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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Monster Names

Monsters, right?  Who cares if they have names; at best, they're obstacles, and at worst, they're just sacks of experience points.

But what if your monster is something more?  I think we can all appreciate the goblin who defects from his tribe to aid the PCs or the ogre who's so dumb that the PCs trick him into being their flunkey.  In that case, your monster is probably going to need a name other than "Orc 3".

Allow me to share some tips on crafting names for intelligent (but not very intelligent) monsters.

Make it easy to say.

Goblin Names

1. Gerg
2. Gorp
3. Cackle
4. Clamp
5. Ack
6. Arg

No sense in naming your monster something funny or clever if the players are going to immediately shorten it or give the monster a nickname to avoid having to say "Eetz'frahmda Arbaj-gay."

Make it fun to say.

Ogre Names

1. Gorge Boneclub
2. Glut Filthface
3. Sluggo
4. Retch

So you gave your monster an easy name to say, "Blob."  Not a lot of fun, though, is it?  The players will use it, but they'll never call upon "Blob" with relish.  Change it to "Blob Barker" or "Blobert" and they'll smile every time they talk to your monster.

Make it descriptive.

Orc Surname

1. Bloodfist
2. Rocktooth
3. Fireheart
4. Wildwind
5. Dragonrock
6. Fanghill

I touched on this in the ogre names table above.  "Blob" is pretty good, as far as descriptive names, but not as good as "Blob Thornyseat."  Monstrous surnames are also a great way to build a bit of backstory into the monster and/or the setting.  "Blob Thornyseat" got his name from having such a knobbly butt, but "Gurk Icespear" is merely one of the many warriors of the Icespear tribe of ogres in the north.

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