What’s in a [character’s] name?

Names are a big deal in RPGs and other fiction. (They’re a big deal in real life, too.) In fiction, names should really mean something. They should add to the character or explain the character or give them some sort of gravitas (a.k.a. street cred, if you’re writing or playing contemporary).

In my opinion, for kids, a name should give them something to aspire to, big shoes to fill, or dreams to share.

As a novelist, I suppose choosing a common name could make your character could make the character more relatable but also perhaps date your work, if you’re not careful. Names carry lots of connotations for people.

As a parent (and a game master), I’m always amused to see who’s naming their kids (and characters) what. When I’m naming my own characters (and my own kids), I try to find unique or unusual names. Most people seem follow the herd when choosing names. . .I don’t get why, but hey, whatever makes you happy.

Here’s what parents in the U.S. named their kids this year: BabyCenter® Reveals Top Baby Names Of 2017:


  1. Sophia
  2. Olivia
  3. Emma
  4. Ava
  5. Isabella
  6. Mia
  7. Aria
  8. Riley
  9. Zoe
  10. Amelia (NEW)


  1. Jackson
  2. Liam
  3. Noah
  4. Aiden
  5. Lucas
  6. Caden
  7. Grayson (NEW)
  8. Mason
  9. Elijah
  10. Logan (NEW)