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Darkforge
2007-09-03, 11:00 AM
Hello,

I'm faced with the prospect of making another character and after getting a concept and a backstory and personality I am, yet again, stuck when it comes to finding a name.

My group reads too may fantasy novels so I can't steal a name and the only name generator I have found seems to be useless.

Do any of you have good ways of coming up with names for characters?

PS: if you want to suggest any names my new char is a thuggish rogue type, who hires himself out as a bodyguard to whoever offers the best prospects, but can be a little cowardly when it comes down to it.

Anxe
2007-09-03, 11:14 AM
Well you can pick a word that embodies your character and then spell it backwards. Or just combine two random syllables. Like Romar or Chenyok. So you could think of two words that embody your character. Hack off two syllables from them and combine them to make a name.

goat
2007-09-03, 11:21 AM
If they're human, I normally just give them a name. Like Steve, or Gavin, or Phil, or Brian, or Ned, or James, or Aaron...

Hazkali
2007-09-03, 11:36 AM
I second Goat's suggestion, but adding the caveat that the name should be suitable for the time period- some names are too modern to sound quite right.

One tip for "fantasy-ising" names is to replace "i" with "y"; It turns boring old Kevin into

Kevyn, Warrior of the Realm

Wraithy
2007-09-03, 11:36 AM
I like this one (http://http://www.slacknhash.com/index.php?id=168)
I suggest you go for the cockney one for a thuggish rogue.

RTGoodman
2007-09-03, 11:52 AM
It may sound silly, but Baby Name sites are a good source. Especially if they have names from different parts of the world.

This one (http://www.babycenter.com/baby-name-finder) is my personal favorite.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-03, 11:55 AM
Personally, I also like to use names from history or mythology which don't really get repeated in fantasy fiction. Like, for a thuggish rogue, you might try Waltzingham (chief spy for Queen Elizabeth), Glaucon (Socrates foil in The Republic) or Turnus (semi-sympathetic villian fron the Aeneid).

Orzel
2007-09-03, 12:00 PM
I look around and spell the name of the first thing that catches my eye incorrectly

Chere
Seete
Kompyuta
Foonne
Wyn Dao
Pantin
Ham Sam Wich
Praentor
Doode
Eck Sabox

Mewtarthio
2007-09-03, 12:07 PM
I look around and spell the name of the first thing that catches my eye incorrectly

Chere
Seete
Kompyuta
Foonne
Wyn Dao
Pantin
Ham Sam Wich
Praentor
Doode
Eck Sabox

Of course, trouble arises when people read the names aloud...

You could always try The RinkWorks Fantasy Name Generator (http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/). Granted, being little more than a random syllable generator, it won't consistently produce lots of good names, but you can just reload the page until you see something that fits.

Darkforge
2007-09-03, 12:19 PM
I look around and spell the name of the first thing that catches my eye incorrectly

Chere
Seete
Kompyuta
Foonne
Wyn Dao
Pantin
Ham Sam Wich
Praentor
Doode
Eck Sabox

hehe, funny, but unfortunately this character is for a LARP so having the names sound like that might be a bit problematic (but hilarious)

Thanks a lot for the ideas guys, I'll post back when I finally find one, but keep the suggestions coming :)

Citizen Joe
2007-09-03, 12:28 PM
Street level thugs tend to go by nicknames. Nicknames that usually aren't made up by themselves. And often the source of the nickname gets shortened to a couple syllables.

So, as a big bodyguard, you may have picked up a nickname from the boxing ring, Heavy Bag. The heavy bag simulates an opponent for body blows, which you would be taking to protect your mark. This may have been shortened or modified from the root over time. So you may be known simply as 'Bag' or 'Heavy B' even though there's no 'B' in your given name at all.

wadledo
2007-09-03, 12:31 PM
I myself take some aspect of what I'm going for character wise, and mix the name up. In a bardic campain I'm doing now I based my character on Jimmy Buffett (Margaritaville), and switched the name to Metft Bijf'muy, my mephling bard.
....
:smallannoyed:
What is the mixing up letters thing called anyway?

LongVin
2007-09-03, 12:33 PM
I personally like using ancient Latin or Greek names for my characters or any medieval name.

Do a google search for "Latin names" or "English names" and you will get websites with long lists of names from those respective languages. Some of them will be too modern but you also get names that have fallen out of favor but are still on the list. example: Boniface. I never met a Boniface, nor do I think I ever will but it was listed as a name.

OneWinged4ngel
2007-09-03, 12:39 PM
Hello,

I'm faced with the prospect of making another character and after getting a concept and a backstory and personality I am, yet again, stuck when it comes to finding a name.

My group reads too may fantasy novels so I can't steal a name and the only name generator I have found seems to be useless.

Do any of you have good ways of coming up with names for characters?

PS: if you want to suggest any names my new char is a thuggish rogue type, who hires himself out as a bodyguard to whoever offers the best prospects, but can be a little cowardly when it comes down to it.

Hmm, what starting letter do you fancy? K?

Karth. Korlan. Kray. Kest. Kellan. Kaplan. Kael. Kardigan.

*Shrug* I've never had trouble naming.

GolemsVoice
2007-09-03, 12:59 PM
I like the concept of giving him a nickname, something cool, that also frightens his enemies (which is a good thing, since it looks like he doesn't like to fight fair and open). I suggest looking for something he's good at, or something he's known for.

Twofists, or Twinblades, if he likes using two weapons.
Or, maybe, Sneaky, Stealthy, Mr. Shadows, something like that.
Or just use some silly name, or a single letter, and let the character hint that there is a backstory he does not want to share, because it is embarassing.

AwfulLawful
2007-09-03, 01:03 PM
I usually close my eyes and point my finger at a random page in a random book, then spell the word I'm pointing at backwards. It works great :smallcool:

Orzel
2007-09-03, 01:04 PM
hehe, funny, but unfortunately this character is for a LARP so having the names sound like that might be a bit problematic (but hilarious)

Then say is with an accent.

Chere the chi wizard was pronounced "Chi-Ear" after the first battle he was nicknamed "Chi Chi"

Eck Sabox the barbarian was called by his last name.

Dragor
2007-09-03, 01:20 PM
Sticking 'A' and 'E' together near the start of the name creates a fantasy sounding name without sounding too ridiculous.

Maeia (May-or), Laevere (Lay-vere), Maeva (May-vere), Askaen (Ask-ay-an). That's what I think of off the top of my head, Maeia being the name of one of my most favourite characters.

OneWinged4ngel
2007-09-03, 01:21 PM
I usually close my eyes and point my finger at a random page in a random book, then spell . . . word . . . backwards. It works great :smallcool:

Don't you know? That's where they got the name drow. They spelled word backwards.

((Just kidding, I totally just made that up...))

BCOVertigo
2007-09-03, 01:23 PM
What is the mixing up letters thing called anyway?

Dyslexia?

Hehe, I also use anagrams for names on occasion, even if it's just to get myself started and assemble a good string of syllables.

Anxe
2007-09-03, 01:23 PM
Don't you know? That's where they got the name drow. They spelled word backwards.

((Just kidding, I totally just made that up...))

That's where they got the race human from too! From this thread! Name, uh... Minus the e of course.

Darkforge
2007-09-03, 01:39 PM
I like the concept of giving him a nickname, something cool, that also frightens his enemies (which is a good thing, since it looks like he doesn't like to fight fair and open). I suggest looking for something he's good at, or something he's known for.

Twofists, or Twinblades, if he likes using two weapons.
Or, maybe, Sneaky, Stealthy, Mr. Shadows, something like that.
Or just use some silly name, or a single letter, and let the character hint that there is a backstory he does not want to share, because it is embarassing.

A nickname would be quite useful, but for character gen I have to have a full name AND a nickname to go on my character card, wihich does give me the option of a really boring name that i don't tell anyone and a good nickname...

Hmmn, i'll be using a dagger and a cosh and be reasonably sneaky, kinda hard to fit a nickname to it.


Hmm, what starting letter do you fancy? K?

Karth. Korlan. Kray. Kest. Kellan. Kaplan. Kael. Kardigan.

*Shrug* I've never had trouble naming.

doh, I wish I had your talent when it comes to names, though a name beginning with D would be cool


oh well, thanks for making up for my complete lack of talent :smallbiggrin:

Glyphic
2007-09-03, 01:46 PM
I'm big on meaning, so I adore hte site

Behindthename.com

Justbeacuse it's got a great database and a good number of ways to search for a name, and a random generator. Try looking at the finnish names.

Gaelbert
2007-09-03, 01:52 PM
I... steal the names of illustrators and authors of the D&D rulebooks I read. Illustrators are better because their names are usually semi-hidden, and not too many people try to read the illustrator's names.

Kioran
2007-09-03, 01:53 PM
Ive never haad much trouble coming up with names, but Ive been notorious, for a while, for coming up with things nearly impronouncable (Korethran, for example. Evil if you pronounce the "R" in a more "russian" fashion). Those names get shortened pretty quickly....so make sure your name is either acceptably short or easy to pronounce. If it isnt it might change, not necessarily for the better. Most times it turns out okay, but....

Just string together a few syllables and stick with what sounds cool. make variants of real world names or titles. Soon, youll have "Avlidar Thiell" , elven Fighter/Disarmer, or "Lithian cor Tirriain", the semi-noblewomen Arcane Trickster he is protecting (examples from my current campaign, NPCs).

Its much like a skill you can practice......

OneWinged4ngel
2007-09-03, 01:55 PM
doh, I wish I had your talent when it comes to names, though a name beginning with D would be cool

Desch. Derrick. Darius. Darren. Dirk. Doran. Davin. Dover. Dwight. Dorn. Devlin. Dallan. Duran. Destir. Daine. Detlev. Drago. Desotir. Daniel. Drosin. Demodir. Dusk. Dorgran. Daevan. Davian. Dasek. Drake. Dyne. Dycedarg. Delita. Dom. Domz. Dominic. Diego.

As for a nickname, knowing the setting and character backstory would be invaluably helpful.

blackspeeker
2007-09-03, 02:02 PM
Ive always gone the approach of taking random letters and fitting them together into a nearl unpronouncable mess, which is how my favorite character Gghanzikyrt (Gig-Hans-Ick-Hurt) came into being.

Hannes
2007-09-03, 02:04 PM
Dirgus, with the G as in "flag"? This way, you get a name, which hints to your roguishness while being a normal name, this could even be your nickname. (As in by dirk.)

OneWinged4ngel
2007-09-03, 02:05 PM
Ive always gone the approach of taking random letters and fitting them together into a nearl unpronouncable mess, which is how my favorite character Gghanzikyrt (Gig-Hans-Ick-Hurt) came into being.

See, when I make weird names, such as for illithids or other aberrations, I like to make it exotic, but still recognizable and pronounceable in english. Gutteral, yet usable. For example, Xylessekri (Zil-uh-SEK-ri). For things like exotic lost tribes of elves or something, I like names like Kahena'hani (Kuh-HEN-uh-HAH-nee), Ralseia (Ral-SAY-uh), or Kor'sahl (Kor-SAWL)

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-09-03, 02:06 PM
I tend to use words/names from languages that best represent the character in question. Latin, Greek, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, that sort of stuff. Sometimes I make up words as well, by following a few rules about the emotional impact of particular letters (there's a lot to go over on this, it could practically be a class unto itself). Just remember that long and hard to pronounce names will never be remembered and that will pose problems.

Tamburlaine
2007-09-03, 02:08 PM
My older brother went through a phase of giving every single character he made the same surname and adding a random first name
eg John Caldane, Arax Caldane, or sometimes just Caldane. It was as though there was some heroic dynasty of Caldanes; I always liked the idea.



Though it doesnt really help with what you were asking:smallredface:

Corolinth
2007-09-03, 02:16 PM
Barl McLarris. Nicknamed "Grunchy" for the sound people make when he bends them in half.

rubakhin
2007-09-03, 02:31 PM
Why don't you Google [insert foreign culture here] names? There are lists of baby names online for just about any society extant. You could pick something that would sound obscure and fantastical to the average Westerner. Like, "serbian names" and there's Dragutin, Dragan, Obrad . . .

Mewtarthio
2007-09-03, 02:42 PM
Oh, and I almost forgot, the Giant's got an article on fantasy naming. Check the "Gaming" section, under "The World"; you're looking for "Part 7: Names and Cultures." A lot of that article's about naming locations, but there's a good chunk on naming characters, and he ends up with decent pseudo-Anglo-Saxon names.

Rex Blunder
2007-09-03, 02:58 PM
I... steal the names of illustrators and authors of the D&D rulebooks I read.

That is so awesome!! "Step forward, brave warrior. For your defense of the people of Broadthane 'gainst the owlbear, I dub thee... Sir... Jonathan Tweet."

ranger89
2007-09-03, 04:15 PM
Whenever I need to name a character and don't have an original, made-up name handy, I go to this website (http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names.htm). It has all sorts of name lists sorted by culture, country, historical period, fantasy, famous, etc. It's a great source for names and is particularly handy when I DM as it gives all my NPC names some much needed continuity. Hope it helps. :smallsmile:

John Campbell
2007-09-03, 04:41 PM
I generally pull my names from character-appropriate historical (or occasionally fantasy, by which I mean "Tolkien") cultures or languages. My current PC's deliberately modelled on the dwarves of Norse myth, and his name - Ageirr Jarnhamarr - is Old Norse.

I'm making another character for an upcoming game, a half-orc ranger, horse-archer type plains nomad, named Toghrul Baalak. His first name is Mongol, and his last name means "half-breed" in Black Speech. I think, as a terrible and dorky joke, I'm going to name his horse Zbardh, which is Black Speech for "Silver".

Funkyodor
2007-09-03, 04:54 PM
Instead of going with the unique and bizarr, why not go with the simple and common. You said your thuggish character would be hired out. Why not go with a simple name like "Mr. Grey" so your employers never know your true name? If pressed your first name could be Dorian, as in Dorian Grey. A very good sinister name (more fitting a Warlock really, but can work for almost anyone in a pinch).

AslanCross
2007-09-03, 05:00 PM
I sometimes steal names from fantasy authors that probably won't be easily recognized. (ie, Aravis, name of a princess from Narnia) Another thing I do is take an existing name of a person whom I think is similar to the character, or take a word that might describe the character and play around with it little by little until I arrive at something I like.

Example:
Calamity -> Calamor (name of a BBEG henchman blackguard)
Cataclysm -> Ataklos (Calamor's cleric partner)
Sabrina + Carolyn -> Sabrynn
Calvary (as in where Jesus was crucified, not the mounted soldiers) -> Kalvarri, middle name of a swashbuckler girl who married a paladin. He husband has a rather typical medieval name: Albrecht.

Getting Hebrew or Greek words is also effective for me. Makes for good ancient and exotic names.
Nekhosheth (Hebrew, fetter) -> name of a Horned Devil who likes spiked chains a bit too much
Dikaiosune (Greek, Righteousness) -> Dikaiosyne (name of a Holy Avenger-type sword)

For a blue dragon in my campaign, I wanted a Middle-Eastern sounding name, yet with the complexity of typical dragon names. I took the name "Alhazred" (I think he was the supposed author of the Necronomicon in Lovecraft's mythos?) and inserted the dragon's Common nickname, Lash.
Result: Al'Lashvahazred

Psychotic
2007-09-03, 07:27 PM
When all else fails, take an awesome word or your favorite name or something of such, reverse the letters and add in letters as appropriate.

Example (I've done this same process for a character with my name).

Jimmy -> Ymmij -> Yammij -> Yammij Ironfist (flashy surname/title optional)

Defenestrate -> Etartsenefed -> Etart Senefed

If you want to, go ahead and scramble the letters a bit to find something you like. Anagrams are ftw.

Etart Senefed -> Eratt Efeends

Fhaolan
2007-09-03, 08:29 PM
For a thuggish rogue, there's always the option of going for a name that may or may not be a nickname, prefaced by 'Mister'. This seems to be a common trope in British fiction.

Mr. Oak
Mr. Croup
Mr. Gall
so on and so forth.

It gives the impression of a name, while also creating an uncertainty, an unease about it. The formality of the 'Mister' can be quite chilling, especially if you go about as part of a pair, both refering to each other by it.

"What do you think, Mr. Forte?"

"I think he's lying to us, Mr. Fuller."

"Ah, well, that would be most unwise. Wouldn't it, Mr. Forte?"

"Undeniably unwise, Mr. Fuller."

Mewtarthio
2007-09-03, 08:51 PM
For a thuggish rogue, there's always the option of going for a name that may or may not be a nickname, prefaced by 'Mister'. This seems to be a common trope in British fiction.

Mr. Oak
Mr. Croup
Mr. Gall
so on and so forth.

It gives the impression of a name, while also creating an uncertainty, an unease about it. The formality of the 'Mister' can be quite chilling, especially if you go about as part of a pair, both refering to each other by it.

"What do you think, Mr. Forte?"

"I think he's lying to us, Mr. Fuller."

"Ah, well, that would be most unwise. Wouldn't it, Mr. Forte?"

"Undeniably unwise, Mr. Fuller."

Okay, you're dredging up memories of Mister Wint and Mister Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever.

The Extinguisher
2007-09-03, 08:54 PM
I like to go with simple names. Based of people that I've met or heard of. The only accpetion are an elf, which I used one of those name generators, a necromancer which I picked randomly and a cleric who's name was a big in joke. Heh, the surname of two of my characters is the surname of the lead singer of a semi-popular band.

But, if you want a unique name, there are some really good name generators out there that have been posted. But if you are going for a thuggish character, try a nickname of some sort.

Fhaolan
2007-09-03, 09:09 PM
Okay, you're dredging up memories of Mister Wint and Mister Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever.

That's one example. The far more sinister version is Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

As I said, it's a standard. I've seen lots of slightly different versions of this same pair.

skywalker
2007-09-03, 09:49 PM
I personally like using ancient Latin or Greek names for my characters or any medieval name.

Do a google search for "Latin names" or "English names" and you will get websites with long lists of names from those respective languages. Some of them will be too modern but you also get names that have fallen out of favor but are still on the list. example: Boniface. I never met a Boniface, nor do I think I ever will but it was listed as a name.

Boniface was a saint(and about 9 popes named after the saint.)



Kompyuta


I'm laughing my ass off! That is one of the funniest character name ideas I've ever heard. Like "Hey, Kompyuta!"

HAHAHA.

EDIT: My vote is: "Ronald the Knife." I dunno, it just seemed good.

Whenever I meet an NPC in a dungeon that a DM hasn't given a name to, if he doesn't think one up in 30 seconds, or if the name is too hard to pronounce, I just name him after one of the Weasley brothers, and refuse to use any other name.(Yes, I'm an ass)

horseboy
2007-09-03, 11:31 PM
I look around and spell the name of the first thing that catches my eye incorrectly

Chere
Seete
Kompyuta
Foonne
Wyn Dao
Pantin
Ham Sam Wich
Praentor
Doode
Eck Sabox

Along those lines, I'd suggest Haigota Nonama'

Winterking
2007-09-04, 12:09 AM
Usually I do one of two things when I create character names:

-Generic fantasy names, generally stolen from or inspired by some fantasy book I've read, or based off of cities, countries, and other stuff in those books. For example: Andre Al'Cairhy, altered from Andor and Cairhien, countries in the Wheel of Time; or Tarandel, from Tolkien's Thranduil, lord of Mirkwood.
-Names based on the character's home, background, etc. Often, if I know where the character is from (or the real-world analogue to that place) I find the online name generators easier to use--I can look at particular ethinic/cultural names, and pick one that I like. If the character is from a Russian-themed area (even if the campaign has no Russia), then Ivan or Natalia. If from a French-themed region, or born to parents of a Frenchy subculture, then Denis St-Pierre or Marie Deleaux could work.

And don't forget the great effect of alternate spellings or emphasis in the 'wrong' part of the name. Miich'ayl seems exotic and fantastic, but really, it's just Michael pronounced strangely.

Darkforge
2007-09-04, 12:13 PM
Desch. Derrick. Darius. Darren. Dirk. Doran. Davin. Dover. Dwight. Dorn. Devlin. Dallan. Duran. Destir. Daine. Detlev. Drago. Desotir. Daniel. Drosin. Demodir. Dusk. Dorgran. Daevan. Davian. Dasek. Drake. Dyne. Dycedarg. Delita.

As for a nickname, knowing the setting and character backstory would be invaluably helpful.

Ironically I think you've just given me my nickname, Dirk, its either a name or a type of dagger, ideal for a shifty kinda guy.

I'd love to post the backstory for this char but unfortunately I know at least a couple of people that read this forum also LARP with me so I have to keep most of it secret

anyways I've decided on the name Danny "Dirk" Slattery.

I used OneWinged4ngel's idea for the nickname "Dirk" and although I couldn't get Wraithy's link to work (websense here at work) I found another website that had cockney rhyming slang and apparently "Danny Slattery" means "Assault and Battery", so I think the name not only sounds good but has quite a bit of meaning for the character and adds a load of flavour.

Once again, thanks guys