Posted by: kshayes513 | August 12, 2009

Bad worldbuilding: generic fantasy names

When it comes to choosing a name for a witch or wizard, it’s important to play by the rules.

Are You a Good Witch…?

The definitive guide for naming benevolent magic users is Lady Pixie Moondrip’s Guide to Craft Names. Though written to assist pagan practitioners to create their pagan or “Craft” names, Lady Pixie’s rules work just as well for naming heroic magical characters.

Lady Pixie studied the creation of magical names in depth, as she reports:

“A gentleman of Lady Pixie’s acquaintance told her that the best way to get laid at a pagan gathering was to have the PA system announce, “Will Morgan and Raven please come to the information booth?” Since the resulting crowd would include at least a third of the female attendees, he went on, it wouldn’t be too hard to meet someone interesting. While Lady Pixie has not tried this out herself, she has tested the principle behind it in a series of controlled double-blinded experiments, and discovered a rule that she has modestly named Moondrip’s Law: 80% of all craft names are made up of the same thirty words combined in various not particularly imaginative ways.”

Guided by Moondrip’s Law, Lady Pixie has created the Random Craft Name Generator, helpfully included in her guide. The first seven names in the Generator are:

Wolf      Raven     Silver     Moon      Star      Water      Snow

If you’ve played enough RPG’s or read enough fantasy, you can probably take it from there. Otherwise, see the rest of the Generator, and the complete Guide to Craft Names here. Especially if you want your characters to have names like every other witch, wizard or mage in dungeon RPGs and derivative epic fantasy novels.

…Or a Bad Witch?

You may notice that Lady Pixie Moondrip’s name generator is completely unsuitable for naming your witch or wizard’s evil archnemeses (is that the correct plural of archnemesis? Or is it archnemesises? Archnemesissies?).

Did Donaldson use Lord Ooky's Evil Overlord Name Generator?

Did Donaldson use Lord Ooky's Evil Overlord Name Generator?

Thankfully, Lord Ooky Hellwrought (aka writer and Deepgenre blogger Kevin A Murphy) has thought deeply on this problem:

“With the exception of the always serviceable “Black” and “Night,” few evil overlords or wicked enchantresses use more than one word from [Lady Pixie’s] list in their craft names, seldom two, and never three.”

His solution: a Supplementary Random Name Generator Lexicon for evil overlords and enchantresses.

From the sinister (or left) Lord Ooky’s Generator starts with the following:

Bane        Death         Foul        Shadow

You can find Lord Ooky’s report and his Supplementary Random Name Generator Lexicon here.

Experienced fantasy consumers can see where this is going. And its nowhere we haven’t all been a hundred times before!

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the pingback–and the copy edit. I have now properly pluralized the wicked enchantresses!

  2. Thanks to you for bringing Lady Pixie to my attention, and for Lord Ooky’s wisdom on the matter of evil names!

    It was my first visit to Deepgenre, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. Looks like you have a lot of great content for fantasy lovers.

  3. I once had an archnemesis causing trouble for me. But here’s the strange thing; when I confronted him, he immediately surrendered. Turns out he was an archnemesissy.
    [comedy drums play: ba-dum tshhh!]

  4. sounds like a member of the evil nerd trio in Buffy. Of course, those guys didn’t use Lord Ooky’s name generator, or they’d have come up with better names than Warren or Andrew.


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