Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's in a name?

Or how I came up with the name of my leader for the Nemroth Campaign.

I believe I have mentioned my interest in name generators before. I like the one from the Mighty Empires rule book. As I mentioned here you can get some fun names, but it also returns a lot of gibberish that is not s pleasing to the ear.

So aside from the Mighty Empires table, where is an aspiring Orc Warlord to go? In a google search there were a number that turned up.

Fantasy Name Generator turned up Abbas, Sugigoth, Xothkug, Yashnarz, Kogan, Sbghat, Ughash, Zarhbub, Bandagh, Uram. Not horrible but some are a little weird. This site also apparently has names for the World of Warcraft (Urthanurgul Deathbleeder, Kamkada Bonetaker, Guldarrosh Gorecrusher, Lumada Bloodaxe) and Elder Scrolls (Gadgnak gro-Huban, Magush gro-Dulbag, Shaznag gro-Ufthduk, Shagrn gro-Shakgham).

The Land of Shadow has a good one, but it's based of your name input. My orc name is Narnûlubat, the severed hand - Uruk of Mordor. You can then go into the resources and find in the Black Speech dictionary the definition: narnûlubat - Orkish way of expressing thanks ("I will not hurt you"). Drilling down further nar - 1.  not  LOS, AA  2. expression of contempt (RE), nûl- - hurt, injure (verb) LOS, I can't find it right now but it seems to show verb conjugation using at so the ubat may be a linking vowel sound and full verb. So a direct translation of Narnulubat is No(t) Harm (you). I think I've already expressed that I liked this name, partly because it feels like it has some back story and partly because it incorporates the name from my previous Mighty Empires campaign. Nar. So I guess his name was just no, which is kind of fitting as he was in direct opposition to the humans.

ORCS is another one I like a lot. It has a generator for both Tolkien style and Warhammer style names, as well as a list of orc names.

This one will also do in a pinch.

I also always liked We Iz Orcs because he not only gave a generator but tables and formulas for making your own generator in excel. It's also firmly rooted in Warhammer. One thing to note about this site. My virus protection wanted to block the home page. Fore warned is fore armed. I get that on a few sites and I'm never really sure what the deal is. Some miniature manufacturers for example.

And of course no post about Orc name generators would be complete without Da Waaagh Ork Name Generator.

One thing about all these generators is that they mash orky sounds together but sometimes the names just seem nonsensical. I think the Empire and Bretonnian generators bring this home more as we can more easily sense when French and German is made up. If we broke English names into syllables and then randomly stitched them together I'm sure we'd get some that made sense and a lot that were weird.

The program that first clued me in to the etymological side of names was Langmaker (that page took some serious digging, the program is slightly easier to find.) Sadly this program no longer works under Windows 8 and to be honest I may not have used it since XP or Vista. But what it drove home was that names are compound words. In perusing an etymological dictionary we find that the name John comes from the Hebrew Yohanan, meaning "Jehovah has favored".

This further interested me as there was some indication of this in the Land of Shadow Dictionary;

Azog - PN an orc-leader of Moria (LOTR III p441; TH (not 1st edition))
                        (therefore, Azog means “Man-killer,” Azat + ogh, man)

Bolg - PN an orc-leader (son of Azog), slain by Beorn (TH p293) ("Bloodthirsty") SV [I'm not sure where they get Bloodthirsty from.]

Ghaash - PN an orc of Kirith Ungol, ghaash - fire (noun) TK

Gorbag - PN an orc-leader of Minas Morgul, killed by Shagrat (LOTR III) (“Tough Shit”)

Gothmog - PN (see `goth') (“Lord-Voice”) TK

Grishnaakh - PN an orc of Mordor, slain by Rohirrim (LOTR II 437) (“Blood Hand”)

Lagduf - PN an orc of Cirith Ungol, killed by Morgul Orcs (LOTR III 222) (“Knife-breaker”)

Lugdush - PN an orc of Isengard, slain by Rohirrim (LOTR II) (“Tower Sorcery”)

Lughorn - PN an orc, >> `Lagduf' (SD p26) (“Tower Beast”)

Mauhûr - PN an orc of Isengard, slain by Rohirrim (LOTR II) (“Brave Warrior”) [actually it should be "Warrior Brave" to be technically correct] (I almost had a heart attack here as I somehow hit some key combination which completely deleted the entire body of text thus far. Don't ask me how. Just remember, should a similar situation arise, there is a little undo arrow next to the HTML button.)

Morgoth - PN (see `goth') (elsewhere treated as Sindarin) (“Hard / Black Lord”)

Muzgaash - PN an orc of Kirith Ungol, killed by Morgul Orcs (LOTR III 222) ( “Hot Fire”) [perhaps they forgot that fire is ghaash]

Radbug - PN an orc of Minas Morgul, killed by Shagrat (LOTR III) (“Calls Now”)

Shagrat - PN an orc of Mordor (LOTR III) (“Demand Ransom”)

Snaga - PN an orc of Isengard, slain by Rohirrim;  PN an orc of Kirith Ungol, slain by Sam Gamgee; snaga - slave (noun) TK (and used by Uruk-hai as = `orc of smaller breed')

The Horngoth Lexicon gives some similar translations. Grishnakh = "Blood hand", Gorbag = "Brain-Dung", Lagduf = "Breaking?", Khamûl = "Fury's way", Yagûl = "Grey wraith", Muzgash = "Hostile one", Mauhûr = "Revenge", Shagrat = "With intent". So as you can see there is some crossover between the two interpretations of Orc speak, as well a some differences. That is one of the reasons I have been trying to catalog these different lexicons.

Ok, so that is a whole lot of text to get to the subject of how I came up with the name for my warlord for the Oldhammer+ mighty empires campaign, Nemroth.

I finally settled on Noname Brute or Narbugud Shataz. I'm also leaning toward his tribe being bagkaar (Dung + Head), but that's still in development.

Thanks for sticking with it if you made it this far. If I might impose, do you have a preference for one of these figures?

Looks like I need to redo a bunch of these pictures. Oh well, you get the idea. Thanks for looking.


  1. If I get a vote, the old Azhag the Slaughter on Wyvern would be my favourite. I painted that Wyvern grey. I have no idea where it has gone. Great post as always!

    1. Hi Steve, good choice. After looking at them the unmounted figures look rather pedestrian, so to speak. So Azhag, although a tad glam, is at the top of the list.

  2. My Orc name came out as Tarbûrz, the mad - Uruk of Mordor, think it suits me????

    1. Excellent Ray! I wonder what others names would be? ;)

  3. I always like trying to go down the pun route - in the old 80's Warhammer scenario vein. Stuff like King F'yarr and his F'yarr Guard from Orc's Drift always amuse me.

    Sometimes it works, like Lurd Raglank (lord Raglan) - leader of my Light Brigade inspired Orc cavalry. Other times it can end up awkward and horrible like a bad headline from the SUN!

    I suppose for some it prevents total immersion in the fantasy aspect of it all but I like it.

    For my Orc generals (I've named a general for each banner I've got out in the field) in the Nemroth campaign I've just been pinching names from the old Citadel catalogues - Madog, Buglub and the like.

    Got a soft spot for the old Azhag but Ugezod is always a winner too!

    1. Hi Thansants, going back to the classics is never a bad thing. I was pretty much on my own so the characters from the fluff didn't pervade my consciousness. I've had a nebulous idea of a syncretic orc culture combining Tolkien, A D&D and Warhammer. Ugezod is who I envisioned for my Orc general, but the recent purchase of Azhag has got me equivocating. Decisons, decisions.

  4. "Turkûrz, the wanted one - Uruk of Mordor". Hmm.

    1. Hi Hugh, interesting. So far I haven't heard a bad one from the Land of Shadow generator.



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