Names in Your Imagi-Nation Wargaming Campaign

Picture of John Waterman's marker by WallyG on Flickr
Picture of John Waterman's marker by WallyG on Flickr

Henry Hyde, yes the Henry Hyde that I keep mentioning in relation to the Dedhampton Revolution, asked me for feedback on his Wars of the Faltenian Succession articles, which appeared in early issues of Battlegames Magazine. I wrote him 3,000 words responding to his 30+ pages of imagi-nation goodness. While I wrote my thoughts I realized that one area Henry glosses over is naming the people inhabiting your world. He mentions that foreign languages can be a gilded chest when needing to name countries and other places. When it comes to naming the hundreds of people living and fighting in our fictional worlds we can quickly run out of steam.

In fact, I noticed that I was using the same names repeatedly in the Dedhampton Revolution. Each of the colonial governors is a member of the House of Reisen. I covered it up as a cool ploy to examine nepotism. The reality is I couldn’t think of different last names.

Where is a wargamer to look for good, believable, names? Look into family histories. Recently I came across some information about the Howland family. They came from England on the Mayflower and settled in parts of New England. The information I found listed many historical first, and last, names in this real colonial New England family. Clearly I lucked out. But, you can be equally lucky if you look up some local history for the real world location inspiring your fictional realm. I could just have easily searched records for nearby towns and found a wealth of names.

Many gamers might search the web for baby names, refer to their favorite books, or perhaps they have a knack, like Tolkien, for crafting appropriate names. If so, that’s perfect. Yet, I’m sure that others, like me, could use a hand. So, I’m offering my lists of first, and last, names found from the Howland family.

There are 25 first names and 50 last names on the lists. You could peruse the names, picking the ones you think appropriate. Or, in true gamer fashion, you could allow the dice to decide. I used Dicenomicon, my favorite iPad dice rolling app, to roll a d25 to choose a first name and a d50 to choose a last name. This can result in combinations like Barnabas Barton and Nicholas Alden. Why not give it a try?

  1. John
  2. Edward
  3. Francis
  4. Jabez
  5. Isaac
  6. Joseph
  7. James
  8. Richard
  9. Thomas
  10. Israel
  11. Nathan
  12. Caleb
  13. Sanford
  14. William
  15. Edmund
  16. Samuel
  17. Jonathan
  18. Nicholas
  19. David
  20. Stephen
  21. Barnabas
  22. Benjamin
  23. Nathaniel
  24. Josiah
  25. Ezekiel
  1. Howland
  2. Tilley
  3. Joslyn
  4. Bradford
  5. Winslow
  6. Dyre
  7. Eaton
  8. Alden
  9. Chipman
  10. Dickenson
  11. Brown
  12. Bosworth
  13. Cushman
  14. Tanner
  15. Carpenter
  16. Kingsley
  17. Butterworth
  18. Easterbrooks
  19. Peck
  20. Browne
  21. Warren
  22. Thomas
  23. Bozworth
  24. Munroe
  25. Thurber
  26. Gorham
  27. Kelley
  28. Barton
  29. Wilson
  30. Bullock
  31. Hedge
  32. Bowen
  33. Lothrop
  34. Hallet
  35. Thacher
  36. Barker
  37. Dyer
  38. Conant
  39. Lawton
  40. Dickens
  41. Guernsey
  42. Marcy
  43. Lyon
  44. Cushing
  45. Josselyn
  46. Munro
  47. Riggs
  48. Collins
  49. Revere
  50. Garrett

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