What's in a name...

I was reading a post at Greywulf's Lair today about a character that he badly named in a classic D&D game and it got me thinking about names in RPG's. What is a "good" name for a character or a place in a campaign world is a matter of taste and style but I've found that following a few simple guidelines produces much better and more memorable names.

1. Keep it simple - The more complex or strange a name is the less chance the players are going to remember it. If you keep the name simple you can avoid a lot of things like, "GM: Zardarakstinera is a great city state in the eastern isles... Players: I guess we'll go to that Zardar place..."
2. Give the name a context - Relate the name of a place to some relevant event or person and give character names a backstory. By creating names that have a story it is easier to remember and makes the place or person more interesting.
3. Don't use cliche or famous names - This one should be self evident. There is only one Aragorn and sorry Drizz't is and always will be a stupid name.

Now I'm gonna travel to Zardarakstinera and meet up with Voldemort Constantine, talk to you later.

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