by Justin Bacon
When a character is being created, it is a magical time. The most proficient members of our hobby are able to breathe so much life into their characters that they seem to actually inhabit the bodies of their players while the game is on.
Art by andi jones
However, the half-elven archer who is tortured by his heritage, was torn from his mother, and rejected by his father when the truth was first learned -- while being an exciting and interesting character to play -- is all too easily spoiled by a name such as: "Ron the Archer". Somehow it just seems to lack an essential ephemeral quality.
An engaging, exciting, entertaining, and original name for characters in a fantasy universe has become essential. "Gregory" dims in comparison to "Fairyleaf" or "Dewdusk"; "Stewart" becomes shallow when held up to names such as "Aldervan" or "Floaic".
But there are no sources from which to draw these names and I have, more than once, had the character creation process halted by the fact that I cannot find an appropriate name for a character. Even fantasy literature does not aptly serve this purpose, because if you have seen one "Aragorn," you have seen them all.
The task becomes even more daunting for the aspiring Game Master. He must populate his world with literally thousands of NPCs, and the one bad memory of "Bob the Butcher" will leave a much greater impression upon his players than a hundred characters with interesting and original names will ever do . . .
This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.
Article publication date: July 23, 1999
Copyright © 1999 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.