Naming Conventions

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Note: This is a dump from Patreon, lightly edited and crosslinked; it could be kept on its own page here, or put on species pages, or both, but now we have it in one place for reference. Once we figure out what to do with it and edit it into a more wiki-ish style this note should be removed.

This is a general starting-point list; various individual microcultures and religious affiliations, family traditions, etc. may result in names that seem "out of place." (For example, Laelkii Takara Lifeweave chose to take her Tam-illee husband's FoundName as a second surname, despite being an Asanii, thus blending the Tam-illee tradition of individual FoundNames and the Asanii tradition of taking the surnames of their marital partners.


Seersa and Karaka'A[edit]

The Seersa and Karaka'A have what I think of as hobbit names with vaguely English surnames. As differentiating factors, Seersa names tend to be more convoluted or more likely to contain unusual linguistic features, and Karaka’A are horribly fond of normal human names that have been turned into furry puns, like Tabitha becoming Taylitha, or Caitlin becoming Catlin, and their surnames can sound Norman or French.

Asanii and Tam-illee[edit]

The Asanii and Tam-illee have what I think of as ‘differentiation issues,’ in that when the first generation races started separating out, the Harat-Shar and Hinichi were distinct about what they wanted, and the Seersa and the Karaka’A had an identity based on their similarity to the original models engineered on Earth. That left the Asanii and the Tam-illee feeling like the undecided middle child, and as a consequence (one of many consequences) they can often have names that sound like they belong to one of the other races, or pieces of those names (the way Laelkii sounds like one of the Seersa/Karaka’A while Svetlana sounds like one of the Harat-Shar). But in general, both races trend toward “normal human names with a few letters off.” Asanii have family surnames, and Tam-illee, of course, also have the FoundName custom (so until they choose their FoundName, they’re “Unfound.”) Note that almost invariably, the words in a FoundName are capitalized. (So "NotAgain" not "Notagain").

Hinichi and Guardkin[edit]

The Hinichi’s names are usually Scottish or Irish-derived with added Biblical first names. They observe surname conventions as well based on blood family ties. The Guardkin, who consider themselves and the Hinichi brethren races, typically follow their conventions with additional Welsh influences… though they trace blood ties using ‘son/daughter of [name and name]’ and use a second surname to denote the family of the Hinichi handlers primarily responsible for their care, if they have one.


The Harat-Shar are usually Middle-Eastern (particularly Arabic) or Russian. The surname issue is convoluted; traditional Harat-Shar technically have ‘train’ names (which are associated with each large polygamous families), but rarely use them unless pressed. Non-traditional Harat-Shar will sometimes claim surnames like other first generation Pelted.


Aera get names with glottal stops, but more vowels than Glaseah, thanks to their conlang. In addition to personal names, they take a clan name.


Glaseah get all the glottal stops and consonants. While they are supposed to have family names they rarely use them, and it’s more often ‘I’m so-and-so. You know, so-and-so’s kid.’


Ciracaana have convoluted first names based on the fake conlang created for them by the Pelted scientists, plus gleefully faux-Native American-sounding surnames.


Malarai have little by way of naming customs; virtues are common, and nature names, but basically anything goes. Their surnames are some of the truest to their origins: they trace a “line name” back to one of the original Malarai created.

Phoenix and Akubi[edit]

Phoenix tend to accept names given them by non-Phoenix, or choose simple ones for use by their non-Phoenix friends. Among one another they use names that are long and almost impossible to pronounce by people who are not birds (and not easy to spell either, like 'Chllliehsilichlith'). In this they are like the Akubi, whose names are whistled melodies, which is why when traveling among the mammals the Akubi also go by handles, except theirs tend to be completely random, anything from ‘Sam’ to ‘Popcorn’ to ‘Magenta’ to crazy long bits of lyrics they’ve decided they liked.

  • Example Phoenix: Cyclone, Bryer
  • Example Akubi: Song of Wine Skies at Sunset

Naysha and Platies[edit]

Naysha typically have short names that are easy to sign; most of these are holdovers from early names given them by the Pelted after the Exodus. The Naysha also name the Platies for the drylanders (since they are the principal interpreters for the Platies). Since names of members of other species must be signed letter by letter, Naysha and Platies will also sometimes give easier-to-sign names to people with whom they interact, which may refer to a personal quality about the individual.


Chatcaava names are subject to their conlang requirements, in terms of what the words sound like. Chatcaava have a tiered system, where slaves and females and children get named after things, and then normal unranked or poorly ranked people have names, and then important people are known by their titles.[1][2]

All of the Emperor's slaves are important enough to merit the title "Slave," though slaves taken from the Alliance find this distressing; Laniis Baker was so distressed by being addressed as "Slave" that the Queen gave in and named her Khaska, despite the fact that, to her, that meant she was putting Laniis in the category of "a commoner, a pet or a non-entity."[1]

The Chatcaava do not have surnames or family names. Children who know their parents call them Mother and Father, and may refer to them using any other title they have as well.[2]


Faulfenza, like Chatcaava, are subject to their conlang requirements. Faulfenza names are typically “First name – name of birthplace – name of foster city/village/place’.

  • Example Faulfenza: Zafiil Paidiiza Qodii, Lodii Jediize Qualoon


See Eldritch Names for more detail.

Eldritch family names are typically two syllables, and House names are long. All Eldritch names tend toward Many Vowels, and the more syllables, the more opportunities to squish some in. First names tend to be longer for nobles than for tenants, and usually have a contracted form (milk name) for intimates (as well as the old-fashioned poetical custom of song names). The final name indicates “where the buck stops” for that particular person… so noble names will stop at the House, while tenant names will stop at the family of the noble they owe allegiance to. (So Jahir Seni Galare owes his allegiance to the Galare house, while his tenant Tassi Feril Seni owes her allegiance to the Seni family.)


Flitzbe are called whatever their friends call them, if they happen to be understood as an individual. (A Flitzbe that’s part of a clod, like the group on the Songlance, is less likely to be identifiable than a singular Flitzbe traveling with someone, like Allacazam). Because our only named Flitzbe are part of Laisrathera, they all have similar names.


Finally, D-pers tend to take names that sound like the species they were coded to look like. They don’t use surnames.

Now, having made all these sweeping generalizations, I am constrained to note that they are only generalizations, and while many of the members of these races will fall in line, there are going to be plenty of them that don’t. Sometimes, it’ll be a personal choice, the way Asanii Laelkii turned her Tam-illee husband’s Foundname into a second surname (she goes by ‘Laelkii Takara Lifeweave’). Other times it will be a reflection of a situation specific to a group (like the way the colonists of Gledig in Sword of the Alliance have Welsh names, though they are composed of members of various races that don’t have Welsh-like names). You can also use the naming conventions to suggest unusual backgrounds, such as the Harat-Shariin girl in The Case with the Poisoned House—she had a Hinichi name because she’d been adopted by a Hinichi family. And of course, naming customs, and names themselves, are continually evolving. But this is the starting point I use!


  1. 1.0 1.1 Even the Wingless, Part One
  2. 2.0 2.1 Even the Wingless, Part Two