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Naming Your Character


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#1 -Ashara-

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 04:33 AM

Well, you decided to create that special NPC (or PC) of yours and would like him or her to have a great, memorable name. Here are some tips, which are of course neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Just something to ponder on...

I'll add the links, and feel free to offer more tips/links on naming in this thread!

Problem 1: Complicated/extremely unusual name

So, her name was Immanuelarialana...

What's the problem?

Generally a very complicated name will lead to either people misspelling it severely or cutting it down to a pet name, you may not like all that much.

Tips to Fix: Change the name to more simple/Suggest the nick-name beofe it gets invented, but typically it will end up as a some sort of derivation from the first part of the name.

Problem 2: The "last" name or nickname is too flashy/common/copy-cats a well-known character etc.

But many of her friends called her Immanuelarialana Moonsword and so she was known everafter...

Well, OK, Domi, but aren't you being a *tad* to close for comfort to some Moonblade character?

(Just me) Also, anything starting with Silver looks a bit of an old hat... I do not know why, but this particular metal made its way into so many character names, that it starts loosing it's appeal.

Tips to Fix:
-Come up with something original!
-Or leave the nick out.
-Let others name the character after they played with him/her. After all, that's how Heroes do get this lovely "also called the Heart of Fire amongst his peoples"
-Go for a modest nick. After all, your character is not Drizzt. Yet.
-Make a humorous situation around an all too ambitious nick. People are likely to make fun of someone who invented a posh name for him/herself ;)
-Choose a nick suitable for char's temperament - a fiery bard of course is more likely to call him/herself a Dashing Wonder of Agility, Grace and Wit!
-Explain the nick if you can - is your char called by others a Bluestone, because the gem of that particular colour is dangling on his temple?

Problem 3: Character's name does not match the character's background

The brave elven fighter Bill with a catly grace slipped behind the enemy and -

Would not it be so much better if the name gave the reader/player a hint about a character's background?

Tips to Fix: There are plenty of naming guides which can help you to select the name, which your character's parents will approve of! And while you are at that - check out other resources to learn how the naming and childbearing happen amongst the particular peoples. Trust me, in some cases research can be a LOT of FUN! And this is THE case :)

A Human

Ah, thankfully we have LOADS of expertise in this domain!

For FR, the cultures loosely correspond to Earth, and so do language groups. Perhaps using sound-alike, altered or real names according to the location will give an additional flavour and cool touch? Modding community is international - so chances are you will be able to get a good advice on any region of the world re a good name to use. BTW, if you come up with a pretty combinations of vowels and consonants it's always a good idea to check if it means anything in some language. ;) Baby names websites that allow you sraech by cultural origins of a name are also good. Here are a cspellholdstudios.netspellholdstudios.netouple of interesting links :lol:

Language Groups of Forgotten Realms

A Random Babynaming search engine

An Elf
Here is a quick cook-a-FR-elven-name guide:

http://www.angelfire...adow/names.html

but I would use this dictionary (loosely based on Quenya) for the roots, as the ones in the proposed tables do not match well, and Tolkien's Elven is much better known, documented and developped.

http://grey-company....guage/intro.htm

Shed: FW url removed.

Edited by Shed, 02 July 2005 - 06:56 PM.


#2 Sharess

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 05:55 AM

http://www.elvish.org/elm/names.html
Has few links which were quite good -- Don't let the name fool you, it linked a Common name dB also.

http://www.chriswetherell.com/elf/
I thought I had seen a direct translator in my travels, this is it.

http://www.barrowdow...leearthname.asp
Is quite interesting also. Gives Elven, Hobbit, Dwarven, Orcish and AdŻnaic (?) names.
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#3 Zandilar

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Posted 16 April 2004 - 07:26 PM

Heya,

Since I'm here, I may as well mention it...

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting has a list of common first names and surnames on page 12, for pretty much all races and all the major regions. It wouldn't be good to overuse the table, but it does give you an idea of what names sound like in the various regions.

I might also add that the FRCS is a good resource for most aspiring mod makers, because it has a very good overview of the Realms, providing history and flavour for the various regions. Current game year is 1372 DR, the BG saga occurs during 1369 DR.

#4 khay

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 01:39 AM

Generators:Have fun!

#5 kingkiller

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:53 AM

Another useful tip for names is to pronounce it first, then write it down how think it would be spelled. This can be better than bashing on the keyboard, saying that's the name, and just making up a pronounciation for it even if anybody else who looks at the name can't see where you got that pronounciation.

That's all I have to say.

Signing off,

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#6 -Ashara-

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 03:04 PM

I'd be careful with generators - try to select the one which actually gives some sort of explanation on how it creates a name. I have heard one Mary-Sue buster complain about genertors that offered rather odd names, such as the geographic or god's names for instance :)

#7 -Guest-

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 10:51 AM

what are good names for the planescape setting.... those born to Sigel not cluelesses....

#8 -Guest-

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 10:53 AM

errr Sigil not Sigel...

#9 Rastor

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Posted 19 April 2004 - 12:38 PM

The name can be either given or defined by the actions. Most individuals in Sigil do not go by their true name as anyone that discovers it can control the individual.
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#10 -Notmrt-

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Posted 22 May 2004 - 12:14 AM

I always tend to use alot of G's in my names and r's
if you get a teutonic sounding or auld celtic name you in for a winner
also it can be good to use greek words
TANATONAUTA STRATEGEMATA
and so on hehe
or german perhaps
Biszu gleich(slight alteration of bis gleich which mean see you soon)
not perfect examples but you can see what i mean

#11 Mr Ennigma

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Posted 09 July 2004 - 04:17 PM

Myself I'll sometimes use anagrams (rearrange the letters in a word). Can't recall a character name I've used it for recently but I do recall a Ravenloft domain whose name I used it to create.
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#12 crazyhybrid9999

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 03:41 PM

whats a good goblin name

#13 Lady LeFay

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 06:59 PM

I tend to let my character's action/story give credence to their name.

And dig through literature and babyname databases.
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#14 Alandrea

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 10:22 PM

I tend to pick a letter and then use whatever comes to mind and rolls off the tongue. Probably not a good way to do it for most people but it works pretty well for me.

T ... Tamphora
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#15 Chevar

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 10:59 PM

I tend to pick a letter and then use whatever comes to mind and rolls off the tongue. Probably not a good way to do it for most people but it works pretty well for me.

T ... Tamphora

The problem with doing that is the way the human mind works. there is the natural tendency to do word associations, sound patterns while making the name.. and some twisted pests like myself will look to see what words went into it..

Word association; Tamp(on)Hora(-a+e)

Sound Pattern; Tame-flora

If you can do it it's a great method, but always check for words that will be easily picked out. one of the characters in my novel falls into both categories.. but he's has the name for too long to change it..

Word association; Sad-A-Car

Then again as long you can pronounce it you're ahead of the game..stay away from names that are way out there, like in some novels I've read with names like "arijeaxarim"....

Edited by Chevar, 31 August 2004 - 11:02 PM.

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#16 Deva

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Posted 03 September 2004 - 02:51 PM

^_^ I usually think up a 3/4 letter nickname first, then elaborate it. for example..

'Seg' - 'Segro' - 'Segroath' - 'Segroatha'

Again, not a particularly good strategy, but it seems to work.

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#17 -dragonlord-

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 12:13 PM

you can also use words and flip them around Dracula Alucard Vecna Ancev
note: this only works for some words Mage Egam looks strange Edwin Niwde is scary

#18 -dragonlord-

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 12:20 PM

:wacko: it also has to fit the char class Mysteria the well-known barbarian :huh: :blink:

#19 Deva

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 01:22 PM

:wacko: it also has to fit the char class Mysteria the well-known barbarian :huh: :blink:

Or...

THE ALL POWERFUL, OMNI-POTENT, LEGENDARY ARCHMAGE...

Durk.

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#20 Lady LeFay

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 06:40 PM

you can also use words and flip them around Dracula Alucard Vecna Ancev
note: this only works for some words Mage Egam looks strange Edwin Niwde is scary


I used that method before, though mostly for silly things like the Minuibi race I created.

Damien = Neimad, a rather rough sounding name, not too impossible to prounce.

But in the case of Palindrones such as Kilik and Eve, if possible, I scrambled them instead.

For example:
K i l i k

can be Likki, Kikil, Liikk, or Likil. Note: Scramble works best if there's 4 letters or more.

in my case, I would chose Likki, and a more 'asiatic' prounecation (Lee-KEY rather then Lick-ki as it somes approx.) for a character.

Edwin... hm, Deiwn, Wedin, Widne, Weind, Diwen, Nedwi, Dewin, etc.
"This Rod will be your doom!" -- Kilik.
"Do you know how much that turns me on, Ki?"
"Maxi! I'm trying to be serious here!" -- Maxi and Kilik

When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear. -- Mark Twain

To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity.
Oscar Wilde

And alien tears will fill for him Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn.

Dante Romancable Mod: 'Tis a courtly love of a different sort