The Story-Games Names Project

A few weeks ago I showed up to run AG&G with a big list of Norse names, and we had us some Norse AG&G. Clinton carries around a book of baby names for the same reason. I've been repurposing existing languages or using Kate Monk's onomastikon for years, because I think names are important, and consistency makes everything that much cooler. There are a bunch of games you can pull off the shelf and run with minimal prep (PTA, AG&G) that benefit from having a fun list of names around, and it obviously serves more prep-heavy games as well. When Andy saw my name list, he said "hey, we should totally have about a hundred of those" and so we decided to see if people were interested in contributing.

Here are the rules:

1. Your submission will be CC attribution/noncommercial/sharealike licensed. If we get enough we'll make them into a book and put it up on Lulu at cost, or marked up a couple of dollars for charity or something. The individual files will also be freely available somewhere - 1km1kt maybe, or the Bully Pulpit Games site.

2. Everything in multiples of exactly 20. This is a lazy asshat filter for submissions and allows a random roll if you are into that. The absolute minimum is a list of 20 male names, 20 female names, and (if appropriate) 20 surnames. More lists (place names, cool insults, multiple male name lists, sword names, etc) are pure gravy.

3. Submit stuff you can actually imagine somebody getting some utility from. Be as specific as is practical - Miwok, not Indian. Fantasy, science fiction, and whimsy are fine. Anything you don't own (Tolkien, etc) is not so much. Duplicating another person's list is fine (Mall rat names list 1, Mall rat names list 2), particularly if you have a different spin. Add notes if you want and give your list a title.

4. Send you entries to me as a text file, preferably unicode formatted, to jmstar at gmail dot com.

Here are some examples of what we're talking about. I hope you'll help out! I'd love to have a little book of name lists from around the globe and beyond!


  • MoMo
    edited May 2006
    Brand has some of these almost ready made for different regions of India because of his last couple of books and could (likely easily) be convinced to contribute.

    I could do the same for Irish ones.

    As an amusing sidenote, about five years ago I was searching for ancient germanic girl's names in Kate Monk's onomastikon to help name my character. I cracked myself, and the rest of the players up when I came across "Conegunt". and marvelled about how not an appealing the name was in a modern context. From there on in, everyone tried to get everyone else to name their character Conegunt.

    When our friends were expecting, we tried to get them (jokingly, of course) to name their baby Conegunt if it was a girl. This didn't fly, of course, but we did get them to refer to her as such before she actually got birthed. About three months in, Brand referred to her as Conegunt, and got death threats from the her dad.

    So as of Christmas, the baby had a cafepress bib that declared in a comic book thought bubble:

    "Call me Conegunt and my Daddy will beat you silly!"
  • Twist arms, Mo! Regional lists for the subcontinent would be amazing. Ireland, too.
  • MoMo
    edited May 2006
    I'd like to participate, it's really a timing issue. When are you looking at, for a deadline?
  • I hadn't thought about a deadline, actually. How about Halloween!
  • Heh.

    You know that sounds like a lot of time, but considering I'll be travelling through most of that? It's not so much.

    I'll do my best. I'm sure I can at least get one list done.
  • Um... I guess I'm not 100% sure what you're looking for here. For our recent d20 D&D game I did a fat cut & paste of Russian names (cuz they're kewl). Buuuutt... liiikkkeee... I don't know how I could participate in this project. Take my favorite 20 from each of the male & female lists?

  • Did you look at the examples, Eric?

    That's what I'm looking for.
  • edited May 2006
    Yes, yes I see them. I'm just not sure how you arrived at your particular lists and why those particular names made your lists. Either I'm missing something essential about what you're trying to do here, or I think Googling for names is more convenient.


    edit PS: Soo... what I mean to say is that I'm assuming that I'm missing the point, not that I think yer st00pyd.
  • I linked to Kate Monk because I'm aware that these resources are but an intarweb away, dude. The point is to have something handy, like a dog-eared black book in your bag you can pull out when somebody suggests a game of AG&G. "How about ... Algonquin flava?"

    I could probably write it myself, but there are nuclear geniuses here who can pump out twenty different lists for the Indian subcontinent. Plus I'm lazy. Plus I should be working on other stuff, as you noted elsewhere!
  • edited May 2006

    ooooh... in your bag!!

    You're talking about something to publish? Cuz that would totally rock. Dibs on the Russian names. I'm already half done with that. Expect an email with my contribution by this evening.


    edit PS: Somehow my eyes totally glossed over the fact that you mentioned printing it at Lulu in point 1. I'm suck a dork.

  • I like your 'cool places' list for Mongolia.

  • Thanks. Shreyas, I know you have some crazy-ass lists in you.
  • I'm already thinking of a few I can do. What's a term for like a formal nickname? Like if Alexander is a blacksmith everyone calls him Alex Black, but it's not a term of familiarity like a nickname; he introduces himself to strangers like that too.

  • It's the precursor to our modern surnames. Some of them were epithets, some were location names, some were professions. My own surname, "Wolke" was (in Bavarian Middle German) a derogatory slang term for a rustic mountain person, used by the sophisticates in town.

    I'm not sure there's a linguistic term for the thing.
  • Can people post some ideas for lists, even if you don't have time to fill them out yourself? 'Cause I've got some free time in the next couple of weeks, but I'm a little brain-dead from the last month, which was rough, so I could use some kick-starting ideas.

    I've got a list of Amazigh (Berber) names that I can send along, though, as soon as I retrieve my data from my 'splodey computer. :)

  • I'm planning on doing some Japanese names. I'm grouping together:
    Japanese place names (20)
    Japanese festival names (20)
    Japanese foods you'd find in an old tavern (for samurai flick-inspired games) (20)

    Male names from the warring states/Edo period. (20 or 40)
    Female names (20)
    Last names (20)
    maybe one or two other things, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

    Also, I'm planning on doing 20 ancient Heian-era names.

  • edited May 2006

    Here's a few ideas I'm having...

    • Names of angels (I need these for Ninegun anyway so I'm gonna make it)
    • "Kinda wrong" or archaic versions of other familiar languages, like Jason's English one; I'd be excited to see Old French, a Moorish Spain (influenced by Arabic)...
    • Polynesian names of various derivation

    Things you can bundle with name lists--

    • Foods & places, as above
    • Variation by time period
    • Gods &/or legendary persons
    • Similarly, mythic beasts and monsters
    • Local customs that are fraught with peril

    Jason, what do you think of little intros with naming customs, like these:

    These people use common nouns as names. It's taboo to say the name of a living blood relation, and as a result it's become a mark of refinement to be able to invent clever and unique circumlocutions to talk about things.

    or little kits like

    To make a monk's name, take one item from List 1 and fuse it with one item from List 2. These items are never used in lay names.


    The names of the dead use the suffix -nata. For example, the late Hezhi is Hezhinata.

  • All kinds of awesome, Shreyas. File it all under Notes somehow and I'll take care of the formatting. I love the ideas for supplemental lists, too, guys - just make sure you can populate them out to exact increments of twenty.

    Jess - absolutely. I'd rather see actual, you know, lists and stuff, but if you've got an idea that nobody is thinking of, please share it! Maybe somebody will pick it up. maybe that somebody will be me.
  • Everybody who includes the names of foods, I kiss your feet!
  • Wait, no, I want other people to share list ideas so that I can go out and research them. Speaking of which: thanks for the ideas, Shreyas. Rock. :)

  • For food, do you want the names of actual dishes?

    Also, I volunteer (silly) Filipino nick/names. Seriously, I have an Uncle Bong and an Uncle Boy and an Auntie Girl. My friend has an *Auntie* Boy and *Uncle* Girl.
  • Selene, definitely do silly Filipino! I'd also love to see lists from different parts of the archipelago - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, the Aetas, etc. I have no idea if the naming practices are different or what. Do Filipino Muslims have interesting/different names?

    For food, think what would be useful to a player looking for some cool color. "Uh, so for lunch we're sitting there eating ... pancit palabok! Whatever you think would be useful.
  • For no readily apparent reason, I'll cover Ethiopian food unless someone out there is an expert.
  • edited June 2006
    Cool, Mo, Ethiopian names, too!

    So far I've got:


    And people have talked about sending:

    Indian subcontinent
    "Kinda wrong" Old French, Moorish Spain
  • How about "obscure biblical"? I can probably also throw together an Aramaic and/or Sumerian list.

  • I'll try and put the angel one together today. I'll need something to occupt my brain while making dinner.

  • The angels list should get matched with a list of demons, but I think the list should be a list of demon names not commonly found in say, Cthulhu or In Nomine.
  • Hm, I hadn't thought about Cthulhu and In Nomine as sources. Or, as you suggest, counter-sources. Any ideas on where I can start looking for those sort of things?

  • edited June 2006
    Awesome ideas, all. If you're wondering "Is it ok if I do X (X=culture/lang/etc)?" the answer will always be Yes! So let's get crackin!

    After I do the Japanese ones, I'm gonna see if I can do like fantasy horror names that sound like characters in a Russian Rap-Rock video where the band members LARP. TVORGIZNAK DAKKARLAIVE, the dual-classed Sorcerer/Tsar, who weilds a battleaxe-guitar.
  • I might haul my mate in for Ukranian and Russian stuff. After watching Come and See I am into Belarussian nomenclature, so we'll see if I can get that together too. No promises though - I'm relying on those worldier than I.
  • Shreyas,

    The and Tree of Life are good places to start.

    And the Demon Encyclo or Delerium's realm would do well for other demony stuff.

    That reminds me...

    Jason, put me down for Tricksters.
  • Hey...
    If I get a chance (doubtful but maybe) I'm going to do Sinhala (Sri Lankan) names/culture.

    Jason, could you post the Russian list(s) in this thread, or whisper it to me, so I can get an idea of formatting, etc?
  • Alex, Come and See is one of my favorites. Absolutely harrowing. I've been reading about some of the German anti-partisan units in the east in connection with Grey Ranks and it's just breathtaking how monstrous they were.

    Thanks for the virtual kick in the pants, Andy! Let's see some listz0rz!
  • I just added the first submission, Red Box Russian, to the examples. I gather this was something Eric already had for use in his D&D campaign - it's as lean as a list can be, but that's a better example than my poncy lists.

    Unrelated: I'd love to see "Names I made up for my epic-level homebrew Spear-Lords of Zaw'onq'cha campaign."
  • After I do the Japanese ones, I'm gonna see if I can do like fantasy horror names that sound like characters in a Russian Rap-Rock video where the band members LARP. TVORGIZNAK DAKKARLAIVE, the dual-classed Sorcerer/Tsar, who weilds a battleaxe-guitar.

    Andy, I want to play this game. Make sure I'm invited.

  • When I get done with the Heaven and Hell set (it's going well), be sure that I will craft you some fantasy lists, ones with interesting ethnic resonances if I can make it work.

    Oh! Oh! I'm totally making one with crunchy difficult names and a parallel list of how they're mangled by foreigners.

  • edited June 2006
    Chinese Menu - Primitive Names

    This is a pair of lists that are meant to go together. Pick an element from the first list and one from the second list and mash 'em together. If you get excited, use more than one from a list.

    This particular set works for primitive cultures close to the natural world.
    Column A
    1 Green
    2 Red
    3 Black
    4 Brown
    5 Barren
    6 Fat
    7 Wise
    8 Smoking
    9 Singing
    10 Barren
    11 Strong
    12 Laughing
    13 Dancing
    14 Crazy
    15 Mad
    16 Silent
    17 Bright
    18 Crippled
    19 Serene
    20 < None; skip this column >
    Column B
    1 Dawn
    2 Tree
    3 Bear
    4 Brook
    5 Field
    6 Wolf
    7 Knife
    8 Fire
    9 Hand
    10 Stone
    11 Moose
    12 Mountain
    13 Song
    14 Pipe
    15 Spear
    16 Cat
    17 Leaf
    18 Sky
    19 Moon
    20 < None; skip this column >
    (When I get home, I might put one of these together for Englishy surnames like Warfield, Fenford, and Chesterfox.)
  • Cool, I added your list, Josh. Also Inuit and Gorgon Island.
  • Jason-

    Two items on my list.

    1) Female name #19 somehow lost it's first letter. That should be "Yalens" not "alens"

    2) [bad accent] Ees no Red Box, senior. Ees d20! [/bad accent]

  • Hey list enthusiasts, I received a great submission last night that didn't have any male or female names. So this is your reminder to go back to the first post and re-read the submission guidelines! And then submit something!
  • Ten lists so far; most recently Shreyas' wicked angel-and-demon list. Thus:

    Angels and Demons
    Fantasy Russian
    Gorgon Island
    Land of Milk and Honey
  • I wrote:
    (When I get home, I might put one of these together for Englishy surnames like Warfield, Fenford, and Chesterfox.)

    Oh my god was this a terrible idea. Simple, yes? Three quick lists, yeah? OH GOOD GOD NO. Eight lists later, I'm done with this one. However, I may never need to think to come up with an Englishy-sounding place name ever again.
  • Can you make Mornington Crescent with it?

  • Mornington, yes. Crescent, no.

    How many other Crescents are there? I don't think it's very common.
  • I dunno, I'm a clueless American.

  • Walking a little late to the plate, might I suggest taking a look at Kate Monk's Onomastikon? I'd wgetted it locally to my hard drive some time ago, I suggest you do the same.

    Physically, my go-to supplement is the Everyone Everywhere List, easily the best six bucks I've ever spent in gaming- better than dice. It's twenty-four pages of names, organzied by ethnicity and gender, and includes surnames. I'd ask your FLGS to try and order it from Alliance if possible. I've asked the author about the possibility of collaborating on PDF sales, but it panned out.

  • Onomastikon is crufty, but makes a good resource; it's the main source I used for the medieval French names (Occitan and Norman) that I sent to Jason a while ago.

    But it's not useful as a fast find-cool-names tool, when it gives you lists like:

    • Arnald
    • Arnaldus
    • Arnaud
    • Arnaut
    • Arnet
    • Arnoldus
    • Arnott
    • Arnould
  • Actually, interesting observations: Jason's probably more familiar with the Onomastikon than anyone I know, however we're aiming for something that can be printed (or bought in paperback form), thrown into the "gaming bag", and left there as you go to your sessions. Then, if you're inspired to run a game set in Rome, you can just yank it out and _boom_ 20-60 names in no time flat.

    I haven't heard of the Everyone Everywhere List, but that sounds like exactly what we're doing here, but more open.

    Oh, hells yes check this out:
    A review back in 2001 for the Everyone Everywhere list. And look at the review comments, by one JMSTAR. Hmmmmm. :-)

    Also, I did more hunting, and it appears that this supplement isn't available anywhere anymore. Too bad, I'd love to see it. But that just means another opportunity for us to do better, and give to blind kids in the process.

Sign In or Register to comment.