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Azar
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421 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  01:23:24  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello everyone.

In your games, do you feature plain real-life names such as James, Pierre, Yusuf, Anne, Sophia, Mei and the like? If you do, how do you determine the rough percentage of NPCs that sound "ordinary"? Is there a rhyme or reason...a method to your madness?

Come to think of it, "Albert" may very well be the exotic individual on a world with Alias, Alustriel and Azoun .

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35445 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  03:49:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I avoid real-world names. To me, if I recognize a real-world name whilst reading fantasy, it breaks immersion in the story.

The only times it doesn't bug me is if the fantasy world in question has some connection to Earth, or if the names are real-world but are not recognizable to me as real-world names.

For the first one, an example would be the Codex Alera books I'm currently reading. It's not explicitly stated in the books, but it's clear that in Alera's past, a bunch of Romans (the Lost Roman Legion) somehow wound up in this new world and built a new empire there. (It is explicitly stated that they're Romans, just not that it's the Lost Legion or that they're from another world).

For the second one, we need look no further than Elaine's books. Tzigone, Matteo, and Danilo are all real-world names -- but I didn't know that when I first read them. By the time I found out they were real names, they were already ingrained well enough in my mind that reading them in fiction doesn't bother me.

One of the canon names in the Realms that bugs me the most is Jack Ravenwild. Jack, because it's a real-world name. Ravenwild would be a great name, except for the fact the person bearing it comes from Raven's Bluff. It'd be like having a character named Tim Watersong from Waterdeep.

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Azar
Senior Scribe

421 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  05:12:31  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I avoid real-world names. To me, if I recognize a real-world name whilst reading fantasy, it breaks immersion in the story.

The only times it doesn't bug me is if the fantasy world in question has some connection to Earth, or if the names are real-world but are not recognizable to me as real-world names.

For the first one, an example would be the Codex Alera books I'm currently reading. It's not explicitly stated in the books, but it's clear that in Alera's past, a bunch of Romans (the Lost Roman Legion) somehow wound up in this new world and built a new empire there. (It is explicitly stated that they're Romans, just not that it's the Lost Legion or that they're from another world).

For the second one, we need look no further than Elaine's books. Tzigone, Matteo, and Danilo are all real-world names -- but I didn't know that when I first read them. By the time I found out they were real names, they were already ingrained well enough in my mind that reading them in fiction doesn't bother me.

One of the canon names in the Realms that bugs me the most is Jack Ravenwild. Jack, because it's a real-world name. Ravenwild would be a great name, except for the fact the person bearing it comes from Raven's Bluff. It'd be like having a character named Tim Watersong from Waterdeep.



I was reading through a list of Halfling NPCs and discovered that they are some of the biggest "offenders" when it comes to your criteria. YMMV, of course, depending on how well-traveled/well-read you are, but I think the following are unambiguously real.

* Allyia (sounds close to Aaliyah).
* Atherton.
* Baker.
* Bannister.
* Bertram.
* Carver.
* Cooper.
* Damien.
* Darrow.
* Dietr (Dieter).
* Ephram.
* Elisa.
* Erin.
* Fatima.
* Hamil.
* Hobart.
* Howard.
* Jayne.
* Lilith.
* Mazzy (I knew a guy with this surname).
* Olive.
* Patrick.
* Pike.
* Rashad.
* Saul.
* Tara.
* Tim.
* Watson.
* Willow.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.

Edited by - Azar on 03 Oct 2021 04:51:27
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6280 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  09:19:30  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Real names in FR material really peeves me. If you are bad at coming up with names, it is not hard at all to alter the real world names to seem more Realmsian. You can do Davyd, or Ribert or Maray or ... well, you get the idea. Rightly or wrongly, when I see a RW name in an FR product it causes me to think that the author/designer is either lazy or doesn't have a creative bone in their body. Just my 2 cp.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Ayrik
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Canada
7497 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  09:25:38  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, Zorgon the Magnificent and Gilligan the Turquoise Blade are not good names?

[/Ayrik]
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Azar
Senior Scribe

421 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  11:38:35  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

If you are bad at coming up with names, it is not hard at all to alter the real world names to seem more Realmsian. You can do Davyd, or Ribert or Maray or ... well, you get the idea.


Ah. Basically...Jeremi is a fine Elven name, but Jeremy is a bridge too far?

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

So, Zorgon the Magnificent and Gilligan the Turquoise Blade are not good names?



Reported to the House Committee on Unoriginal Activities.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
892 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  15:55:35  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For me, common names like John, Frank, Amanda, or Linda are out of bounds. If it is a rarely heard name, that may be ok if it fits the race of the character. Shortened or nick names are fair game, though. I have someone with the name Cassidrae whose friends call her Cassi. That is a natural shorted form for her full name. Also, names like Ruby or Emerald or Ford (or their variations) are perfectly acceptable to me since those are items that occur in the game world. People are people and they are going to name their kids using the same thought processes no matter if they are on Earth or Toril. When I look at the Realms, I don't see a "fantasy world". I approach it as a real place with people who really aren't that different from the people on this world.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35445 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  16:29:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Real names in FR material really peeves me. If you are bad at coming up with names, it is not hard at all to alter the real world names to seem more Realmsian. You can do Davyd, or Ribert or Maray or ... well, you get the idea. Rightly or wrongly, when I see a RW name in an FR product it causes me to think that the author/designer is either lazy or doesn't have a creative bone in their body. Just my 2 cp.

-- George Krashos



I've commented on this before -- just changing one or two letters, or scrambling them, gives you something new.

To quote myself from a discussion in October:

"And there's no reason to use real-world names, either -- just swap a letter or two, and you've got a fantasy name. Instead of Marcus, go with Mardus or Tarkas or Makras. One of my fave published NPCs is named Jevicca -- an obvious take on Jessica, but made different by playing with just a few letters.

Another trick is anagrams. Marcus could be Mascur or Ruscam. Do an anagram and swap out a letter or two, you've got Sulcam or Ralmus.

You could even use non-names with those tricks -- collect can become Telcar or Corralt. Dice can become Kace or Kase.

There's just too many ways to avoid using real-world names to justify using one."

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35445 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  16:31:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

For me, common names like John, Frank, Amanda, or Linda are out of bounds. If it is a rarely heard name, that may be ok if it fits the race of the character. Shortened or nick names are fair game, though. I have someone with the name Cassidrae whose friends call her Cassi. That is a natural shorted form for her full name. Also, names like Ruby or Emerald or Ford (or their variations) are perfectly acceptable to me since those are items that occur in the game world. People are people and they are going to name their kids using the same thought processes no matter if they are on Earth or Toril. When I look at the Realms, I don't see a "fantasy world". I approach it as a real place with people who really aren't that different from the people on this world.



I will agree on the part of naming people after objects. Though I never got a response, I asked Ed about naming girl children after flowers, because I know it's a common thing in the real world.

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
892 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  16:43:11  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

For me, common names like John, Frank, Amanda, or Linda are out of bounds. If it is a rarely heard name, that may be ok if it fits the race of the character. Shortened or nick names are fair game, though. I have someone with the name Cassidrae whose friends call her Cassi. That is a natural shorted form for her full name. Also, names like Ruby or Emerald or Ford (or their variations) are perfectly acceptable to me since those are items that occur in the game world. People are people and they are going to name their kids using the same thought processes no matter if they are on Earth or Toril. When I look at the Realms, I don't see a "fantasy world". I approach it as a real place with people who really aren't that different from the people on this world.



I will agree on the part of naming people after objects. Though I never got a response, I asked Ed about naming girl children after flowers, because I know it's a common thing in the real world.



It CAN get a bit weird, though, when you use FR specific plants: "And this is my daughter Goblinberry."

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Delnyn
Senior Scribe

USA
574 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  16:50:59  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would not mind tweaking RL names with a different set of consonants or vowels. For one gaming example, I am good with changing "Jessica" to "Jevvica".

Also keep RL off-the-cuff nicknames out of the sessions. Your character does not refer to the faerie dragon as "Bong Hit" while in character.
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TheIriaeban
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USA
892 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:02:39  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We did have a halfling thief nicknamed Gracie. He was an obnoxious little creep that failed a saving throw on a slippery surface when everyone else in the party succeeded. One of the wizards said "That was very graceful. Nice going." and it just stuck.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Delnyn
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USA
574 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:05:37  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

We did have a halfling thief nicknamed Gracie. He was an obnoxious little creep that failed a saving throw on a slippery surface when everyone else in the party succeeded. One of the wizards said "That was very graceful. Nice going." and it just stuck.



That is funny and quite appropriate to your game. I would have objected as a DM if it were a player's blatant reference to the Brazilian ju-jitsu family.
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Lord Karsus
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USA
3634 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:08:55  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Cordio Muffinhead.

-That's all.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10757 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:27:17  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

For me, common names like John, Frank, Amanda, or Linda are out of bounds. If it is a rarely heard name, that may be ok if it fits the race of the character. Shortened or nick names are fair game, though. I have someone with the name Cassidrae whose friends call her Cassi. That is a natural shorted form for her full name. Also, names like Ruby or Emerald or Ford (or their variations) are perfectly acceptable to me since those are items that occur in the game world. People are people and they are going to name their kids using the same thought processes no matter if they are on Earth or Toril. When I look at the Realms, I don't see a "fantasy world". I approach it as a real place with people who really aren't that different from the people on this world.



I will agree on the part of naming people after objects. Though I never got a response, I asked Ed about naming girl children after flowers, because I know it's a common thing in the real world.



It CAN get a bit weird, though, when you use FR specific plants: "And this is my daughter Goblinberry."



I heard she was dating Crimsonrod's son, Bluewood, and she was "saving herself for marriage". Talk about a negotiating tactic....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 29 Nov 2020 17:31:19
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sfdragon
Great Reader

2282 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:29:23  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I once named a icewinddale 2 female wizard made with a mash up of keys and left it at the time. Thought it sounded interesting and cool( yeah this was well over a decade ago) and only a few years afterwards I found out that where the letters landed was an uncommon rw name...
sadly being that long, I do not remember what it was.... just hte minor detail...

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


My FR fan fiction
Magister's GAmbit
http://steelfiredragon.deviantart.com/gallery/33539234

Edited by - sfdragon on 29 Nov 2020 17:34:33
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  17:49:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've twice come up with names for female characters, and thought that I was creating the names myself -- but then discovered they were existing, real-world names.

I'm still inclined to use one of them, though, because I really like the name, and because it was something like 20 years after I came up with it that I found out it was real.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10757 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  18:01:34  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Real names in FR material really peeves me. If you are bad at coming up with names, it is not hard at all to alter the real world names to seem more Realmsian. You can do Davyd, or Ribert or Maray or ... well, you get the idea. Rightly or wrongly, when I see a RW name in an FR product it causes me to think that the author/designer is either lazy or doesn't have a creative bone in their body. Just my 2 cp.

-- George Krashos



I've commented on this before -- just changing one or two letters, or scrambling them, gives you something new.

To quote myself from a discussion in October:

"And there's no reason to use real-world names, either -- just swap a letter or two, and you've got a fantasy name. Instead of Marcus, go with Mardus or Tarkas or Makras. One of my fave published NPCs is named Jevicca -- an obvious take on Jessica, but made different by playing with just a few letters.

Another trick is anagrams. Marcus could be Mascur or Ruscam. Do an anagram and swap out a letter or two, you've got Sulcam or Ralmus.

You could even use non-names with those tricks -- collect can become Telcar or Corralt. Dice can become Kace or Kase.

There's just too many ways to avoid using real-world names to justify using one."



One of my favorites was one I recently heard with the witcher tv series. Jennifer to Yennefer (especially poignant given that in some rw cultures a J sounds like Y).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sfdragon
Great Reader

2282 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  18:45:10  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Khalid from the Baldur's gate games, iirc his name is arabic...

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


My FR fan fiction
Magister's GAmbit
http://steelfiredragon.deviantart.com/gallery/33539234
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
892 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  19:12:33  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I will agree on the part of naming people after objects. Though I never got a response, I asked Ed about naming girl children after flowers, because I know it's a common thing in the real world.



It CAN get a bit weird, though, when you use FR specific plants: "And this is my daughter Goblinberry."



I heard she was dating Crimsonrod's son, Bluewood, and she was "saving herself for marriage". Talk about a negotiating tactic....



That doesn't surprise me. As the old saying goes "The only thing that matters is the danters."

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Azar
Senior Scribe

421 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  21:55:51  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I've twice come up with names for female characters, and thought that I was creating the names myself -- but then discovered they were existing, real-world names.

I'm still inclined to use one of them, though, because I really like the name, and because it was something like 20 years after I came up with it that I found out it was real.



THAT is precisely what prompted me to create this thread; I imagined a female Half-Elf Ranger NPC with a first name that you'd disapprove of (for it is unambiguously real) and a surname that I thought was either unique or at least extremely rare. When it turned out that the surname is used for a number of businesses, there was this urge to throw my hands in the air in a minor act of frustration. I'm still going to use those names, potential insinuations of laziness or unoriginality be damned.

quote:
Originally posted by sfdragon

Khalid from the Baldur's gate games, iirc his name is arabic...




Correct. Also, I am somewhat certain that Minsc is named after a city in Belarus.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Real names in FR material really peeves me. If you are bad at coming up with names, it is not hard at all to alter the real world names to seem more Realmsian. You can do Davyd, or Ribert or Maray or ... well, you get the idea. Rightly or wrongly, when I see a RW name in an FR product it causes me to think that the author/designer is either lazy or doesn't have a creative bone in their body. Just my 2 cp.

-- George Krashos



I've commented on this before -- just changing one or two letters, or scrambling them, gives you something new.

To quote myself from a discussion in October:

"And there's no reason to use real-world names, either -- just swap a letter or two, and you've got a fantasy name. Instead of Marcus, go with Mardus or Tarkas or Makras. One of my fave published NPCs is named Jevicca -- an obvious take on Jessica, but made different by playing with just a few letters.

Another trick is anagrams. Marcus could be Mascur or Ruscam. Do an anagram and swap out a letter or two, you've got Sulcam or Ralmus.

You could even use non-names with those tricks -- collect can become Telcar or Corralt. Dice can become Kace or Kase.

There's just too many ways to avoid using real-world names to justify using one."



One of my favorites was one I recently heard with the witcher tv series. Jennifer to Yennefer (especially poignant given that in some rw cultures a J sounds like Y).



Jasmine <-> Yasmine (often pronounced YAHZ-meen).

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Diffan
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USA
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Posted - 30 Nov 2020 :  00:47:45  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I usually like names grounded in a bit more reality. Considering how much "real" world elements of Earth has bled into the Forgotten Realms, it's not a far stretch to see names like Mikal, Greggory, Pavel, Ewyn (a great name for a character from the Moonshea Isles), Raynard (a good name for a Sembian merchant or Purple Dragon Knight), Arvid (Rasheman fits here), etc.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6280 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2020 :  01:28:59  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Cordio Muffinhead.

-That's all.





I did once post in response to that name in a similar thread here at the 'Keep. It was:

Of course a "marfin" in the Realms is the dwarven name for the full-face battlemasks made popular by the dwarves of Clan Goldforge of the now-lost realm of Besilmer. Their clan champion, Marfin, blood of Agamm, son of Kheldar commissioned the first of these when he took part in his first Dragonmoot against the dread red wyrm Palarathax "the Firescourge" of Mount Norbas (located in the Sword Mountains and named for the gnome clan that inhabited it before the dragon brought death and devastation to their hold). From that time on, it became a popular cognomen among the dwarves but the passage of time and the sly insinuation of the common tongue into most dwarven converse saw the name corrupted to "Muffinhead".



-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2101 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2020 :  01:53:33  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Cordio Muffinhead.

-That's all.



Or Floon Blagmaar.

I can totally endure a character named like that if they are members of the comic relief races (halflings, gnomes), because, it's their job to be ridiculous. But I don't withstand humans or dwarves or elves, lol

I guess that this trend of using ridiculous sounding names is another relic of 2e I would be happy if they just got rid of it. Alongside the flumphs...

But, I also like consistency and world-building. So, I prefer appropriate names if the author also has some logic in naming characters or places. A conlang, as they call it. So, yeah, I won't use real world names when Ed has created a huge list of names with a logical grammatical pattern.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Seethyr
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USA
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Posted - 30 Nov 2020 :  03:31:22  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Though not all are fantastic, I’ve found this resource to be of truly epic help when needing a name on the fly.

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/

Follow the Maztica (Aztec/Maya) and Anchorome (Indigenous North America) Campaigns on DMsGuild!

The Maztica Campaign
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Azar
Senior Scribe

421 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2020 :  04:36:35  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seethyr

Though not all are fantastic, I’ve found this resource to be of truly epic help when needing a name on the fly.

https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/



What is your opinion on this subject? Are "Earth names" ever acceptable in a Forgotten Realms campaign/module/video game/novel/et cetera?

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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