So what’s in a name? Really?

So you have this great idea for a PC, only you are utterly stuck for a name, what do you do? 
After all there are more possible names out there than well… stars in the sky, so what do you call your PC?

Firstly, well you need a way of choosing a name, some people are just “gifted” with that Skill, for example Jenara was a name I made up, it was something I could do back then. When you are immersed in the game you somehow live and breathe this stuff… That doesn’t happen so often any more.

 
So, where do you get a name from if you aren’t that clever or simply lacking in imagination?
 
If the Character was a modern one, you could just trawl through baby names, I have loads that I use for characters in modern day novels and games, but these are fantasy names,  they don’t fit to our modern day naming regimes…. Well not always… (see below)
 
The best resource I have found for this is Ebon “The Everchanging Book of Names”  This includes a number great chapters. Elvish, Norse, Finnish, Latin amongst others, it works on some complicated programming and never gives you the same name again…
 
There are of course other ways (this site isn’t affliated with the Ebon Program in anyway).
The Hero Builders Guidebook, for a 3e guide is actually pretty good, it gives you some ideas. Plus there is fantasy literature, BEWARE: Do you REALLY want to call that Mage Gandalf??? We’ve all thought about it, just don’t do it. If you want to honor your favorite Fictional Character, twist the name, change it slightly, reference that characters traits if you have to.
 Another way is to take common phrases and say them really fast and drop a few letters. ie… bird in a tree… birdinatree… bidantre… Bidantre. Great for place or character names.

Or spell words backwards. Take a regular word or a name and flip it around. You will find some awful combinations this way, but there is a chance for gems. The name Canderyn, for instance, turns out Nyrednac (Nac for short). 

Once you have a name it has to fit, yes I’m aware that sounds stupid but how many times have you started with a great PC and then lumbered them with an awful name? I do recall a PC called Nigel.. sounds silly doesn’t it? It worked because He was a Knight of Solomina and it just fit.
 
Also consider a nickname, I currently have a Mercenary Half Elf Fighter who is known as Angel… No-one yet has asked why, her given name is Lena Galius.. Lena G, it works on another level as she sees herself as a protector of the weak. (Can’t claim I thought of that, I have to give a Big Thanks to Stik).

So how do you decide your Character Names? Do they just come to you? Or do you have a method?

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