Friday, August 22, 2014

Name some of the monsters

Give the monsters in on your hex maps and megadungeons names it goes a long way towards having an adventure come alive.

What tells folks more about a campaign.:
In this scenario-

A. A peasant on the roadside warns "watch out there's a dragon over that next hill."

B. A peasant on the roadside warns "watch-out Blackheart  the dragon is lurking over the next hill."

Or this one-
A. Room 2-11: 10 Hobgoblins, standard gear, each has 1-8 gp. small chest with 100 g.p. hidden in nook in south wall. One hogoblin knows where a key to room 2-13 is hidden (in room 2-12).

B. Rool 2-11: 10 Hobgoblins, standard gear, each has 1-8g.p. small chest with 100 g.p. hidden in nook in south wall. Karuclaw, DunkHammer, and Stainsword among the hobgoblins. StainSword knows where the knows where a key to room 2-13 is hidden (in room 2-12).

Hmm... option B has a lot more detail with only a few more words, doesn't it?

But the players aren't goign to talk to the 10 hobgoblins and find out their names some might say and that may be true which is why I only wrote up three names in the hobgoblin example so any prisoners taken could be one (or all) of those three and if the hobgoblins are spied on there's a small chance a couple of them will say each others name now and again but not everyone is goign to come up. the types of names also setup the mood for who these hobgoblins are a lot better than simply being generic.

A for the earlier dragon name of "Blackheart" it's a subtle clue there isn't a friendly golden dragon sunning itself on the other side of the hill isn't it? Any local stories about dragons? It is sure a lot more signifigant to bump into Blackheart the dragon mentioned in the song sung by Millo the minstrel three days ago than it is to encounter generic dragon #3.

Give the monsters names frequently enough the players start asking what the names of the monsters are and you are building up your campaign in the mind's eye of the players. The more the immersion in a campaign without barrier, the richer the campaign experience.

There's no excuse not to come up with some names there's an amazing amount of random name generators,foreign language translators, baby name lists, and lists of historical names all over the internet. 


  1. There is the quick and easy way to get a Fantasy/ Barsoomian sounding character name  go to the white pages of your phone book, and place finger on any page (randomly);
    Take first five or six letters of last name (space)
    followed by first three letters of first name
    . . .

    Charl Mic Hilli Lar
    Tompk Deb Watso Ali

    or if you don’t like these, try rearranging . . .
    Mic Charl Lar Hilli
    Deb Tompk Ali Watso

    1. The phone book is a nice and handy for that.

      Pre-internet, I used to use a huge dictionary on hand with an appendix for historical figures, another appendix for literary characters, and another for herbs and flipping through that was a great way to come up with names for characters and places.

  2. Rinkwork's fantasy name generator:

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  4. Yep--the Catoblepas my group encountered in the Malpheggi Swamp was known as "Old Bill" by the local marshfolk.