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NPC names


bambini
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I'm having trouble coming up with names for the NPCs in a level I'm planning. Thinking back to the Thief games, I'm probably looking for Latin (e.g. Artemus) or maybe Germanic names, but can't seem to come up with anything that sounds like it fits with the themes of TDM.

 

Does anyone have any tips or advice on coming up with names? Maybe a name generator that they know of? How does everyone else think up names?

"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

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I usually follow these very rough naming conventions:

1) Common folks, especially lowlifes and thieves: 19th century British, sometimes from Dickens of all places; usually short and undistinguished (e.g. "Binnes", "Sykes", "Dogsley", "Latram", "Leadenhall", "Tarquis")

2) Nobility: Norman nobility, occasionally Latin, with some Arabic and Near Eastern influence in the older families - hint of Crusades or the equivalent? (e.g. "Quintus", "Beaurigard", "Eventroit", "Alraune")

3) Wealthy merchants: common names, but often with slight changes or embellishment to suggest connections to nobility or descent from old money (e.g. "Iacobus Willen", "Messer Johannes")

4) Builders: trade names, common Italian and French influence, occasionally Latin or latinised ("Cartwright", "Marcel" ["Marcellus"], "Casagave", "Guillave", "Tellis", "Ignatius")

5) Magi: Near Eastern and Persian, a suggestion of exoticism ("Scarmengades")

 

Of course, this is a personal vision and shouldn't be taken for holy writ. The sources are problematic; I always have trouble coming up with names that sound "right". I tend to succeed in the end, but it's hard work.

Edited by Melan

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I think Melan's list is pretty good (in fact, Melan, if you have no objections, I'd like to add a revised version to the wiki). The "Empire" of the TDM setting is like a stronger version of the Holy Roman Empire, so Latin influence makes sense for Builders and older Noble families. Pagans would have names that sound Celtic or Germanic, as would families from the north.

 

Basically, as long as names don't sound too modern (eg, "Dave") :P , or too fantasy, ("El'drith Blackstone") you'll be okay.

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Springheel - no objections.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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