) on ELU. There is also another question asking about the difference between say 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Fly Lord', which makes this a duplicate. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 6 '18 at 16:59
  • @EdwinAshworth Gotcha, alright – AleksandrH Jun 6 '18 at 17:05

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