Naming a character: why character names matter


Pathfinder Society

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Sovereign Court

Bob for President . . . er . . . leader of the Decemvirate? Yeah that's it; Bob for leader of the decemvirate. :-)


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I need to have my awesomely stupid barbarian start calling everyone "Bob".

-j

The Exchange

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I'm pretty anti joke names. usually the joke is "funny" the first time, and after that it's just annoying.

I did accidentally name a character Kal Omari.

I was looking for osirian sounding names, and I liked Omari then later on decided I liked Kal... said it once now his last name is Jakir. It was a great laugh at the table lol.

Shadow Lodge

Richard Dangle the negative energy channeling cleric
Herp the deaf halfling time oracle
Rocky the Oread flowing monk
Narf the ranger with his cheetah Snarf (first character, wasnt sure if i was gonna keep playing at that point)

My names are atrocious and I frequently get face palms when I introduce my characters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Pittard wrote:


Hi,

I've seen lately some character names that well... need some work.

It's often one of the things that as players we do think of last in the creation process but I believe that the name you give the character matters.

I know PFS is never going to go the way of the names we see in mmo's. Im a Neverwinter player who is astounded at the lack of imagination people put into naming their characters (if any at all).

If you dont know what to name your character , use a name generator. I used the Baldur's Gate generator for years. Do a search in google, you will find a Plethora of generators not only tailored for race but also class.

There are players who are determined to give their characters, and in some cases the gods they worship perverse names, such as the late GimmmeLots who worshiped the god Abbadabbado. (his name for Abadar). Since the campaign rules don't forbid what players say as long as they don't try to violate the rules of the campaign, any attempt to change those habits is going to be met with nothing but hostility

Liberty's Edge

Mike Mistele brought up a very good point earlier. Im probably paraphrasing here (and he wont like that! :)) but it was along the lines of 'To some people a character is just a series of stats on a page' which they dont care much about.

It puzzles me that people could ever have that view, I meant why do something if you dont care about what you are doing.

But hey, if people want to be hostile to me because Id like Fantasy names in a fantasy game to be more fantasy, then so be it. Im pretty sure I can take it :)

I never imagined my rant topic could get to 155 posts. Keep it going! :)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Matthew Pittard wrote:

Mike Mistele brought up a very good point earlier. Im probably paraphrasing here (and he wont like that! :)) but it was along the lines of 'To some people a character is just a series of stats on a page' which they dont care much about.

It puzzles me that people could ever have that view, I meant why do something if you dont care about what you are doing.

They do care about what they are doing. They are playing the game. Just because they aren't roleplaying their character does not mean they aren't playing the game.

Shadow Lodge

I've played at a table with an I.P. Freely. The GM just called him Freely.

For myself, I always do lots of research (being a herald in the SCA, it's kind of ingrained). For example, the rather Norse sounding name for my white-haired witch. Shelaelyn Tenris, the Taldan cleric of Shelyn. And the Japanese word for shadow for my wayang magus.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Idris Runasdottir wrote:
I've played at a table with an I.P. Freely. The GM just called him Freely.

Yeah, that was what I did. :)

In other news, I've been working on my sevens PFS character. A gnome wildblooded sorcerer named Timtenzekil Tengentrail. Follows the racial conventions while having just enough easter egg bonuses to make me smile.

3/5

Hey OP,

For the most part, I try to keep my characters fantasy based. That said ...

I WILL be making an Archaeologist Bard whip specialist named Indiana Ford, and you WILL like it! ;)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I ended up naming my new sorceress after a license plate I saw on the way to the game.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Jiggy wrote:
I ended up naming my new sorceress after a license plate I saw on the way to the game.

What, like KZP 549? Sounds like a weird name.

The Exchange 5/5

Matthew Pittard wrote:

Mike Mistele brought up a very good point earlier. Im probably paraphrasing here (and he wont like that! :)) but it was along the lines of 'To some people a character is just a series of stats on a page' which they dont care much about.

It puzzles me that people could ever have that view, I meant why do something if you dont care about what you are doing.

But hey, if people want to be hostile to me because Id like Fantasy names in a fantasy game to be more fantasy, then so be it. Im pretty sure I can take it :)

I never imagined my rant topic could get to 155 posts. Keep it going! :)

And it has always bothered me a littel that many players in fantasy games feel the need to make PCs with unique names. The name of the ruler of a country often will have children named after them. Yet, I have yet to see one PC named after a ruler... ??

You might consider naming your next PC after some NPC in the game. Perhaps a historical figure. Or maybe after a god/godess. Has anyone done that?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

RainyDayNinja wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I ended up naming my new sorceress after a license plate I saw on the way to the game.
What, like KZP 549? Sounds like a weird name.

No, some old lady in a convertible had a license plate that said "ARLYN S". So my sorceress is now named Arlyn Swallowtail.


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Matthew Pittard wrote:


Hi,

I've seen lately some character names that well... need some work.

Don't tell me it's Mr Pibb!?


Matthew Pittard wrote:

Mike Mistele brought up a very good point earlier. Im probably paraphrasing here (and he wont like that! :)) but it was along the lines of 'To some people a character is just a series of stats on a page' which they dont care much about.

It puzzles me that people could ever have that view, I meant why do something if you dont care about what you are doing.

But hey, if people want to be hostile to me because Id like Fantasy names in a fantasy game to be more fantasy, then so be it. Im pretty sure I can take it :)

I never imagined my rant topic could get to 155 posts. Keep it going! :)

To second TriOmegaZero, different people play the game for different things, and just because they don't roleplay or look for the same things in the game that you do does not mean that they don't care about what they were doing--after all, if they didn't have fun playing the game, why play it? That's what's important.

People in general won't be hostile towards you for your view if it's just your preference--I mean, for example, I prefer guns in my fantasy while others prefer no guns, that doesn't mean we can't get along. It is when this view crosses the line to condescending is when people are going to have problems, or when statements become less "this is how I prefer it" and more "if you're not doing it this way you're having wrongbadfun" is when the problems begin.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Callum Prior wrote:
Don't tell me it's Mr Pibb!?

They call you Mr. Pibb?


The Fourth Horseman wrote:
I WILL be making an Archaeologist Bard whip specialist named Indiana Ford, and you WILL like it! ;)

I just finished playing in the Kingmaker Adventure Path with an online group. I played an Archaeologist Bard (yes, of course with a whip), and I threatened to name him Wisconsin Smith. Didn't follow through on that, but I did name him Deckard Kimble (after two of Harrison Ford's other roles). :-)

Lantern Lodge 5/5

Matthew Morris wrote:

I'm thinking about a rakasha tiefling named kooshka. Has to be female though.

** spoiler omitted **Gods I'm old.

I did that with a gnome bard. I convinced my GM to let me have the rope trick spell, too for swinging shenanigans.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

In 2005 I made an NPC - a Spanish blacksmith named Orlande Floracion. You can probably guess his character portrait.

Ok, my Spanish is terrible.

Liberty's Edge

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Well, if I am to name a character after a ruler, would he be "Staedler Twelveinches"?

Grand Lodge

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nosig wrote:


And it has always bothered me a littel that many players in fantasy games feel the need to make PCs with unique names. The name of the ruler of a country often will have children named after them. Yet, I have yet to see one PC named after a ruler... ??

You might consider naming your next PC after some NPC in the game. Perhaps a historical figure. Or maybe after a god/godess. Has anyone done that?

My pirate parents fell in love with the Ivy Quarters magnificent park during my mother's convalescence. Since the park was led by a follower of Gozreh, they decided to name their daughter after her.

Sadly, they had a son.

Silver Crusade

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Idris Runasdottir wrote:

I've played at a table with an I.P. Freely. The GM just called him Freely.

I'd probably spend the whole session jokingly trying to guess what the "I" stands for, calling him something different each time. "Ivan? Isaac? Igor? Ike? Indy? Imp-boy? Intel? Ivannahumpalot?"

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Last night I played alongside a newly-created cleric who did not yet have a name. I suggested narrowing it down by rolling a d20 and picking a name that started with the letter corresponding with the number rolled (1=A, 2=B, etc). Got a "P". The player still didn't know what to pick, so I suggested rolling again for the second letter.

Came up "N".

There was a lot of "Um..." around the table, until someone said the only thing they could think of was "pneumonia". Thus was born Pneumonius the cleric.

Liberty's Edge

I have to ask, in the interest of hearing a thousand hands slapping to foreheads around the globe:

Has anyone played with a wizard who has a raven familiar named Quoth?

It seems too easy, even for bad pun lovers. I get the feeling its either incredibly common or incredibly rare.


Please tell me they were a cleric of Urgathoa.

The Exchange 5/5

Long ago, in old D&D (before AD&D), I had a cleric named Muhammad Tuck. Kind of the rounded, jolly guy, drank a lot of beer and had a turkey leg always in hand. Played him as kind of a european monk type cleric...

It was months before people realized I as playing a Friar ... they couldn't get past the first name.


Derek Weil wrote:

I have to ask, in the interest of hearing a thousand hands slapping to foreheads around the globe:

Has anyone played with a wizard who has a raven familiar named Quoth?

It seems too easy, even for bad pun lovers. I get the feeling its either incredibly common or incredibly rare.

I have seen a wizard named Nevar and his raven Eromreven.


How about Oscar Myear?

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

I will freely admit that if I ever play a Mwangi druid with a velociraptor companion, I'm naming the companion "Clever Girl" in Swahili.

But that's honestly as cheeky as I'd ever get with names. Prefer immersion.

"Wajanja Msichana", doesn't really roll off the tongue so easily, but this is from the player who accidentally created a table joke, my horse didn't have a name yet, and when asked I just read off the top of the hero lab print out "Horse Comma Light War Trained"

Silver Crusade

Derek Weil wrote:

I have to ask, in the interest of hearing a thousand hands slapping to foreheads around the globe:

Has anyone played with a wizard who has a raven familiar named Quoth?

It seems too easy, even for bad pun lovers. I get the feeling its either incredibly common or incredibly rare.

If you look upthread, I was going to make a tengu barbarian named Eap. The tengu was going to be a jet black tengu. Eap. E.A.P. Edgar Allen Poe.

I haven't played the character yet, so I decided to just go the human invulnerable rager superstition rage power route instead.

His name is Cletus.

Silver Crusade

I've seen a raven familiar named Nevermore.

Silver Crusade

My titular character, Alexander Damocles, comes from Greek. Closest I can come to in English is "He who defends the Glory of the People". For a Sorcerer / Lore Oracle / Paladin, it worked nicely.

Silver Crusade

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Derek Weil wrote:

I have to ask, in the interest of hearing a thousand hands slapping to foreheads around the globe:

Has anyone played with a wizard who has a raven familiar named Quoth?

It seems too easy, even for bad pun lovers. I get the feeling its either incredibly common or incredibly rare.

If you look upthread, I was going to make a tengu barbarian named Eap. The tengu was going to be a jet black tengu. Eap. E.A.P. Edgar Allen Poe.

I haven't played the character yet, so I decided to just go the human invulnerable rager superstition rage power route instead.

His name is Cletus.

I have a tengu monk named Jet Po.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

My Tengu Witch has a raven familiar he calls "Little Brother."


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Mike Mistele wrote:
I just finished playing in the Kingmaker Adventure Path with an online group. I played an Archaeologist Bard (yes, of course with a whip), and I threatened to name him Wisconsin Smith. Didn't follow through on that, but I did name him Deckard Kimble (after two of Harrison Ford's other roles). :-)

When it comes to sending up Indiana Jones (in naming conventions), it should be (and has been) Wisconsin Platt. You act as though Mark E. Rogers didn't write a series of illustrated books built around a feline samurai named Miaowara Tomokato (or 'meow, tomcat').

The Exchange

BigNorseWolf wrote:

You can't pick your coworkers names

Or their noses.

Hey that is where mine come from, slight modifications to last names of coworker recognized for something on the company poster in the back

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Character name time? With the exception of one, I don't think any of mine are particularly horrible.

His Grand Lordship Viscount Ethan Snide - Human Evoker Wizard from Taldor who hates pretty much every person he's ever met (with a few exceptions)

Knight Captain Rowlan Chire - Halfling Cavalier/Bard/Battle Herald Eagle Knight with his Golden Retriever mount Bruno (still Bruno I).

Marženek Koliadnko - Dhampir Sound Striker Dirge Bard; a completely weaponless bard who just likes to yell a lot.

Trade Princess Alhara Al-Mustahîl - Half-Elf Ranger/Monk of the Empty Hand/Musket Master; who intends to bring trade between Qadira and Alkenstar however possible.

Nines Tenz - The not-too-bright Ifrit Paladin/Ninja from Qadira who has forsaken her own name to represent the nine (or is it ten, she's not sure) steps to true enlightenment.

Gib Giberson - Gnome Summoner with her Eidolon "Stingy" and die-hard supporter of anything Pathfinder. Yay Pathfinders, go Pathfinders!

Tcreese - Tengu Internal Alchemist/Crypt Breaker from Tian-Xia who after breaking his shackles of slavery, escaped to a land of mysteries and enchantment he had only dreamed of, Osirion.

Burngar Rockhard - Dwarven Invulnerable Rager who's still fairly charismatic but yet a bit of a butterfingers and goes shirtless 100% of the time, because shirtless is awesome.

Yllurin Starstealer - Elven GM Credit Character, still have to figure this one out.

[b]


I'm not really one to care about what other people name their characters (It's their game, too), but when every other Barbarian I encounter is named 'Conan'...
Sigh.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

In_digo wrote:

I'm not really one to care about what other people name their characters (It's their game, too), but when every other Barbarian I encounter is named 'Conan'...

Sigh.

Mine started out as "Bob" (yep - he really did).

But that was while he was a GM credit baby.

Eventually he took a definite form as a bodyguard for a travelling Kitsune bard (a wandering minstrel?), and became Koko Nan.

Liberty's Edge

I shouldn't name anything...

My resume (or rap sheet)

Timber... Crushed beneath the vampire's vast tracts of land (would've died happy, but, just high enough level to spawn).

Quinn... Not a doctor, nor female... Andoran Rogue of regrettable tanking.

Gallopeno... The horse.

Gourry... Two handed fighter (adding lvs of Ragechemist soon), also a Quadiran terrorist.

Shamus McNugget... Dwarf Barbarian. To be fair I was suffering from pretty horrible food poisoning at time of creation.

Thad Actor... 10 year old human boy as far as anyone knows. Maxed out Perform Act and Oratory.

The brothers (I convinced two others to play along)
Karnac... Orc Barbarian the strong one
Karnac... Orc Sorcerer the smart one
Karnac... Orc Bard the pretty one

Torq Zork... The Horc Orc (blooded) Sorc

With even more travesties to come.

Scarab Sages 5/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Okay, I'll bite...

I dislike joke names myself, but even more so I dislike made up names that are completely unpronounceable. I tend to like real world names that sound good in a fantasy setting. Although my Osirion names are just made up names that I think "sound egyptian".

Here are my PFS Character Names by race/ethnicity

Osirion - Ru-Sateph, Nephroditie, Ram Khemet (Hey nosig, he is named after The Ruby Prince, Khemet III)

Andoran - Roland Cross, Jayne Cubb (yeah, you can guess where this one comes from)

Taldoren - Tristan d'Aubervill
Ulfen- Godric Skarsgard
Elven - Loriel Gilded-Leaf, Traelin Windbourne
Ifrit - Charr
Gnome - Ember Sparkles
Tiefling - Nazrael
Tengu/Tien- Whisper of Longing
Halfling - Sandy Underhill
Dwarf - Morgrym Stonehide
Absolom Human - Darius the Cursed

Sovereign Court

JohnF wrote:

Mine started out as "Bob" (yep - he really did).

But that was while he was a GM credit baby.

Bob for leader of the Decemvirate? Yeah that's it; Bob for leader of the decemvirate. :-)

Liberty's Edge

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Bob the Barbarian
"Can we destroy it? Yes we can!"

The Exchange 5/5

Rusty Ironpants wrote:

Okay, I'll bite...

I dislike joke names myself, but even more so I dislike made up names that are completely unpronounceable. I tend to like real world names that sound good in a fantasy setting. Although my Osirion names are just made up names that I think "sound egyptian".

Here are my PFS Character Names by race/ethnicity

Osirion - Ru-Sateph, Nephroditie, Ram Khemet (Hey nosig, he is named after The Ruby Prince, Khemet III)

Andoran - Roland Cross, Jayne Cubb (yeah, you can guess where this one comes from)

Taldoren - Tristan d'Aubervill
Ulfen- Godric Skarsgard
Elven - Loriel Gilded-Leaf, Traelin Windbourne
Ifrit - Charr
Gnome - Ember Sparkles
Tiefling - Nazrael
Tengu/Tien- Whisper of Longing
Halfling - Sandy Underhill
Dwarf - Morgrym Stonehide
Absolom Human - Darius the Cursed

yeah!

Liberty's Edge

Callum: No its not directly Mr Pibb. Ive just never been a fan of pun/joke names.. however I have taken character names from many fantasy names.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only even close jokey name I have given a character is perhaps my most fun PC to play.

Taco

He's awesome. He's a fighter with a STR of 10. And a swan boat.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

This just reminds me of Storytiem's tales of Bard Pitt and his rival bard, Bardley Cooper.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

jon dehning wrote:

The only even close jokey name I have given a character is perhaps my most fun PC to play.

Taco

He's awesome. He's a fighter with a STR of 10. And a swan boat.

Sure... now he has a swan boat.

Wasn't it just that he got tired of asking?

And, no, Munny doesn't have a swan boat, yet.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Silbeg wrote:
jon dehning wrote:

The only even close jokey name I have given a character is perhaps my most fun PC to play.

Taco

He's awesome. He's a fighter with a STR of 10. And a swan boat.

Sure... now he has a swan boat.

Wasn't it just that he got tired of asking?

And, no, Munny doesn't have a swan boat, yet.

Because I cannot post as the Mad Minkaian Swordsman

HA! Taco never get tired of telling other Pathfinders to buy Swan Boat. If the barbarous western people cannot handle direct approach of Taco, is not Taco's fault. If Taco almost drown in Absalom Harbor only to discover not one but TWO "companions" have magical Swan Boat, why is Taco rowing, swimming, and fighting dishonorable sharkman at same time? HM? Taco not know either. Taco could be riding to in style to pirate boat, but no. At least Munny not run from three zombies. Taco admit, not average barbarous western zombie, but righteous Tian zombie! Full of vigor! And might! Still, shameful to run.

Come to think, Taco believe he had Swan Boat when Honorable Munny dropped in ocean. Many apologies. You lived, though, so next time buy own Swan Boat. You have no problem then. Except for the tied up part. That could be problem. You must be like Taco then, learn how to escape bonds. Naturally, Taco understand how you were unable to slip free of superior Tian craftsmanship. It was not inferior barbarous western rope that a child could escape. No shame, Munny. Taco does not think less of you.

Taco also not understand why Venture Captains get angry when Taco answers their questions. For example, at beginning of briefing Venture Captain asks if we have heard of some Cult of Moloch. Taco answered no. How is Taco to know that Venture Captain has more to say? You ask Taco a question. Taco answers it. Please continue.

Also, do not get angry at Taco if you ask Taco to deliver medicine to crabby old woman. Taco ask old woman, "Are you giving medicine to the children?" Old woman answer. "Yes." Good enough for Taco, who is not the Silver Crusade's mule. Bad enough Taco "loaned" out to Qadirans.

Now, Taco must meditate over the violence Taco has caused and the blood Taco has spilled. The road to enlightenment is long and difficult. Thankfully, Korada is kind and patient.

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