[Worldbuilding] Name Banks & Languages

Hey guys!
I spend a lot of time coming up with ideas for worlds, settings, and campaigns for Tabletop RPGs. Sometimes though, when rubber hits the pavement, and we start to play, I run into obstacles. I can’t think of everything my players might decide to do in the story. I might have to have NPCs, cities, creatures, or ANY facet of the world I’ve conceptualized ready at a moment’s notice. Not everybody is good at coming up with ideas on the fly. So, one of my favorite things to do is come up with ways to make the GM’s job easier, especially for when the PCs throw you a curve ball.

One way I do that is by coming up with a “name bank” for each of my settings.

What is a “Name Bank?”

My “name banks” are documents with a plethora of unique names for all sorts of things that I may need. Each setting, race, nation, region, and faction has a different list for names to choose from. All the lists have different thematic elements involved in the names I develop, so I put a lot of thought into the languages that I come up with, and the lexicology of those languages.

What is Lexicology?


the study of the form, meaning, and use of words.


Think about the Elvish language from J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek’s Klingon. The writers spent so much time developing these worlds, and taking their audience to new places. In these places, the people spoke different languages, and it helped to make the readers immersed in the worlds.

So that’s why I study lexicology. It helps me develop those “name banks” in a way that adds to the immersion of the setting.

But How?

It may seem daunting to come up with a language all on your own. Fortunately, the Internet has an amazing supply of resources for us to use. I’ve taken the time to learn a few tricks in creating items for my “name banks” in bulk with these resources.

Check These Out:

Here’s a link to a couple of resources that I use:


Let’s Hear About YOU:

  • Tell us your thoughts, questions, comments, concerns, etc. in the Replies below!

  • If you want help figuring out how to use the resources above, send me a message!

  • Does anyone else make “Name Banks?”

  • What resources do you use?

  • Send us some links! Let’s see what you’ve got!


Great things here!

One of the things I do to name cities or regions is translate the name I would give them from french (since my first language is french) to a fitting language and modify it to make it seem fantasy-ish. For example, a small fishing village in an empire inspired by the romans could be called Piscanturae (From Piscantur, which is latin for fishing).

Also, there is a great name generator website right here that can easily save you from many headaches:



I’m currently doing things the hard way…working on my own languages. I’m using the print version of Mark Rosenfelder’s Language Construction Kit. It is probably way too much for most people (I’m starting to question if I want to take it to the end), but it is an amazing resource. Also, the very first thing he recommends in the print version is creating a “naming language”, which is just what it sounds like, take a language just far enough that you can name people, places, and things.

Again, it’s slow going for me, so I’ll probably start using resources similar to some of the others listed here. But hopefully, one day, I’ll have several naming languages and the start of at least a couple major languages for my world :slight_smile:

I have made name banks before, years and years ago (wow…it’s been nearly 20 years since I actively gamed :frowning:). I’ve created my own tools none of which are viable anymore and recently started using online resources. And I’ll probably create my own online resources once I have at least naming languages created.

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