Say My Name

As a follow-up to my earlier feminist gaming post, I happened to get in touch with a certain author of a certain fantasy name generator.  I’m being coy because while he was happy to share all his code and data with me, he explicitly asked that his name be removed from any credit or blame.  I guess that name generator is well over a decade old and not the author’s proudest work.  I think he’s mad, it’s wonderful and has been naming characters in my game world since its inception five years ago.

I have finally rooted through it, pulled out the data I wanted, reformatted it, and added in the missing female names.  It was actually pretty easy to just reformat the tables into something usable by my favorite randomizer: Inspiration Pad Pro.  Even better, I have discovered in the course of doing this that Inspiration Pad Pro now has an Android port, which means I get all these awesome names right in my pocket.  Huzzah!

And of course, share and share alike, right?  So here it is, my Inspiration Pad Pro table for Silly (Awesome) Fantasy Names:

SillyFantasyNames

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve been thinking/working on this for some time now. I think this brings up an interesting issue of how prevalent the female names should be. Momentarily set aside the case of PCs, which can easily be counted as outlier special cases. Particularly in my standard role as DM, most of what I’m generating are NPC’s, for example, the common case of bands of men* in the wilderness or armies.

    I think that philosophically this can cut in both directions. That is: If we exclude or have a small proportion of female names, then we can be seen as exclusionary or inequitable. But if we have a 50/50 proportion of female names then an objection could look like this: we are whitewashing the greater propensity for young men to engage in fighting, and being ahistorical in pretending that women are equally welcome/represented in such bands of fighters. For example: If I make a random band of raiding bandits, brigands, or buccaneers (Vikings), what proportion would have been really female? It looks pretty weird to my eye to have half of them be women; and I think there’s some radical schools of thought who could even accuse such a depiction as being slanderous. (To be provocative as I write this.)

    I want women to be represented in my fantasy world, but I also want it to reflect some kind of statement on the origin of violent struggle in the real world. Currently I’m running with a 1-in-8 proportion for such forces; Isabelle suggested something like 1-in-4, but that looks high to my eye.

    * Of course, the very fact that humans are referred to as “men” in the Tolkien/Gygaxian tradition could now be subject to criticism. (While Cook’s X-rules retain the same, Moldvay’s B-rules switched to “Normal Human” and as a result I routinely fail to find it in his monster list.)

    P.S. In Max’s DCC game my main character is a halfling sorcerer with a side-effect that when casting _charm person_, gender switches. Which has been a pretty fun thing to run with, switching genders in every game session and trying to modify my voice-acting to communicate that.

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