Mr. and Mrs. Darkmagic were skeptical when their son James expressed an interest in the arcane arts

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 It is presently in vogue to generate characters with descriptive surnames.  Frequently these surnames follow a very specific pattern, being comprised of an adjective followed by a noun, with the whole thing giving some hint of either the character’s profession or just intended to strike fear into the enemy.  This trend really has to stop.  It is THE tragedy of the hobby that we use our imaginations to picture ourselves as magic-wielding wizards, sneaky three foot tall assassins, and stout dwarvish warriors, but we can’t think of any better name than “Bloodhammer” for our fighter.  We can do better than this, indeed we MUST do better than this to demonstrate that our hobby isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around shaking funny dice but a genuinely intellectually engaging exercise.  


 Think about it from your character’s perspective for a moment.  What is the likelihood that your character’s dad’s name actually was Spellsinger?  Not very likely, in my mind, and the probability falls through the floor when your character is a Dragonborn.  Wouldn’t a more realistic name like “Ka-thyssis” be more appropriate?  In fact, by having your non-human character use a name that’s a portmanteau of Common words, isn’t that singly your character’s acceptance of the dominance of the human race and your character’s role in the human world?  You haven’t even rolled your first twenty-sided die and you’re already pigeon-holing your character!


 What’s more, think about how other members of your character’s race must treat him because of his name.  To them, using a Common name is a rejection of their shared ethnic history and a sign that your character is more comfortable with humans than with his own race.    Your dragonblood is going to feel might uncomfortable when he goes into the local dragonblood bar calling himself “Sharptooth” (how descriptive is that, really, for a dragonblood?) when every other dragonblood in the place is wearing traditional dragonblood dashiki and speaking in Draconic.  He’ll come off as an Uncle Tom. While this might make for an interesting background on occasion, it simply isn’t that interesting when everyone else is doing it at the same time.


 Even if you are too lazy to come up with a real name for your character, that’s no excuse to pick any two English words for a name.  If you really want something descriptive, pick a couple words in English to describe your character and then use babelfish or something to translate them into another langue and mush the result together.   Sure, your elven ranger might come out sounding like a brand of vodka, but it will be a better name than Freddy Bowguy.  French works particularly well for dwarves. 


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 For whatever reason, dwarves are frequently portrayed as sort of Scottish / Scandinavian.  This is a wholly inaccurate way to stereotype dwarves.  Think about it: dwarves are dirty, smelly, xenophobic, churlish heavy drinkers who live underground and keep losing wars to orcs.  This in no way describes medieval Scandinavians and only some of those elements can be found in Scottish culture.  When you examine the traditions of the dwarvish people outlined above and compare them with our historical tradition, it becomes obvious that they are clearly based on the French.  As such, we should call upon Wizards, Blizzard, Warner Brothers, and other purveyors of fantasy fiction to correct their portrayals of dwarves to more accurately reflect their ethnic origin.  Viva la dwarf!

 


So take pride in your make-believe racial identity and come up with a real name for your character!

Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
      Well, in the games I usually DM or play, my friends and people who ocasionally play with us never tend to make names based on their character's level of "badassness" but more background oriented. Even though, there are some cases when names such as Bloodhammer fit well a character and his background.
      I Don't really know about the common naming habits of the players but sometimes the style of the game dictates the way a character is built. In long lasting campaigns where your character will play a role in and out of combat and will, most certainly, become notorious it makes sense for that character to have an elaborate past that might, or not, influence on his future deeds, but, in a short lived game or in a simple "delve" you can, and should in most of the times, make quick characters or even use some already pre-generated character to facilitate the flow of the game. In that case, if you ever use that character again or keep using him to subsequent games, you might even develop some affection for the character that might end up stimulating the creation of a more elaborate background.
      Me and my friends have a saying that goes like this: "the hardest part of character creation is the name" but that is due to the fact that most of our characters are created for well elaborated and long campaighns, or even to become permanent personalities of a world we decide to create. Anyway, I wouldn't blame someone for not creating an elaborate name for a character but sometimes the modern games tend to have some MMO feel on them that makes everyone think first of itens and character sheet usefulness then background and the like, it all falls to the DM and players in question.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
A friend of mine made a character a while back for WoW parodying this effect.  He was a Hunter who's name was Nounverber, and his pet was Adjective.

I do this sometimes.  It depends.  My newest character is Incendius Darkscale, which certainly fits what you're saying.  I don't really have a problem with it.  Proper nouns are difficult, as they always sound like something that already exists...  So I might as well make it something that already exists.
Let's be honest though: how many people are creative enough to slap some letters together and hope it comes into something that doesn't sound really really stupid.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure a lot of us (especially here on this particular forum) are good at turning letters into names, I'm not.  I hate making names because I suck at it.  I typically just look up foreign names (my next human or elf is going to have a Welsh name), but if I don't, sometimes Nounverber names aren't so bad.

I will say my favorite name I ever made was a Kalpin Whisperwillow.  It's a Verbnouner name, but it in no way describes my character.  Whisperwillow?  A quiet ranger, right?  Nah.  He's a verbose, cocky, but ultimately virutous Halfling Sorcerer.
Yeah, TBH, historically almost all REAL names can be traced back to exactly these kind of meanings---we just don't know it because they're in obsolete or foreign languages.   I do usually try to translate them into some obscure foreign language( for some reason Primordial=Apache Indian for me now), but trying to make up words from thin air isn't going to sound very good most of the time unless you derive it from a real language in some way.  I did at one point try making up a few words in a fantasy language based on the noises made by my Siamese cat, but that only goes so far( might be cool for a shifter, though).
http://ladyashmire.deviantart.com/
It is presently in vogue to generate characters with descriptive surnames.  Frequently these surnames follow a very specific pattern, being comprised of an adjective followed by a noun, with the whole thing giving some hint of either the character’s profession or just intended to strike fear into the enemy.  This trend really has to stop.  It is THE tragedy of the hobby that we use our imaginations to picture ourselves as magic-wielding wizards, sneaky three foot tall assassins, and stout dwarvish warriors, but we can’t think of any better name than “Bloodhammer” for our fighter.  We can do better than this, indeed we MUST do better than this to demonstrate that our hobby isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around shaking funny dice but a genuinely intellectually engaging exercise.

I don't have any problem with this. For both of the characters I'm currently playing, I have TWO names - their birth name, and the name they currently use. Neither is named for his profession, directly or indirectly, in the birth name or the current name.

In fact, both of them use geographical surnames. One references where his ancestors came from (his immediate family doesn't live there), the other a deceased lover's home (I looked at a real-world map of the area and picked a city). For the birth names, in the first case I actually looked up some names from that real-world country and picked one, and in the second (since there is no real-world Eladrin homeland) I let the character builder offer a bunch of suggestions and picked a first and last name.

Think about it from your character’s perspective for a moment.  What is the likelihood that your character’s dad’s name actually was Spellsinger?

And why do you assume that the father's name has anything to do with the child's name? Other common alternatives for surnames include profession, noble landholdings, place of origin, mother's name, noteworthy events, personal achievements, and complete randomness.

But then quite a lot of cultures went through a change point where the surname went from describing the person, to drawing connections to the person's ancestry. So maybe your father is a baker named Spellsinger because his great-grandfather was a bard. And your mother's father is a smith named Lowbridge because his grandfather came from a village beside a low bridge.


Not very likely, in my mind, and the probability falls through the floor when your character is a Dragonborn.  Wouldn’t a more realistic name like “Ka-thyssis” be more appropriate?

Which, it turns out, means "Spell Singer" in Draconic.

When names are meaningful, and you switch languages, do you translate names and lose the sound, or keep them in the original language and lose the meaning, or just pick new names that are possibly very rough approximations of either sound or meaning? There is no generally-wrong answer, and you can invent specific cultural or anatomic reasons why any of them might be wrong. ("Ka-thyssis" means "Spell Singer" but "Ka-thysssis" is something you don't say in front of your mother. You might want to not ask people who don't speak Draconic to say that name.)



"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose

 It is presently in vogue to generate characters with descriptive surnames.  Frequently these surnames follow a very specific pattern, being comprised of an adjective followed by a noun, with the whole thing giving some hint of either the character’s profession or just intended to strike fear into the enemy.  This trend really has to stop.  It is THE tragedy of the hobby that we use our imaginations to picture ourselves as magic-wielding wizards, sneaky three foot tall assassins, and stout dwarvish warriors, but we can’t think of any better name than “Bloodhammer” for our fighter.  We can do better than this, indeed we MUST do better than this to demonstrate that our hobby isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around shaking funny dice but a genuinely intellectually engaging exercise. 



Mistake #1.  Surnames are not, and have not always been, "family names" as we understand them in modern western society.  In fact, names which describe ones profession were at one time quite common.  where do you think names like "Smith" "Carpenter" and "Shumacher" come from?  In a world that simulates a fantasy setting, "Darkmagic" is a wholly appropriate surname for a practioner of dark magic.


Think about it from your character’s perspective for a moment.  What is the likelihood that your character’s dad’s name actually was Spellsinger?  Not very likely, in my mind, and the probability falls through the floor when your character is a Dragonborn.  Wouldn’t a more realistic name like “Ka-thyssis” be more appropriate?


Oh god.  Look, just taking a reptile noise and adding a hyphen (or even an apostraphe!) is not a good way to come up with a name for your reptilian character.  Perhaps a dragonborn would name his human character "Moo".  That's a noise mammals make, right?  Dragonborn are thinking, reasoning beings with a language and a culture.


If you look at the lore, that's where you'll get your names.  The dragon gods of D&D are Bahamut and Tiamat, names out of Babylonian/Sumerian myth.  Arabic and Persian names would seem appropriate, then, for their peoples.  The suggested names for Dragonborn in the PHB seem to bear this out.


  In fact, by having your non-human character use a name that’s a portmanteau of Common words, isn’t that singly your character’s acceptance of the dominance of the human race and your character’s role in the human world?  You haven’t even rolled your first twenty-sided die and you’re already pigeon-holing your character!

 What’s more, think about how other members of your character’s race must treat him because of his name.  To them, using a Common name is a rejection of their shared ethnic history and a sign that your character is more comfortable with humans than with his own race.    Your dragonblood is going to feel might uncomfortable when he goes into the local dragonblood bar calling himself “Sharptooth” (how descriptive is that, really, for a dragonblood?) when every other dragonblood in the place is wearing traditional dragonblood dashiki and speaking in Draconic.  He’ll come off as an Uncle Tom. While this might make for an interesting background on occasion, it simply isn’t that interesting when everyone else is doing it at the same time.


 Even if you are too lazy to come up with a real name for your character, that’s no excuse to pick any two English words for a name.  If you really want something descriptive, pick a couple words in English to describe your character and then use babelfish or something to translate them into another langue and mush the result together.   Sure, your elven ranger might come out sounding like a brand of vodka, but it will be a better name than Freddy Bowguy.  French works particularly well for dwarves.



I don't see the problem.  In Elvish, perhaps Lolorial Belal Falhalastria means "Awesome Archer from the grove of Belal" so his human friends just call him "Archer", because his elvish name is a bear to say.


So take pride in your make-believe racial identity and come up with a real name for your character!



People have their own level of immersion here, and how deep they want to get into the world.  Personally, when I was rolling a Goliath for a Forgotten Realms campaign, I felt it was important to learn as much about how goliaths are portrayed in that world.  Did you know the name they go by is their "given name", a name granted them by a shaman of their tribe (and is actually their "middle" name when written).  If this name is to hard to pronounce for a speaker of common, it's totally acceptable to translate the word to common.  "Bloodbringer" would be a fine name for such an adventurer (though for the sake of immersion, I would, personally, introduce him first with his given name in the Goliath tongue, before informing the humans they could call be by the translated name)

It's a different call for everyone.  Some people like to do research and come up with good, thematically appropriate names.  Others go for cool-sounding nicknames.  Others slap random syllables together with some hyphens and apostrophes and think they're doing it right.
tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Luke...


Damn you!  I was just about to go to bed, and now look what you've done.
tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Luke...


Damn you!  I was just about to go to bed, and now look what you've done.


Have this when you wake up: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Dark...

Here's a bunch of names I came up with for characters:
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Celtic Avarell, Elwee Sianamma, Gaciya Sham'mah, Dima Teufelmann, Oreyel Kninjes, Sylvanea "Elfstar" Astranea, Brother Hamish

Some of them are intentionally funny, but I hope none of this rubs you the wrong way; try to guess all the races and classes from them.

Oh, and when I started DMing I gave my dwarves silly German last names. Gegenoober, Wurstsaft, etc.

 It is presently in vogue to generate characters with descriptive surnames.  Frequently these surnames follow a very specific pattern, being comprised of an adjective followed by a noun, with the whole thing giving some hint of either the character’s profession or just intended to strike fear into the enemy.  This trend really has to stop.  It is THE tragedy of the hobby that we use our imaginations to picture ourselves as magic-wielding wizards, sneaky three foot tall assassins, and stout dwarvish warriors, but we can’t think of any better name than “Bloodhammer” for our fighter.  We can do better than this, indeed we MUST do better than this to demonstrate that our hobby isn’t a bunch of guys sitting around shaking funny dice but a genuinely intellectually engaging exercise. 




I feel no need, whatsoever, to try and prove to anyone that a hobby I enjoy is a "genuinely intellectually engaging exercise" as I do not feel I need to have anyones approval of what I like to do in my spare time. My time spent playing D&D IS a bunch of people sitting around shaking funny dice. 

 

Think about it from your character’s perspective for a moment.  What is the likelihood that your character’s dad’s name actually was Spellsinger?  Not very likely, in my mind, and the probability falls through the floor when your character is a Dragonborn.  Wouldn’t a more realistic name like “Ka-thyssis” be more appropriate?  In fact, by having your non-human character use a name that’s a portmanteau of Common words, isn’t that singly your character’s acceptance of the dominance of the human race and your character’s role in the human world?  You haven’t even rolled your first twenty-sided die and you’re already pigeon-holing your character!



"In your tongue my name would SkyCaller (Ka-Thyssis), This is the name given to me by my ancestors at birth, you could not pronounce it in my tongue, as you have the deficiency of posessing lips."

 

What’s more, think about how other members of your character’s race must treat him because of his name.  To them, using a Common name is a rejection of their shared ethnic history and a sign that your character is more comfortable with humans than with his own race.    Your dragonblood is going to feel might uncomfortable when he goes into the local dragonblood bar calling himself “Sharptooth” (how descriptive is that, really, for a dragonblood?) when every other dragonblood in the place is wearing traditional dragonblood dashiki and speaking in Draconic.  He’ll come off as an Uncle Tom. While this might make for an interesting background on occasion, it simply isn’t that interesting when everyone else is doing it at the same time.



Actually this happens all the time. I like in a city very popular for its colleges and universities, a very large portions of their student bases are asian. Families move to here from other countries to send their children to college. Many of these people adopt English names. These are not just "Call me Ted" names they are Legal, in the phonebook, on their drivers lisence. Asian families that have lived here for but a few months, speak little english, and their names are Betty and Craig Williams.

 

Even if you are too lazy to come up with a real name for your character, that’s no excuse to pick any two English words for a name.  If you really want something descriptive, pick a couple words in English to describe your character and then use babelfish or something to translate them into another langue and mush the result together.   Sure, your elven ranger might come out sounding like a brand of vodka, but it will be a better name than Freddy Bowguy.  French works particularly well for dwarves. 



So, essentially all you have is exactly what you started with, and every french speaking person in the world knows that your characters last name is WineSwigger. As many people have pointed out "real names" are quite often derives or actually just a persons occupations. As anothe rposter said, Smith, Carpenter, Schumacher, Painter, Miller, the list goes one ! These are all last names and they are all professions. Doug Facepuncher seems like a completely resonable fantasy twist.

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 For whatever reason, dwarves are frequently portrayed as sort of Scottish / Scandinavian.  This is a wholly inaccurate way to stereotype dwarves.  Think about it: dwarves are dirty, smelly, xenophobic, churlish heavy drinkers who live underground and keep losing wars to orcs.  This in no way describes medieval Scandinavians and only some of those elements can be found in Scottish culture.  When you examine the traditions of the dwarvish people outlined above and compare them with our historical tradition, it becomes obvious that they are clearly based on the French.  As such, we should call upon Wizards, Blizzard, Warner Brothers, and other purveyors of fantasy fiction to correct their portrayals of dwarves to more accurately reflect their ethnic origin.  Viva la dwarf!

 



Sorry, Dwarves are infact scottish.


So take pride in your make-believe racial identity and come up with a real name for your character!



Your definition of real seems to be very far from what actual real life names really are and derive from


I don't see the problem.  In Elvish, perhaps Lolorial Belal Falhalastria means "Awesome Archer from the grove of Belal" so his human friends just call him "Archer", because his elvish name is a bear to say.




This is a very good example. I once had a Green Elf character, back in 3.5, whose name translated roughly into Lynx Stalking at Twilight. The party merely called her Lynx in Common, since it was much easier to just shorten it, and translate it for the benefit of the Dwarf.

Noun names were very, very common among the Native American tribes, which Green Elf society had many paralells with. Its not hard to imagine primitive tribes using such, such as Bugbears, Elves, Shifters, ect. It all has to do with you're background story for the character, and the culture they were raised in.
but trying to make up words from thin air isn't going to sound very good most of the time unless you derive it from a real language in some way.

I have a book entitled "The Language Construction Kit". It's by Mark Rosenfelder.

It has a chapter specifically about what to do if you only need enough of a language to name things.

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
The real world names are often Proffessions, Nounverbers, NounNouner ore even adjectiveNouners.  I think the Japaneese are most famous for NounNouner names. Anglo's including Roman, French, Spanish and Engish, are most known for Proffession names.  Tribal countrys like Indian, Native American, African, and Southern American are quite known for having Nounverbers.  Why would it be any different in a fanntasy world created by, guess what, real world people with this type of naming sendrom built in.

  So in fact your Player naming his Barbarian skullsplitter is thematically and quite historically correct.  As Surnames where quite often in the old days more of a Badge than ones family tree.   In fact making names by randomly placing letters together and ading hyphens or apostraphies is quite rare, although I somtimes do it to creat a more exotic style character with a hard to pronounce name. To kind of make a mock language barrier effect. ky'shtck may well be shoemaker in his native toung
It could also be an epithet or sobriquet. A Dwarf named Kalak Skullsplitter could quite easily be called Kalak Orinson, Kalak son of Orin or Kalak of Hammerfast, or whatever else you want to use as a last name.
The fact that he is a Battlerager Fighter and wields an axe to cleave through the skulls of his enemies has led others to name him "The Skullsplitter". Taking a liking to it he has just adopted it as part of his name.
as a person who has a nounnoun name, i feel the need to defend it.  Feel free to skip my background, but i think it provides a valid explanation for the name.

Mieora is a half elf, her father was a human, who loved her mother, an elf, very much.  Originally they tried to live in her father's city, but elves were disliked in that area, taunts and cruelty turned into violence.  Mieora was 3 at the time when her mother had to run, her father gave his life to defend them, to give them time to escape.  She remembers nothing of this but a dark night and her mother's crying.  Having returned to the elves Mieora was raised as if she was fully elven, and she never knew her half elf heritage until the day that humans invaded, killing everyone in the village except for her.  They spared her for her human heritage.  She was 15 at the time, and began to the half of herself that was human.  She entered a large human city, seeking to understand herself.  She became a singer, learning to play many musical instruments.  By 17 she became well known, and wrote a famous song.  Every time she sang it she introduced it with "My song was born of the blood of my people." People called her Bloodsong, and she kept it as her stage name.  Now she is an adventurer, and this name has become a part of her identity.
Going out of your way to break the game and then complaining that it is broken is like beating a wall with a sledge hammer for an hour and then claiming its a bad wall.

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     I have a ridiculously common name.  My first name is perhaps a dozen down the line from 'John', and my last is perhaps five down the line from 'Smith'.  My middle name is a bit more unique, and I treasure it for that.  Just the same, my very common names (in no particular order) translate to Lorekeeper, Redearth, and Truesilver.  I'm not called Truesilver, the Lorekeeper of Redearth because the specific words of our names are holdovers from another era (one which we generally view as an all-inclusive Back Then).  If we were in that era (as we endeavor to be when playing fantasy), my very common names would naturally have those mythic AdjectiveNoun meanings.

     I see where the OP is coming from.  Every name in pop fantasy (D&D, WoW, etc.) is like this.  The problem is, I can't think of a better solution.  Okay, there's occasionally changing it up with stuff like 'Al-Farid, Son of the Desert Wind' but in table use that's going to get shortened to 'Al', and isn't too far from being 'Desertwind'.  My (eternally incipient, never played) Sorc|Lock has the background point of never having been given a proper name.  As a child he was called The Orphan, in the Feywild he's known as Umbranothian, on the streets of Sharn he's Jack of the Shadows or Shadow Jack ('Jack' in the old sense of our current word 'Guy'), and when he's being really secretive he's just Mr. U.  It's definitely possible to break the mold, but it may take more background inclusion than many are willing to devote for the sole purpose of breaking a very sturdy mold.

     All said, I must ultimately disagree with the OP.  Yes, AdjectiveNoun or NounVerb is cliche'd, but there aren't many better options.  As people pointed out, the AdjectiveNounButInFrench solution is pretty transparent (and it's somewhat astounding that one might claim some kind of high ground simply because zie spent five seconds throwing zir AdjectiveNoun at Babelfish), and throwing together random noises... that's supposed to be more characteristic than a descriptive pairing of words?  I make up random jumbles of noises for NPC names all day as a DM; it's an easily-forgotten eater of note-paper that the players will only get right three sessions after the NPC's arc is concluded.  That's why the random noises are for first names (kind of setting 'street cred') and AdjectiveNoun is for last names (for actual 'table cred').

     If I introduced Skrttz Krekstrttl the goblin fence, players would call him 'Skirts' and he'd do nothing but take them out of the moment with a brief chuckle every time he was mentioned.  Ask my players about Scutter Snotblack, on the other hand, and they'll say 'The mean little goblin with the shady pawn shop?  We tracked down his killers!' or, perhaps, 'If we'd known that filthy little wretch was a wererat we never would've followed him into the sewers!' (I unapologetically reuse NPC names in different campaigns; let me tell you, 'Bling-Bling the Pimpsta Minotaur' was a fun one to fit into Sharn).

     Anyway, it's really the most elegant option I can see.  If one wants to convey the character -- or even simply make an impression -- with a name, Balthazar Stonescale will light up a lot more imagination neurons than Heinrik Dumkopff.  The OP is, of course, free to name your characters whatever zie wants, but the arguments presented are flawed and zir attitude is needlessly, baselessly elitist.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
This raises horrifying ramifications against every dwarf who's ever been named "Bronzebottom".
This raises horrifying ramifications against every dwarf who's ever been named "Bronzebottom".


That's a respectable dwarf name, even if one of it's clans fell into infamy at some point. Don't be rude!
Though I'd probably use Bronzhintern...
Oh course, it's a mistranslation of the original dwarvish. Technically it's "Bronze-Taken-From-The-Lowest-Point", after the famous ancestor who, living in a deep, forgotten hovel in the dwarven slums, discovered alloys.
You will fear my Laser Face!
Oh course, it's a mistranslation of the original dwarvish. Technically it's "Bronze-Taken-From-The-Lowest-Point", after the famous ancestor who, living in a deep, forgotten hovel in the dwarven slums, discovered alloys.


I wonder if Kurtz stalks those boards... and if he is, what is he thinking...
want to come up with an original name that averts the "luke nounverber" cliche?

"Corfal Fizinifa"

thats it.
want to come up with an original name that averts the "luke nounverber" cliche?

"Corfal Fizinifa"

thats it.



Fizinifa comes off as sounding like an adjectivenouner.  The noun being something made up but is still has a adjective-nouner almost japaneese style

PS Luke Skywalker I'm assuming being the Clichè is technically a Noun-nouner.  Walker would be a proffesion as someone who walks. the -er/-or turns verbs into nouns.  
"Vank Derz"

there.

now it does even sound "nounverber-y" the fact that a made up word isn't a noun at all, or could fall into anything like grammar when not used grammatical context, apparently not important at all.
want to come up with an original name that averts the "luke nounverber" cliche?

"Corfal Fizinifa"

thats it.



Fizinifa comes off as sounding like an adjectivenouner.  The noun being something made up but is still has a adjective-nouner almost japaneese style

PS Luke Skywalker I'm assuming being the Clichè is technically a Noun-nouner.  Walker would be a proffesion as someone who walks. the -er/-or turns verbs into nouns.  



"Which is why it is Noun-verb-ER not, Noun-verb. Verb-er is more specific, because Noun-noun could be Skyflame, whereas Noun-verb-ER cannot be."
"Don't ask me about the way I type, at best, I'll ignore you (or have no intention of actually reading the thread I posted in again). If I respond, it will probably be sarcastic. I could explain it here, but really, why should I? I am asked often, and usually in a rude and condescending manner, and so, giving the answer here would only serve to satisfy the curiosity of a bunch of stupid people I don't care to grant that benefit. Also, if it annoys you, just remember that somewhere out there, my spirits were lifted, because I really like annoying people that are close-minded enough to be annoyed by something as minor as that; not to mention, there are a good number of people on the internet who can't even bother to learn to write American English (or any other form of English, I can't make criticisms about languages in which I am not proficient) properly (people for whom it is their first language), and that is far more irritating, yet commonly accepted."
I don't bother with last names. In reality, most of europe didn't use them commonly until the mid-1700's. Many northern countries, like iceland create a last name that references the father (if a boys father was named bjorn, his last name would be bjornsson or similar) and aren't family names at all. 

if you do something great during your lifetime, a title will be placed upon you, and would fill the "last name" slot you're talking about. this would most likely be a nounverber anyway, as people who create titles aren't very creative.

surnames are meant to be descriptive, to distinguish your family from another.  a nounverber title does that much more easily in any language. maybe you're just a commoner and so you have a common name. maybe you come from a long line of scholars and librarians and your last name really IS "Nounverber". why does an adventurer have to have a fancy name? Were Eric the Red or Alexander the Great any less important than Amerigo Vespucci or Galileo Galelei? my opinion is no.

A lot of people have said appellations based on professions are historically accurate, and that’s true, but I submit to you that they are also boring.  OK, “Darkmagic” might be a perfectly adequate way to describe a arcane character, but that’s all it is.  There’s no real personality there and the character’s name is just a reflection of his profession.  In my mind, you might was well save yourself the trouble and just call him “Wizard,” which is just as descriptive.  Simply put, while naming your character after your profession might be historically accurate, it does not engender interest in the character or his story.  Mr. Smith didn’t go to Washington to make horseshoes and Agent Cooper didn’t head to Twin Peaks to construct barrels, so why should anyone names Darkmagic do dark magic?   Wouldn’t it be more interesting if Jim Darkmagic got his name his pop’s job, but Jim himself was a fighter?


 Along the same lines, I wish people would be more attentive to how their characters’ chosen names would be viewed in their characters’ racial cultures.  Stonehammer the dwarf or Darkscale the dragonborn (don’t mean to pick on you, Thajocoth, it was just there) aren’t good names because they wouldn’t be used to describe the characters within their own culture.  Stones and scales are so integrally tied to dwarves and dragon born that the equivalent would be naming your human character Fred Humanguy.  There’s just no where to go with these na,es because they are fully defined and described by their character sheets.  In contrast, Darkscale the dwarf, despite still being a nounverb variant, is much more interesting though and raises all sorts of questions.  Does he like or hate snakes?  Was his dad a pawnbroker or precious metals merchant who’s cast-iron scales were emblematic of his business?  Does he have really bad psoriasis?  While Darkscale is still a portmanteau name, it at least makes it a little more interesting on someone you don’t expect to be named Darkscale and I think that this, along with the question his name raises, makes for a more interesting character.


 Several people have made some good points about nounverb surnames being more title or appellations for previous deeds.  I think this is a good, valid point, however I would not give one of my own characters such a name, particularly if I was creating a level one character, which is usually the case for me.  It seems to me that if you take a name or title based on your character’s person deeds, then you should be open to being mutable in the future.  That having been said, there are plenty of real world cultures, like Greek societies, who assign a deed name based on adolescent deeds that doesn’t change.  Which I guess is great for somebody named Lionheart, but not so epic for Joey Hyenabreath (although it might explain why Joey decided to leave his family and go adventuring). 


 As an aside, how many of you change your characters’ names mid-campagin to reflect the characters’ actions during play?


 Actually, now that I mention it, Greek society nicknames are a pretty valid basis to name RPG characters.  Fraternities frequently give their members names that are meaningful to one’s immediate brothers, but not as directly meaningful to others, which in turn raises a level of interest and mystery.  For example, I was recently at a wedding where many of the groom’s friends were in the same frat with him and they all used their nicknames when referring to each other.  I didn’t know how Joe got to be called Pipper or how Brandon got pegged with Gopher, but I knew not only that those names were directly meaningful to them, but also that there was interesting story behind those names and I could start up a conversation with them by asking them about their names.  Relevant to the those present, but also interesting because it wasn’t something that was readily apparent to someone from the outside and consequently great fodder for PC names.


 And just to be honest, I am a hypocrite.  My current character is an Elardin fighter named Aspic Larkstongue.  While her name is derived from a King Crimson song and not her profession, I do want to be honest about that fact that my naming strategies aren’t as creative as I would like.  I would like point out that prog-rock is a great jumping off point, in terms of imagery and what not, for creating PC that don’t come from the World. 


 Finally, I just wanted to let everyone know that I value everyone’s contributions on this subject.  Lame names are my personal bugbear and I don’t expect everyone else to feel the same way I do.  I hope everyone picked up on the tongue-in-check nature of my first post and understood that from the start.  I really just wanted to vent and to encourage folks to think a little more about their PCs’ names.

Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
For a fun spin try encouraging the use of descriptive names based on the parents... so a wizard with the name "Cooper" or some such.
On the topic of Dragonborn names: I think their ecology article suggested that each Dragonborn should have at least four - a child name (not used in adulthood), first name, family name (rarely used) and a personal appellation (like Darkscale or Firebreather).
As an aside, how many of you change your characters’ names mid-campagin to reflect the characters’ actions during play?

Both the characters I've played lately have multiple names due to backstory.

One adopted a name that is strictly a nom de guerre, and willingly uses his birth name and family connections when convenient.

The other has repudiated his past. Interestingly, he might soon meet an NPC that might recognize him from that past.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I am personally a fan of multi-name characters.  I come up with first, middle and surnames. Titles, sobriquets and aliases.

Currently I'm playing a Tiefling Bard named Nunzio "Wander".  He has more to his name, but that's what everyone calls him.  All the players in the group simply call him Wander.  In social situations he calls himself Nunzio, but never gives a surname, despite having one.

I also have made a Warforged Monk that I'm calling Tau Epsilon Nu.  Pretty much because I like the sounds of those Greek letters in that order.  Most people have taken to calling him Tau, despite the fact that I think he prefers to be called Epsilon.

This is all simple character interaction.  The simple fact is that after you get one name down for people to remember more is asking a bit much of your gaming group.  Besides, I'd never remember to call someone Skullsplitter unless it was relevant to the story or my immediate survival.
On the topic of Dragonborn names: I think their ecology article suggested that each Dragonborn should have at least four - a child name (not used in adulthood), first name, family name (rarely used) and a personal appellation (like Darkscale or Firebreather).



You're correct. It's also in the Dragonborn book.

Dragonborn have a given name, which is they name they go by on a regular basis. Then they have a family name, which is often in Draconic and is only used privately. Finally, they have a clan name, which is what they use as a surname in public, which follows a sort of nounverber pattern.
And they also have a childhood nickname that might also follow the nounverber pattern, but might not.


They way I see it, dwarves with Nounverber names are like dragonborn: It's not so much a family name as it is a clan name. Both dragonborn and dwarf culture revolve heavily around clans, and so for a dragonborn or a dwarf, it's natural for them to use their clan name as a surname and not a family name.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Yes, nounverber names are cliches.  But the reason cliches get to cliche status is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers of the communication toolbox. 
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
OK, but who doesn't get excited about using a jackhammer or a sawsall once in a while?
Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
Guilty as charged.  I'm using a not-nounverber named character atm, actually.  
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Or you can do what I did. My character is named Shava of the Long Lake because that's where her ancestral home was.
You have about as much charm as a dead slug. - Haymitch You don't make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time? I'm an eladrin feylock Special from Disrict 4 who goes to Hogwarts during the school year, Camp Half-Blood in the summer, and takes lightsaber classes on the side. Are you jealous yet?
Let's see ... character names?

Fromnier Fromfar (Dragonborn Rogue)
Charlie Grofsaw (Human Fighter)
Trousle Undrhil (Firesoul Genasi Warlock)
Ebbon Flow (Watersoul Genasi Warlord)
Quintosis Decimus (Stormsoul Genasi Storm Sorcerer)
Terra (changeling shaman|warlord), surname will likely be Incognita, just because. 
Non (Kenku Assassin)
Finley (Human Warden)
Rikku (changeling artificer)
Redna Battlehappy (Halfling Barbarian) (Look!  A (noun|verb)adjactive name!)

I have other names but these are the main characters I play in LFR.  Some of my characters started with a surname but some of them won't get a surname until something special happens to them (such as advancing out of the heroic tier of play, I suppose.)
Let's see ... character names?

Fromnier Fromfar (Dragonborn Rogue)
Charlie Grofsaw (Human Fighter)
Trousle Undrhil (Firesoul Genasi Warlock)
Ebbon Flow (Watersoul Genasi Warlord)
Quintosis Decimus (Stormsoul Genasi Storm Sorcerer)
Terra (changeling shaman|warlord), surname will likely be Incognita, just because. 
Non (Kenku Assassin)
Finley (Human Warden)
Rikku (changeling artificer)
Redna Battlehappy (Halfling Barbarian) (Look!  A (noun|verb)adjactive name!)

I have other names but these are the main characters I play in LFR.  Some of my characters started with a surname but some of them won't get a surname until something special happens to them (such as advancing out of the heroic tier of play, I suppose.)



I love Ebbon Flow. That is one of the best names I've heard.
Better the 'John is sofa king cool'

Unfortunatly I am not joking. He got thwacked with my DMG

57023768 wrote:
You need to remember- you, as DM, are captain of the "USS Make S**t Up,"
I probably could have done a better job with Ebbon Flow, though.  I was trying to go for Ebb and Flow (all of her personal attacks revolve around charging and her attack at-will is Inevitable Wave.)

Fromnier is the name of my Barbarian Rogue in Everquest, where you have to get to level 20 to get a last name.  So, I worked hard to get him up to level 20 so I could give him the surname Fromfar. 
Mr. Smith didn’t go to Washington to make horseshoes and Agent Cooper didn’t head to Twin Peaks to construct barrels, so why should anyone names Darkmagic do dark magic?


Because campains aren't generally set in 1930s America where people's last names are handed down from generation to generation.

You are reifying surnames in a way that comes out of left field.  Most of the famous surnames from before 1500 were not all that interesting.  They were usually nicknames, place names, or profession names.  No matter where you are from, 90% of the surnames in the world will fit these three categories.

Wouldn’t it be more interesting if Jim Darkmagic got his name his pop’s job, but Jim himself was a fighter?


How is that interesting?  it just seems contrarian for contrariness sake.  And it smacks of Irony Theatre.  (my name is Geoffrey Peace... but I'm a raging barabarian!  Get it?)  That's a half-step up from naming a person a pun.

Don't look for names to make a character interesting.  Character makes characters interesting.  And language makes them exotic.  Mike Hammer sounds kind of bland, even though he is a Mickey Spilane protagonist.  Charles Martel is more interesting because it's Frankish.  Judah Maccabee is even more interesting because it's in Hebrew.  But all three surnames mean "hammer", and the last two are both nicknames for the person's ferocity.  (The first one is a metaphorical desription for the character's tenacity.)

In contrast, Darkscale the dwarf, despite still being a nounverb variant, is much more interesting though and raises all sorts of questions.


No, it doesn't.  Again, you seem to mistake contariness for being interesting.  A dwarf who hates snakes is... moderately interesting.  But I note that Indiana Jones hates snakes and was not called "Indiana Blackscale."  If you think a dwarf with snake phobias is interesting, great.  But he doesn't become more interesting by giving him a weird name.


I really just wanted to vent and to encourage folks to think a little more about their PCs’ names.


I would prefer if they spent that time thinking of their characters' personalities.
The biggest problem with character names I have observed is, nobody remembers them when they're playing, no matter how clever or how many times it inverts, subverts, and extroverts the trend of cliche names.

During a campaign, my bard was first named Darmok Andjalad Attanagra, referencing Star Trek: The Next Generation (Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra). Nobody remembered it, and I didn't remember anyone else's names because they appeared to have mashed their foreheads on a keyboard and had both big toes on the apostrophe key.

Then, midway through a session, I had to repeat my character's name for the umpteenth time and then said, "Forget that name; she's just Brosephine!" or something to that effect. And it stuck. I realized then that pun-based names are more easy to remember. And I gave my character the full name Brosephine Glynnonpwllbwllcowymawrmyddidasuiaf MacPunderbolt, and the character history magically grew from the Welsh syllables like fungus under a toe nail.

An unrealted punny name or historical reference can be much more interesting than a significant name that is either cliche or so well researched and thought out, it blends seamlessly with the setting and is thus as unremarkable and unmemorable as "Berkley Berthed." Kudos, however, if the punny name is related to the character; then it's just punderful. Here's a few character names:

Belle Ringer (ruthless ruffian dwarf)
Guy Nice (pronounced niece, as in the French city)
Igneous Rock
Porche Lynn
Dwight Ning
Levi Ethan
Bea Hemmoth
Tom O'Hawk
Jay Pegg
Michael Jeremy Ironside-Burns
Halle Burton (I dunno, mercenary with high charisma and diplomatic skills?)
Victor Hugo Weaving
Penelope "Penny" Nib
Monty Negro
Cam Chatka (outdoorsman with a Russian accent)
Calvin Johnson and Luther Martinez (any divine class)
Jen Errol and Admir Raal (warlords)
Squidney
Lee Enfield

Edit: Forgot my personal favorite: Christopher Gnollan.
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