What’s in a name? As said by Shakespeare’s Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while our star-crossed lovers may still have quaffed their apothecary’s brew, I doubt audiences would be as eager to attend “Garth and Janet” as they are “Romeo and Juliet”. But what can we do to improve our characters’ names?
Whether creating the next big villain or simply adding some good back-story flair to that goblin the party just decided to interrogate, creating a name for your non-player characters (NPCs) can set the scene as well as any physical description.
We interrupt our scheduled discussion on the Golden Rule to bring you this quick tip instead:
It is a peaceful day in Townsville, the birds are chirping and the trees are green. You wake and dress, kiss your wife/husband/Dead God goodbye and set out to work at THE SHOP. After polishing the counter and arranging your merchandise the bell over the door chimes to let you know you have your first customers! There are four of them and their armor and gear is impressive to behold (even if their swords are suspiciously blood-soaked and you’re pretty sure the one in the leather just stole your “OPEN” sign).
They approach, and their leader proclaims, “Merry met, shopkeep. We are the Long Shots, on a sacred mission of impressiveness from the King himself. What do you call yourself?”
A bit audacious, but you’re glad for the money. So you reply, “Why thank you, sir! I am…” but before you can answer, a voice interrupts, “Oh, crap. I don’t have a name for him, man. He’s not important. He’s just a shop keep. What do you want to buy?”
Wait… what? Who said that? Was that… was that God? Are you there, God? It’s me, the shopkeeper. Please give me a name!