Advice for Choosing your Skyrim character’s name…
A few nights ago, I had the privilege of helping a good friend create his very first Skyrim character. It’s taken a few years, but Jack finally got around to playing Skyrim (I guess he grew tired of me always talking smack about how great the game is). After I helped him set up a Steam account and loaded his copy of Skyrim Legendary on the PC, I pulled up a chair and watched as he started the game’s intro as a prisoner on the road to Helgen.
As soon as the Imperial soldier called the prisoner to step forward, Jack began the process of creating his character. He was familiar with my previous article The Best Skyrim Character: Warrior, Thief or Mage, (I made him read it before I came over), and he decided beforehand to play as an Argonian thief. He spent close to an hour fiddling with the huge number of customization options, refining his character to make him look just right (a thin Argonian with purple tinted skin and wicked battle scars). As soon as he accepted his character’s physical characteristics, it was time to choose his Skyrim character name.
Jack was stumped…
Creating a Skyrim character was more or less effortless up to this point. Jack had prepared before hand, and knew the race and character build he was striving for. He had a general idea of how he wanted his character to look, and selecting his Argonian’s eye color and nose shape proved to be entertaining. When it came to choosing a Skyrim character name though, my friend hit a roadblock and turned to me for help.
Now, there’s some general advice that comes to picking your character’s name in any RPG:
- Pick a name you like. You’re going to be stuck with it until you start over.
- Pick a name that helps you get into the game. In Skyrim, unlike Oblivion, you will actually see your character’s name. For example, if the Dark Brotherhood sends assassins after you, you’ll see it on the writ someone took out on you. You might not want to see “Dakilla1337” on that piece of paper.
- Steal from mythology and other fantasy franchises – Bethesda did! Cuchulainn, legendary hero of Irish legend, might be a good name for a Breton knight. Sigurd, the Norse hero that roasted a Dragon’s heart, could be a good name for a Nord warrior. And there’s a about billion potential options for the elves: steal something from Lord of the Rings, Warcraft, Warhammer, your old D&D books, or whatever else.
- Look to the Internet. The most famous Internet name generator is Fantasy Name Generators, and they have an Elder Scrolls section. Hardcore Elder Scrolls fans might not be satisfied with it’s claims to lore friendliness however, and to them I would suggest this lore friendly name generator used by the Morrowind mod Tamriel Rebuilt, as well as the remainder of this article.
The Elder Scrolls franchises’ lore is a never ending pool of madness. Fortunately, the madness is all pretty simple, especially when it comes to names.
Some races in the series have pre-established naming conventions. If you’re familiar with previous titles in the series you will have noticed that all the Orc characters have names that go like this: “Blahblah gra-Blahblah” if the characters is female, and “Blahblah gro-Blahblah” if female. The gra/gro is a gendered prefix to the last name, not totally different from the “Mc” or “Mac” you sometimes see in Irish derived last names. Just like those names, the Orc prefix probably means “daughter of/son of” whoever the last name once belonged too. With this formula you can get any Orc name by smashing together any few ugly sounding syllables and adding a gro or a gra in the middle.
Argonian names tend to come in three patterns. One is a two syllable word like “Deekus” or “Jaleen.” The second is something with a hyphen – “Jahree-Ra” or “Hie-Jun.” The third is something descriptive – “Big Head” or “Swims-Swiftly” or “Hides-in-Shadows.”
Imperials also have a naming convention. In previous titles all Imperials had Latin words as their first and last name. In Morrowind they were even grammatically correct! What this means is you can go to any online English–Latin dictionary, type in an English words and it will spit back out a suitable Imperial name. However, Skyrim expanded the Imperial’s name list by including some Italian. But the same principal still applies.
Other Elder Scrolls races stole names from real world cultures. Any French, English, or if the character is a Reachman, Celtic name will work for Bretons. Any Scandinavian sounding gobbledygook followed by a descriptive phrase like “Troll-Arms” or “the Red” will work for Nords.
Redguard names seem to a be a bit less historically inspired, but anything that sounds vaguely Arabian, North African, or common English will work well enough. Cyrus in particular is a good name for Redguards, as it was the name of the hero that led them against the Empire 600 years before Skyrim begins.
Other races, especially the elves, have vaguely fantasy names. Pick something flowly for an Altmer, something foresty for a Bosmer, something short with doubles Ls for a Dunmer, something with a K or a J and a two letter prefix for a Khajiit and you’re good to go.
Arena and Daggerfall Names
The first two games in the Elder Scrolls series generated every NPC’s name with a table of generic prefixes and suffixes that was different for every race and gender. If you’re scratching the bottom of the barrel, look up the chart for your character and find a combination you like.
As it turned out, Jack chose his Skyrim character name with the help of the fantasy name generator. After selecting his character’s Argonian race, he was able to cycle through several exotic names that seemed fitting for a denizen of Black Marsh. He found several that he liked, but finally settled on Jee-Tan Xerseus, a name that he felt worthy of a simple Argonian thief who would some day become the fabled Dragonborn, hero of Skyrim.
Have you ever needed help choosing your Skyrim character name? If so, where did you turn for inspiration? Let us know in the Speak Your Mind section below, and don’t forget to browse our latest Skyrim and Elder Scrolls wallpapers. Until next time, fellow travelers!