I don’t know about you, but as a DM, I’ve always had trouble coming up with new names for taverns, inns, and especially characters. When spending long hours and late nights writing up the death traps and compelling plot twists I force my players to endure, I always have a lapse in neural ability when trying to put into words the identities of the creatures and locales I’ve created. It is incredibly frustrating. I finally set out to find what I could in the way of name generators to help relieve some of the pressure of trying to live a full life and be a DM.
Unlike my research on running an evil campaign, I was pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of useful places to go and all sorts of different tools that could save time. I wouldn’t recommend using these to come up with every name in a campaign, but it never hurts to have aback-up list of NPCs with some descriptions handy so you have something to reward the curious and extremely observant players with when they make a decent Perception Check. Here’s what I came up with.
In case you haven’t found this place yet, the Seventh Sanctum is an extremely useful site with random generators for all sorts of things. Heck, after looking at a couple of the Quest Item generator choices, I decided to add a new quest to my home game just to have an excuse to give them one of these things.
It’s fun to play around with, and it generates surnames so you don’t have to try and pair two random names on your own. There’s no doubt in my mind that any GM will be extremely happy to have this resource bookmarked in their browsers come game day. You never know when a player is going to ask you to describe exactly what Random Bar Guy #2 looks like.
The name generator is fairly limited in the sense that the names have an overly-drenched-in-fantasy play-on-words thing going on. It’s a decent system, but not my favorite.
- Brand Flora
- Gale Ravenmist
- Grimoire Witchraven
- Honor Cometguard
- Lore Lorddragon
- Reaper Talon
- Sheol Dragon
- Sunrise Banereaper
- Typhoon Ladydawn
- Wind Ragnarok
See what I mean?
I have no clue who Samuel Stoddard is, but if I met him, I’d shake his hand. This is the best and most comprehensive name generator I could find.
It’s super easy to use, and it has options on name structure (apostrophes, dashes, length of name, etc.) that really give this generator an edge over all others. Want to name a githyanki? Throw an apostrophe in there! What about an hill giant with a diminutive vocabulary? Go for a shorter name or add a dash in the middle. The possibilities are nearly endless! The site functions well and is extremely easy to use, so I recommend playing around with it the next time you’re coming up with NPCs or interesting villains.
There are too many great names to choose from! Other than the color scheme (which I abhor) this is one name generator that delivers.
This is one of those Angelfire sites that was put together when email was just getting popular, and it will most likely exist on magical internet servers until the end of time.
It’s a very simple system to use, very straightforward, and each prefix and suffix has a meaning so you can even pick and choose names accordingly. Personally, Elven is fairly low on my list of important languages to study, so the meanings are all just flavor text. It’s a nice way to easily add color to your characters. It also has a handy table for Elven house names or surnames.
It’s not as random as the other generators since it doesn’t make completely random pairings of consonants and vowels. Also, it’s only for Elven names. Not really too much of a problem, in my opinion, but it does limit its uses. Also, it’s kind of a pain in the butt to keep looking at the chart and rolling dice. It takes more effort to make one name than clicking a button, something the other sites offer.
- Naiim Norreania
- Shaith Eytherzea
- Corsylean Eilfel
This site has links to a decent name generator as well as an excellent locations generator that can help when trying to plot places on any map you hope to make. I almost like the locations generator more, but it’s a bit off topic, so I’ll just link it here and hope you check it out for yourselves. The character generator on this site is another great tool that makes it easy to describe the random NPCs players will inevitably encounter during the game.
The names are completely random but they make sense, and there always seem to be a good balance between male and female options. Interestingly, the names are all generated in alphabetical order, so it helps if you have a sound in mind but can’t come up with the rest of the name on your own.
You have no control of the parameters of the names that are generated, so it might take a while to find one that fits what you’re going for. Also, only first names, so you’re still going to have to come up with a finishing touch and make your own title or surname.
The Tip of the Iceberg
There are doubtless hundreds of functional name generators on the web, but these are the only ones I came across that seemed worth bookmarking (or adding to favorites, etc.). Being a DM in Korea has given me a new-found appreciation for online resources, and I will continue to post anything of value I come across.