View Full Version : Naming your character

2008-12-31, 09:18 PM
I know there have been threads like this in the past, but I couldn't seem to find them and I need help thinking of a good name.

So how do you do it? Struck by random inspiration? A name generator? Look up the latin root of a word that describes them? Get smashed and put random letters together?

2008-12-31, 09:27 PM
I use normal names, seriously. When you fight the black dragon named Duncan, the plainness catches you off guard because you're expecting a mashing of hard consonants

2008-12-31, 09:27 PM
For elves - http://www.kessels.com/WordGenerator/NameGenerator.exe?Kind=Elven+Female+Tolkien-style

For goblins - http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=goblinnamer

Pretty much everything else:

2008-12-31, 09:27 PM
I mostly just use real names. Foreign names if it becomes necessary. Foreign words that aren't used as names if I get really desperate. I've never really understood the idea that all fantasy settings need weird names. Conventional names are easier to think of and nearly always sound better; I only use weird fantasy names if I happen to think of one that sounds good.

2008-12-31, 09:30 PM
Take a word that sounds like what you want the character to be like. Swap one or more letters so that it is unrecognizable. Enjoy. Your Mileage May Vary.

Alternately, I generate a long (30 characters or thereabouts) string and look for a few syllables that make a decent name

2008-12-31, 09:35 PM
One of our party members usually uses normal names, and then depending on the character some will use very simple names like Thog. I usually just wait until something pops into my head, but that isn't happening this time.

2008-12-31, 09:35 PM
I've learnt both Italian and French (The first for a year or so manymany moons back, the second for over 5 years and it's all stuck), and I know a -little- Latin, so when making up names, they sound fantasy-ish but have their roots in real words. If the guy is a Necromancer, his name might include Mort or Mour or Mortis or a rearrangement thereof. All my names have to mean something, I feel wierd just making them up out of thin air

Combining suffixes/prefixes from other languages works well too. Dei (God) + Mira (Wonderful) = Deimir. For a Good cleric it gets the idea across. Wonder of God or something, know what I mean?

2008-12-31, 09:53 PM
For elves, I use Quenya or Sindarin, which is the high elf and elf language made up by Tolkien and combine words to make names like Narmoth = Flame of Dusk.
I also use this page: grey company common to elf dictionary (http://www.grey-company.org/Circle/language/elv2com.htm) if I need to find words and names faster.
For humans I use conventional names, making them contrast to the demihuman names. For example, I play as the only human in my current group, and use the norvegian name Ian Svartsjael, translating into John Blacksaul (a deliberate misspelling of black soul). And he's an undercover blackguard.
For the few dwarves I use, I take names from the computer game Birthright, built on the 2nd ed campaign setting Birthright.
For illithids I take random letters, then making it into something I can pronounce

2008-12-31, 11:41 PM
I'm playing a character named Stennal, who has a pet mouse (whom he also claims is his mentor, but that's only because he's taken one too many blows to the head) named Harfle. I came up with them pretty much off the top of my head, and went with them because they sounded like they could be real names, but (as far as I know) aren't.

2008-12-31, 11:46 PM
I'm playing a character named Stennal, who has a pet mouse (whom he also claims is his mentor, but that's only because he's taken one too many blows to the head)

I am reminded of a character from Baldurs gate :/

2008-12-31, 11:47 PM
When I'm DMing, I like to use the Everchanging Book of Names (http://ebon.pyorre.net/) with a lot of chapters installed. I usually have a particular real-world language in mind when I build a culture, and, more often than not, EBoN has a chapter to support that language.

2008-12-31, 11:52 PM
it depends on what the character is, but i tend to name them something that associates to the character.

some of the characters I've had and their names:
Soul (A tiefling rogue who had silver coloured blood and silver orbs for eyes)
Rift (A Death Squad trained Brain Waster)
Grovel (A disfigured, crippled Rogue/Sorcerer)
Vane (An aristocratic Warlock)
Preacher (A Death Squad trained human who had a "hand of god" complex)

2008-12-31, 11:53 PM
I just randomly come up with a name, and then see if I like it, and then switch things around or change it a bit until it fits.

2008-12-31, 11:53 PM
One of our party members usually uses normal names, and then depending on the character some will use very simple names like Thog. I usually just wait until something pops into my head, but that isn't happening this time.
Oh, yes. On my playthrough of ToEE, I had a Half-Orc Barbarian who I rolled good WIS for, so I decided he would be sophisticated. So I named him...wait for it...Orque. It's foreign!

2009-01-01, 12:34 AM
Sometimes anagrams are a good idea. I named my cleric Adwren using this method.

For last names, I try to be a little more creative. Solignis roughly translates to sunfire, which would fit into the domains of Pelor

2009-01-01, 12:37 AM
I've played two characters with my name, one with my nickname (hopefully you can guess what it is), and several with the names of people I know. Certainly beats trying to be creative.

2009-01-01, 12:45 AM
Gnomes, I'll use a generator and come up with something weird.

Humans/half elves get normal names, mostly.

Religious-y types, clerics and pallys, might get something reflective of their beliefs.

Those are what I mostly play.

Occasional elves, I'll draw back to old campaigns for inspirations. The very rare dwarf gets a typical dwarfy-type name.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-01-01, 01:18 AM
I poach obscure names from books and movies. My RHoD group believed for months that my sorcerer MacCool was just my way of saying "Look at me, I'm cool!" before I mentioned Finn MacCool, the great Irish legendary hero.


2009-01-01, 01:26 AM
Dwarven: The dwarves are precise and logical, but not without style. Also, rune/character centric. Personally? Dwarven is Chinese.
Elven: Something flowing and vowel-heavy, and with a similar script. I see Elven as Arabic.
Halfling: Gaelic fits, for me, as a "trader's tongue" and certainly has enough body to it for a halfling to speak it and remain jovial.
Gnomish: Shares common roots with dwarven, but isn't quite the same and has grown into its own, unique language. Gnomish is Japanese.
Orcish: Harsh, clipped, militant, yet still capable of a variety of inflections and pretty if used correctly. German.
Goblin: Strange and alien, and somehow divorced from the rest of languages in both alphabet and vocalization, I have to say Russian for Goblin.
Draconic: An ancient language, spoken by the intelligent and used in a variety of magics. Latin.
Auran: Light and flowing, full of vowels and precise vocal tricks, I have to tag Auran as Hawai'ian.
Aquan: Full of subtlety and depth, smooth and artistic, French fits Aquan for me.
Ignan: Flamboyant, expressive, passionate, and--above all--sounds good when swearing. For me? Portuguese.
Terran: I hear this as Greek. All those long words, carefully placed together, and comingled with all those hard k's ans x's.
I use that, or I just pick a random language off of behindthename and go to town.

2009-01-01, 01:27 AM
My group mostly uses letter mashups/name generators for non-human names and regular (though appropriate sounding) regular names for humans. Older names mostly, so they still sound fitting. I actually had a name rejected for one character in a friend's game on the basis of being 'too elfish', though he uses similar names for everything XD

Zeta Kai
2009-01-01, 01:36 AM
I use an unorthodox method, but it's always worked for me:

Create several fictional languages, one for each region of the world (I realize that this isn't for everyone; once you past this hard part, the rest is cake).
Give everyone descriptive names, Thunderheart for a hero or Slaughterking for a villain.
Translate into an appropriate language &/or dialect.
Tweak the phonemes as necessary (this may necessitate tweaking the language itself, for best results).

2009-01-01, 01:38 AM
I have always used the rule that if I can not think of a name, fantasy, foreign or just a plain old name, I do not play the character, I do not have enough invested in to a character I can not name.

2009-01-01, 01:38 AM
The Races of XXXXX series in 3.5 has language translation charts of the core races. I use those for my characters of said races.

I also use the Draconic language chart in the Draconomicon for my kobolds, because Kobold is supposed to be a dialect of Draconic.

2009-01-01, 01:38 AM
I also use the Draconic language chart in the Draconomicon for my kobolds, because Kobold is supposed to be a dialect of Draconic.

Actually, there is a Draconic chart in Races of the Dragon too.

Inhuman Bot
2009-01-01, 01:44 AM
I just sounds out words in odd ways, or wait for them to come to me.
Like Taern, which is a bastardization of Terran.

Random NPC
2009-01-01, 06:39 AM
I use that, or I just pick a random language off of behindthename and go to town.

I would agree with that, except on the following

Dwarven I see more as a coarse variant of the Scandinavian language
Elven feels more like a sweet and vowel full Italian or even Spanish or Portuguese
Gnome would then be more like German but not as rough.
Orc I see more in the lines of Cantonese, Korean or Mongol

As for names... I think a lot and check behindthename to see what may fit, but then again it depends on the race, the class and the general feel.

But, also, Bob is a great name for ANY character.

Bob Arqwantok, the Half-Orc Barbarian
Queen Bob Krosheler, Dwavern Heir of the Eight Clans
Bob Silvershield, Human Paladin
Bob Ravenakutashki, Gnome Necromancer
Sir Janus Bob, Dark Knight of Hextor
Bob Hiddenblade, Halfling Assassin


2009-01-01, 03:13 PM
I generally go to babynamesworld.com to find a name:depending on the concept, I may be doing a search by origin or catagory, or i may be doing a search based off of the meaning: generally, if I want two characters or more to be from the same family or place, I'll pick a name for one, and use the same type of name for the other.

When coming up with names spur-of-the-moment, I'll pick real names: Edgar has become a favorite, and Gregory, with Elizabeth and Marie being commong girl names. And, of course, Bob.

example names:
-Haakon of Arve, a viking-style minotaur
-Faris Belgard (an intentional misspelling of his title, Bell Guard), a knight charged as the protector of a sacred woman magically linked to a sacred bell.
-Cynfael and Fiona Hafgan, temportarily-desposed crown prince and temporarily-desposed princess of the kingdom of Sumrock (which has, as a name, an in-world history involving no one actually wanting to call it by its actual native name, eventually even the natives...Cynfael's determined to change it, just to save the confusion. I think too much.)

2009-01-01, 04:12 PM
One of the best/worst names I've used, was to call the male leader of the elven guard by the name of a media-known p rn start from my home-country. Yeah, with a female name. And he's totally badass, and it's the only name from the entire campaign the group remembers.

My point is, use names that are easy to remember on npcs, and names that are at least easy and logical to pronounce for your player characters if you want them to be used

Mercenary Pen
2009-01-01, 04:30 PM
I just tend to mash stuff together, though I create descriptive combinations for surnames based upon racial fluff... (it's all the more chaotic because I generally DM as well).

For example: Zhurak Razorscale, the Dragonborn swordmage
Rendar Grimanvil, the Dwarven warlord
Kulestrivantos the Faerie Dragon
Sister Mythrastur, half-elf priestess of Erathis

You get the picture.

2009-01-01, 04:35 PM
I make stuff up off the top of my head, which results in names like Montazzo the Magnificent or Tagmondo the Sorceror. Titles are a requirement. Basically the more over the top the name is the better, I don't get to play much. :P

2009-01-01, 04:36 PM
This is the one part of Exalted I dislike
It becomes hard to come up with purple names

Berserk Monk
2009-01-01, 04:47 PM
Me, I'd just name my characters after weapons sometimes:
Also, you could just pick a random word and create an anagram with it.

2009-01-01, 05:21 PM
For D&D character names, I take a real name and change one letter.

For WoD characters, I take interesting sounding real names. Often I have a character concept inspired by a name I've heard... I have played characters named Desmond Kalakalonje and Ari Satan in the past.

2009-01-01, 06:04 PM
Rule number one of naming characters is to remember how they get their names. Often a name will not be something appropriate for the character, but something appropriate to their -parents'- frame of mind when their child was named. So I have seven sisters born to a blessed, kind, and religious peasant-turned-freedman couple, and their names are Faith, Hope, Charity, (the most important virtues to them) Ellie, Myrtle, (they got lazy and started naming after the months in which they were born, Eleint and Mirtul) and lastly, Lily and Violet, the twins (running with the plants idea).

As for surnames, OOC, I find a great resource in the names of chess openings and chess masters, actually. I had a drow psion merchant vampire who was named Viswanathan Anand (Indian, current world champion), and a criminal named Johannes Blackmar-Diemer (the Blackmar-Deimer Gambit) from which I got Jack the Black.

Aside from that, I usually try to come up with names that are culturally appropriate, and to aid this, I often associate in-game cultures with real-world cultures. So Dalelands might be German, Waterdhavians Italian, Tethyrans Iberian, Calimshan Moorish.

Archpaladin Zousha
2009-01-01, 06:22 PM
I usually take names that fit the character I'm making. When I made my character for an Eberron roleplay, who started as a naive county kid but eventually matured into "The Hooded Crow", Sharn's very own personal Batman, I gave him the name Lyon Finch, since it fit with the bird theme, and was a simple name to keep track of, like Bruce Wayne.

For a half-elf paladin of Pelor I made for a different roleplay, I took the name Sarastro, borrowed from the character of the same name in Mozart's famous opera, The Magic Flute. In the opera, Sarastro is portrayed by a baritone or bass, and is associated with the daytime and light, usually like a priest of some sort. In my college's production of the opera, we took it a step further and depicted him similarly to an Egyptian pharaoh, since the Egyptian sun god, Ra, was the central deity. Since my character had a powerful voice, and was devoted to the D&D sun god, I figured the name sounded interesting enough to use.

2009-01-01, 11:12 PM
The one is use most often now is Yafnag (http://hamete.org/yafnag/).

Also, this (http://www.enworld.org/forum/plots-places/203309-name-resources-those-who-have-trouble-naming-their-rogues-villians-heroes.html).

2009-01-03, 08:05 PM
I am reminded of a character from Baldurs gate :/

Well I CERTAINLY have no idea what you're talking about, and I CERTAINLY didn't originally want a hamster before deciding I didn't just want to play an expy (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Expy).

I also didn't think I could keep that sort of personality up for long.