Weekend Question: How do you name RPG characters?

PCG Jody

Staff member
Dec 9, 2019
I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week the question is: How do you name RPG characters?

You've got the character creation screen in front of you. Class, stats, gender, cheekbone height, all those easy decisions made. But what do you call them? Do you reuse the same name in every game, put in the first goofy thing you think of, deliberately craft something suitable for the setting, or just use your own name?
Apr 4, 2020
I usually use my nickname: Badman. Even if it's a woman, yeah it's probably sexist :D. If it's an online game and the nick is taken then I use something similar. When I have multiple characters in one game, like in Diablo, then I go by the first thing that pops up in my mind. I never use my real name in a game. It's part of escaping the real life, why would I use my real name then?
Aug 24, 2020
Back in the day with games like Final Fantasy 6 I would name the characters after me and all my friends, which led to some funny situations and stories to tell on the playground. Nowadays I've been writing a fantasy novel for a few years so I usually name my RPG characters after the characters in my book
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Jan 14, 2020
If it's a male character I'd use my usual name of Rolfil. Rolf originating from Germanic meaning renown wolf.
Female characters I generally think about them a bit more and try and come up with something unique.
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Aug 8, 2020
Generally there are two options I go with (other than my actual name on rare occasions: metal or ridiculous. I'll call an Orc warrior something like Spineripper on the metal side, or just whatever absurdity I happen to think of on the ridiculous side. One of my Diablo 3 characters is a Wizard named "yerawizard".
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Feb 17, 2020
Depends if it's a serious character or not.

In Skyrim, Argonians have a naming day when they are young and are given a name that's a bit descriptive of them. Often that's then translated somewhat literally into Tamrielic for the benefit of others who struggle with the Argonians' language. My Argonian follows this pattern. He's called "Tests-all-mods".

In Borderlands I tend to play a main character of each class with their official names e.g. Axton in Borderlands 2. And I use variations for bank characters and alts e.g. I also have Maxton. If I enjoy the class or need a lot of alts, eventually I run out of plausible ones and end up with toons called Waxtr0n, Haxxton, etc.

I've also used the name Iskender for toons, because I like the name, I think it's great. It's the Turkish form of Alexander (all Indiana Jones fans will know of Iskenderun /Alexandretta). In MMOs this is guaranteed to result in unexpectedly receiving personal messages of "türk müsün?" (are you Turkish?). When answering (in English) to the effect that I'm from the UK and I just really like the name the response has always seemed to be one of delight.

National or cultural pride in games can be a complicated issue but I'm always quite touched when that happens. I always took it as: You love even a fragment of this person's culture, they love that you love even a fragment of their culture. As superficial as it might seem, it's still a nice, genuine connection to make with a total stranger, mutually appreciating something.

NB: if it wasn't clear, I use Iskender for 'serious' toons, not as a throwaway name.
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Community Contributor
Jan 13, 2020
Sometimes I'll make one up but I've got a stable of names I use a lot: Bub for a thief, Tesslah for a mage (preferably into electricity), and so on.
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For offline singleplayer games, I usually use my own name (and the names of my friends in case I get to name more than one character). For online games, it's almost always Pifanjr.

If I'm in the right mood, for the right game, I might think of something funny, usually some kind of pun.

If I don't want to use my real name nor my usual nickname and I don't have a funny name, I use Peughx, which I once got when having to fill in a name on an emulated GBA game and I put it on full speed and mashed some buttons.
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Jan 16, 2020
Like a lot of people i name the MC using my real name. in some cases i like to add ! at the end to make them seem like they're shouting my name. Hell, in most cases i still use my real name in multiplayer as well. Something i really should stop doing.

For a time i would use puns or appropriate names to name various characters. I did this a bit for Mass Effect 3 until i couldn't come up with names. Like Angie Neer the engineer or destructor who carried a HMG and fired rockets.

For some reason i'm also quite fond of the name Beth duclare. The same name of one of the characters in Deus ex and in invisible war. Why? Don't know, the name sounded pretty regal and to name a female character (especially with rogueish qualities) gave the impression someone who had fallen from grace but still destined to do great things. I believe i did this when i named my original scion in path of exile and both my rogue characters in Grimrock beth duclare.
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Aug 26, 2020
I call every elf character I make Levolor, after the blinds gracing my windows. Everything else I just make up something fantastical or crimp names from history books. I keep a list of good ones.
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Jan 14, 2020
For the most part, I name my character something Norse, like Frindis which is also a name I use in a lot of games. I did name my character Kronk (think The Emperors' New Groove) once, I guess that was kind of goofy.
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Aug 24, 2020
Usually a lot of thought goes into it, depending on the Class of the character as well as gender and such. Something that fits how I think this Character will be and what fits the personality I am projecting for them.
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Jan 22, 2020
Either my own name, because I don't really care, or a hilarious pun, because I really don't care.

Unfortunately the character limit in Starbound precluded me naming my Avian character 'James Van Der Beak'. Still pissed about that.
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Jan 14, 2020
It depends partly on the RPG and how much I care about it. Also whether it's a computer RPG (which I assume is what the question means) or pen-and-paper, because I put FAR more time and effort into my pen-and-paper RPG name and backstory than I ever do in a computer RPG, mostly because computer RPG's only give you so much freedom. Some games, like Fallout 4, I don't even remember what I named my character(s), unless I deliberately chose one that Cogsworth could say. (Or whatever the droid's name was.)

Beyond that, it depends on the race/class/gender of the character.

Though a lot of the time if it's just some guy I'll name the character Krud*. Especially if it's an online RPG and the name isn't taken.

(* - Which isn't quite the same as naming a character after myself, since my username Krud is a character from one of the first novels I attempted to write, circa 1994. But since I've been using that as a username all that time, it's almost the same.)


Community Contributor
Jan 14, 2020
I'm usually capable of creating a random fantasy name by myself. I don't use any particular strategy to get them. Simply a name comes to my mind. I write it down and rate if it's good enough to use it. When I suffer from the lack of inspiration, I use a random fantasy name generator. I almost never reuse the names that I came up with.
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Jul 28, 2020
For a long time now I've used the name Chuck. It's the name of my favorite stuffed animal toucan. There's something really calming about using the same name for an avatar.
Jul 21, 2020
**looks around**
I do both - I have a few names I use from time to time, but sometimes I like to come up with a new name so I quickly press random keys on the keyboard and then look for any patterns that I could piece together into a name. A character I'm playing now is named "Fjir" - when I saw it in a string of random letters I typed I thought "hey if that's pronounced 'fear' that would be pretty cool...
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