Above: Me choking from the pressure of naming children and things.

Making up names is a difficult affair for me.

Names go through a few trials before I implement them. First, it gets put into Google and see if I accidentally stole the name outright. If I get past that, then I write up a few things using the name (usually just a back and forth between two people) and see how it sounds/reads. If it makes the cut there, then I start to use it like I would normally. It won’t be until I get used to the name that I’ll remember that I’m going to actually use these names for real, and I should probably pass them through the best filter I have: Pedro.

Pedro has a knack for finding something wrong with most of my names, and then laughing at them for those reasons. It doesn’t sound as bad as you would think, since I’m awful when it comes to picking those things up. The most notable of these examples happened in the first story I ran with Pathfinder.

The group (Pedro and our friend Reggie) tried to get into an adventuring guild called “The Loud Giants” (thank you, GameMastery Guide, for the random name generator), but were against paying the 10 gold to join the guild. Nizmo (Pedro’s rogue) took particular umbrage with the entry fee, and decided to break into the guild late night to take for himself the book containing all the jobs the guild had available. After stealthing in and finding the book, he looked at what the highest paying job was.

Now, I hadn’t really fleshed it out too much. I knew that there was something I wanted to have the group do if they ever got high enough level, but I didn’t know too many details. So when I began telling Pedro about the job, I made it up on the fly, including who the primary antagonist was.

The job called for the culling of a group of bandits that hid inside the chasm that nearly splits the continent in half. The Marauders were a fearsome group of people who had absolutely no moral compass and were utterly impossible to reason with. They were lead by the most fearsome of bandits, someone who struck fear in the hearts of children and monsters alike. No one knew his real name. He was simply…

The High Marauder.

As soon as I uttered those three words, the table erupted with laughter. Between gasps for breath and laughing, Pedro made a number of jokes regarding The High Marauder; Whether or not his parents actually named him that, if that was a name he took himself to feel better, and so on and so forth. It took a few minutes, but we finally resumed the game, and I made a mental note to start to come up with names before a game and run them through Pedro first. (I should note that I was laughing along with them at how bad the name “The High Marauder” was)

Since then, I’ve put my names through my filter system, and I’ve gotten some pretty good results from it. I still have trouble coming up with names, but I at least have Pedro to as a solid check against such stellar names as “Domangin” (“Do Man Gin?”), “Halfus” (“Half Us? Like, is he half a person?”, and “The Solts” (“The Solts? Are they supposed to be like The Colts? Are they pro?”). Without Pedro’s ability to find humorous things about my terrible names, I probably would have ran a game with a villain named “Partin Seasly” and have any and all dramatic reveals involving him ruined.

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