Earlier today I was trying to come up with a place name for a small area that I am working on for a “Secret Project.” I was having a bit of difficulty as names are probably the hardest part of my gaming prep. I usually wing it and always end up naming the NPC “Bob.” This is a horrible practice, and it got me to thinking. How can I come up with neat names pretty much on the fly.
I’m not entirely sure that this original, I’m a bit lazy in my research lately. But this is what I came up with. It is quick and extremely easy.
Take the first few letters of each part of a person’s name. I know different cultures have different number of names. Here in the US, most people have a first, middle, and last name. Some places don’t have a middle name, some, especially Latino cultures may have many, many names. I apologize if any of this is incorrect or possibly offensive, I’m going by what I remember after what I think I remember, I am crazy, memory is not my strong forte anymore.
In the end I used my daughter’s name: Alexandria Renae Garcia. I came up with the name Alerengar for my area. It is a very nice sounding name and steps away from the cliché of having fantasy names always end with an -ia. I’v never understood that need, it is odd indeed. I toyed with this idea for a while and did everyone in my family and had quite a few interesting names. I will probably use some of them. I will most definitely use this method in the future.
If you have trouble think of names or are afraid someone might catch on, especially if you use the names of the PCs! A good source for this would be a local phone book or use something like the http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/ .
I hope this might help some fellow gamers come up with some interesting place names or even perhaps PC/NPC names as well.
One last note, I did my name: Michael David Garcia, kinda freaked me out. It comes up Midagar. Sounds very familiar doesn’t? I smell a conspiracy. 😀
This is an interesting method, especially useful for making names that sound like they are from some culture without actually being sourced from any single culture. You can mix it up by taking three random words as well. For example, "three random words" could create "Thrandor", "Reedowor" or "Eranord". Mixing and matching different languages could possibly give even more unusual sounds names.
If you actually WANT your fantasy names to feel like they're from a specific culture, then may I suggest this method that I wrote about here:
That is a fun idea… I used to take names and write them backwards, alter syllables, since naming has always been a problem. I try to come up with names and then my players find funny word associations.
And we Latinos do have our long complicated names! I jest, the thing is we usually have middle names (not a hard fast rule but it is common) and we tend to use two last names, our father’s, followed by our mother’s. Take an example, my grandfather was named Antero Teógenes Primo (his first, second and third name) García Díaz. That is a mouthful…
Yeah, honestly my name on my Birth Certificate is Miguel Davito Creech Garcia, I had it changed when I was younger to Michael David Garcia, or rather my mother did.
And since you mentioned backwards, funny story, sort of, one of my best PCs back in the day named his ranger, Lemac. It took me almost 2 year to realize it was Camel spelled backwards. I only noticed it when I saw my smokes in the mirror. 😀
There are tons of fun things to do when you can't come up with a name on the fly, I'll try and think of a few and mayhaps write another post. If there is interest of course. I might also start doing other quick tips, that I think may be overlooked.
Heh – using my sons’ names I got Alehunki & Zastaki. 🙂 Using mine I got Katlyki. I really like this method!