NPC Name Habit

  • 24 Replies
Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 07:27:05 AM »
I second all of that!




  • 415
Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 05:59:02 PM »
I'll get it up and running again once work settles down. I might strip out the server and switch to a different method of data storage so I can package it for other people. I won't have much in the way of free time unto somewhere mid-February. I'll be sure to post any updates you guys might want to take advantage of.

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2018, 07:43:14 PM »
Fantastic, Ebok.

I bet it would be a *tremendously* popular AW resource, if you're at all motivated by that! I know I would immediately recommend it to everyone I know who's interested in the game, for instance.

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2018, 04:17:31 PM »
I just realized another reason I love this project.

It produces a textual artifact that expresses layers of meaning in homophonic names and weird orthography  (e.g. "Ferrous", "III") that may be less accessible in the spoken name.

Once the name has been seen in written form, these layers continue to resonate in speech.

Spelling counts.

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2018, 11:05:35 AM »
Sam Kabo Ashwell's Apocalypse Fuel has a great name generator -- mostly list based, but with a little bit of procedural transformation and great combinations. A sample:

Bo Shotgun
Dump Bounder
Velvet Lark
the Gorgon Lord
Wicked Lupin
Bomb Sev
New Sig
Dragon Basher
Squicky Squicky
Bog Partner
Sinclair Trembly
Pleasure Boris
Saffron Mo
the Crusher Madame

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2018, 06:18:56 AM »
I don't create specific lists for the first session. I use the one on the threatmaps.

Then after the 1st session, I build a list for the players, and I take it from the feeling of the session. Here's an example from my last game.

2 players couldn't make it so we started with 2 players + 1 MC (me). Playbooks are Hardholder and Brainer.

The players wanted an old school wasteland madmax/fallout type of game. The Hardholder chooses a broken aircraft carrier lost in the wasteland as a holding. We play the game and create a bunch of NPC with the game's list: Roark, Spicey, etc.

Then after the 1st session I googled "aircraft carrier", "naval glossary", "military glossary", looked for illustrations and maps of aircraft carrier, to get an idea of what could be found there, and imagine some names, sometimes twisting them to give a "forgotten" feeling.

I ended up with : Amiral, Commander, Torpedo, Sonar, Control, Tower, F16, Deck, Dock, Enola Gay, Prop (for propeller), Mess, Lunchbox, Ballast, Avera, Starboard, Ironclad, Mayday, Bisco, Brick, Vietnam, Cean, Titude, Royal NAvy, Pothole, Watch, Iceberg, Turbine, Lash, Moor, etc.

I made another list, with evocative names but without a shared theme. I voluntary mixed the order randomly so when one reads the list, he founds mixed themes, and not a logical chain between them.  Molly, Demon, Venom, Iggy, Shazam, Blizzard, Chili, Viper, Motorhead, Crowley Aaron, Ven, Bomber, Melody, Rage, Atrium, Mars.

I do this second list so the player will have choices in evocative themes.
I gave these lists to the Hardholder, with these stuffs from Hatchet City, plus specifications from the game.

Dear Hardholder,

Choose your gang :
- Border patrol. Leader : _________. Others : Taboo, Maniac, _______ and others.
- Personal security. Leader : _______. Others : 47, Mr. Whamma, _________ and others.
- Hit & run. Leader : __________. Others : Karkass, Screw, __________ and others.
- Defenses. Leader : __________. Others : Kick, Smash, ____________ and others.
- Enforcers. Leader : __________. Others : Roark, Franz, ____________ and others.

Some of these blanked spaces are already fit with names, because we played it during 1st session. I add the following part, depending on the hardholder's choices of holding options.

Choose your population :
- Doc. Leader: Kash. Two assistants : Krass, Tumor.
- Armory. Secured by ____________.
- Stewardship. Overseer : _______. Others: Coyote, Axel, _____ and others.
- Factory. Leader : GrandMa. Overseers : White, Lala, Pellet. Workers : Tao, Groum.
- Harem. Overseer : ________. Women : Ouija, Blanche, Spicey, ______ and others.
- Crude farming. Overseer : _______. Others : Mex, Popcorn, ________ and others.
- Hunting. Leader : Roadster. Others : Crispy, Koko, _________ and others.
- Scavenging. Leader : ________. Others : Skiff, Solo, _________ and others.

I ask the hardholder to fill names in the blank. Last time my PC (new to AW) was really excited and wanted to make plans for NPC between sessions. I politely refused and I send my name list with this part, writing "Would you fill this list with names during our next session, while I explain the game to the 2 new players. If you're really excited, you may do it before the session, but don't make any description or backgrounds for NPC. Just fill names into blank spaces. Remember, there is no statut quo in Apocalypse World."

During the session, I asked some provocative questions to the Brainer. Something like this.

"Brainer, who is haunting your worst nightmares. Pick a name on the holding's list of name. It can be an unused named, but I invite you to use used names in the gang or the population part." Then I continue to ask provocative questions, inviting players to pick names from the Hardholder's choice.

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2018, 02:44:53 PM »
Those are great techniques!

I've been thinking a lot about designing approaches to RPG play (and this is particularly suited to AW) where you start with a list of names for NPCs, and then "target" them in various ways in order to create a starting situation for play. (You can see some of that here:

I very much like how you're doing that in your game. (Again, it's very much in line with some tricks I've been thinking about myself lately.)

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2018, 11:59:59 AM »

I wonder if anything ever came of sharing your picture+name generator for NPCs? That would be glorious! Please share, if you ever get around to it.



  • 415
Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2018, 09:34:28 PM »
Haven't got around to putting the app back together yet. Partly because my AW game which was the driving motivation has shifted into a DW type of thing for awhile. I'm planning to put it together, though don't expect it to be done soon, unfortunately.

Re: NPC Name Habit
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2018, 06:29:23 PM »
I understand! If you ever get around to it, though, I think it will be very warmly received. An excellent idea.