Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours ?

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Lurker
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Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours ?

Post by Lurker »

My wife is sick, so I’m staying home from work, and the girls are getting ready for school, so I have a few seconds before the day goes sideways, and I had a thought I don’t want to let slip away …

Character names, where do you all get your inspiration for them ?

Normally, mine is taking a characteristic or idea about them or how I picture them, and looking it up in another language – Lupa my current swashbuckler in Rigon’s game is Latin/Italian for wolf – he is a fast dex based fighter and a team based fighter so wolf tactics fits him

Other times, I take a real life person(s) name that has a history or tie to the character or how I picture them – Roger Mosby – my current super hero spy in Tree’s Victorious game comes form – Roger ( Robert Roger - the French and Indian War Ranger) and John S Mosby (the Civil War Calvary leader of ‘Mosby’s rangers’) booth of them were leaders, scouts and used hit and run tactics instead of simple stand up and fight tactics. Perfect for an aristocratic British spy.

Now, what lead to this, last night while listening to a lecture – philosophy ‘Meaning of Value’ – the lecturer made an offhand comment about Hume’s “is and ought principle" … Is and ought ... a derivative of that Iz-ibn-oght or something like it would be a great name for a wizard or cleric … This has to be one of my most odd inspirations for a name

So where do you all get your character names &/or where is the oddest place you have gotten inspiration for a name from ?
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

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Go0gleplex
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Go0gleplex »

I will either have something in mind when I make the character, thus molding the character to fit the name/concept or use Gary's Book of Names to find something that picques my interest.
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Rigon
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Rigon »

I just roll around names in my head until I get one that "sounds" right for a character concept and then mold the character to the name. Other times I use online name generators. But I do have a store of them written down that I like and use them from time to time.

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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by serleran »

Objects that happen to be near me, sometimes. Like Xerox, my illusionist who, upon getting mirror image, found it to be his favorite spell. I also made a barbarian named Orange.

At other times, I think of an attribute or metaphor, often in a "hard" (consonants matter) language like Norse or German and combine it with something else from a "soft" language to get a name like Aton Tor. Or one my players seemed to like, derived from "George of the Jungle:" Jorjung.

Race is important, too.

Oh, and epithets. I try to give every PC at least three, especially gnomes.

These days, I pretty much make joke, pun, anagram, or the like. For example, I based a character off Mac Golden (not the personality as I don't really know him) who was entitled "Mace Long."

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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Treebore »

Books, movies, video games, make them up, look through Gygax's book of names. Just depends on my mood at the time, really.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by alcyone »

I just make em' up mostly. In my campaign world of Xylh, most Xylhians have Berber names, and I have a list of Flemish archers I sometimes use for people from the southern area of Bygnorum.

My character Barlieg follows the tried and true practice of scrambling my name, like so many characters in Greyhawk and TSR modules.
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maximus
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by maximus »

When I was younger, my character's names were vaguely Tolkeinesque. More recently, I've taken names from historical figures. I'm big into Roman/Byzantine history, so I've drawn from real life. My current character, Sarosious, was the name of a barbarian chieftain allied to the Byzantines in the 6th century.

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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Captain_K »

Pinkus Gornt, Just Plain Joe, Hull, Envey, it never ends in books... like in life.... Zyglo the Green silly or serious.
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Buttmonkey
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Buttmonkey »

When I was a child, I named my Halfling fighter-thief Bilbo because... :oops:

Fast forward 20+ years and it was time to name a new Halfling fighter-thief in a very old school 1E game, so I went with the very old school practice of reversing my name. That got me to the homonym Carrot (a fitting name for a hobbit). When that PC was eaten by a giant carrion crawler, I rolled up Carrot's cousin and named him Radish to stick to the crudité theme.

Then I read Glen Cook's Black Company novels which had a profound affect on my naming conventions. My next PC was a very low charisma monk named Ghoul Face.
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by anvil242 »

There is a name appendix in the Silmarillion which I have found useful. Translating jokes into foreign languages works as well. My Dresden Files character is Nippikortyuk Unalaq, which is Inuit for "Big Wind".

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Jyrdan Fairblade
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Jyrdan Fairblade »

I use this method, more or less. If I’m stuck, I look at the sample names for the race and start mashing and mixing them up. That way, they feel culturally appropriate without showing up at the table playing a dwarf named Bruenor.
Rigon wrote:I just roll around names in my head until I get one that "sounds" right for a character concept and then mold the character to the name.
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Jason Vey
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Jason Vey »

CAPTCHAs.

No, seriously. I keep a list of CAPTCHAs that I encounter in a text file. Many are junk, but some are outstanding inspiration for fantasy names.

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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Lurker »

Jason Vey wrote:CAPTCHAs.

No, seriously. I keep a list of CAPTCHAs that I encounter in a text file. Many are junk, but some are outstanding inspiration for fantasy names.
Ok, again, I hate sounding unenlightened ... but what is a CAPTCHA ???

By the way all, thanks for the replies.

Normally, I'm like most here, but that one 'ah ha' in the lecture was a very unique outlier for me.
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" - Mark Twain

Forgive all spelling errors.

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Persimmon
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Persimmon »

I'm a historian by trade so it's easy to find names or inspiration from real historical sources. Those Medieval monkish chronicles are chock-full of good C&C appropriate names. Then again, sometimes a name just falls in your lap. A couple years ago we went to a restaurant called Nickleby's. Food was so so, but Nickelby Nimblefingers was soon rolled up as a gnomish rogue. His cousin Weathersby Wonderfoot is an illusionist...

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Spade Marlowe
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Spade Marlowe »

Lurker, CAPTCHA's are those two word phrases you have to type in on Web sites to prove you're not a robot.
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Jeffery St. Clair
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Re: Inspiration for character names , Where do you get yours

Post by Jeffery St. Clair »

I've taken character names from books, TV, and movies and scrambled those, too. A Frank Burns-ish type of wimpy cleric became Brunskfarn, and turned out to be a really fun character to play. Otherwise I have about a half-dozen names that I reuse when I can. I'm behind the screen a lot more than I play, lately.
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