Names are important for a character- an animating force that instantly connects the audience with the fictional person before them. Some names threaten, some amuse, some suggest character traits, others suggest running jokes overused the world over to death.
Even the lack of a name is a name. A title can give us enough to connect to a character, to relate them in our world. The Emperor from Star Wars is all the more menacing for his lack of identity. No name can be a deliberate disconnect between reader and the character, a mystery, or something more. The Man With No Name is, of course, one of the most iconic of these characters and doubles as being a major inspiration for much of the setting and world.
When I write, the names often come first, long before I really know who the people I’m writing about are. If I recall, the first sentence I ever penned of the Horde was “Bridan walked the Road.” Two names but no idea what they meant- why is the Road capitalized, who is Bridan? Why is he walking? They tend to come to me naturally or after linguistic design of whatever setting I’m writing- I tend to find them easy to produce.
Tomorrow I’m inviting a few total strangers and one old friend to join me in the world of the Horde to adventure and explore. When we first met I spoke about the history of Farrakan: the ruined world, the metaphorical slavery that perverted both master and servant, the mix of modern technology and medieval living powered by the magic of a dying world.
The characters we created together are quite fascinating and go many places that are exciting for me to explore. They have hopes, dreams, fears, conflicts, complications, abilities, but when we left after our character creation meeting, there was one thing they didn’t have- names. I didn’t think much of it.
Then I started getting the names- the repentant killer turned musician came in with the name “Bardo the Bard” later revised to be “Bardo Bardissian from Bard City” and I realized there might be a problem.
So back to the drawing board and with the help of a favorite name supplement of mine, I had to create some guidelines or inspiration. I took the characters of the book and realized most of the characters from Farrakan remain unnamed or are named only through their title- “Emperor” or “Mayor” or “Beastman.”
Most of the major characters don’t even care about the fate of Farrakan, it’s just one more place they travel through on their journey. This may be a spoiler, but of the released chapters, only one named character was born on Farrakan: Oren.
Oren in the story hails from the area we’ll be starting the campaign in- the huddled villages in an area known loosely as Garvey for the largest of the settlements. It sits on the edge of the wastes of the landlocked portion of the former Tilean Empire- near many ancient secrets and wonders but utterly uninterested in them.
Oren, as I understand it, is a name of Jewish origin, referring to the Ash tree. When I first chose for the character, I picked it at random out of my head and didn’t even know it was a real name from Earth. The Old Testament Bible connections this suggests are intentional, but likely to be misunderstood. Still, with that inspiration, here are some names if you decide you might want to try making a character for the Horde RPG.
Male names: Aaron, Abel, Adam, Ardon, Armin, Asher, Ben, Chaim, Daniel, David, Eli, Eliazer, Elinu, Ephraim, Efran, Elam, Elisha, Ethan, Ezer, Gabriel, Gideon, Hagai, Haim, Hiram, Herschel, Isaac, Jared, Jordan, Jonah, Joseph, Lavan, Lazar, Lyle, Mattias, Meyer, Melech, Michael, Morris, Moses, Mikkel, Nathan, Noah, Pascal, Raphael, Rubin, Shaan, Seth, Simeon, Sinon, Samual, Shimon, Solomon, Tabor, Thaddeus, Thomas, Tobias, Uriah, Yacov, Zachary, Zane, Zeke
Female names: Adara, Adene, Adine, Ahelia, Annikke, Amariah, Alisa, Aviva, Anna, Bethany, Carolyn, Carmelia, Celia, Chava, Dalia, Davinia, Derora, Deborah, Donna, Dorothea, Elaine, Elisavet, Eliora, Elizabeth, Esther, Eva, Gabriella, Hadara, Hannah, Henriette, Honora, Johanna, Josetta, Judeena, Josepha, Judith, Kadya, Kelin, Kezia, Kyla, Lilah, Lilith, Livana, Leah, Madelena, Maribel, Magdelen, Margot, Martha, Mary, Miriam, Martel, Michaela, Mina, Naomi, Nira, Ranica, Rosana, Rachel, Raya, Rebecca, Roza, Ruth, Sarah, Sharon, Sapphira, Shira, Susan, Selma, Shifra, Samara, Shoshana, Simha, Susannah, Tamara, Temira, Talora
This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list and focuses only on one portion of the world. Where the Horde begins, the characters have more Danish names. Modern Tileans living in their isolated cities might draw from Hungarian or Croatian names whereas the ancient Tilean Lords of Wizardry might draw from Abyssnian names.
Generally when creating characters or ideas for other areas on FarrakanI do from Eastern European nations though a very large portion of the planet that I have written only a little of is very Arabic in origin. The Dameon Empire is largely western European/Early American. Of course characters from other worlds have completely different origins.
Players, I hope this helps. Others, I hope this was an interesting suggestion at what might really be going on in the doomed lands of Farrakan. I’ll be blogging about the game as we explore more along with progress on other topic as news arrives.
In addition to the internet an other websites, one major source I use for naming is The Everyone Everywhere List Random Name Generator by Erik James Olsrud. It’s the perfect cure for Bard Bardissian the Bard from Bard City.
For now I’m off to listen to that old Goo Goo Dolls song about names since it’s now stuck in my head. I wonder why.
“I won’t tell no one your name.” Seriously. I won’t. Mostly cuz I forgot it.