View Full Version : the most difficult part of 40k: naming everything...

Commissar Vaughn
19-12-2005, 16:16
Some of you may have seen my recent thread regarding my scratch built tank, and one of the things commented on was the choice of name. Originally named the thylacine/tigerwolf i discovered that my choice was somewhat inaccurate, (though as i liked the sound of it it might stick!).

So Ive been mulling over the whole "naming things" issue during my last visit to the loo (all the best ideas occur there...) and it does seem to be a bit of a problem.
How do you all go about naming your characters, vehicles and units?
is there a random name generator out there on the internet?
and what sort of rules/standards/criteria must these names follow?

for instance (and as its tanks that are close to my heart at the mo..) Imperial tanks are named after heroes, with methods of death to designate variants, or mythical beasties. eldar vehicles get reptillian names, tau get fishy ones(why? they live in a desert...) . in the 20th century, American tanks are named after generals(sherman, grant), german ones after big cats(leopard, panther) and british tanks are named after, well, practically anything (matilda, challanger, cheiftan, churchill, valentine). i suspect, but have yet to confirm, that all those british names are alcohol related, the amount of different ales etc made in the last 100 years...

but what about the individual names tanks are given by the crew? generally in 40k the norm is to give the tank a name that inspires righteous fury, vengance or wrath, but could just as easily be named after a pretty barmaid the crew met recently.
imperial hero's are given corrupted latin names, or 20th century names spelt wrong...all aliens seem to get a random collection of sounds and syllables that unpronouncable for most humans. necrons and tyranids dont seem to get names.

is there within that a framework for a name generator?
can we warseers put our collective heads together to come up with a reliable and simple way of naming things?
how do you name yours?
and canyone think of a good root name for my battletank and its varients? ive looked through the other primarchs and the best name has already been taken, sanguinius just doesn't sound right!

i tank you kindly...

19-12-2005, 16:20
Corrupted forms of serial and design numbers are useful, eg prodduct code j448 (or whatever) would be called jabbas.

grizzly ruin
19-12-2005, 16:45
How do you all go about naming your characters, vehicles and units?

I play CSMs, and one of the things I like to do when naming characters is borrow names of (evil) gods or demons from ancient religions.

I'll first choose a name for the HQ, then I'll choose names for the squad leaders and sometimes for all members in an ELITES unit. All of the names must come from the same pantheon, or from the language of the region that pantheon came from.

Sometimes I modify the names to make them easier to pronounce in English and not copy them directly.

Vehicles don't get names unless they are Daemonically Possesed. Which doesn't help you in the slightest.

For what you're asking, basically it would vary based on race. The one thing I would do is pick a theme and stick to it. For example if you wanted to name all of the vehicles in an IG army, do a little WW2 research on the names given to old B52 bombers or other aircraft/vehicles and use those names or use them for inspiration.

19-12-2005, 17:06
Naming is easy. You just need to be able to read, and have a library in your locale (or an internet connection).

19-12-2005, 17:08
So your asking for names like the shadowsword stromsword vanquiser or just names?

I also use old or rarely seen or heard names such as leopold arcibold tobias mortimer ;)

19-12-2005, 17:45
All my tanks will be named after fusion monsters and summons from computer games. The most esoteric being perhaps the Czernobog my Basilisk, the most Ifrit for my Hellhound.

As for Imperial Tanks - stick with mythological creatures. or failing that, Greek Gods (Zeus, Athena, etc.)

not that hard, its just finding one you like.

Commissar Vaughn
19-12-2005, 17:57
brothergrimm: im asking for both, names and designations.

how about for characters especially for eldar armies? i spose with that im worried that i'll pick a name that actually means "ive got a big spotty bum" in the ancient language of the eldar...or whatever.

19-12-2005, 19:00
Imperial tanks follow a certain theme. The variants of the Chimera hull uses mytholigical creatures, as ArtificerArmour says. Chimera, Hydra, Basilisk, etc.

The tanks based on the Leman Russ hull also have a certain theme. Conqueror, Vanquisher, Executioner, Destroyer, Exterminator... get the picture? Doesn't really make much sense to call the next one the 'Eagle', for example.

In BFG, ship types also have a certain theme. Normal frigates are named after swords (Sword, Falchion, Claymore, etc), unless they're armed with lances (Firestorm, Hellfire, etc). Destroyers are named after snakes (Cobra, Python, etc). There doesn't seem to be a formula. Some Administratum clerk just decides on a theme ("Hmmm.... chewing gum. No wait! Imperial heroes. That's much better.") and then they stick with that.

Non-standard units such as those used by the PDF of various world seem to have non-standard naming conventions. In the Gaunt's Ghosts, you have various product codes like AT-10, etc.

EDIT: Just noticed the above had already been mentioned. Oh well... *shrugs*

As for nicknames. Well, I was in an armoured recon company, and IIRC the captain and a few others just thought about a themes, and then asked his superiors for permission to use them. We had names for all our vehicles. Obviously, he didn't have 100% freedom. He couldn't have 'gender-specific body parts' as a theme, for example. Our theme was viking gods. In my platoon, the tanks were called Tor, Tyr, Trym and Tyra. The name of the captain's tank was Ymer, the deity from which all life came in viking mythology.

I guess it's similar for the Imperial Guard, although it might happen on a lower level of command (i.e. the platoon leader decides). And of course, I suppose you had better check with the Commissar too, unless you want the risk of being shot for heresy :)

Cadian 21st
19-12-2005, 20:39
Having a "theme" to your naming helps. Here's some I've see/used
- My friend named all his Heroes etc in a Greekish manner (Haphestus's (mispell?) Masterwork [Land Raider])
- I named my command squad after the 4/5 horsemen of the apocalypse (there's 5 if you count the Angel of Judgement). I then translated thier names into other languages. The end results were ZŠnik [Czech], ApreciaÁ„o [Portuguese], Krijg [Bulgarian], голод [Russian], and Fryktos [Norwegian]. They all sound kinda like 40k names, so they stuck around.
- Gods and myths from other religions are good. Freyja I used for my Hellhound (seemed fitting). One speicific source for my names (int he case of squad members) was at "The Cave" http://spitfire.ausys.se/johan/cave/default.asp
- but it isn't working right now. Some others are:


- All of them work fairly well.

Cadian 21st
19-12-2005, 20:40
Errrr. I think I have the wrong idea with naming. Nevertheless, you may find something useful there! Personally, I didn't even notice many of the "naming" that was happening - I figured it sounded good so they stuck with it.

19-12-2005, 20:45
Fryktos :D Well, I guess it might work in English...

Cadian 21st
19-12-2005, 20:46
Who said anything about English? If anything, the Imperium is more likely to speak Latin then English with all the fluff and names.

12-02-2006, 19:35
This site's a great start, so many (http://www.20000-names.com/) names to choose from! :D

Rabid Bunny 666
12-02-2006, 19:54
for my thousand sons, i'm shamelessly nicking Egyptian names

and for Imprial Tanks, latin names sound good

12-02-2006, 23:46
Fryktos :D Well, I guess it might work in English...

Yeah, I mean, how did you end up with that word? :p Seriously, "Fryktos"... Heh. What's it supposed to mean, anyway? It makes no sense.

13-02-2006, 03:36
Their are plenty of methods of choosing names. Find something you're interested in and go from there.

Some examples:
NATO designations for soviet aircraft start with the first letter of the vehical type; Cub=cargo, Bear=Bomber, Backfire=bomber, Fulcrum=fighter.
So Leman Russ tank could start with either L or T.

Name each vehical after your fav. characters in books, movies, tv, comics...; fav. author.

Mythology is good, but if you're not interested in the first place it may be more trouble than its worth.

If your interested in military history name them after tankc Churchhill, Grant, Sherman, Abrams, Leopard, Tiger, etc...

Personally I name my guardsmen in groups. Scourses:
HQ section_Sci-Fi characters
First platoon_OOP GW books RT, RoC, BoA
Second platoon (Drop)_Vietnam movies/stories Green Berets, Platoon, Appocolypes Now, China Beach etc...
Third platoon_WWII Longest Day etc...
Fourth platoon_Korea M*A*S*H etc...
Heavy Weapons platoon_Authors William, Shaekspeare, Geoffry, Chaucer etc.. (first name loader, second name gunner)

Cadian 21st
13-02-2006, 08:54
"Yeah, I mean, how did you end up with that word? Seriously, "Fryktos"... Heh. What's it supposed to mean, anyway? It makes no sense."

- Technically, it means misgivings. I used it because it sounded better then the others for "distrust", etc. And, it's shorter and thus easier to write on a base.