#10 Unique Elf Surnames with Meanings | Dungeons and Dragons

When you're rolling up an Elf character in your Dungeons and Dragons game, finding the perfect last name can be a challenge! Here are ten name ideas for your next character - with their meaning in Elvish!

Lyath-tel - "belonging to a temple"

This name comes in two parts "tel" and "lyath".

The form "tel" can be seen in several places in Elvish, such as when talking about a group of people (e.g. ór-tel-quessir, "people of the

"Lyath" is the Elvish word for temple. 

This name is perfect for an Acolyte character. 

vantur Ravanor - "from the Forestland"

The first part of this name simply means "from". It is commonly used at the beginning of surnames derived from a place of origin. 

Ravanor is a pretty generic place name, especially if your character is a Wood Elf. 

tyr Vomira - "born to Vomira"

This is a matronymic name, that means it's dervived from your character's mother's name. Many cultures use matronymic or patronymics rather than set last names. For example, in Iceland you are known by your father's name. 

In the case of this character, their mother's name was Vomira. 

shan-Stakiaren - "branch of the House of the Beloved Star"

The Elves have many words for the heavenly bodies, each with their own implication. "Stakia" or "Stacia" can variously mean:  star, treasure, trove, gem, gold, blaze; sweetheart, beloved. 

The translation here is something like "Beloved Star" or "Treasured Ones".

The prefix, shan, is an Elven word that literally means "branch (of a tree)".however when used in names it refers to a member of a family (the branch of a family tree). 

The final element "ren" is the Elvish word for House or Clan.

This is a great name for an Elf with Noble Background. 

Gisirie - "of the guardians"

This is a great name for an elf who comes from a family with the Knight background. Or perhaps their kin are paladins. 

The Elvish word "Gisir (plu. Gisiae) means "guardian".

The name takes the rare sociative case, which means something like "with, in the company of". This is often used in situations of adoption, fostering, or even the foundation of a particular order. 

The family as a whole would be known by the plural form: Gisieii.

Maedran - "wind speaker"

Combining the words "mae" wind and "dran" speaker, this name could refer to a profession or be a nickname. If it's a nickname it could be something noble - or refer to the fact your character doesn't shut up!

Regardless, this is a great surname for a Bard character.

Amnesha - "tree friend"

The tree this name refers to is specifically an oak tree (amne). The suffix -sha, means "friend".

This is another great name for a Druid character.

Anogwinn - "moon guide"

The first part of this name is one of the Elvish words for moon. The second part means guide and comes from the Elvish word "gwin" meaning walkway, path. A gwinn is a pathmaker or a guide.

This is ideal for a High Elf character since they like to associate themselves with celestial objects.

Daanethun - "bright struggle follower"

Another translation for this surname could probably be "daredevil". The elves have the concept that some struggles make a person stronger while others only serve to harm. "Daan" (plural: daana) is the positive type, called "bright struggles".

Those who are followers of bright struggles look for adventure in all aspects of their life.

Artarhin - "dawn scholar"

"Artar" is the Elvish word for dawn. It means "new sun", though it can also translate to "new heights".

The second element is even more ambigious, as it has no true English equivalent. It can mean: collector, scholar, researcher. Or more broadly, a person who recieves something, usually an idea. The word can also be translated as "a welcome".
So while the name is translated as "dawn scholar" above, it could also mean "scholar of new heights" or "welcome to the dawn".

This name would be ideal for a High Elf character.

How to Plan a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign

How to Plan a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign

Zabrynn Lander ·

The most daunting part of being a newbie Game Master is the question "where do I start?" 

Dungeons and Dragons is a collaborative story-telling game. So start with what makes up a story, namely: Setting, Plot, and Characters.

Characters: Your players might have their characters in mind already - if that's the case, you might find it easier to start with that. What story will work best with the characters they want to play? 

Or you might have a really cool "Big Bad" character that you want to employ in your game. Start fleshing out the characters around that Big Bad. Who has faced this evil before? Who have suffered because of this Big Bad? What do these people plan to do now

Setting: Maybe you've got a really cool location in mind. Start building up that location - look for interesting stories within. The best stories come from the folks that want something to change. Often these folks are suffering or otherwise in a bad situation. If your players haven't got any character ideas, this might be a good place to start them off. After all, it's important for your player characters to be invested in the narrative!

Plot: Every adventure will be different but it can be useful to have some kind of idea for a plot. Are you running a murder mystery? Or is some Big Bad trying to end the world? Remember: your players will create the details of the plot themselves, all you need is broadstrokes. Don't get into the nitty-gritty.

Choose one of these three elements to focus on first. And start to brainstorm the rest from there.

Of course, you're probably wondering "how do I do that?"

If your feeling intimidated by the Setting, I recommend starting very small. Situate your story in a single village or region. And really, really, delve into that single place. Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are the people like here? Are they friendly?
  • What are the principal industries? Examples: farming, mining, metalwork. How does that inform their culture?
  • Think about the religion. Which gods to they worship and how do? Do they have a big temple or do people have small altars in their home? Or maybe they worship out in the forest or through divine symbols on their clothes. 
  • How common is magic here and what is it used for?

These kinds of questions - and their answers - can help make your setting feel alive. It can also help make your NPCs more vibrant and easier to make up on the fly. 

  • What are three issues that the commonfolk are flacing? Is there fear of a pestilence? Are they worried about the in-coming winter?
  • What's the local gossip? These can be wild rumours or something more mundane. 

If you are struggling to get a sense of a Plot, I recommend checking out my Campaign Planner worksheet. 

As for creating characters, both for your players, your NPCs, and your bad guys, check out my Worldbuilding Pack which includes a worksheet for creating NPCs.  

Roleplaying Game Campaign Planning

This blog should hopefully have helped get you started with planning your campaign. 

For more helpful tips and worksheets, check out my RPG Campaign Planning Bundle. 

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