This genius guide is 10 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 8 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
What’s in a name? A lot, as it turns out and one pet-peeve of mine is when roleplaying designers ignore these obviously intriguing possibilities and subtleties e.g. associated with Japanese or Scandivian nomenclature. In fact, I’m VERY prickly about that and keep meticulous watch over naming conventions in my home-game.
This pdf then provides us with new name traits – and kicks off with a fluffy introduction as well as an explanation of name traits and how to insert them into your campaign after 1st level. We get two different types of traits, the first being assembled name traits that are created from 38 prefixes (on a d%-table) – each prefix coming with a meaning and an associated bonus: “Bel”- e.g. meaning “bright, glowing, radiant, yellow, of the sun” and conferring +2 to caster level checks with the [light]-descriptor. To these prefixes, one of 20 either male or female suffixes is added – both of which come in respective d20-tables. Females whose name ends with -ca, -ica, -irica or -rica (meaning “Ghost, Memory, Spirit of” or “Ancestor of”) would e.g. have the DC to track them increased by +2.
Thus a massive amount of different names that both MEAN something and confer different bonuses can be created. There also are Thematic Name Traits, 12 categories, to be precise. Each of these groups collect a couple of male and female names and assign e.g. a meaning like “Of Great Luck” to them – in the example given, the trait allows the character to once per day reroll a natural 1 on a d20.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column full-color landscape standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
I usually hate reviewing trait-books. And I’m picky with names. And still: I love this idea – actually making names MEAN something while enforcing some sense of coherence in naming-conventions, this pdf offers us a cool, concise system with balanced benefits and nice results – and honestly, I have only ONE complaint – this should be a massive 30-page book that covers different cultures and naming conventions! There’s plenty room for sequels and I hope to see some in the future. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars , omitting my seal only because I would have loved to see a tad bit more names.