Friday, July 4, 2014

A history of my character naming in role playing games

I was thinking the other day: I remember almost every character I've ever created for tabletop roleplaying game. I say "almost" to cover my ass.

I have a problem coming up with character name a lot of the time. I have little disparate scraps of paper all over the place I try to write names on that catch my eye. When creating a character for a game, I come up with name last. Frequently, it's also the case with my writing. In the fantasy novel I've started, I'm using a Fantasy Name Generator for the fun of it (there's also a crapload of variety in name generators here). Find and Replace is a boon to writers.

But anyway, I thought it might be fun to list the character names I've had/used for roleplaying games, and what kind of character it was ("class" for Dungeons and Dragons, and White Wolf categorizes differently).

unicorns from NYPL digital collection

The very first D&D character I ever made is not one I ended up playing. She was for a second edition game, right when the group switched to third, so I got her on paper, and named with my fiancé's help, but that was it. Kira Soval, human fighter.

The first D&D character I played, if I remember aright, was Bella Windjammer. Half elf rogue. She wasn't even written on a proper character sheet at first, just on a piece of loose-leaf. We were visiting Jacob at college, and when we said "So what should we do?" he said "Game, of course"!

Tory was a human ranger, with a skunk for her animal companion. I have a thing for skunks, or had a thing for skunks, which I think has escaped mention here.

Then there was Rose Silverhem. Human fighter (this is my favorite race/class combination, by the by). My fiancé ran a Forgotten Realms game in which we all made human fighters.

Leandra was a human paladin of Pelor (the sun god from the Greyhawk setting, I believe). I envisioned her looking like Charlize Theron.

Brigid DeValera was the human fighter I played for our Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. I was level 13 by the end of it. I had a magical sword that had a name. We all had pretty swag gear, actually, but that's what happens when you Kill Bad Guys and take their stuff and save the world. We played this game for 2 1/2 or 3 years through college, and it's probably the game we tell the most stories about. This was the first game in which my character died (Raise Dead is a great thing, folks) and also the first game in which there was a player vs. player kill (I did it, okay. But I had my reasons.)

Morgan Marbrand was a human antipaladin, before there were proper from-first-level antipaladin rules.

Winter Creed was a human wizard. In a different game, I played Summer Creed, her sister, a human swashbuckler. I rolled up Autumn Creed (tiefling sorcerer) but that game didn't get off the ground. It happens. Tieflings are a "plane touched" race, where one of your character's ancestor's had a child with a demonic or devilish being. I didn't get to Spring, but she was going to be a religious zealot. The joke was that the Creed parents were unimaginative in their daughter-naming, and had no sons.

Talia was an Elvish druid, and came in on that Jacob game, but later on the timeline.

Danica Stark was a human Duskblade. This was a 3.5 class which was arguably overpowered and rolled fighter and wizard together, but it was fun.

Tempest Ballard was an Aasimar paladin. Aasimar are a "plane touched" race, where somewhere in your character's woodpile, some angelic type being had babies with one of your ancestors.

Jessenia was a Vistani bard. Vistani were a human race in the Ravenloft setting, and were ostensibly meant to be Romany and had some small measure of actual magic powers, typically of a prophetic sort if I remember right.

Ma'isa was a half dragon paladin. My character in that game was originally an Elvish fighter, but was killed in battle, and the party was at such a level I could make something with some higher power and match up.

Cassidy was a human healer.

Sylvia Hawkins was the first character I made for a Steampunk game. She was a tiefling wizard, with a lemur familiar. Other Steampunk characters include Kat Walker (one half of what our group has come to refer to as "the Wonder Twins", for how another player and I brother-sister bonded in game), Sung Park was an Elvish oracle, Patience was a human Inquisitor

Rue was a tiefling ranger.

Blessing was a human barbarian. Hilariously, another member of the party was named Burden. We'd named ourselves independently, it just worked out that way.

Agatha was a dwarvish witch.

Esfir was a human barbarian.

Sophie was a half elf bard.

Lux was a human sorcerer.

Alita was a human cavalier.

Isra was a human bard.

Larkin is a half-drow fighter. Drow are a dark elf race from the Forgotten Realms, but also in the Pathfinder setting. 

Ylora is a human witch.  

Jessie Sparrow was a d20 Future character, whatever class was "rogue" for that and had a lot of skillpoints. I was a computer engineer type person on the space ship, more or less.

I can't remember which of these two was my first World of Darkness character: Eleanor Montgomery, a Malkavian vampire, or Patty, a Hunter. Patty is the only Hunter character I played in the "old World of Darkness" (what was 3rd edition Vampire, and which ended in 2003 or 2004 (I forget). Old World of Darkness Mage characters I made included Alexandra Fairfax (Cult of Ecstasy), Maggie Fox (Hermetic), and ...damn, I can't remember her name, but she was a Son of Ether and had copper-red hair. I made two Demon: the Fallen characters. Rebecca, I did not play. Stevie, I did. Though the rest of the players were playing Mage and thought I was too. My other old World of Darkness vampire characters were at LARPs (live action role playing games): Peggy the Malkavian (they're my favorite!) and Astrid the Brujah, who ended up Sheriff of the city.

Eva is a Transylvania Chronicles Malkavian (the storyline starts during the Crusades, so the rules were different for the powers different vampire types get).

Diesel was a werewolf, of the warrior type. Dagny was a werewolf of the trickster type. Candy was a stripper; I don't remember what kind of werewolf she was (but I made a playlist for the type of songs she would dance to, which included "More Human than Human" and "Black No 1".

New World of Darkness, one of my first characters was Veronica. We played just "blue book" (i.e., no templates. So nobody was a mage, vampire, or werewolf), and that story took place in the 60's (we enjoy our period pieces in this house). Darwin was also non-template, but the game turned Changeling before it ended.

Blue book is an interesting term when it comes to gaming, as it hearkens back to a time when people did "off-table" play via mail, in those blue exam books colleges use. We still use the term for off-table play, even if the blue booking happens to take place on a message board, on Facebook, or even via text.

RubyJean Butler was a werewolf.

Mages in the New World of Darkness go by what's referred to as "Shadow Names". Real names have power, you see, and giving somebody (or something) your real name could give them power over you. So you pick a handle to go by, essentially. Saffron was a spirit mage who was a member of the Free Council. Flora is a Death mage, of the Mysterium (a Master of Death, in fact, which is a Big Deal™). Michaela was an Obrimos (they're heaven-touched) of the Silver Ladder. White Rabbit was a luck-mage Guardian of the Veil.

Jo was a biker chick vampire who was really a spy. Nobody at the table knew that at the time, which was great fun to hide. Secunda was a Requiem for Rome vampire (remember what I said about period pieces?)

Mercy was a LARP character, a member of the Lancea Sanctum.

Elizabeth Guest was a hunter, as was Serafina deClerk.

Bells is a Decker in Shadowrun, 4th edition. Shadowrun is quite fun, taken almost full cloth from William Gibson's Neuromancer with some other flavors mixed in, and when you're a runner, much like when you're a mage, you pick a handle to go by. Bells is named after the Navy bells one tells time by.

There are more, of course. There are always more. There are games I can remember the circumstances of but not my name. There are games where I can remember other character names. So many stories, so many people I've sat down at a table with in my short time of gaming (I didn't start 'til 2002, I think). It's like USA network's slogan: characters welcome.


  1. Sometimes I went to the effort of giving my RPing characters fantasy-esque names. One notable time, my friends were getting on my nerves on this issue, and just to piss them off, I just did a self-insert and named my melee fighter Jeniladriel, with a snotty "is THAT fantasy enough for you?".

    Naturally, Jeniladriel lasted for years. Eventually she learned some healing skills, making her quite powerful.

    I always say I need to start a spreadsheet (because I love spreadsheets!) for names, like when I come across something that sounds interesting and pleasing to my ears, I can just put it in there for future reference. Then when it comes time to name characters I'm struggling with, I can just mix and match from the columns and remove names once I use them. I really don't know why I haven't done this yet....

    1. I support using non-fantasy names! Perhaps it's my steampunk proclivities that do that, make me think just kind of old timey women's names are good enough (even better!) for human characters, at least. Elves probably need -iel kind of names, I don't know. I really like playing humans in D&D anyway, for the extra feat ;)

      I also need to better organize names I feel like I would want to use, because I do end up losing all those little papers I have!