N – Names – All places need a name that fits and evokes a sense of belonging to the setting. Tables for streets, roads, bridges, squares, fountains, etc.
Will their be signposts for streets, names carved on bridges, temples and other civic buildings? If not, how will a party know how to find a square in the butcher’s market for a fallen city?
In a living city, one need merely ask the right person, perhaps for a price. See my prior posting for L – Lost.
In the practical realm of actual play, I find that as a DM the players are always asking about the name of this or that person, place, or thing. As a player, if the DM does not supply it, I find that I too ask about these things.
I find it helpful to have a pre-generated list of names that I can turn to for various random NPCs. The same goes for taverns, villages, streets, geographic features, etc. Every shopkeeper, farmer, peasant, soldier, humanoid,etc. needs a name. If the players capture a kobold, you know that they are going to ask its name. Just like today, there will be popular names, like that of the king, local ruler, family member, etc. It is OK to reuse names.
Make a table, find a table, or a program and generate ridiculously long lists to avoid having to stop play and think of a new name. I find that sometimes, my mind goes utterly blank in the midst of play. I end up with a lot of Sam’s or Bob’s or Jim’s when that happens. If it is an NPC that will be encountered again, make a note of it.
Other postings on my blog related to names: