I made a decision in regards to dragons a few years back. Not one of game mechanics, but one that I feel makes my own dragons a little different from most others. Quite simply, I established a method for naming my dragons in a manner I feel reflects the way they’ve often been portrayed in literature.
Dragons are often compared to felines. They share a few of the same qualities: fastidiousness, vanity and the tendency to play with their food before devouring it. These feline qualities, in addition to their incredibly long life-spans, suggest that dragons would not be satisfied with simple names like the kind that serve the short-lived humans and demi-humans which cause them so much trouble. Dragons would prefer more poetic names; ones that appeal both to their vanity and to the many deeds that they’ve accomplished over their long lifetimes. As such, when it comes to dragons, I’m prone to giving them evocative names. Names that almost resemble haikus or prose poetry. Take the following examples:
- Amber Chrysalis of Night-Shed Tears
- Lightning Reflected on Raindrops
- Candle Burns on Chalk Marks
- The Corpse with Firefly Eyes
- Showers of Nickel, Copper and Brass
- Scaled in Magma and Heart of Stone
- Trees Wrenched in the Whirlwind
- Coral in Repose
- Song on Battlefields
- Charmed of Icicles and Frost
These names would be their translations into the Common Tongue of Man. Since the language of dragons – Auld Wyrmic in my campaign – is incredibly difficult to learn, knowing the complete translation might behoove an adventuring party traveling into the domain of a dragon. Being able to call a dragon by his or her proper name just might buy the party enough time to bargain for their lives.
Nearby settlements would use an abbreviated form of a dragon’s name when referring to the creature, provided they were safe within the walls of their village at the time. That is, if they didn’t just call it the Dragon, which would be much more likely. After all, how many dragons live close by?