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Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. His ability in and knowledge of these subjects is amply demonstrated herein, so I need not expound further in this regard, other than to point out that proper homage to Jack Vance is given. In my mind that seals the matter with an impeccable imprimatur, making this prologue near superfluous. It is obligatory for the series creator and overall editor to introduce material that he did not personally create, and this is brief exposition is given to you.
No question about it, this book is a true gem! Do not allow yourself to be put off by the scholarly tone of the work. The author has indeed composed a most thoughtful treatise that prepares the reader thoroughly for managing the selection and creation of names for characters, things, and places. You should certainly read all that prefatory information. It is of invaluable sort. The meat of the work, though, is exactly what the title implies, names! Armed with this work the writer is freed from endless hours of agonizing over names to be used in his game campaign or story.
From giving special characters apt names to the creation of a village full of individuals, the author has provided all the tools you need, including lists of all manner of personal and family names. Of course, as fantasy demands a good deal of creative naming, there are also lists of fantasy names and tables to assist you in the creation of an endless number of imaginative appellations.
Before you dive into the names sections be sure and read all of the informative essays that the author has provided for the readers edification in regard to names and naming. The effort is well worth it, as you will be rewarded with much knowledge and given a sure hand in the name selection and creation that follows. I urge this from personal experience at this task that goes back over three decades now. The names sections proper are quite easy to use. The initial section explains naming customs. Where applicable a very handy pronunciation guide is supplied for those readers who desire as much accuracy as possible in that area.
Thereafter lists of given names of common and uncommon appear followed by surnames. As a word of caution about the former, many of the common names for English, Gaelic, Irish, Scottish, and other European national groups are based on Biblical names. If your world does not have a religion like the Judeo-Christian one, then such names are actually inappropriate. These can be set aside or altered slightly to seem familiar yet not those from the Bible. In the same vein, if your world setting does not have the Christian faith, then there are a number of words you will need to avoid in naming places.
These include archbishop, bishop, cardinal as a religious figure , cathedral, church, pope, and saint. Substitutes are easily created, for example: chief priest, high priest, chief high priest, grand temple, temple, grand priest, demigod. Speaking of the English names section, thats the one I recommend all readers to refer to initially, as it has extensive information on family names, aristocratic ones, and rustic ones.
These particulars can be used extensively in the typical game campaign.
Of course this book is not limited to names for people and their ilkdwarves, elves, and so on. A quick check of the Table of Contents will prove that. You will find that naming places from inns and taverns to terrain features is made easy by reading the appropriate section and following the simple methods for name generation given there. As you read along in the latter regard, you will be treated to a considerable amount of lore regarding old and virtually lost names for places from homesteads to wells.
Better still, that is followed by non-English names for like things. Be prepared for astonishment when you peruse the list of fantasy and strange names provided by the author, More I need not say, If point of fact, I have likely spent far too much of your time telling you about what you are about to find. So as to prevent any further spoiling of your enjoyment, I will close this prefatory essay with the observation that if you cant expertly manage names when equipped with this book, there must be a jinx at work.
Intr odu cti on Intro duc tio This book of names is chiefly meant for those who referee roleplaying games, but it can help players as well. It is a generic work, suitable for all game systems. It indicates why names are important, and how best to use them; and should help you quickly and easily produce large numbers of suitable names for particular groups, individuals, and places. Name lists from many past and present languages and cultures are provided.
These names can be used in their own settings or transferred in part or whole to fantastic cultures and races. In addition, the book contains numerous invented names, and tables and methods for creating more. It focuses on the needs of fantasy campaigns, but the names can be used in most genres. For instance, fantasy names can apply equally well to science fiction. The book is quite wide-ranging, and should be of considerable value for use in developing most campaigns.
Ga mem aster s Gamem mema sters Names bring characters and backgrounds to life. The right names help evoke the setting, and add colour and interest to the game. Names are so intrinsic to our thinking that as soon as Guard 3 is named Rathgor his character starts to take shape in the mind. You can then easily make him vivid in the minds of your players.
It is perhaps no great matter to concoct a few names, but almost everyone dries up or gets stuck in a rut after much more than that. In most stories, an author rarely needs to handle more than a few dozen characters and locations; but a role-playing campaign has more of the flavour of a genealogy-replete epic, where hundreds of names might be needed. Even if you manage the people, the dubbing of scores of topographical features, territories, towns, and taverns can seem daunting. If youre playing in settings with a specific flavour, the problems may seem worse: how many Russian or Ancient Egyptian names can you come up with off the top of your head?
Players adventurers may interact with dozens of characters in any game session. When introductions are in order, its easy for the players, but the gamemaster has to create names with a trueto-type flavour for the encountered parties, sometimes on the spot, and keep it up session after session. This is a difficult, and occasinally onerous, task. With this book in hand, however, these tasks become trifling, even enjoyable!
Pl ayer s Pla yers Players, too, may need help choosing a name for that special character. Names for Roman gladiators are difficult to come by in the modern world. Its rarely a single name in isolation, either: theres family to consider, perhaps an entire lineage. Even fantastic names are difficult to get right. Plundering literature is a common start, but there are too many Aragorns and Elrics already in some games, and falling under the shadow of the original may be limiting.
Game characters are rarely played like their namesakes in any case, so why not choose a unique. Of course, finding exactly the right name might be a problem. Sometimes inspiration flags. A magician called Frizzlepoot wont inspire dread in his foes or respect in his comrades quite the reverse, in fact. Fear not! Within this book lies the perfect name for your sleek thief, bold star pilot, or heroic warrior. How to Use the Book First of all, read the remainder of this introduction to discover the scope and structure of the book. More specific advice is given in the sections on characters and the campaign, which have suggestions for random selection, cross-cultural influence, and the like.
If you already know what youre looking for, the table of contents should help you find what you need quickly. The book is largely lists of names, so it is necessarily fragmented, and if you just leaf through you may miss things. The lists of real names are organised by origin, not nationality. Theres no listing for Canada, for instance: Canadian names are mostly English and French.
Background material covers aspects of names and naming. It gives advice and information, and explains what has been done here and how you can extend and adapt it. It may help solve particular problems, say, if you are setting up a campaign and are unsure about what you want, or if you have invented a new race and want to coin a set of fitting names for its members.
With luck, the material should prove interesting as well as useful, and grant you sage-like wisdom in the bargain! To get names from the book, simply assign names from the lists, or generate them using the tables. Which lists are appropriate depends on the setting, and what you have decided is suitable for your campaign. One of the aims of this book was to include as much useful material as possible. Long catalogues of names and table elements are therefore often given as comma-separated lists rather than being individually numbered for selection by die roll.
Searching through vast screeds of names may cause your vision to blur and the letters to look like abstract shapes, so a method of random selection is desirable! You could just blindly point a finger at the page, or choose from names with a randomly determined starting letter, but there is a better way. A numbered strip of card is furnished for this purpose which can be photocopied. If necessary, count the number of pages or columns of text, and roll a die to choose which is used. Then place the strip of card beside the column used, read off the number of lines of text, and roll suitable dice to choose a line.
Either choose a word at that point, or place the top of the strip under the line, roll another die to determine how far across the column to look, and choose the word or words there. Its fairly quick, certainly more so than counting the names by hand! For a start, it deals primarily with names of persons and names of places, that is, proper names, rather than names of things. It is not meant as a scholarly tract, so technical details, terminology, and linguistics have been kept to a minimum. Neither does it provide origins, meanings, or lengthy historical and cultural treatises, although there is background information to help in using names properly and in context, should you wish to read it.
On the other hand, it provides large numbers of fantastic names and methods for creating evocative names for fantastic races and cultures! At present, the countries of the world have nearly languages in some groups although some are spoken by only a few people and fewer than have written forms. Most languages and cultures have associated names. Add those of the past, and there are many millions of names to choose from.
Book of Names (2).pdf
The book had to be liftable, so, alas, not everything could be included. Since the book was written for English speakers and readers, it naturally concentrates on English and related languages and their precursors. This is where we are inclined to turn when seeking names that are unusual or evocative without being outlandish. Britain and Medieval England in particular are looked at in more detail since they form the implied background however vague of many fantasy campaigns, whether the semihistorical setting is the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Renaissance, or an admixture with ancient times stirred in.
Names from wellknown cultures that provide strong archetypes for role-playing are also included, along with as many other interesting names as possible. They are representative, not exhaustive. While some languages have few names, many go wild: even a small country like Finland has over 35, personal names, and France has over , family names. The name lists here include the most popular names, with a mix of others for variety. There are enough to dub the residents of campaign towns and cities without difficulty, and to give a feeling for the sounds, should you wish to base invented names on them.
The lists for real names are divided by regions, language or culture, and time period. Each such list is further divided into male and female personal names, family names, and so on. Where information on commonness was available or could be deduced, common names are listed before the full list usually 10, 12, or 20 such, so you can easily select one by die roll.
This varies with time and place, so the number is usually left for you to assign or you can simply ignore it, perhaps adding those lines to the random line selection to boost the name frequency. The pattern of name construction and the use of names, patronymics, honorifics, and so on is briefly considered.
Place-names are discussed, with lists of common terms in multiple languages included to allow place-name construction. A system for creating inn and tavern names is provided always useful for adventurers, be they dungeon delvers, wisecracking gumshoes, or starship crew. A selection of epithets, translation names, and titles lets you choose colourful bynames and aliases for any character or ruler.
Imagined names that is, made-up ones for humans, other species, and places are given in a series of example lists and tables, both generic and for various archetypes. Suggestions for generating a consistent set of names of a certain kind, making up your own tables, and so on are offered. Information on names, repute, and magic is included.
Appendices round out the book. A partial bibliography is appended for those inspired to go further. Termino logy Terminology A few terms to do with names are best defined here. The personal name is the one that applies to an individual as opposed to the rest of his family.
It can be known as the first name, forename, given name, or Christian name, and may be the only one, or one of a series. It may also be two or more words, all used in address, known as a compound name, like Ellie May. Personal names can also refer generally to names of persons rather than names of places, but this should be obvious in context.
The family name, also known as the surname, is inherited through the generations; it may come last, as in most of the west, or may come first, as in Hungary a surname is literally an after-name, but is often used in the sense of additional. A patronymic relates to a fathers personal name, and changes with the generations; similarly there are also metronymics or matronymics relating to a mothers name. An honorific is some indication of exalted status, such as the title Sir. A nickname which comes from an eke-name, meaning an alsoname is an epithet describing personal characteristics that applies to an individual as well as or in place of his personal name; a byname is any temporary surname.
The two are broadly similar: although the term nickname can sometimes be taken to include bynames, the term byname is usually taken to cover all non-hereditary surnames, whether derived from relationships, dwelling places, occupations, or nicknames. A pet name or diminutive is an affectionate form of a name, often made by taking one syllable from the original and perhaps adding a suffix meaning small. A theophoric name is one that refers to the name or title of a god.
For example, Ivan Schmidt has a personal name of Ivan and a family name of Schmidt. In Russia, if his fathers name were Denis, he could be called by the patronymic Ivan Denisovich. His friends might call him Vanya, a diminutive of Ivan. If he had distressing personal habits, he might be given the nickname Ivan the Terrible.
In Germany, if his family were of noble blood, his family name could be expanded by an honorific to von Schmidt. Pr onuncia ti on Pro nunciati tio Rather than using too many obscure accents, tonal markings, and so on, the name lists are in anglicised transliterations with standard spellings wherever possible. Brief notes on pronunciation are given for those who want to try for authenticity, and should help disentangle some knotty-looking letter strings. Dont worry if it all seems too daunting, its optional!
Ignore accents if they are puzzling, and boldly speak things your way. If you mispronounce the names in a game, it doesnt matter too much, as long as you do so consistently. If you think Aztec names sound better pronouncing the xs as xs, by all means do so. If fluency is important, though, note that libraries often have audio tapes and similar materials that provide more aid than is possible here.
Variant s ariants Some names end up with many variants for historical reasons, through the desire to be different, or from simple illiteracy. Although a few are included where they are or were especially common, variants are largely ignored except where they sound different, since the medium of role-playing is primarily speech.
Players will assume the most likely spelling is used unless you tell them otherwise, and spelling out names all the time spoils the flow of a game. Authenti cit y uthenticit city The recent and historical lists should be fairly sound, but there is no room to provide dates and sources for authenticating each name, and spellings may be modernised. Some names are taken from literature and myth, and some are educated guesses since many past names were recorded in other than their original tongues.
The book is for gaming, not reference. If for some reason you need completely accurate historical names in their original forms, seek them in reliable academic texts and primary sources. The author also freely admits that the names of fantastic beings are completely fabricated and bear no relation to reality probably. Preparation and Records To save time during games, it is a good idea to create in advance a few groups of stock characters for both fixed and random encounters: typical knights, villagers, pirates, guard patrols, bandits, party guests, police, starport staff, conference attendees, and so on, to be used as needed.
Prepared adventures often provide game statistics for such groups without names. Rather than assigning names individually for your own or provided groups, simply collect ten or twenty names at a time from suitable lists, and attach them to what descriptions, statistics, and personality notes you have. Such lists, and indeed lists of all the named characters and places in a campaign, may be kept on cards, in a notebook, in tables on paper pads, or on a computer.
It may surprise some younger readers to learn that computers have functions other than playing the latest first-person-shooter games or downloading cheat codes from the Internet. In fact, theyre packed with software that can help you keep track of where all those names have been assigned. A simple spreadsheet can be set up for characters, with columns for names of people, where and when encountered, notes on what the players know, and notes for the gamemasters eyes only. You can set up a spreadsheet for inns, for instance, listing their names, locations, proprietors and other staff, and perhaps ratings for food, drink, service, and accommodation and maybe notes on how long the player party is banned from the place!
Such spreadsheets can be quickly searched, to help avoid accidentally using different names for the same character or, on the other hand, to keep track of aliases ; sorted, to find all taverns in a town; and so on. A word-processor can be used to create searchable documents that are nearly as useful.
There was considerable blurring at the boundaries, of course. People have written entire volumes on the history of names; the following is merely a brief and simple overview. It should help to put things in context, and also aid when extrapolating to wholly imaginary races, cultures, and worlds. Peo ple s na mes People ples names For all recorded history, people have had personal names. Such names had meaning to begin with. Primitive tribal names often described some phenomena connected with the recipients birth or an incident of note later in life.
A child might be called Flock of Birds if a flock was seen overhead as he was born, and later be known as Prodigious Leap if hed made such a jump across a chasm to escape wolves. Polytheistic cultures which is to say most ancient ones often used religious names like Gift of Aten or Beloved of Belit. Parents might name their child after hopedfor qualities, leading to names such as Courageous Warrior or Shining Virtue. Primitive peoples at times also used unpleasant names Filth, Born-to-die as temporary epithets to fool evil spirits into letting a newborn alone; but these were replaced by more seemly names if the child survived.
More formal meaningnames arose. For instance, Norse and Saxon names were often formed of two parts: Hroth-gar fame spear , Ecg-beorht sword bright , and so on; later, most didnt need to make particular sense, so there were names like Hildigunnr battle-battlethis was a girls name, by the way. In general, once a society was advanced enough to settle on a stock of special words to use as names, the original meanings became for the most part unimportant or were forgotten: the names simply became identifiers for people. Name meanings are preserved today in some tongues, but not often pondered on.
In modern Western culture, any meanings are likely to derive from ancient word forms, and are generally only thought about by expectant parents scanning baby name books which are notoriously unreliable. In the beginning, one name per person was enough. When there were more people than personal names, some method was needed to tell people with the same personal names apart. This was done by describing their features, characters, dwellingplaces, occupations, exploits, and relatives.
Such sobriquets metamorphosed into inheritable family names, starting in the Middle Ages. The aristocracy led the way in adopting family names, to indicate their estates or titles. This spread from the top, perhaps for reasons of prestige. By the dawn of the Renaissance, the middle classes in most of Europe had family names. As societies became larger and more organised, the usefulness of family names for official records meant that by the end of the 16th century, almost everyone had one. The times over which such changes took place varied by. The European pattern of personal name plus family name was established over most of the world by the 20th century.
Prior to the 18th century, middle names were scarce. Again, aristocrats started their use, partly because they were very conservative in their use of initial personal names. Nowadays, most people have middle names. Similar patterns, with variations, apply to many of the worlds cultures, although there are other patterns. The Chinese have used hereditary family names since the 4th century, but put them first. The Romans actually changed from using inheritable family names to using bynames during the Byzantine period. Over history, most cultures developed a stock of special words that were used for personal names, and almost always stuck to this list.
The stock of names used by any group of people changed with the years, though. For instance, many names or variants familiar to us have only been around, or in common use, for a century or two, sometimes mere decades. For example, consider the first regular uses of these names: Dawn, ; Dylan, ; Gary, ; Gail, ; Wendy, ; Wayne, It would be anachronistic to use such names in a medieval setting. In the future, new names will have been invented, and names from other places and times appropriated or revived; at the very least, many currently popular names will seem quaint and dated.
Mixing names Cross-cultural influences are difficult to quantify, and depend a lot on the place and time. When people settle in another society, they often keep their native personal and family names for the first generation, perhaps the second although they might change the spelling or pronunciation to fit in, or use local equivalents. Local personal names are usually then adopted. Where one society meets another, names cross borders, especially in trading centres and so on.
Tribal names and patronymics may be preserved as surnames when a modern culture enforces its record-keeping practices on another. Where one culture dominates or is admired by another, that cultures names and naming practices are often adopted. This may affect personal or family names or both. Such influences may tail off from city to country, and isolated communities or cohesive subcultures may keep their own distinctive names religious names tend to travel with the religion, for example. Conversely, attractive names from exotic cultures have always been picked up by some, especially for girls; male name use tends to be more conservative.
In the modern world, there is increasing cultural intermixing. Civilisation is in part the overcoming of tribalism, and the world and its naming practices should become more homogenised as civilisation advances and stable nation states form. If the future instead drifts toward increasing conflict and anarchy, we could expect increasing balkanisation of both peoples and naming patterns. Pl ace na mes Pla names The naming of places and features also originated very early on. Primitive, static, and insular groups sometimes had only one name for things they were the people of the land and anything else was other.
With travel, contact with other groups, and so on, more sophistication was required. As with personal names, some elaboration in place names became needed to tell places apart. Straightforward descriptions came first, more subjective or metaphorical ones later. They could be named in terms of possession or incidents, in commemoration, or sometimes euphemistically to avert ill fortune.
For instance, a watercourse might be named Rushing Brook, Smiths Stream, or Battle River that last possibly even if only one minor fight had occurred nearby once. A town or street might be named after the first settler, or a god, hero, or prince; and an avalanche-prone. Place names can often be lengthier than personal names, but lengthy names tend, like the land itself, to erode with the years.
They last longer simply because places last longer than people. Such names may thus end up in a tongue or dialect with which new settlers or mapmakers have difficulty. This may simply lead to the original meanings being forgotten, or may result in subtle changes over time as people contract and elide the names, colour the meanings, and make mistakes from mishearing, misspelling, and misapplied folk etymology. As with personal names, once place-names have come into existence, they are used without their meanings being pondered on a great deal.
The transfer of names back and forth between people and places has occurred freely over time. For instance, an Anglo-Saxon band led by the chief Hasta would have been known as the Hastingas; where they settled, the Hastingas place, might be known as Hastingas, later shortened to Hastings. A person born there might have taken the name of his town as a byname, which later became a hereditary surname, thus recycling the personal name of the chief of yore.
Char acter Na mes Chara Names This section deals with choosing names for both players characters and noteworthy characters in the game world. The name of an individual should ideally be an apt name, one that fits him or her like a glove. This may be a simple matter or not, but its worthwhile making an effort to choose the right name for that special character. You might want to read the section on apt names and ponder on what sort of name would suit their personality, vocation, and social status. Look at beginnings, endings, characteristic patterns, and so on. To create your own fantasy name to suit the background, a useful trick is to choose a real name of that sort, then alter it slightly by judiciously changing a vowel or consonant here and there, so the name still sounds right for the setting, but is unique.
You can be bolder and change entire names to invented ones the first is usually best for this. Some things may depend on the campaign.
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In a modern-day or historical milieu, simply choose a name you like from the appropriate section of this book to suit national origins and so on, as the campaign allows. If the world is a patchwork of medieval dukedoms and principalities, then Aztec names will hardly fit. Appendix B shows current world name distributions. In a science-fiction campaign, you may want contemporary names for the near future, invented names for the distant future use the generic fantasy lists , or a mix of the two.
Aliens names can be generated using tables in the fantastic section. If you have a character of a particular fantasy race or species , then there may be suitable names suggested for that race in the book: choose a name from those or something close, and adjust as desired, perhaps supplemented by names from other sections. For instance, for that bucolic air, a homely sort of race might use the rustic family names listed in the English section, whether as family or personal names.
Most fantasy campaigns allow for a diverse range of possible options, usually a mix of real and fantastic elements. If you conceive a character to be a Samurai warrior or Gypsy fortuneteller, say, and the campaign allows for this, then choose a name you like from the appropriate section of this book. This has the advantage that the information on how to put together a name of that type is right there, suitability is assured, and if you need to create a family tree, all the names you need are at hand.
To get a pure fantasy name for a human, choose from the lists of generic fantasy names, and try to convey something of the personality in the name. Maybe an aristocratic surname is in order; maybe a compound multi-syllabic personal name as fearsome as the characters shaggy eyebrows. A straightforward Classical or Shakespearean hero should have a direct, plain name, as suits his temperament.
The more sardonic, sceptical, or even cynical Restoration hero should have some ironic or droll touch: you might have a Jandix Slaunce rather than a Ganthor, for instance. The time period may set the general name pattern: Dark Ages, personal name only; Middle Ages, personal name plus byname; Renaissance or Modern, personal name plus family name. Perhaps there is a mixture in the campaign. There are no Renaissance name lists as such: just use a medieval personal name with a modern family name from the same culture. Regardless of pattern, a personal name is enough for everyday use among fellow adventurers, but some further distinction could be required, for instance, if questioned by a border patrol.
Without a family name, a temporary byname is usual. One could have bynames for different occasions, as happened in real life; using a locality-name only outside ones home town, and so on. As you can see from the examples, the boundaries between byname types can be blurred. Localities depend on the campaigntown and region names, landmarks, and so on.
Relationships mean choosing names of. Occupations could be former, as in Floxi the Tailor, or currentpresumably an adventurer of some sort. If your game system has Classes or Orders with titles of level or rank that are more than just game mechanics, you could use those. Tremble, puny ones! The heros boast, a recounting of mighty deeds, also serves to identify someone, of course: I am he who slew the dragon Andramalax. This naturally has to wait on the performance of worthy and epic feats, so is an option for later in a campaign.
Nicknames can be anything that seems suitable, and can even substitute for the actual name. A glib character might have a hundred nicknames that trip lightly off his silver tongue. The thief Eel may have only one, but may use it exclusively, and so have forgotten what she was originally called perhaps with reason. Even if a nickname is used by itself as an adventuring name, players should still record a real name somewhere, otherwise its far too tempting for the gamemaster to make up an embarrassing one, along with an entire family of embarrassing relatives.
Imagine Eel enjoying a quiet ale with friends in her favourite tavern when her long-lost aunt barrels into the place, and in a voice compared to which the bellow of an enraged bull would seem as a dulcet whisper demands of her: Ermintrude Schadenfreude-Gesundheit!! Where have you been?!! Camp ai gn Na mes mpai aign Names This section deals with choosing names for groups and places in the campaign and is mostly for gamemasters. As well as the fine brushwork required for individual characterisations, a campaign requires broad swathes of colour for the background. Groups of suitable names provide the requisite colours for people and places.
When it comes to campaigns, its more important to get the names generally right and avoid awful mistakes than it is to get perfectly apt names every time. If you are using a prepared milieu, the publication may indicate at least generally, and perhaps in detail the cultures that predominate in various towns, countries, societies, and worlds. If so, simply use the name lists that match those cultures, with fantastic names added as seems advisable. If no guidance is given, or if youre setting up your own campaign world, it might not be obvious how to deploy the many disparate lists of names in this book.
Herewith, therefore, some advice, dealing briefly with real-world and science fiction settings, then looking at fantasy in more depth. Contemporary and Historical For contemporary genres espionage, near-future, cyberpunk, superhero, horror, and so on , use the recent lists, taking note of naming practices.
Appendix B shows name types used by the worlds nations. For historical genres including alternate history. If youre not using a prepared milieu, youll need suitable reference works to tell you which who was where whenthe grand sweep of human history is too vast for these pages. Place names too can be distinctively regional, so you wont find a Palookaville outside the U.
Cultural and historical diversity adds flavour to a game. After all, what superspy would not frequent exotic locations, rich with curious names? Your campaign will be more authentic and enjoyable with a bit of it as long as it doesnt sink into the reeking muck of political correctness. In the modern world, people travel and migrate reasonably freely.
Centres such as Madrid or Hong Kong are cosmopolitan, but you can find people of any race and culture almost anywhere, and they will bring their names with them. Local names will predominate, but will rarely be unalloyed. Appendix B gives a very rough mix of name types by countrythis is as much detail as can be laid out here. You may wish to expand upon this in your own campaign to reflect localised patterns in different counties and cities. In past times, people still travelled, but most foreigners would be met along trade routes and in major centresin London, Constantinople, Rome, Athens, Tyre, Samarkand, and so on.
Names in smaller communities were likely to be entirely local. In historical settings, the big problem is anachronism. Fashionable modern names in particular will immediately spoil the illusion of time and place. For instance, from the s, there has been a trend in the U. Hyphens and capitals may be left intact. Apart from some unfortunate results Drih-velle, LaTreen , this very recognisable sort of name immediately fixes its owner in the present. Check the lists, and avoid names you know not to be in period. This book lacks room to support the dating and placing of individual names within a time span.
Often names waxed and waned in favour over years and lands, and may have been more localised than the lists might suggest. Some lists may also include names from literature and myth; and not all possible combinations of elements in some names Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and so on have been recorded. If you need strict historical accuracy, you will need to consult more scholarly sources, but the lists should be mostly right.
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For the most part, place-names are fixed normal and historical atlases are useful , and you can just choose peoples names at random from the lists that apply. Science Fi cti on Fic tio For settings in the not-too-distant future, use the recent lists for humans, with such changes in commonness of names, say as you think likely. Mix in a greater number of generic invented names as the setting moves further into the future. Names for aliens can be generated using tables in the fantastic section, or modelled after recent or historical human cultures.
As mentioned previously, the set of names in use in a society changes over time. Name distribution usually follows a power law like many social patterns , with a few names frequent and most of the rest infrequent. Changes in frequency occur more or less at random. In the future, new names will have been invented, and many current names will have fallen by the wayside. Naming patterns may change, too. This logically carries on historical trends of cultural intermixing and name lengthening. If Earths population becomes more homogeneous in the future, then personal and family names will likely be more thoroughly intermixed, and of a standard pattern.
This would be probable albeit not inevitable by the time human beings colonise space. After a galaxy-wide diaspora, names may well become localised again, this time by planet and system. Current nations and cultures might continue to exist or fragment further in your future campaign, in which case, you could have worlds with exclusively Russian, Papuan, or Norwegian names.
There is plenty of scope for almost any naming rationale. To save work, you may want to keep names reasonably short. Simply avoiding common especially modish modern names may be enough to give a future flavour. If many national strands exist in your future worlds, employ some rationale for cultural crossover. In general, assuming trends continue, you should mix in a larger number of generic invented names as you move further into the futurethese work equally well for fantasy or SF, and are as likely as anything else when it comes to predicting the eventual forms of personal names.
In many of Jack Vances far future worlds, for example, most of the names are inventions. Numeric names Fred , R3-D3 are best left to clones and robots, unless perchance identity numbers have replaced family names, or people have unique alphanumeric database codes referring to their DNA. Names for aliens can be generated using the fantastic section, or adapted from historical cultures. We would expect alien races as with fantasy ones to be more uniform than humanity.
Since this helps the gamemasters sanity, always a good thing, the names of an alien species should be relatively uniform too, at least to start with. Place names off Earth are easily dealt with: observable celestial bodies are largely named after the myths of astronomically inclined cultures.
In addition, some celestial bodies are named after their shapes, discoverers, and so on, and there are numeric designations for cataloguing. There seems no reason for much to change. More obscure mythic names and myths from other cultures will be increasingly employed as more names are needed. One common pattern might be that planets are named after their star, with the addition of a number indicating their order in the system Spica 4 for the fourth planet out from the star Spica, and so on.
The names of planetary features and settlements should follow the Earth or Moon patterns, with some names systematic and some spontaneous, some poetic and some dull, but with myth providing many names and some clues as to what is nameda continent or world called Hades or Achenar should be a hellish place. Alien worlds and terrain should follow whatever alien naming practises you deem suitable.
When humans deal with them, you can provide direct English translations where warranted. Ah, the Rainbow Rings of Aphasia: who could see them and not be dumbstruck? Fant asy anta Use generic invented names, historical lists, or both to suit the campaign. In most cases, many stock names can come from the appropriate lists Roman, Medieval English, and so on , with a variable mixture of generic ones stirred in.
Names for nonhuman cultures or lost races can be generated using the fantastic section, or modelled after recent or historical patterns not otherwise used. Wha t s All This, Then? What You may want to know why the book contains all those real names for what is fantasy after all, or why it contains modern names when the hobby is primarily concerned with castles and crusaders. One reason is to make it useful for other genres as well there is much overlap, so it makes sense to have it all together , and another is to provide patterns and models for extrapolation should you wish to create your own sets of names.
Many modern names can be used in medieval settings without real discord: sometimes there has been little change, and sometimes they may sound closer to what is expected than the real names of the past. Most of the names can be used in various other ways in fantasy campaigns, too. Cultures in fantasy are often based on past human ones, or aspects or combinations of them, since its difficult to create an entire culture from scratch.
Greek and Aztec cultures, Frankish chivalry, English yeomanry, and so on provide a strong flavour; most literate people are familiar with them to some extent, and hence not completely at a loss when faced with them. Names taken directly from the historical lists will help establish the culture in the minds of the players.
This makes place-names easier to create, and also gives a stronger sense of locale and period, so you can have diversity among kingdoms and lands, with some seeming familiar, and others more exotic. You should still use fantasy names as well, but many of the hundreds of places and persons in the land can be quickly and easily assigned real names without marring the fantasy feeling. Even if they only serve to characterise individuals from particular cultures, such as a wandering Ronin from Japan, the historical name lists are still useful.
Most fantasy campaigns are a patchwork quilt of cultures at various states of development not so different from Earth for most of its history. The time period may set the general name pattern in each land: Dark Ages, personal name only; Middle Ages, personal name plus byname; Renaissance, personal name plus family name. If you plan to run sophisticated Renaissance city-state adventures, therefore, contemporary name lists are needed.
Surnames are also often place-names, or contain vocabulary elements that can be used in place-names, so they can serve a dual purpose. Once a campaign is running smoothly, occasional extra-planar jaunts and cross-genre adventures can be fun. Magical portals and items, dimensional shifts, or ethereal navigation errors can take a party to parallel worlds or universes. The various groups of names let you create names for contemporary, historical, or science fiction milieux with no difficulty.
You can use quite bizarre sets of names and types of naming patterns of which there are many real-world examples in an extra-planar setting to highlight its other-worldliness. Even if you never venture too far from a medieval kingdom and thats fine, if the campaign works that way , the lists are resources that can be tapped into as required.
Each provides a coherent grouped set of similar-sounding words that you can make use of in many ways. Old Welsh names might make good. In a setting with large numbers of sentient species, not all will have been dealt with by the tables in the fantastic section. Surely they deserve their own distinctive names?
The personal names of the slough jellytoads could be taken from French family names, and so on. Mix and M atch Ma Fantasy milieux can take almost any form, and the mix of fantastic and real names can vary as widely. It may help to look at some examples and see how roughly names could be used, taking as a basis a generic fantasy world populated by both men and mythical races. In the purest fantasy world, all names for races and places might be made up. Luckily, this book provides a large range of invented names, and tables for coining more, because you will need a sackful!
Strange names definitely help to set up an exotic world far from the everyday. On the other hand, you do not have the automatic coherence of sets of real names, so selection is important. The names should be suitably evocative as well as merely unfamiliar. Generally speaking, one would expect enchanters to have grandiloquent names and warriors terse ones. Noble names would be longer and fine-sounding, peasant names shorter and earthier. Members of a fantastic race should have similar-sounding names. Using the suggested tables gives appropriate flavour for various sentient races; astute selection of the rest is left to you.
You might want to read the sections on apt names and fantastic names to help with your choices. Real-world name formation use of patronymics, where a family name is placed may give some ideas about fantastic name formation beyond use of personal names. Epithets will be useful too. In a reasonably uniform world either straightforward or marked by vigorous cultural interaction with some historical flavour, personal names might be assigned roughly by calling. Perhaps most non-adventuring people have medieval English names. Fighting men might have short, emphatic names, possibly AngloSaxon; magicians might favour longer names of Greek or Roman origin; sorcerers and necromancers might have the throatier Arabic or Hebraic names; holy men might have Indian or Tibetan names.
Fantastic beings might also have names from languages reflecting their origin or your ideas about them: Norse for dwarves, Greek for dryads, centaurs, and so on, perhaps Gaelic for wild elves. Demons might have Hebraic, Arabic, or African names. Elder gods and past civilisations might use Aztec or Mayan names for a very different set of sounds. Names from these cultures could be used directly, or as a template to develop your own. Place names can be whatever fits, historical ones being most useful. Bubble through with invented names to get the right amount of sparkle in the wine.
In a culturally partitioned world with a stronger historical basisfeasibly a parallel Earththe inhabitants would chiefly use names from their regional language: Norse for the barbarian raiders and so on. Elves, dwarves, and other fantasy races should have their own languages and names, or use names from unused cultures in the campaign, historical or otherwise in your world they might, for instance, speak in Classical Greek, Latin, bOOK OF NAMES Salt with invented names to taste.
Using similar-sounding names for invented additions can help to maintain the atmosphere. I certainly wouldnt want to do quite that much work, though! Your campaign world may bear little relation to any of the examples above, but they should give an idea of what might be possible, and what you might care to do with names in your own world.
Campaigns and game systems vary in how much importance is placed on history and the historical basis of things. If they are not important to you, then dont worry about them. Perhaps only nobles had family names in medieval Europe, but if you have gnomes with steam-catapults on the scene, it is a minor thing indeed to let everyone have family names, if thats what you want. This is quite different from using trendy modern names like Darren and Brittany, which is equivalent to having your knights ride motorcycles.
One trendy name, Tiffany, was in fact a pet name for Theophania in medieval times, but most people wont know that. Theres no reason you cant use a modern name in a past setting if it fits the flavour - Scottish or French, say. You may indeed find some of the older names too weird, and the modern ones better suited to your conception of the setting.
Cul tur al Cr ossover Cultur tural Crossover You can be as free or detailed as you like about name distribution. It could follow race or nationality, in which case population breakdowns or random encounter tables that specified those things would indicate what names to use for encountered persons. This has the advantage of keeping things easily manageable.
Cultures arent hermetic, though: races mix and names cross borders. You may want to have some form of cultural crossover, with names borrowed from adjacent cultures, at least for humans. In general, one might expect non-human races to be more constant and traditional in their naming practices, and not so easily influenced. You can make this process far more intricate. Take the imaginary country of Kregar, which has two languages, a small population from a neighbouring state of Caraesia and elves in the border forest.
Kregar names might follow this pattern: Humans:. The names can be taken from extant lists as simple as AngloSaxon, Briton, and Celtic , or you could invent them. In a world where magic works, it is doubtful that history would have followed precisely the same course that it did on our Earth. History, and past naming practices would, in general, be only a rough guide.
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Both are there to let you add a certain flavour to a game, and to help you get things right, if that is of moment. Other things may take precedence. Tolkien had his noble and elven characters use bynamesAragorn, son of Arathorn; Legolas of the Woodland Realmbut gave his hobbits family names. It made the small folk seem ordinary, which was what was needed for his tale. But I Need More It might not seem like it at first blush, but you might run short of names. This could occur if you want to use one fantastic table for a few related races without overlap.
Or perhaps you have many different South Sea island tribes, friendly, warlike, and cannibalistic, and you want to keep their name groups distinct.