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Any Guide to Names?


Scenario Submission Talk

Shadow Lodge ***

Is there anything like a guide to how to make character names that sound Talden, Andoran, or Cheliaxian etc. Osirian and Qadiran are self explainitory, but the others are questionable.

Liberty's Edge *

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kerney wrote:

Is there anything like a guide to how to make character names that sound Talden, Andoran, or Cheliaxian etc. Osirian and Qadiran are self explainitory, but the others are questionable.

I find this book very useful.

"The Everyone Everywhere List"
From Erik James Olsrud

The Everyone Everywhere List gives you percentile lists of male, female, and surnames from every major European, Middle Eastern, and Oriental culture in the world.

After that you just have to figure out which real world culture each Golarion culture is patterned after.

For instance:
Andoran = United States
Absolom = Jerusalem
Varisia = Slavic
Land of the Linnorm Kings = Scandinavia
Osirion = Egypt
Taldor = Mesopotamia (not completely sure about this one. I still need that book)
Qadira = Persia

and so on...

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Changing an NPC's name is one of the easiest things to do in development, so just worry about making a good story with exciting, innovative encounters. The minor details are just that...minor. If the quality of an adventure hinges on the name of one of its characters, it's likely got very little else going for it.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Mark Moreland wrote:
Changing an NPC's name is one of the easiest things to do in development, so just worry about making a good story with exciting, innovative encounters. The minor details are just that...minor. If the quality of an adventure hinges on the name of one of its characters, it's likely got very little else going for it.

True! That said, whenever you're naming NPCs, places, items, or anything, take a moment to say each name aloud a couple times. Better yet, say it to a few fellow gamers. If you can't pronounce it, if it sounds awfully similar to the name of an existing character or famous person, or if it makes you snicker, replace it. Try googling names, too—a few seconds online can save you from accidentally giving a character the same name as the hero of a popular book you hadn't read, or a politician who's in the news and thus in the back of your mind.

There's no need to agonize over this, but it's a good habit to get into.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

More important than names are genders. When creating a character, ask yourself "is there any reason this NPC must be a male/female?" If the answer is no, consider switching it up to have a more equal gender balance in the adventure as a whole. If the answer is yes, consider whether that reason is also a gender stereotype that could offend member of that gender.

In other words, what you call a character is only part of what makes for good adventure/world design.

The Exchange *****

Cole Cummings wrote:
Taldor = Mesopotamia (not completely sure about this one. I still need that book)

I always saw Taldor as "The 10th-11th century Byzantine Empire with more than its flair of French Knighthood".

The History and location of Taldor is clearly reminiscent the Byzantine Empire.
The Culture of Taldor is clearly high aristocratic French.
The mixture of the two creates a very unique mixture that to me, works very well!

That said, my Chelaxian HellKnight squire speaks with a good ol' French Accent! (and he speak Chelaxian, not that debased "Taldan"... :P The important thing to remember is that Qadira won over Taldor.

JP

Silver Crusade ****

Naming patterns wouldn't be US, their naming patterns would be british IMO. Philosophy is very USA though.


ThornDJL7 wrote:
Naming patterns wouldn't be US, their naming patterns would be british IMO. Philosophy is very USA though.

Andorra seems to be an idealised USA (freedom this and freedom that), but I don't think that 'Tad' or 'Jimbob' really work in a fantasy setting. 'Abraham' and 'Theodore' might. Perhaps: draw inspiration from the revolutionary and antebellum eras for Andorran names.

Alternatively - freedom this and freedom that was part of a whole movement of the time, exemplified by the "liberty, equality, fraternity" of the french revolution. So revolutionary France might supply inspiration too ... but to many readers it's possible that all french names sound the same (you know: french). Voltaire.

Speaking of the enlightenment: Newton, Pascal, Joule, Henry, Watt, Columb, Faraday. Darwin.

I wonder where ancient greek names might fit in?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Cole Cummings wrote:

I find this book very useful.

"The Everyone Everywhere List"
From Erik James Olsrud

I too find this book to be quite useful...

The Exchange

An excellent book on character naming - with some meta-data regarding history and culture was done by Sherrilyn Kenyon - The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook.

Grand Lodge

A fantastic source for character names is Babynames.com In the advanced search you can select gender, number of syllables, and ethnic origin.

Also useful is NameList.net with its random name generator creating first and surnames for a handful of countries.

I often take two first names and mash them to get a "fantasy" name. But I also make sure that the name sounds good and does not make me snicker.

Shadow Lodge *

I have also found that Kate Monk's onomasticon (http://tekeli.li/onomastikon/) is a treasure trove for RPG and fantasy names.


The human-ethnicity overviews in Inner Sea World Guide also give sample names for each group.

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