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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last-Minute GM: 2d10 NPC Names

In one of my previous posts, I described a couple techniques using multiple d20s and 20-sided quickie tables, in concert with a mnemonic cypher partially created by Lewis Carroll, to generate names for NPCs. The problem with these techniques is that they require multiple rolls to get longer names. Here's another little technique that uses exactly two d10s to generate arbitrarily long numeric sequences to use for pure fantasy names.

  • Roll 2d10 and write down the result as a two-digit number.
  • Multiply the digits together, ignoring zeros.
  • Append the result onto the end of the number, including any zeros in the result.
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3, remembering to ignore zeros during multiplication but retaining them in your growing multi-digit number (as an alternative, only multiply the last four non-zero digits together, to reduce the work needed.)
Steps 2 and 3 can be repeated as many times as desired, potentially endlessly. Once you have enough digits to work with, you can convert the digits to letters using the Carroll-Grey cypher. I suggest the following:

  • If the first two digits are both odd or both even, start with a consonant; otherwise, start with a vowel.
  • Convert to a letter; Optionally, for consonants, choose the consonant from Column 2 if the previous digit was odd, Column 3 if the previous digit was even.
  • If previous letter was a vowel, next letter is a consonant; if previous letter was a consonant, keep converting to consonants until the consonant cluster seems unpronounceable, then switch to vowels.
  • Repeat.
This should create a long potentially-pronounceable string of letters. Find sequences that look interesting as names.

Example: I rolled "59" and generated this numeric sequence: 5945900810064800. Names that looked usable were Ourzei, Cryxok, and Okyr. And, if I felt silly, "Lou Flour".

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