Naming Stones

On the outskirts of any settlement at least as old as the most venerable living souls sits a great runestone carved as did the northern forebearers of many of those who dwell today in the Lands of Khos.


Rather than choosing their own names, parents who observe faithfully the old ways take their newborns to “Naming Stones” to be named by a cleric, volkhv or witch according to local custom. An adherent of Lada or Mokosh is a common proctor.

A typical ritual has the sacred authority holding the infant’s brow to the stone briefly, then listening close to the monolith to hear their designation. A blessing ceremony of some kind follows and the child is known thence by the name whispered by the runestone.

In the “bear’s share” of the settlements in the Lands of Khos, the names heard are of a uniform nature, names like Sasha, Yaroslav or Elena. In places where the old trees are yet observant or passages to Faerie are near, names like Rhiryd, Tangwystl or Gwerydd might whisper forth.

Decades ago, around the time the elves began to abandon this world, a few mischievous Fae began to “infect” the naming stones to occasionally offer more unusual names. Upon hearing the name, some clergy will shake their heads, beseech their deities and report regardless to those gathered for the ceremony that they’ve heard  a more traditional name.

Others elect to faithfully report the murmured name, regardless of its peculiarity. Some tricksy Fae have ventured to far realms and times, have gathered names from these places then stored them in the runestones for their amusement. The phenomenon is a topic of controversy among both clergy and the laity throughout the Lands of Khos. Some parents and their neighbors receive the unusual names as a curse while others take the monikers as a sign of great honor and portent. A recent theory circulating among a handful of religious scholars is the Fae who’ve done this have no ill intent; the naming stones are simply repeating the words whispered into them. Regardless, most have become at somewhat inured to the situation. In Vyshne, for example, there are three teenagers respectively named Thundarr, Deez Nuts & Finieous and hardly anyone bats an eye.

Design note: It’s seldom explicit, but many D&D worlds have “naming stones” in them. The judges of these worlds methodically craft and distribute their culture-specific recommended name documents but there’s occasionally that one player who chortles to themselves and records “Boaty McBoatFace” for their Dwarven sailor character. In addition to his unfortunate name, Boaty will soon be discovered to possess a shockingly bad “Scottish” accent. In a world of divers authors, modules & products, naming stones also serve to explain why in an otherwise Nordic-themed campaign there might be a village named Orlane full of folks like Grover Ruskadal, Zakarias Ormond & Kilian Gade.