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I don't know what to name my antagonist race. >_<

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Anders Ämting, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. In the story I'm trying to get started on, the innitial antagonists are a parallel dimension version of humans that are somewhat remicent of vampires. They are one of the most magically gifted types of humans and the second known to have the capacity to interact with other dimensions. (The other one being the one the heroes belong to.) The plot, as it looks right now, seems to concern a conspiracy to reignite and old war between these two civilizations.

    Problem is, I can't think of a good name for these guys and until I know their name, I can't get started detailing their culture. It's rather annoying: Normally I can just make something up on the spot, but this time it just won't come to me.

    What about you guys? How do you name your races?
  2. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

    Well, you have to take into consideration what they are, and what their culture is. You should have some idea of what culture this said race is going to behave like. Are they more of a high, prissy, intellectual race, or are they a bunch of brutish savages? Or are they somewhere in between?

    A more pompous culture would, in my eyes, deserve more eloquent, long, and rich sounding names. Think typical Elven: Ellywyndylllyndyllyyn. That might have been a stretch.

    If they are more shadowy, I would give them shorter names to be brief in speaking.

    When taking into consideration ALL factors in creating a race - region, culture, ethos or belief system, nature of the peoples in question - that is when I begin to mix the elements together to get a name that would fit and sound like their descriptions.

    You should formulate this culture and race more for you to come up with a name.

    This also works reversely; you CAN build an entire race around a name. Try giving that a shot, too.
  3. Actually, it sounds Welsh. ;)
  4. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    Anyone try saying that with Welsh pronounciation yet? :p Less eloquent and more like an unfortunate someone with both a particularly bad lisp and a stutter.

    Anyway, I name my races very simply at first. I pick an obscure language and generate a combination sounds based on it, and their placeholder name is born. Sometimes they will keep this name, but in the cases where it doesn't fit I "rinse and repeat" as it were with cultural and societal cues in mind.

    Educated trial and error I guess.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    What have you named other races? I think it's hard to comment without having a feel for your naming style.
  6. zizban

    zizban Troubadour

    Hmm, just a random name: Dwyvel.
  7. Dark Huntress

    Dark Huntress Scribe

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  8. They're not exactly prissy, but they're not brutish either. They like to think of themselves as a refined high culture but they are also fairly militaristic and have some strict social/religious codes. It's not unlikely the previous war was partially because the other side practiced a form of magic they considered blasphemous.

    They also place a lot of importance in social heirarchy - in fact, they might even have some sort of caste system.

    The other guys are called Elidorians. Specifically, most of the plot takes place in a country called Osrai, and the people there have kind of a German-ish sound to their names.

    I was thinking these vampire guys would similarly have a bit of a Russian sound going on.

    Not a bad name, but I don't think it fits these guys.

    Dwyvels sounds more like the short, furry guys with the big ears.
  9. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    Well, you mentioned Gemanic and Russian. What I would do now is 1) translate Vampire (and other permutations of it) into Germanic, etc. and Russian, 2) see if any sounds jump out at you as interesting, 3) season, sorry, combine to taste.
  10. Turns out, vampire in German is vampir, whereas vampire in Russian in also vampir.


    Anyway, the Osrans don't actually have German names. I made all of them up without any particular influence - I just think they sound vaguely German.
  11. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    How about Nosferatu - i think it's from greek, or I suppose it could be name.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  12. That's a bit... obvious, don't you think? I mean, in that case I might as well just call them vampires.

    Or, like, "the Countdraculas".
  13. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    Well, you asked for help, if you don't appreciate how others try to help or what other suggestions we come up with do the thinking yourself.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  14. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    Keep it cordial guys.

    I honestly didn't know that in both languages Vampire becomes Vampir.. my method failed haha. Maybe you could try my idea again but with surrounding hopefully "differently similar" enough languages? Like, you could German-ize something else.

    Or of course if they're significantly vampiric enough why not just call them vampires, or a variation.
  15. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I can understand the desire not to call them vampires; that word has a lot of baggage with it, from Dracula to Buffy to Twilight, and some readers might be constantly comparing your version (most likely unfavouribly - people like familiarity) to those they are familiar with to work out which they're most like.

    What I did when I wanted something similar to vampires, but without calling them that, was to involve other factors such that they were recognisably different from conventional vampires. My version were ordinary people who had magically bound themselves to the ghosts of long-dead warriors who haunted a battle site, to gain additional supernatural strength, but in the process lost something of their moral inhibitions, gained a weakness to sunlight because they were part ghost, and could only be killed by fire and iron because of their magical nature. There are similarities to vampires - invulnerability to most attacks (the society is moving from the bronze to the iron age, so most weapons are still bronze), largely nocturnal, very dangerous, and lacking in human empathy. But they are at the same time very different. If you are basing your bad guys on vampires, but don't want to call them that, then unless you want readers to think "so they're vampires then" when you explain their powers and weaknesses, you'll need to make them sufficiently distinct from vampires to justify using a different name.

    Generally, when I need a name, I stop by the Rinkworks fantasy name generator. It might take a few pages of results to get the perfect name, but in the meantime, I'm sure you'll find enough names for characters.

    Good luck.
  16. Klee Shay

    Klee Shay Troubadour

    Translating vampire from english to greek at babelfish gives 'Bauttip'. Some variation of that may work for you.
  17. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    I was initially going to suggest the various versions of "vlkolak" (vulkolak, vrykolakas, etc.)–seen throughout the Balkans, generally meaning either "werewolf" or "vampire," or some combination thereof–but that doesn't really sound like your description of the species. Though in point of fact, no traditional vampire is going to sound like your description, as traditional vampires were isolated monsters, not a society-forming race… so in that sense it may not matter. I'd probably avoid any equivalents of "vampire" unless that's what they actually were, myself; you might have better luck (and cause less confusion for your readers) if you went for some equivalent of "demon" or the like… which sounds more like what you're describing anyway.

    "Nosferatu," as far as I am aware, originated with the movie: its "origin" in some other language appears to be fictitious.

    If you're set on something vampiric, here's a cheat sheet:

    List of vampires in folklore and mythology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Apparently the list of possible equivalents for "demon" is too long even for Wikipedia to want to cope with.…

    Yeah. It comes out "Smith." :p
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  18. Look, I don't mean to be unappreciative, but I can't just go with a suggestion that doesn't fit my needs. That would be counterproductive.

    It's not even like I'm expecting you guys to actually solve the problem for me. (Though that would be nice.) This is more of an open discussion meant to get my creativity going.

    Actually, it's more because my MC is from modern day Earth, and he'd be like: "What, vampires? We're fighting vampires now? Really? Vampires?"

    Besides, they're not really vampires. They're humans who are superficially similar to vampires. Pale skin, funky eyes, fangs and so on. Their magicians may have some kind of energy draining power, but it's not like they feed on blood or burst into flames from sunlight.

    I usually use RinkWorks as well, though lately it hasn't produced anything satisfying.

    This, pretty. I tried some permutations of "dragon" as well, actually.
  19. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    Good moment there, a bit of comedy in the story. I can see why you might want a different name for the species though. No ideas from me though, I just throw syllables together.
  20. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

    Quit making fun of my elf!

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