Twilight of the North
Volumes have been written on the subject of Tolkien’s constructed languages used in Middle-earth, particularly the elvish languages of Quenya and Sindarin, with the goal of reconstructing naming conventions and lexicons based on the attested names and words found in Tolkien’s writings. While I am a great fan of Tolkien’s languages, this can be somewhat limiting and painfully time-consuming in the context of a roleplaying game.
This is not the method I have used in creating the example names given on the pages for each race, and for many of the names used in the campaign setting. Instead, I have used a nifty little program called the Everchanging Book of Names. This software uses lists of source names (which I compiled from attested names in various languages and cultures in Tolkien’s Middle-earth) and then does statistical and structural analysis to procedurally generate new names based on common prefixes, suffixes, and syllables. The resulting names may not literally translate to anything (at least based on the attested lexicons), but are far more likely to sound like authentic names from the cultures of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. For purposes of roleplaying, I find this both easier and preferable.
This was particularly useful for very narrow sets of names, such as names for female Noldor in Exilic Sindarin, of which there are only about sixteen attested names in the entirety of Tolkien’s published work. In some places the source material was supplemented by real world languages where the comparable language is known (such the names of the Rohirrim and other Men of the North being based on Anglo-Saxon, and the Dwarven names being taken from the Old Norse Voluspa).
Diacritics and Other Marks
For ease of reading and playing in an online format, I have removed diacriticals and similar markings from most names. Those who know where they belong in Tolkien’s languages don’t need to see them, and those who aren’t expecting them won’t miss them.
Plus, consistently typing something like “Ñolofinwë”, “Eldalótë”, or “Fëanáro” takes about six times longer than just “Nolofinwe”, “Eldalote”, or “Feanaro” (have to look up Alt codes, then hit about five keys to type just one character).