Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Miss Gleep Wurp: Random Fantasy Names

Remember "Gleep Wurp, the Eye-Biter"?  He was one of the pregenerated characters in the Against the Giants series of modules back in the day.  Weirdest name ever?  Yep.  Some people hate 'stupid fantasy names'.  I think I like 'em.

One of my pals at work mentioned that something which vexes him while DMing is coming up with names on the fly.  So I started on a random table for got a little out of hand.

Anzel "the Dandy Bastard" Thwyp, well-known as the Half-Wit Poet of the Laughing Archipelago.  We can only presume the Archipelago is laughing AT him, rather than with him.

Open this googledoc in a separate window and let's take a look at this bad boy.

First things first - you're looking at eight columns of crap, with a hundred entries each.  From left to right:

A & B give you ridiculous fantasy (or Star Wars!) names.  Column A is all two syllables or more, Column B is all two syllables or less.  I find that a long first name and a short surname gives a Dickensian feel, but you can use 'em in any order.  Or multiples of one column.

C & D give you adjectives and professions, respectively.

E & F are place-name descriptors (adjective, noun).

G has stuff that can be combined into stupid faux-badass adventurer names ("Ravenstar Darkblade!")

H is nicknames (these lean a little Western).

How to use the table?  However you see fit.  Even if you don't like weird fantasy names, the other bits might be useful.  Let's play with this thing.

A B C D  (10 ; 93 ; 59 ; 61)
Glindal Zur, the Unkillable Cleric.  Next time you have to show up somewhere with a higher-than-first-level character, I dare you to roll the guy's name and reputation before you even start the sheet.  Show up to the table with Ostio Stroop, the Lich-Boxer and look like a cosmic-level badass.  This guy punches liches in the goddamn face.

A B C D E F  (48 60 71 80 25 74)
Kroyden Koz, Masochistic Enchanter from the Rejected Swamp.  Rejected by whom?  The Gods?  I've no idea, but this wizard wants to feel your pain.

Let's do a place-name, E F B (21 ; 62 ; 81)
The Moon-Blessed College of Bipp.  I have to confess my randomly-rolled sample came out on the lame side.  The Upside-Down Desert of Xim is a million times cooler.  But that's the beauty of a random table, it can just be an inspiring list of words.

Now let's hire a mercenary with B H G G C D (49 ; 20 ; 20 ; 16 ; 29 ; 7)
Voll "One-Eye" Devilshield, the Gallant Warrior.  (that worked out better than expected)  I know I'm tooting my own horn here, but any table on which you can roll Flatulent Gravedigger is a winner in my book.

Lots of possibilities.  Need a parable?  Surely you remember the tale of the D and the C D (57 ; 1 ; 99) -- the Tale of the Carpenter and the Pious Jester?  No?  It's a classic morality story, I assure you.

Also keep in mind that you can easily substitute columns from my Frontier Town Generator to mix up your location-names, adjectives, or nouns.  Do whatever!  Mix, match, let your imagination run wild - and don't be afraid to try to make sense of the ridiculous stuff.

Because if you can't do something with "Bosko Boof, the Lovelorn Hangman of Monkey Junction", then there's no hope for you.  (In this case I have to wonder whether our dear singleton Bosko is just the local executioner, or whether he's the chief monkey-catcher in a town overrun by simians; perhaps he leaves the monkey-corpses hanging, two or three in each tree throughout town, to discourage the other monkeys...because fantasy, that's why.)

Post your favorite (rolled or constructed) name from the tables in the comments section!


  1. My recommendation? Be the last one that chases off the other

  2. Kragamut "Reverend" Gax, the Tattooed Reaver from the Blood-soaked City of Boon...

    Omg, baby, we need to run a campaign, right effing now!

  3. This is insanely great--thanks for posting it!

  4. I've automated these tables @ Abulafia. Thanks for the great material, Erik!