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How do you guys come up with names



  • is useful for things like this. I've used it a couple times for random things, and it generally works well. It's got tons of choices.
  • @Ingwe I tend to avoid that one since it's constructed for pre-existing fantasy worlds, so it doesn't always jive with mine. That said, this website lets you customize the settings. I've used it to help me generate names in my Angelic language, which is very particular in regards to vowels.
  • I have a great site for you! I use it when writing all the time! is a wonderful resource for names! It's got a name generator for nearly everything.
  • 3 step plan to create names step 1 get drunk
    Step 2 slap the keyboard step 3 profit
  • edited June 2017
    I think about the culture of the NPCs involved and based on that, think about what sort of language they'd speak.  As a result, you can mix and match phonetic themes in these imaginary languages.  Not only do these names sound authentic/cool, they sound fitting to the character(s). 
  • edited June 2017
    @snarkyslytherin (in a teasing tone) look two posts up from yours  :)  

  • edited June 2017
    When I first think of a character I tend to think more on their history and
    then their name. For example the Sunswords name ties into their profession and way of thinking. The family name could also be a motivation for the character in their actions. For an NPC you might not have an in depth backstory but once their introduced to the players they should give a sort of tone.
    Does it sound like this person is friendly? Should I fight this person with the last name Thorndraw?A name can influence your players and can give clue to character.
  • Literally All I do is parody an existing/relevant name to a character that has preexisting parallels or I will make a stupid dad-joke level pun name. For example! Horace Uro Dinon = Horse you rode in on.
  • I personally have always despised the names that random generators give me, not sure why. I think it's because they feel too thematic and sometimes unoriginal. What I like to do is comb through words in other languages that have meaning to the character. Other times I'll name that after a famous character from something to pay homage. Other times I use things that I just come up with on the fly. Lastly, I sometimes mix names of famous people IRL for my characters. One of my favorite characters I ever made was named Casimir Augustus Jagellion. The first two being the actual spellings of Polish leaders and the last one being a slight adjustment of the famous noble family of Poland, the Jagiellons. 
  • I actually use naming/general language conventions from real life and apply them to my fantasy civilizations. For instance, in my world, there are six species of elves, five of which are playable. Of the playable ones, the two most prominent, being Avalonian Elves and High Elves have general naming schemes of British for the Avalonians and German for the High Elves. 
  • Also, I wanted to say that Romanion (Croatian is also pretty good at times but usually needs some adjusting) has some great translations for fantasy names. For instance, in the last campaign I did, my friend was playing a race called Abaddonian, which is a Demon race in my lore. The character would kill monsters and bind them to his own blood, which he was able to summon to fight for him by stabbing, gutting, etc himself and making magic circles with the blood. Because of this, we named him Diavol Spinteca Convoca, which means Devil Gut Summon.
  • I just pull up old cencuses to find interesting names that don't get used much anymore. 
  • edited June 2017
    i mean... creating a character name/npc name can be difficult, but usually the name appears depending on what you give the character or what the character is based around. or you could do two techniques that i usually do. put together letters until you get an interesting name. or fuse to normal names together... the last one is how i got my username.
  • Well, my tip probably won't help the most with NPC names, but this is the strategy I commonly use for making location names. As strange as it may sound, I often just go through random words and spell them backwards, sometimes improvising on them from there. A large portion of the fantasy realms/islands I've created follow this pattern. For example:
    Daehremmah is Hammerhead
    Nroh is Horn
    Eson is Nose
    Nrocinu is Unicorn
    This strategy, if you could call it that, doesn't work with all words, so I generally just stick with the ones that sound good, or at least the ones that are pronounceable. Anyways, that's my tip on coming up with names. I've used it a couple times with NPCs, but generally I use it for locations only.
  • @LMCobra505 not going to lie, nrocinu sounds awesome... maybe tweak it a bit... Nurokinu, yeah... that sounds like an awesome place, like a mountaintop temple or something. i like your idea, but if you get one that doesn't work 100% tweak with the letters a bit and it should work out.
  • Back in vanilla  WoW ( world of Warcraft ) i hit the randomize name button and Tyoek came up. i thought i was clever by putting another K in it. just stuck and Tyoekk is still my main in WoW. 
  • To be honest, most of the times I either use a combination of other character's names not from URealms or just make it up on the spot.
    For example, using kobolds since their names are usually the ones I make the most complex for no reason: Gridix, Glive, Glaven, Fraz, Malthis, Klaubern  [Note: Glive and Glaven are brothers]
    Fraz and Klaubern are the only ones who don't appear to have weird names.

    I've even had other characters non-kobolds have something like this:
    Nizzovix, Jax, Spiral, Yaqzer, Marisa, Wendy
    It may appear that the men have complex names, but Jax is actually a girl. Also Yaqzer is a highbear someone let me make, so I made a cub highbear to be nicer

    To be fair, I recommend you use an online name generator like others in this thread have recommended.
  • If I just need a random name, I would take a random thing I can think of, put a spin on it, boom.
    It seems easy and makes a lot more sense in my own head, but it works for me.

    So in my room, I see a TV remote and a screwdriver. OK, remote starts with rem, I can use that to make Remmel. Take the driver part from screwdriver, change the end of it to make it Drivler and boom! Remmel Drivler.

    Pros: Incredibly efficient and easy

    Cons: Mileage may vary on how good the names are, and they will most likely not fit well with a character.

    But if I were to make a character, I would think of their personality and traits before thinking of a name. And then attempt give a name that doesn't give it away too obviously, but would still give nods to it.
  • edited June 2017
    Its pays off to be well prepared when you're a GM. Its not terrible to come with names on the spot, but it can help with immersion if you instantly have a name for even the least important NPC.

    I suggest preparing a list of names (either ones you came up with or just randomly generated ones) and just having that near you while you GM. If someone asks the name of a nameless NPC, just use the list, cross off the name and write a note of who the name belongs to.

    It's a trick I've seen used by some of the world's best DMs. I learned it from Matt Mercer and Chris Perkins.
  • edited June 2017
    @MUFFINTOAST3R That's actually something i did in my last campaign, tho I was acting as tho I was thinking of them on the spot  :)
  • I have naming conventions like all the elves are named after Kryptonians and all the Gnomes are named after members of the Bat Family. Things like that.

  • I've been roleplaying and playing DnD for years now, and I've come to find that the easiest method to making a name is taking two sounds and putting them together.

    For example: Telrin
    Tel + rin = Telrin

    I try to stick between two sets of 2-4 letters. Gorrum (Gor-rum), Renthal (Ren-thal), Verric (Ver-ric).

    Once you get the first 2-4 letters (ie: the first "sound" of the name) try to make a second one that fits with it or sounds right. Find the first letter (say you want to start with F), then work from there. I want sounds that start with F.
    Fal, Fel, Fol, Ful, Far, Fer, For, Fur, etc etc etc.

    So we'll take Fol. What works with it? You'd probably want to follow up the "L" with another consonant so...
    Folc, Folr, Folk, Folm, Foln, Folt, etc etc etc

    We'll take Folk, so we just need to take that "K" and make a sound.
    Fol + K... Krin, Kral, Kren, Kred, Kil, Kal, Kid, etc etc etc

    Folkrin. Name made. Ezzy Pezzy.
  • I usually go with the approach of sounds out random sounds.
     Puh Peh Pan
    Then after I find A sounds I like I'll try to follow it up.
    Purm Purla Pursia Pur'fel
    That usually get me a first name

    Second Names I tend to think of a character feature. Ok so Purma is a cat/person. What sounds go with cats.
    Meow Pur hiss
    Lets cut some letters off of meow and try to make something decent.
    Melto Meari Melko.

    Purma Melko there we go. Kinda long winded and a bad way to do it, but it's just the way it rolls in my head.

    There's also a godly name generator with so many styles and options. It also drops a huge list of names. Good for generic NPCS. Link

  • I usually say something that is VERY garbled and try to create a name out of it >_<
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