Using Random Tools

Creating a Names List for your RPG Session

Duncan Thomson

If you're running a roleplaying game one of the simplest ways to use RPG Generators is to keep a names list

A Name for Any Occasion

If your players are anything like mine they will talk to random NPCs and go in unexpected directions. A passing reference to a farmer might be taken as possibility that they have importance as tied to a villain, a quest giver, important to the plot or have something they want. Or the players might simply take a liking to them.

For these times and many others, an appropriate Name is often a magical answer.

A name gives them importance and weight. An identity.

So a list of such names is a useful tool.

An Example of a Names List

A very short names list for a D&D campaign set in a duchy with dwarven allies had a names list of...

Dwarf Names (female): Ilde, Torbera, Dagnal

Dwarf Names (male): Tordek, Delg, Martuk

Human Names (female): Kara, Zora, Alethra, Olma

Human Names (male): Grigor, Orel, Kosef, Glar

As names are used for Martuk the stonecutter or Olma of Vendren, they can be crossed off. Without doing a name search or the Net or thinking one up.

The list can include more cultures and more names per list if there are a lot of characters to meet. Include nicknames, family names, places names and anything else that you think you will need.

I often merge lists into an ungendered list and for many adventures a single list of names can work.

For a game set in Westcountry England with wrestling and dimension hopping I had names (using Fantasy Name Generator) for...

  • English Names (male and female, forename and surname)
  • Cornish Names (male and female, forename and surname )
  • Dimensions of Reality
  • Faeries
  • English Place Names
  • Wrestling Events
  • Wrestler Names (male and female)

Tailoring it to Your Game

To make a simple names list, think of 1 to 5 categories of names you might like and then find random generators for them. Fantasy Name Generators has many different options to get you started.

Pick 3 to 10 names for each category and you have your list

So for a dnd game at sea you might pick dnd names for Humans, Tabaxi, Tritons and Tortles.

You can refresh them between game sessions or when they start getting low. Or if the campaign focus shifts to dwarven mountains or the Underdark.

More Generators Advice

If you have your own advice or names generators suggestions, leave them in the comments or on my Discord server