|Beyond Bob - Naming Your Character|
By General Tangent
What's in a name, or:
How to pick a cool sounding name with little effort.
The art of picking a name is often an important one and is usually arrived at five or so minutes after writing down statistics for the character. There have been many articles in magazines to assist you in creating the perfect name but most of them are at home when this fateful event happens!
It is not only players who suffer this, gamesmasters are often the worst affected by it as they struggle for minutes to come up with a name and there are only so many times you can have John Smith appear.
The methods outlined below are ones that I have tried* with varying degrees of success.
Can the cosmic forces of the universe assist you in finding the perfect name? The chances are no, but if you are stuck for an NPC then any of these might help.
Take a d6, d8, d10 and d20. Roll the d8 first, this will tell you how many letters in the name, then roll the d6, if the number is odd, then roll the d10 otherwise roll the d20. The d10 is the vowel die, 1-2 is A, 3-4 E and so forth, while the d20 is the consonants die, 1=b and so forth. This will give you a bizarre name without a doubt and is best avoided unless you play bad science fiction games where this becomes the creature's Earth equivalent pronunciation.
Get a telephone directory and flip through the pages at random, more odd names but at least they are genuine.
TRADING CARD GAMES
Take your favourite TCG and deal two cards of the top, then combine the artists names, you too can be called Brom Hildenbrandt!
RANDOM LETTERS DRAWN FROM A BAG
Get a Scrabble TM set or prise the keycaps of half a dozen keyboards and stick them in a bag. Draw as many letters as you like and sort to taste.
Another number theme here, get the next days lottery numbers and use those. The National lottery here in the British Isles uses 49 numbers with only six drawn. Any number over 26 gets broken in half so 38 becomes a 3 and an 8 giving Ch as the first two letters of the name.
The ultimate way to let the universe decide your character's name and maybe a random prediction.
*= OK, I never used the Ouija board for name determination I'll admit but it seemed to cool an idea to pass up. Please note I do not condone the use of Ouija boards for anything, it may work for you, but if you end up like Linda Blair, I cannot be held responsible.
As you can see, you get some weird and wonderful names with the random methods, there is something to be said for semi-thought out names.
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