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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Random Names

Couple quick pointers to some posts about random name/word generation for GMs: the blog Of Dice and Djinn has a post on hack languages and one example of a hack language, hack goblish. Telecanter's Receding Rules has a review of two old Dragon articles on the same thing. Of course, I've posted about my own methods, which involve Lewis Carroll's mnemonic system. I've also occasionally used a non-random system: create a "translation table" that lists substitutions for various letter combinations, so that you can pick an appropriate English word, substitute some letters, and add a prefix or suffix to get the "equivalent" word in another language.

There's a random way to accomplish the latter, using any of the tables mentioned above.

  1. Pick a word;
  2. Roll a replacement for the initial sound/letter, on one of the tables mentioned;
  3. Do the same, for the final sound/letter;
  4. For each consonant in the middle of the word, roll a d6; on a 1, drop the letter; on a 6, add a letter; otherwise, roll a replacement.


  1. Thanks for the links. I'm not sure if I've seen your methods involving Carroll's mnemonic system. Could you point the way?

    Thanks again.

    1. The first time I talked about using Carroll's mnemonics was in the 20-Sided NPC Names post, which had a couple follow-ups, including the Random Random Table as a stand-alone. When I revamped the Quickie Dice Tool, I explicitly included Carroll's mnemonics in the top and left edges, and described how to roll 2d4 to 4d4 to get a quickie dice tool name; I later provided a variant for scroll labels. There were a couple other posts, but I should just do a more thorough write-up, with all sorts of name-generation methods and examples for different cultures.