Few things will destroy a player’s suspension of disbelief during a Dungeons & Dragons game more quickly than a poorly-chosen name for a character or location in the fantasy setting. When Atok the Storm Tribesman, Eldrid the Fearless and Kelkryn the Blue Mage seek to question a town guard about kobold activity beyond the city gates and learn the guard’s name is Joe, the anachronism created detracts from the obvious work the players did to create interesting heroes. Of course, players can similarly detract from the setting by giving inappropriate names to their own characters; a grim fantasy campaign featuring Ogthor Trollcrusher, Malinya Celanil and Foofie the Mage has a certain level of silliness, even if Foofie really does mean “eternal woe” in the Elder Tongue, as Foofie’s player suggests.
Whether the dungeon master is trying to create atmosphere by using appropriate-sounding names in adventure design, or if the heroes decide to speak with a random non-player character (NPC) that the DM hasn’t fully detailed, having names that match the setting is an important part of creating a quality role-playing experience.
This post outlines seven resources for dungeon masters – apart from their own imaginations – that can provide suitable names for any fantasy setting. Continue reading