Creating a memorable character name

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Hebitsukaiza
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haha MIss Leading.. xD

I see what you did there =P
 

captainproton

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Several things go into name choice for me:

*is it "real" world? Pure fantasy? Sci_fi?

*what time period is it?

*what cultural background does the character come from?

*is (s)he based on someone I know? (As many of my chars are)

For instance, my current game is pure fantasy, which I've tried to flavor with Zelda whimsy and Discworld satire. So, some characters have realistic names like cordelia, siobhan and jean-luc, while others have names like tiko and duran. But even the nonsense names are made to fit the type of syllables found in their respective culture's real-world equivalent.

In the urban fantasy novel I'm working on, which is set in Seattle, characters have decidedly real names: Riley, Nicky, Marilyn, Carlos, etc. There is one character I've partly based on someone I went to school with, so I've given the char a similar name. It's different enough the connection isn't obvious, but clear enough to me to work as a mnemonic device, calling up memories of how this person spoke and behaved.

Names change with time, too. Over a hundred years ago, you'd find girls named Verity, Temperance and Angelica, but not mackenzie, sequoia, or lashawna. And ashley, beverly and leslie were boys' names.
 

captainproton

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Usually i like to make pranks with names. Like in my current project there is a duo named In-Son Park and Hal Zeimer. There is a very unlucky character who is named Ike Anfail. Three sisters in some inn are called Miss Tek, Miss Leeding and Miss Pelling. Some over sarcastic woman is called Mary Meenot etc... I have much fun doing that. :p if not doing so i'll usually go from a concept name that fits the character usually in this case i'll dig into religious stuff as many words sound badass (like Ragnarok or Sephiroth etc...) . Can also be a mash up of some stuff i like.
You wouldn't happen to be Piers Anthony in disguise, would you?
 

RyokuHasu

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I pick a language that matches the feel of the game then I pick the word that best sums up the theme of the main character then I translate it to the chosen language. If I don't quite like it I choose a Synonym in that language that sounds better.
 

lemongreen

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It's hard to say for me... I also write stories as well and most of the time the name just comes to me (though, usually that's only after I have somewhat of a sense of who the character is) Surprisingly a majority of the time the name fits fairly well or at least I notice it does if I ever get around to checking the actual meaning. When it doesn't (or if it doesn't) I usually know the character well enough to know one that does (or find one) Either that or I keep it, because not everyone in the world has a fitting that they like.

Though I'd have to say the weirdest name I've ever come up with is Mez; it fits the character, but I really can't remember why I named him that (also, I apparently can't come up with a meaning behind it or why he's named that in universe, but that actually is rather fitting for the character) I still use him, too, even though he was from a weird fantasy story I tried writing when I was 13.
 

Ms Littlefish

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Making names for the characters in my main project has been challenging and rather enjoyable. My game is set on the Earth but in a different plane of existence so it probably wouldn't make much sense to name my characters Jessica or Thomas. But at the same time, I don't want the names to be so garbled, cut and pasted, or convoluted that they sound "inhuman." I want them to sound like names you could possibly see yourself naming a person in our reality. I also want some cohesion with the names. Do two characters from the same country have names that sound like they could come from the same place? Does someone from a far off land have a name that sounds like it would be foreign to the other two characters? I'm sure you get the idea. So, setting matters a lot to me.

A number of my names are creations of mine but I think the character makes the name. While I do think about what the name says about the character, I think the name will become special if I have a unique character. 
 

whitesphere

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Making names for the characters in my main project has been challenging and rather enjoyable. My game is set on the Earth but in a different plane of existence so it probably wouldn't make much sense to name my characters Jessica or Thomas. But at the same time, I don't want the names to be so garbled, cut and pasted, or convoluted that they sound "inhuman." I want them to sound like names you could possibly see yourself naming a person in our reality. I also want some cohesion with the names. Do two characters from the same country have names that sound like they could come from the same place? Does someone from a far off land have a name that sounds like it would be foreign to the other two characters? I'm sure you get the idea. So, setting matters a lot to me.

A number of my names are creations of mine but I think the character makes the name. While I do think about what the name says about the character, I think the name will become special if I have a unique character. 
You might find this useful:  http://fantasynamegenerators.com

It has a set of name generators for pretty much every type of entity.
 

Ms Littlefish

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Haha, this website is very fun! I have my main cast and crew named but this will definitely still be useful for a lot of things. Thanks!
 

Zane

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There is a Sims family generator that you can use as well, I just started using it to mix and match names recently if anyone wants to check it out.

Edit: I forgot I wrote this topic a while ago, whoops x)
 
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C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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Thought this might be interesting: from an article, under the heading, "Fantasy Name Cliches to Avoid":

  • The one-word names. The one-word name often carries an identifying label, e.g. Conan the Barbarian.  Aragorn, son of Arathorn.  Taran of Caer Dalben.
  • Heavy-handed names. These are names that give the reader an overwhelming connotation to hang around the neck of the character:  EVIL or GOOD or SILLY. e.g. Take the Harry Potter series.  How can the reader not know that the Malfoy family will be villains, especially when their names are Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco?
  • Names with weird punctuation. A phenomenon from out of the 1970s and 1980s, these names usually take an apostrophe and are intended to look exotic. e.g. Vulcan names from the Star Trek universe:  T'Pol, T'Pring, T'Lar, T'Prell.  Fantasy and science fiction writers can't get away with this anymore.
  • The porn star names. Usually these names will have multiple syllables, a sumptuous sound, or a beautiful meaning such as Jade, a precious stone. e.g. Cadence, Esmeralda, Gwendolyn, Jade, Marissa, Raven, Rhapsody, Vanessa
  • Inconsistent names. All the characters are, say, generic white people in a remote farming village, and yet their names reflect different ethnicities or naming patterns that are not consistent to everyone. e.g. Our characters are named Rand al'Thor, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al'Vere and Nynaeve al'Meara.
  • Bland made-up names. Often only one or two syllables long, they have a colorless feel as if they were randomly generated by software. e.g. Arn, Bartim, Byar, Cenn, Coren, Cyrin, Deornoth, Duac, Ducon, Elyas, Gelb, Kelvar, Kyel, Lan, Logaine, Lluth, Mag, Neth, Rok, Royce, Sol, Tam, Ter, Valon, Ylon, Yrth
I thought some of these were quite funny, to be honest, but the article goes on to describe how to make good names, such as combining a common first name with an uncommon last name. She cites Game of Thrones as a good example and so on.
Oh, just read it for yourself.  ;)
 
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mogwai

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I just pick a name a lot of people would have, like Froggers McPoptart.
 

RyokuHasu

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I just pick a name a lot of people would have, like Froggers McPoptart.
"Froggers McPoptart" ... I don't think he's a hero of legend, and if he did slay the dragon on top of a volcano I'm sure the history of his world would change his name to make his story sound more manly and heroic, like "Frogathor the Slayer of Hell Fire"
 

Nebuerys

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Here's a small section from the Icewind Dale FAQ that I've been checking out every time I play the game

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I. [GDTNMN] Guide to Naming Characters:


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have heard that some people have trouble coming up with creative names for


their characters. So here is a little guide to coming up with interesting


names that seem to fit into the game (i.e. names that aren't "brad" or "mike"


or something).


Method 1:


Take an existing last name, and make it a first name.


Ex: Corbin, Martens, Miller.


Obviously this doesn't work with all last names, and it also tends to skew


mostly male.


Method 2:


You can also make interesting names by taking an existing name, such as


Kate, and flipping some letters around to make a new name, Kaet.


Method 3:


Somewhat similar to method 2, this one merely involves adding useless


vowels. Try adding an 'a' before an 'e' or an 'i' after an 'e'. Take the


name Patrick for example. It will become Paetrick.


Method 3-B:


Swap hard consonants (such as the hard K) for softer consonants (such as


the softer G). So starting with our Paetrick, we can turn him into a


Paetrig. Also works by turning T's to D's, etc.


Method 4:


Another fun thing to try is to simply add a new "flourish" to an existing


name. For example we start with "Nate" and add the "flourish" "ylia" to


make the new name "Natylia".


Method 5:


Start with another word, say the number "Seven". Replace the vowels with


new vowels to make "Sivan". Now if you want to make it feminine add an "y"


(or something similar) to the end to make "Sivany". Or try this, start


with the word "talent". Replace the first 't' with a "th" and then replace


the 'e' with an 'a'. You now have "Thalant", which is a good name, but


needs a little flourish of "yr" to finish it "Thalantyr".


Here's a list of names that I have used in various RPG games. This list will


be a little small for now, but as I get more of them, I'll add them. If you


have any name that you want to send in, please feel free!


(dsimpson.faqs@gmail.com)


Female: Male:


¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯


Kaet Salamoss Telen


Sivany Syllas


Jiany Poetayn


Saenra Mytahl


Kystra Ralasannvyr


Lydra Ylv Tor


Tyllaenii Ex'ald Moor


Bealla Forthyss Aallax Morkallai


Cyrra Lyth Cyr Daan


Sho'erna Moerth Kintos the Dim (my current favorite)


Mistriana Corvuus


Karyana Khaar the Bloody


Ceqeen'ah Rargh (great with Male Fighter 3 sounds)


The following names are from Bane:


Lyria Taaryn (Taryn)


Kestyn Yulosa


Maya Astyk


Galian Bane


The following names are from Souma:


Alicia Bonecrusher (ranger/cleric) Wildfoot (a halfling fighter/thief)


Simion (a Paladin, a bit of an ape :p )


Adonis has some more names:


Corwin (usually a ftr/cleric) Got the name from a Roger Zelazny series of


books, the "Amber" series.


Shalandra, my thief. Just made it up.


Kyren Pathfinder, my ranger or ranger/cleric or/druid. Always an elf.


Buffy Trueheart, a female paladin.


Darius, a mage of any race.


Tor Eriksen. Named after the first AD&D character of mine that ever had an


18/00 strength. Tor is a modification of Thor, obviously.


Celune, my bard.


Clarissa, my Cleric.


I don't generally give my computer RPG characters last names. It just


takes up more space in the chat windows, and they are always too long to


export the character with the same name.


The following names, and strategy, were sent to me by Preston Lloid:


Female: Male:


¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯


Jephinia Justice Edcam Sielfir


Misha Kintyre Purl Sielfir


Latista Dymnir Paxus Silatis


Kyndria Valmund Bastius Mnotarior


Shaloa Fighro Rhymnir Kaleef


Syff Kintous Kelt Incurrigate


Geila Mist Solas Imnikurr


Tarrento Gymnica


I also found that nearly all the months make fine female first names (e.g.


October, November etc.). Furthermore I personally think that there's


nothing wrong with giving your character a first name and some kind of call


name instead of an actual surname (or family name). For instance, if


you've made a female priest with the alignment "lawful good" you might


call her "Misha the Divine", instead of Misha Kintyre. Or if you create an


evil male mage, you could call him "Tarrento the Dreadful".


Name Characters Based on What They Do (from Leo Wang):


-------------------------------------


If someone wants to add a last name, I suggest that it should be something


that makes the character stick out, or something that the character is fond


of doing. For example, you could have Nyla "Firefingers" the female


evoker, because she's fond of Burning Hands (and other Fire-based spells).


(Got Nyla by putting N.Y. and L.A. together) Or, you could have Balthus


"Cuisinart" because he's a fighter specializing in Great Swords (and has or


will have 6 Proficiency points devoted to it).


Or you could simply have the character go by a nickname. For example, a


cleric might be called Amelior/Ameliore (short for ameliorate) because


he/she's got nothing but healing spells and Aid memorized all the time. A


battle cleric might be called Glory Preacherson or Orata (orator) because


the rousing speeches (Prayer, Recitation) about glory that he/she gives is


so moving that he/she's got to be the son/daughter of a (successful)


preacher/orator. A Dwarf Thief might be called Granite Tunnelfast or


Amiterre for a female (I hope I got the words right...it's supposed to be


the french word for "friend" with the word for "earth") for...obvious


reasons. :) There's only so many ways you can make a name sound exotic


before it all starts to sounds the same though...
Credits to:


Dan Simpson


dsimpson.faqs@gmail.com
 

Seacliff

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JRPG Character Naming 101:

1. Pick a trait or personality that matches the character

2. Translate it to Japanese
 

Cadh20000

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From my main fantasy world(many short stories and one in-the-works novel) there is "Theran Drecchanson"

"Theran" is Grecian for "Hunter" I think. "Drecchanson" is following the old tradition used in Norway and northern Europe of naming a male child with the father's name and ending it with "son". Basically his name is "Hunter, male child of Drecchan"

There is also Theran's older sister, "Katya Drecchandotter"

"Katya" is found in many cultures, each with its own meaning. In her case it means "Pure", and following the same tradition as her brother, ending the parent's name with "dotter" means "female child of". Basically her name is "Pure, female child of Drecchan"

"Drecchan" I just made up, I honestly don't remember how I came up with it. It is pronounced "Drek-khan"
 

doncht

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Earthbound is the only one that sticks to my mind.
 

Palsa

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If I'm looking for a real name, then I generally browse through a name site, like 20000-names.com.
They have names listed under country of origin as well as themes, so I can look up names for a hero, villain, god, etc.
If the character comes from a made up culture, that I for example, based on the Norse culture, then I can look up names relating to the Norse culture.
 
When I'm creating a name from scratch, and want it to have an actual meaning, again, I'll look to the online encyclopedias for names that have parts, and fit several together.
Here are a couple of names that I created for two of my original characters.
 
Elirica - Meaning: 'Song of the Goddess'
From:

  • EL (אֵל): Hebrew word and name for "God."
  • LYRICA. From Latin lyrica, meaning "lyric poem," from French lyrique "short poem expressing personal emotion," from Latin lyricus "of or for the lyre," from Greek lyrikos "singing to the lyre."
Alimpia - Noble Home of the Gods? :)
From:

  • ALICE: Modern form of English Adelaide, meaning "noble sort."
  • ADA:
    Pet form of German names containing the element adal, meaning "noble."
    Short form of English Adelaide "noble sort," and Adela "noble."
    Variant spelling of Hebrew Adah, meaning "ornament."
  • OLIMPIA (Ολυμπία): Older spelling of Greek Olympia, meaning "of Olympus."
  • OLYMPIA (Ολυμπία): From the Greek place name, a feminine form of Greek Olympos ("home of the gods"), meaning "of Olympus."
Ironically, both names involve gods. :unsure:
Anyway, to give a more thorough explanation on creating Alimpia's name.
As the character I was creating the name for was a gothic life sized living doll, I wanted to choose a name that was appropriate, and I had already followed a history, literature and mythology theme for the characters:

  • Lilith (a vampire; name origin: Lilith the first wife of Adam who created demons, or the much older Sumerian goddess of the underworld Ninlil, who would later inspire the Greeks with the story of Persephone).
  • Medea (a witch/sorceress/self proclaimed alchemist; name origin: Medea from Jason and the Argonauts).
  • Anna (a ghost; name origin: Anne Boleyn, who is famous for her ghost).
I based much of it off The Tales of Hoffmann's Olympia, who was a mechanized doll, but I didn't like the spelling for her character.
Another name that I was considering was Alice, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which much of the series Rozen Maiden (which is about gothic living dolls) is based on, and has often been associated with dolls.
In the end, I decided to combined the two names into Alimpia.
 
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