Great Names for Characters


#1

So I’m listening to the most recent Bluff City (Friends at the Table’s Patreon game) and was just thinking about how great all the names are. In games I run I love to have some names that sound good and have a good ‘mouth feel’. If you’ve got any names from campaigns you’ve run/ participated in, or if you’ve just got a good name I’d love to hear them!

Some of my favorites from my list are Dozens Baker, Solace Marble, Austere Greer, and Livid Jazz.


#2

A friend in high school taught me the technique that he’d learned to come up with generic fantasy names on the fly was to pick two random objects in the room and mash their names together. Like my desk and monitor become Monisk. I don’t know where he learned it from, but it’s pretty brilliant.


#3

This is kinda the opposite of what you’re looking for since it’s probably the least effective for fantasy, but a writing professor I once worked with said the best way to think of real-sounding names for fiction (he was talking short stories, but it’s applicable to most writing), was to just… go to a cemetery and look at some tombstones.


#4

https://www.data.gov/ is pretty good for that as well if you just want to grab some random real names.

E.g. Baby Names from Social Security Card Applications and Dog Names from Anchorage


#5

Thank you for introducing me to this incredible resource.


#6

I’m playing in a game of Fellowship where I’m allowed to spout lore on Orcs, which has lead to A Lot Of Things, but one of the things I was quick to do was establish a naming convention, which I think is pretty handy for coming up with names in situations like that. So now all Orcs in our setting have names like Vapor Vestir Vira Bellour, Labrys Libra Later Halloway and Gina Gear Glory Variant; and all their buildings and organizations tend to also be alliterative. I think establishing a naming convention is really helpful for games that allow for it, and it tends to help you avoid situations where someone goes “oh what’s their name” and you’re like “uh… F…uck yeah I got nothin”


#7

My favorite Cyber Punk name of all time is “Bronson Extract”. I’m currently playing a Blades in The Dark game as a “Mitsy Grine” and boy I love that name


#8

this bot-generated Name List is a seemingly infinite list of fake, Star Wars-esque names: Stanford Generator Unique Names. It’s my go-to for non-regular names.


#9

http://www.pompousnames.com/ is a good resource for finding names for nobles that you need your players to hate


#10

I used to look at exam result lists when they got posted at University and jot down names I liked, because I did things like that back then. My favourite (a name that has made an appearance in a couple of things I’ve written) was “Lucinda Friday”. It’s just such a great name.

I have yet to find a use for “Obun Ogun Death”… it’s kind of my “in case of emergency break glass” name.


#11

Probably the favorite character name I’ve ever made for myself was based on one of the first lines of dialog from Mass Effect. Spectre Justice.

“An agent goes rogue, they send another agent to take 'em down. That’s Spectre justice!” A neutral good character, of course.


#12

A fun way to come up with at least inspiration for fantasy-ish weird names is taking your/your friends/random names and reducing them back to their words of origin. Last names are better for this imo – mine turns into “Copse Thoroughfare” which I actually like a lot as a name? But you get cool stuff to play around with like serene/fortress and strawberry/scholar and traveller/gold flower.

FatT also taught me that Puritan names are good as hell… Every name on this list is extremely potent but “Praise-God Barebone” and, just, “Wrestling” really do it for me


#13

I read that as Corpse Thoroughfare at first and I can’t tell which version is better


#14

Corpse Thoroughfare is a very strong name and also absolutely what you start calling the character after they’ve died and been necromancied-back-to-life


#15

I’ve done that. I ended up befriending a nice older lady who was there to visit her father’s tomb, and she told me all about his days as an organist/music professor while we sat in her car and listened to classical music.


#16

I wouldn’t consider the names I come up with as “great” so much as a fun balance between realistic for the world and kind of ridiculous. On one end of the naming conventions I have a Elf named Laughter’s Embrace, a Dwarf named Throda Leadfoot, and then on the other end I have a Goliath named Thud, and a Gnome named Jeb Dibebb.

I apply this to the video games I play as well, and if you find my No Man’s Sky galaxies, planets, and creatures you’ll find names like The Wanderer’s First, and Knobby Red Bulb.


#17

I take the lazy way out. I randomly smash two letters or my keyboard and fill in the middle. The one I liked the most as Aggrenor for my old WoW mage. I’ve recycled that one whenever I need a random fantasy character name.


#18

i gather names in the wild. When i see a good name, i write it in a list of good wizard names to potentially use later. Favourite unused ones so far are Ignacio Mundo, Zoltan Hantos, and Ciara Conduit.