Character Name Generators

Character Name Generators

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Updated Feb 28, 2014 at 03:09PM EST by Brad.  

Added by Brad.

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About

Character Name Generators are a series of index cards and single serving websites featuring a list of the English alphabet letters with each representing a unique word, from which a combination of two or more words are individually assigned to participants based on their first and last names.

Origin

One of the first known name generators was built in C++ and shared on the fantasy roleplay enthusiast Usenet group net.games.frp[9] on April 1st, 1983. The program would generate a list of 20 words inspired by Sindarin[10], the fictitious language created by J. R. R. Tolkien for his series The Lord of the Rings, that could be used as names for characters, places, weapons and other things in role playing games.

The purpose of this material (which is why it’s posted to this newsgroup) is to allow you to generate reasonably euphonious names for people, places, weapons, trees, etc, etc in your gaming, without having to use “real” Elvish words with their Tolkien-oriented meanings and mythic associations. A quick sample of the output (sorted and encolumned)

adaeg cuand duil lhadron naegilivrist
andorin dagalroth gladrial maerdhrin nelithrim
annunen dalad imlast merethil paurannu
arved dorthiw ladagnon moros thrielad

Spread

By the mid-1990s, the first automated generators were estblished online as single-serving websites where users could fill out a series of forms and checkboxes to customize the names they would like to generate. One of the earliest known examples of such website was Lee Seitz’ Super-Hero Generator[11], which launched on March 28th, 1996. According to Seitz, was inspired to create the generator after seeing a two-column super hero name creator known as the Patented Gillis Superdude Name Maker[12] in the comic Solo Avengers #5 released in April 1988. In addition to picking a name, the generator would also provide powers, a source of those powers, weapon and transportation information for the character.



In the late 1990s to early 2000s, more and more web-based generators began to pop up, many of them geared towards specific fandoms or franchises including Metal Gear Solid[13] (shown below), Rock Band[14] and Warhammer.[15] In 1996, a name generator that incorporates the words’ etymological history[21] into the process went online. In 1999, Samuel Stoddard launched a fantasy name generator[20] based on a computer program he had written a few years prior. Also in 1999, Seventh Sanctum[19] (shown below) was launched by Steven Savage to collect the generators he had built. As of May 2013, the site hosts hundreds of name generators for people, places, animals, gadgets and weapons, broken down by category for use in roleplay, fan fiction and original writing.



By 2000, sharing these generators and the results had become a popular pastime in online discussion forums, with several threads found on Beyond Unreal[16] and Ars Technica[17] as well as the Folklore researchers listserv.[18] That same year, a name generator was used in the promotion of Dav Pilkey’s fourth novel Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.[1]



Since the 2000s, thousands of single serving sites hosting generators have launched including Fake Name Generator[24], Name Generator Fun[25] and Gangsta Name.[26] The official Dungeons and Dragons website also hosts their own name generator[27] for characters in the pen and paper roleplaying game.

Notable Examples

A number of links to web-based generators have been collected on Rum and Monkey[2], Yahoo! Directory[22] and Squidoo.[23] Additionally, picture-based generators can be found on deviantART{6], Cheezburger[7] and Tumblr.[8]




Moon Moon

Moon Moon is a fictional wolf character that is portrayed as a mentally challenged outcast in the pack. The character was originally conceived as an “alter ago name” for Tumblr user Kitchiki, who was given the name “Moon Moon” by a name generator titled "What is Your Werewolf Name? (shown below). After Kitchiki shared the result on Tumblr, the post went viral and inspired a variety of image macros featuring silly interior monologues.



Search Interest



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