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Friday, December 5, 2014

Names for OD&D - how to build them - I

From time to time I hear about people having trouble coming up with names for people or places in their campaigns. Here are some of the names I use and some of the names I use as a source and different ways I tweak names before I use them.


Once you have created a list of real world names, then you can start creating unique names for your campaign. One way to do this is to look at real world variants of names to get ideas for tweaking names to create unique ones.

For instance, take the name Kathleen and look at all of the variants (yes I know that Kathleen is not the "offical preferred spelling"):

Caitlin
Caitlin
Caitriona
Cara
Caren
Carin
Carin
Caron
Caronne
Carran
Carren
Carron
Caryn
Catalina
Catarine
Cateline
Caterina
Cathaleen
Catharin
Catharina
Catharine
Catherina
Catherine
Catherleen
Catheryn
Cathi
Cathie
Cathleen
Cathrene
Cathrine
Cathryn
Cathy
Catrin
Catrina
Catrine
Catriona
Catriona
Kara
Karan
Karan
Karen
Karen
Karenne
Karenza
Karina
Karon
Karran
Karren
Karyn
Katarina
Kate
Katerina
Katey
Katharina
Katharine
Katharyn
Kathay
Katheleen
Katheline
Kathereen
Katherin
Katherina
Katherine
Katheryn
Katheryne
Kathi
Kathie
Kathileen
Kathleen
Kathlyn
Kathlynn
Kathrene
Kathrine
Kathryn
Kathryne
Kathy
Kathyrine
Katie
Katina
Katleen
Katrena
Katrina
Katrine
Katriona
Katryna
Kattrina
Katy
Kerry
Kittie
Kitty
Koreana
Korina
Treena
Trina


If you apply this many variants to every name you have, you will soon have an enormous number of unique names to choose from. There are many other things you can do to systematically to give a group of names a certain flavor for different areas of your campaign world. Maybe it will not pass muster with a linguist, but if you are not publishing it for profit, that is not really a big deal.

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