As some of you may know, I fancy myself a bit of a writer. I've been going through my current story's list of races, tweaking things as I see the need to, and have decided I need to rename a few races, and come up with creative names for others I have yet to name. This is where you come in, my dear Innmates. My brain has become a sloppy mess of mush with all the stress I'm under and I cannot think of anything name-wise at all.
First up is my Demonic race. For years I have simply settled with the name Demon, NOT CREATIVE ENOUGH!! I find the imagery evoked by the word Demon just really doesn't fit the race I envision. Don't get me wrong, the race is very demonic at its core, but the imagery is still off.
Appearance wise I see them more as a cross between the more human looking demons one would see watching Angel or Charmed, and the Vampires presented to us by Anne Rice, particularly Louis and Lestat. That said they stand just taller than your average human, skin tones are usually a little off, ranging from extremely pale to even reddish in hue. The eyes are usually the telling feature, as most have solid black, red, or white eyes, other colors do occur though less frequently. I originally had intended to leave behind the stereotypical images associated with Demons and Devils, as such these 'demons' do not resemble those found in the monster manuals of all our favorite RPGs. No massive wings, no horns, no pointy tails.
Recently though I have been considering tying their appearance and power to the cycles of the moon, the fuller the moon, the more powerful and monstrous they will become. During the New Moon and other periods of little to no lunar visibility they will, for the most part, look human, as the moon progresses toward full though they will progress steadily toward a more stereotypical Demonic appearance, progressing from an almost Tiefling-like appearance to full on Pit Fiend or other monstrous fiend. Does this sound like a good idea to anyone else, should the cycles be reversed so that the New Moon reveals the monster with in while the moon's light causes it to diminish? I accept any and all input on this subject. Either way, the phase that presented demons at their weakest would be a prime time for the various clans of demon-hunters to stalk their demonic prey, meaning the demons would have to be more careful during this time to avoid detection and confrontation.
Now that I have covered most of the appearance based aspects of the race I suppose a quick look at their abilities may help form a clearer picture of the race as whole and aid in the naming process.
Just about every demon is skilled in the use of darkness and shadow based magics, as well as fire, poison, and other nasty painful magical effects. The strongest such technique that I have thought of up to date is a Dark Flame that consumes whatever the caster wills it to, be it the body, the soul, non-organic matter, you name it the spell can be tailored to destroy anything while leaving anything else unharmed. Thus the spell could burn away the very soul of a victim while leaving the body unharmed, making cause of death much less evident.
Demons tend to be faster, stronger, and more cunning than your typical human, easily making them a superior race in most every way. To put it in DnD terms, the average human has stats of 10-11, the average demon would have 14-15, even at its weakest point in the lunar cycle (if said cycle is even implemented into the mythos as I work all this out).
The main antagonist in my stories is of this Demonic race, and in prior incarnations of the character and race I have had him able to traverse the plane of shadows, which is a dangerous task even for demons, be immensely well trained in melee combat making great use of his superior speed and strength, and equally skilled in fire and dark magic techniques. I never gave him the Dark Flame magic described above, I don't know if it was out of pity for my protagonists, or just a desire to keep him grounded somewhat.
I have also had him make use of tattoo-based Shadow Magic, using inks made of shadow essence to tattoo himself and then be able to manifest the tattoos, in his case in the form of a pair of black feathered wings much like the ones featured on his war banners and other insignias. I'm not sure if I want to keep the Shadow Tattoo Magic, or if I want to instead go with the lunar phases and the changes they would bring, including the more demonic bat-like wings.
I know it isn't completely obvious from the race above, but this is meant to be a fantasy setting. That said the standard races are represented in some way. I of course have humans present and accounted for, elves are present (though more as the counterpart of the demons than just typical tree hugging Tolkien elves), I decided including Dwarves and Halflings felt just a little too much like a Tolkien clone, and instead have decided to replace both races with Goblinoid counterparts. I don't just want to call them Goblins and Hobgoblins though, I want a more original sounding name for the races.
The Goblinoid races would resemble their namesakes in most ways, with goblins being small and violent, with a knack for explosives and other alchemical warfare practices such as poison and traps. As with DnD Goblins they will favor stealth and strength in numbers style fighting, but will not be just cannon-fodder for the Hero(s) to plow through, they will play a major role and are a major race, not just a monster to be slaughtered.
The Hobs (as I have come to call them for short) will be built more like Dwarves than the DnD Hobs, being short and stocky in stature. They will still be very militaristic as a whole, usually leading bands of Gobs or serving as the police force in Goblin cities. They will be stronger then standard Gobs, and stronger than humans for that matter. They are less enthusiastic about explosives and the other things that make Gobs all giddy, but still appreciate the usefulness of such things.
The point of this post is, as I said earlier, I feel that the races need a more original name, something that still has a monstrous feel to it without being so cookie-cutter fantasy.
As in any fantasy setting, there are half-breeds present where communities intermingle. As such I want to try to give the races names that will sound okay when the half-blood race is talked about. Half-Elf, Half-Demon, Half-whatever, I either want names that will sound good prefixed with Half or original names for the half-breed races too.
One of the main Protagonist is actually half-elf and half-demon, two opposites that should never have been made into a whole, very tragic character, though his entire history and story has been marked for a complete overhaul like most of the story because I found that he just came across as way too powerful with the abilities he had access to. This unlikely race of course never had a name, and may never as it is so rare an occurrence that he may in fact be the only one in existence EVER.
One more Race.. though others may get posted later..
I have in my head a race of bird-like people, very similar to Tengu, but rather than being crows they are more along the lines of hawks and falcons. This image is the closest I can find to what I have in mind for the race, though not exactly like that.
They are, for the most part, a reclusive race, living in caves on cliff faces overlooking the seas of the world. They will likely get the majority of their food from fishing and foraging, though will also trade what they gather for items they can't readily get on their own.
While I appreciate the quick responses, neither name feels quite right to me. I'm not sure I want the race's name to be two words, it seems like too much of a mouth full for a good name. As for your suggestion Tiamat, it is also a mouth full, and seems a little too oriental for the setting.
Is it worth finding another arbitrary time frame for their changes? Because moon cycles are a little overdone and clichéd. But that's not important.
Did a quick search on several thesauri, in several languages.
Espegel? Espegal? (deformation of archaic French word for demon.)
Namar? Neimar? (don't remember where I found it.)
Korrigan? Kragen? Korgan? (Breton malignant spirit.)
Odiscol? Adiscol? Discol? (Archaic Spanish word for demon.)
Lusbel? Luzbel? Uzbel? (Alternative Spanish name for Satan.)
Chert? Tchert? (Russian for Hell.)
Domovoi? Domov? Damov? (Russian for goblin.)