Where do YOU steal your names from?


EricNoah said:
The appendices of GRRM's Song of Ice & Fire books.

We used to use the Silmarrillion and LotR appendices.

They worked for a while. Nowadays, they're too recognizable in some circles.

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pogre said:
Check you bulk mail or junk mail folders - there are some great names on those.

In the first EN World Cooperative Dungeon from CMG, that's where the NPC Definite D. Multifarious got his name from :)

Huw said:
Well, the Iliad had a character called Paris...

Man, Homer was such a hack ;)



First Post
Generally, I come up with a basic theme for an area or race and match old historical names to them. For example, in a recent campaign, humans were Arthurian influences, Dwarves used Tolkien, Hobgoblins were Hungarian names, Celestial was Ancient Greek, etc.

Then I used various historical or fantasy oriented sites for list of the types of names I'm looking for.

Ao the Overkitty

First Post
For my Firefly game, I actually went onto IMDB and made a name list from the cast and characters of Deadwood, to start. I mix and match to get some nice variation, but they all have that nice western feel. I've also gone and snagged names from Western movies using the same method.

I also do a lot of searches for name lists from specific regions, if I want the name to have meaning. I steal from mythology and religion a lot.

First, I collect them. I steal them from anywhere and everywhere, randomly generate them, whatever - but they all get written down. Every once in a great while I compile a "hotlist" of names to use.

Second, I have about 6 pages, single-spaced, no formatting, of printout that came from a name generator about 10 years ago or more. I immediately forgot/lost the link of where it came from but I have kept that list and use it extensively. The settings wound up giving it large sections of Italian-ish names/words. Nonetheless, it is PRICELESS as a resource and I jealously hoard it.

Third, I make them up. Some times it's easier than others but I honestly don't have the great difficulty that many people seem to have of just pulling names out of thin air. Not saying it's always a snap but it's never a major frustration for me if I don't have access to my personal lists.


First Post
I often write down names from scientific publications and articles (as a "professional" scientific researcher you have to keep up to date with other people's research as well). Some have a very nice ring to it!
I also have made other lists from various sources (names from books, films, etc.)

Now, if only I could remember to take the lists to the gaming table... Then I wouldn't have to improvise (usually quite poorly) when I have to come up with a name for an unimportant NPC in an instant...



A lot of times, I just make 'em up! I'm on my third PC in my current campaign. My first two names I just invented, Rinzari (gnome), and Elmuentheryn (or Elm for short) the elf druid.

Other times I modify and intentionally misspell actuall Real World names. My current character, Jerrel, is just a really-mucked-up version of "Gerald".


First Post
I am also a big fan of the Everchanging Book of Names. The ability to create dozens of names with the cadence and feel of a particular real-world or fantasy culture is great. My DM notebook contains several pages where I created a list of 50 names from each of a list of cultures, so NPC names are always at hand.

I'm particularly fond of the Dunsany and C.A.Smith (Xothique) EBoN chapters. ;)



First Post
Online name generators.

Baby name lists (I'm rather fond of 20,000 Names because it's broken down by culture).

Name PDFs, such as Treasury of Archaic Names.

And I keep a noted list of names I've run across elsewhere that I found interesting.


First Post
Well, I work in the mortgage industry reviewing loans--every now and then I come across a borrower with a really interesting name; I try to remember those for PCs, NPCs, or characters in fiction. I also take a lot of names from the icelandic sagas, Celtic mythology (especially the older Arthurian tales), and I use German, Russian, and Polish names from various baby name sites.

In one mod I wrote, I actually just used German words--I wonder if any of the players anywhere ever spoke German and twigged on to the allegorical significance of Brother Suender and Brother Hoffnung. (Not that it's a particularly exact or insightful allegory and it only really works as intended if the players take one particular route).


I crib from fantasy novels, or make them up myself. I have had compliments on my homegrown names.

For names, well, I think I stole like 300 names from Glen Cooks THE DRAGON NEVER SLEEPS. David Weber's WAR GODS OWN' series has been good for names. The Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (not the game designer) have been good to me as well.


Andor said:
Watch movie credits. They contain thousands of names, and some of them are things you would never have thought of in a million years.

Indeed! Like Theobold Holsopple that I used for a gnome. I don't recall what movie I saw the name on but it was reeally late at night when it was on!

In my homebrew I used old historical names for locations. The first kingdom I ran an adventure in was called Akkad, since that is one of the first historical kingdoms known and naturally I named the king Sargon!

I once played a newly reawakened vampire based on Louis, Duc d'Orleans who was a member of the Coucy family. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Château_de_Coucy The book mentioned, Barbara Tuchman's study of the Middle Ages, A Distant Mirror, was a great source of info about personalities in the middle ages.
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First Post
I used to be just awful at making up names. I tried using names from phone books, etc., but they just wound up too random-sounding.

Then, I found the Everchanging Book of Names. What a godsend. Well worth the few bucks to register. He's got "modules" for many fantasy worlds, including the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk, and for many many Earth languages.


First Post
I stole an ENnies name as well, but changed it a bit - Orgrock the Mighty. He was a tweaked out Barbarian/Fighter/Paladin of Slaughter/Frenzied Berzerker I used against my players.

I go to baby name websites, have a copy of that aforementioned Treasury of Archaic Names and make up lists from EN World usernames, names from characters from DiabloII users, etc. Oh, and I take names from real life and write them backwards with some variations. Heck, even my username is a muched-up, upside-down version of my real name ;)

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