Tag Archives: Characters

Beyond ‘Fred’: Sumerian Names

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Sumerian necklaces and headgear discovered in ...

Sumerian necklaces and headgear discovered in the royal (and individual) graves, showing the way they may have been worn. British Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finding a character’s name can sometimes be the hardest part of building a character. If you’re looking for something different from the usual fantasy sources and more pronounceable that a random name generator, you may find something here you like.

Beyond ‘Fred’ is an occasional series that provides lists of names from real-world cultures, both past and present. In other posts, I’ve covered everything from Italian to Ancient Egyptian. This time, we’re covering names from ancient Sumer. Some of these names are names of gods and goddesses, some are names of kings, and some are names of ordinary people. A few lists didn’t even have names broken down by gender or seemed to be used for either gender. For that reason, I’m including a third category I don’t normally use: unknown gender or gender-neutral names.

An important note: I’m listing names that I think sound cool for rpg game purposes. I’m not worrying about historical accuracy. If you’re looking for a name for historical re-enactment, please check out my list of sources at the end of this post. I also don’t usually cover name meanings, but again, most of my sources list those. Finally, I tend to stay away from names that are currently in common usage. I figure if you were interested in those, you wouldn’t be looking at this list. ;)

Male Sumerian Names

  • Aradegi
  • Aradlugal
  • Babum
  • Balih
  • Dadazig
  • Dumuzid
  • Entana
  • Enki
  • Gilgamesh
  • Gudea
  • Hablum
  • Hadanish
  • Ibranum
  • Iltasadum
  • Kalbum
  • Ludari
  • Luninni
  • Mageshgetil
  • Nanni
  • Puzur-Suen
  • Tuge
  • Undalulu
  • Yarlangab
  • Zizi

Female Sumerian Names

  • Aea
  • Anunit
  • Bau
  • Elutil
  • Ereshkigal
  • Gemekala
  • Gesthinanna
  • Inanna
  • Ishtar
  • Kishar
  • Lahamu
  • Mesh-he
  • Nammu
  • Nigbau
  • Puzur-Nirah
  • Uttu

Sumerian names of unknown gender (or gender-neutral)

  • Bauninsheg
  • Meania
  • Sheshkala
  • Urusilim
  • Zimu

Sources

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Beyond ‘Fred’: Ancient Persian Names

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It’s often difficult to come up with names for characters. I’ve seen enough variations on Tolkein names to last me a lifetime, not to mention those based on movie characters and other SF/Fantasy series. But where can you go to find a name that’s different, but not overly so? How about from another culture, historical or otherwise?

Beyond ‘Fred’ is an occasional series that provides lists of names from real-world cultures, both past and present. In other posts, I’ve covered everything from Italian to Ancient Egyptian. This time, we’re covering Persian names, ancient and newer.

An important note: I’m listing names that I think sound cool for rpg game purposes. I’m not worrying about historical accuracy. If you’re looking for a name for historical re-enactment, please check out my list of sources at the end of this post. I also don’t usually cover name meanings, but again, most of my sources list those. Finally, I tend to stay away from names that are currently in common usage. I figure if you were interested in those, you wouldn’t be looking at this list. 😉

[Photo courtesy of hsivonen via Flickr Creative Commons]

Ancient Persian Names

Male

  • Aêtava
  • Airyu
  • Bêndva
  • Byarshan
  • Chamrav
  • Dahâka
  • Drâdha
  • Datis
  • Erezavant
  • Erezrâspa
  • Frâchithra
  • Frânya
  • Gaevani
  • Gaomant
  • Hanghaurvah
  • Hvova
  • Isvant
  • Jannara
  • Jishti
  • Kaeva
  • Karesna
  • Mathravaka
  • Mazdayasna
  • Nanarasti
  • Neremyazdana
  • Paeshata
  • Parshinta
  • Ravant
  • Sadhanah
  • Sâma
  • Stivant
  • Taurvati
  • Tura
  • Usan
  • Uxshan
  • Vâgerezan
  • Varâza
  • Vyâtana
  • Xexes
  • Xshtavay
  • Yima
  • Zairita
  • Zavan

Female

  • Ahoo
  • Amytis
  • Atosa
  • Banafsheh
  • Dughdhô-Vâ
  • Eredat-Fedhrî
  • Franghâd
  • Freni
  • Ghazal
  • Humayâ
  • Hutaosâ
  • Hvôv
  • Jagkrut
  • Kanukâ
  • Khoshfarberan
  • Lila
  • Narges
  • Narpestan
  • Paêsanghanû
  • Pouruchista
  • Sarvenaz
  • Thriti
  • Tûshnâmatay
  • Urûdhayant
  • Ushtavaitî
  • Uxshentî
  • Vadhut
  • Vanghu-Fedhrî
  • Zairichi
  • Zeheratzade

Newer Persian Names (19th century)

Male

  • Abadi
  • Adarvan
  • ANOSH
  • Bahadur
  • Beramji
  • Burzin
  • Chaxshnush
  • Cirrus
  • Dadar
  • Delir
  • Dorabji
  • Edalji
  • Erach
  • Erachsha
  • Fardunji
  • Firdous
  • Freortis
  • Gashtaham
  • Goberu
  • Govad
  • Hardar
  • Hirji
  • Hutan
  • Isatvastra
  • Ishvat
  • Izadyar
  • Jahandar
  • Javidan
  • Jehangir
  • Kai
  • Kavas
  • Kurush
  • Mahdat
  • Mervanji
  • Mohor
  • Nadarsha
  • Nevazar
  • Nima
  • Nush
  • Omid
  • Orvadasp
  • Palash
  • Pishkar
  • Puladvand
  • Raham
  • Rashna
  • Rushad
  • Sahi
  • Shahen
  • Surin
  • Tahmtan
  • Temulji
  • Tizuarshti
  • Ukarji
  • Ushah
  • Ushedarmah
  • Valash
  • Varshasb
  • Vaspar
  • Wehzan
  • Yadgar
  • Yazad
  • Yima
  • Zal
  • Zand
  • Zirak
  • Zurvan

Female

  • Abanhir
  • Aimai
  • Arzu
  • Avabai
  • Bahar
  • Banubai
  • Behruz
  • Chaman
  • Cheherazad
  • Deldar
  • Dinaz
  • Dinbanu
  • Farida
  • Franak
  • Friyana
  • Gohar
  • Gulbai
  • Gilshan
  • Homa
  • Hormazbanu
  • Hutoxi
  • Iranbanu
  • Irandokht
  • Jahanaray
  • Jarbai
  • Javaneh
  • Kaniz
  • Khubrui
  • Khushnam
  • Lalagul
  • Laleh
  • Lilya
  • Mahzarin
  • Meherbai
  • Morvarid
  • Narenj
  • Nezhat
  • Nilufer
  • Omid
  • Oranous
  • Orkideh
  • Parendi
  • Parvin
  • Puyendeh
  • Rambanu
  • Roshni
  • Ruhae
  • Samannaz
  • Shirin
  • Sudabeh
  • Tehmina
  • Thrity
  • Tishtar
  • Ushtavaity
  • Vahbiz
  • Vira
  • Virbanu
  • Yasmin
  • Yazdin
  • Yazdindokht
  • Zarin
  • Zer
  • Zoish

Sources

Other ‘Beyond Fred’ Posts

Beyond ‘Fred’: Ancient Greek Names for Games

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Greek writing from ancient greek red figure po...

Greek writing from ancient greek red figure pottery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking for a character name that sounds distinctive but doesn’t look like it came out of a random name generator? How about one from Ancient Greece? Often the best names come from real life. Beyond ‘Fred’ is an occasional series that provides lists of names from real-world cultures, both past and present. In other posts, I’ve covered everything from Italian to Ancient Egyptian.

An important note: I’m listing names that I think sound cool for rpg game purposes. I’m not worrying about historical accuracy. If you’re looking for a name for historical re-enactment, please check out my list of sources at the end of this post. I also don’t usually cover name meanings, but again, most of my sources list those. Finally, I tend to stay away from names that are currently in common usage. I figure if you were interested in those, you wouldn’t be looking at this list 😉

Ancient Greek Names

Male

  • Abantes
  • Agapetos
  • Akakios
  • Aktis
  • Alexios
  • Bakis
  • Basileios
  • Bion
  • Burrhus
  • Daetor
  • Dareios
  • Diodoros
  • Diokles
  • Dryas
  • Echemmon
  • Eirenaios
  • Epiktetos
  • Eustorgios
  • Eyrx
  • Galenos
  • Gennadios
  • Glykon
  • Gurgos
  • Harpagos
  • Hesiodos
  • Hyakinthos
  • Hylas
  • Iasos
  • Iphitus
  • Isidoros
  • Itheus
  • Kadmos
  • Kallias
  • Karpos
  • Kyrios
  • Laomedon
  • Linos
  • Loxias
  • Lykos
  • Makarios
  • Melampos
  • Metrophanes
  • Myron
  • Narkissos
  • Nereus
  • Nikias
  • Nyctinus
  • Okytos
  • Olympos
  • Origenes
  • Orthaeus
  • Pammon
  • Pankratios
  • Phaidros
  • Philokrates
  • Sabyllos
  • Seleukos
  • Skiron
  • Solon
  • Talaemenes
  • Thales
  • Timaios
  • Tros
  • Xanthos
  • Xenokrates
  • Xenon
  • Xuthos
  • Zagreus
  • Zenodoros
  • Zopyros
  • Zosimus

Female

  • Achaia
  • Agape
  • Aikaterine
  • Anthousa
  • Basiane
  • Berenike
  • Bito
  • Briseis
  • Damaris
  • Delias
  • Demetria
  • Drosis
  • Eirene
  • Euantha
  • Eudokia
  • Euthymia
  • Evadne
  • Gaiane
  • Galatea
  • Galene
  • Glyke
  • Haidee
  • Hagne
  • Helike
  • Hypatia
  • Iaera
  • Ino
  • Isidora
  • Issa
  • Kallistrate
  • Kallixeina
  • Korinna
  • Kynna
  • Lais
  • Lasthena
  • Ligeia
  • Lyra
  • Megara
  • Melitta
  • Mykale
  • Myrrine
  • Nemerte
  • Nesaea
  • Nikaia
  • Nysas
  • Oitane
  • Olympias
  • Oreithyia
  • Otonia
  • Pales
  • Pelagia
  • Phile
  • Pylia
  • Raisa
  • Rhene
  • Rhode
  • Rhodope
  • Sebasteia
  • Semele
  • Sostrate
  • Sotera
  • Thalassa
  • Thais
  • Timo
  • Tryphosa
  • Xanthe
  • Xanthippe
  • Xene
  • Xenia
  • Zenobia
  • Zita
  • Zosime
  • Zoe

Hints on pronunciation

  • Always pronounce the final “e”– it makes an sound like “eh”.
  • “Ch” is always pronounced with a “k” sound.
  • “Th” is pronounced smoothly, like in “this”

Sources

Other Beyond ‘Fred’ Posts:

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Beyond ‘Fred’: Names for Victorian Games

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Everyone has trouble coming up with character names, at least occasionally. Especially GMs, who frequently have to come up with names on the spur of the moment. That’s what this series, “Beyond ‘Fred'” is all about: providing lists of names from other times and cultures so you can find a name that feels right for the time and place of your game.

In this series, I’m more interested in finding names that capture the feel of various game settings. Historical accuracy is not a factor here. In the spirit of my new Castle Falkenstein campaign, here’s a list of names common in Victorian England and America:

Male Names

  • Aaron
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Barnabas
  • Bartholomew
  • Bernard
  • Byron
  • Cecil
  • Cyril
  • Clarence
  • Clement (Clem)
  • Clinton (Clint)
  • David
  • Edward (Ned)
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Ernest
  • Ezra
  • Francis
  • Franklin
  • Fredrick
  • Gabriel
  • Garrett
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Henry
  • Horace
  • Isaac
  • James
  • John
  • Jasper
  • Julian
  • Lawrence
  • Leander
  • Louis
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merriweather
  • Micajah
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel (Nate, Nathan, Nat)
  • Nimrod
  • Oral
  • Orville
  • Patrick
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Reuben
  • Richard (Dick, Rich)
  • Samuel
  • Simeon
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas (Tom)
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Wilfred

Female Names

  • Abigail (Abby)
  • Agnes
  • Beatrice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Constance
  • Dorothy (Dot)
  • Elizabeth (Bess, Betsy, Bessie, Eliza, Liza, Lizzie)
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fern
  • Fidelia
  • Frances
  • Flora
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Grace
  • Hattie
  • Helene
  • Hester
  • Irene
  • Ivy
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Katherine
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lily
  • Lottie
  • Margaret
  • Maude
  • Mercy
  • Minerva
  • Molly
  • Nellie
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Anne (Sarah Elizabeth)
  • Sophronia
  • Theodosia
  • Victoria
  • Winnifred (Winnie)

Biblical names were very popular in the Victorian Era, as were virtues (such as Chastity or Hope), and flowers (primarily for women). Both boys and girls were also given “nature” names, such as Forrest, Fern

Sources

Other “Beyond ‘Fred'” posts:

 

Fantasy Pantheons: Deities are more fun when there’s more than one

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For a long time, I’ve felt like there was something amiss with the way many fantasy games handle gods. It’s take me a while to put my finger on exactly what the problem was. It finally hit me today when I was re-reading an old Dragon magazine with an article giving mechanics a PC cleric can use to convert an NPC to his religion. Here’s what I realized: most games approach pantheons of deities with a very monotheistic mindset.

It make sense. We live in a world where monotheism is the norm. Religions have one god and that god oversees all aspects of life. Place all our devotion on the one deity who aids and helps us no matter if we’re experiencing money problems or problems with our spouse or kids. We are expected to hold fast to the one singular deity we embrace.

Not so in the pagan world. In a world of pantheons, clerics would devote themselves to one particular deity, but the average person held fast to the gods of his ancestors. Sure, a person might feel a particular closeness to one deity of the pantheon more than the others, say the way a farmer would most likely feel closest to a goddess of crops or fertility. But that would stop her from saying a prayer to the god of oceans, should she need to make an overseas trip. The concept that the goddess of crops would then be offended by this would seem very strange to this farmer.

In a way, you could think of the pantheon as a single god, with each of the individual gods and goddesses as merely aspects of that one deity. Who you prayed or made offerings to would depend on what you needed. Crops withering in the fields? Pray to the god of water to bring rain. Need a husband for your eldest daughter? Pray to the goddess of marriage to find a suitable candidate. Perform regular rituals to the head of the pantheon to assure a stable country.

Using this thinking, a non-cleric character wouldn’t necessarily have to choose a particular deity, but could still be considered very devout.

[Image courtesy of  lizardrinking via Flickr Creative Commons]

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