So, after watching a few episodes of RWBY, you said to yourself, "Hey I wanna make my own RWBY character too!" and started designing away. You get the concept for their appearance, weapon, Semblance, etc. yet there's still one important factor that you can't figure out. What is your OC's name?
If you're one of those people who need a small push in the right direction of creating a nice, unique name that stands out to people, then look no further.
Notes to all Readers
First off, hello, and thank you for taking the time to browse through this guide. I hope that you find it enjoyable, easy to read, and ask any questions that I or other users can answer in the comments below.
Also, keep in mind, if you have to ask, "Is [insert name here] alright to use?" or any variation, I would advise that you if not read through the entire guide, skim through the points that concern you the most before asking in the comments below. You may just answer your own question.
What is a Name?
First off, let me go ahead and define the meaning of the word name. It is what you're called, what people will know you by and refer to you as. In other words, it is one key thing that identifies who you are.
Names are very important to character creation, as you want them to stand out in some sort of way, make them appeal to whatever you audience you're looking for. A name like "John Smith" is something so common anyone can think of and brings me straight to yawn city.
You want to draw attention to your character, make people interested at looking at the page you so lovingly created for them. Your OC is your very own child, you want to share with the world don't you?
Color Naming RuleAs we are the RWBY Fanon, you can't make a RWBY character without following the Color Naming Rule. This is the one of the mandatory laws created by Monty Oum himself, that the fandom must follow in order to be considered a legit RWBY OC. Every single character, except for Professor Ozpin who is exempt from the rule (information given by Monty himself as well), in Canon does follow this rule.
To simplify, a character must be:
- A color.
- Something that sounds like a color.
- Means a color.
- Makes you think of a color.
A few Canon examples:
- For the first bullet point, the character Scarlet David fits, as Scarlet is a color being red.
- Vale News Reporter Cyril Ian and Team ABRN member Nadir Shiko both work for the 2nd bullet point, as if you say both first and surname, you hear "Cerulean" and "Nadeshiko" being a shade of blue and a Japanese name for a family of pink flowers respectively.
- Blake, Weiss, Jaune, and a large majority of the cast are covered within the 3rd bullet point. Blake being "Black" in old English, Weiss meaning "White" in German, and Jaune for "Yellow" in French.
- Sun Wukong fits for the 4th bullet point, as we all see the sun (y'know, big glowing sphere we see in the day time) as a mix of red, yellow, and orange. Ruby's name brings the image of the gem of the same name "Ruby".
All seems pretty simple right? Let's just slap a color into our already existing name. WRONG! Changing your character's name from "Bob Johnson" to "Bob Green" or just adding a color in for the middle name (like Mary Blue Jacobs) doesn't necessarily make the cut.
Why you might ask? Well, for starters, the CNR applies to the first and/or whole name (last name is pretty much optional).
CNR in Canon
There is a certain piece of evidence as to why the rule must apply to the first name at least. In the episode Field Trip , Ozpin gives the students from the various campuses of the world of Remnant a speech that informs everyone about an 80 year-old war that destroyed forms of art, self-expression, and individuality. To oppose this form of tyranny, it became a trend to name your child after one aspect of art itself: color. The tradition isn't just a Vale thing, it's the whole planet.
The only exeptions to the CNR are characters who are nearly as old as, or especially older than our dear Professor Ozpin.
To Answer Any Concerns
Certain Existing Characters
But, what about characters such as Lisa Lavender, or James Ironwood? Don't they only have references in their last names? Lisa isn't a color!
Yes, from first glance we can see that "Lavender" fits the color rule as well as "iron" and "wood", but their first names also fit the ruling as well. Lisa , actually has an old relation to the lily flower (white in most cases); while it may not be an actual color, it follows point 4 of the CNR. James is derived from Jacob which means "holder of the heel " (heel of a human foot, or crusty ends of a loaf of bread. also works with point 4).
It also should be noted that with certain adult characters, they may be exempt from the CNR because of their age (I.E. Professor Ozpin). They may have been already alive before the tradition of naming children after aspects of color began across the world.
- Although do keep in mind that the Great War takes place 80 years prior to the current events in RWBY, so this exception mainly applies to your OC's ancestors.
And no, there is not enough evidence to support beings who are granted with eternal life or characters frozen in an iceberg for a century, maintaining their youth (looking at you Aang!), so as of now do not try to use this idea to get around the CNR either (for OC's you wish to RP with anyways. Side Characters used for means of only fiction would be fine).
Okay, I'll go ahead and name my character Van Lestler. Van is short for Vanilla, which is "white" ice cream.
While I appreciate good loopholes in general, this one isn't all too great. While "you" as the creator may be able to relate vanilla to your OC, others would not be. The allusion should be decipherable in some way by everyone, be it through research or in plain view, not a gimmick you created to bend the rules.
Personally I'd think of a mini-van, which brings up another point to where it's "too general" an allusion (because cars come in different colors, shades, etc.). It would be fine if Van was just your OC's nickname, but if you want that reference, they'd have to be officially named Vanilla or Vanille (french form), etc.
**Note: This tidbit of shortening names is more along the lines of reviewer discretion, depending on how you perform said shortening.
Nickname Alluding to Color?
What about nicknames? Can I name my OC Charlie, but she goes by Char instead, as a reference to Charcoal?
No. The character's name, what is stated on their birth certificate, must be related to a color. You cannot use a nickname to get passed the CNR I'm afraid; it's not following the tradition that everyone on Remnant respects. Her name would just have to be Charcoal if you wanted that color allusion, therefore removing "Charlie" from the equation entirely (or you can use it as a nickname, middlename, etc). Or, you can go the route of Cyril Ian/Nadir Shiko and name them Char Coal (or Cole, whichever variation you choose).
Nicknames in general don't have to follow the rule, so you're free to have your OC called whatever you like in that sense. However, do not use this idea as a way to say, "Hi, my name is Black Shadow, but you can call me Kirito," as there's no connection to the names whatsoever. Try to make sense of nicknames; think like how you'd shorten a name to make things easier, like Maxine to Max, or try and relate it to an activity, hobby, or something person likes (Charlotte with Coco as her nickname, because she drinks hot chocolate 24/7).
Can I name my OC Fred, and says his allusion is red? The color "red" is in the name. That's some original thinking ain't it?
I'll be frank with you and just say no. Truth be told, you think it's a clever loophole to get by the system, but I don't believe it's very creative to say the least. Why you may ask? There's a color hidden among the name somewhere, same with other names such as, Tiron, Alfred, or Gerold, but it's not something everyone will understand.
This is another one of those gimmicks I was refering to, where the allusion is only clear to yourself. I myself would take further action and look up the meaning of the name and find that there is no relation at all, while another user might read the name and say "Nope" and go from there. You might as well just name them Red.
Pure Vanilla Simplicity
So, I'll just name my character "Black Jones." How about that?
While it is acceptable, it can be considered a lazy way to try and get by the rule, because there's an impression that little to no thought was put into it whatsoever. But remember, you're not trying to impress me with your skills; I'm merely here to relay my understanding of this info to help you and your OCs fit better within the RWBY-verse. The whole RWBY crew spent loads of time coming up with interesting names from various origins that fit color, as well as a certain theme for the character.
Neo, or rather Neopolitian is based off of the ice cream that comes in the three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and her appearance shows that aspect off well. Pyrrha has a Greek origin in her name ("first name meaning flame-colored", and last name meaning "victory of the people") and compared with her overall appearance as well as her skill in battle, the combination compliments her entire character effectively.
Ask yourself, would you want to watch RWBY, or any show for that matter if they were blandly named Black Jones, Fire Storm, Milk Tea, or Pink Smith? Names are unique. Be creative!
Now, you may be discouraged, thinking at this point, "Man this is gonna be one of the hardest things to do," after being thrown with the specifics and such. Don't tear your brains out or give up completely just because you think you might have to start over right away. Before instantly crossing your name off the list completely, first do a little research; look up the meaning of the name in question either by This helpful website, or your choice of search engine.
Let's say you wanted to scrap the name "Blaine" as you just thought it sounded cool for a moment. With a little bit of effort, you'll find out it's a Scottish surname meaning Yellow.
If you named a character Brandy, you'll know it also has a color allusion after some quick searching. Brandy is a type of alcoholic beverage from a Dutch word meaning "burnt wine". For this meaning you have wine, coming as a clear or red liquid.
- Also, take the time to notice what I did with these examples. Can't figure it out? I linked my resources, that way anybody who stumbles along the page can see where I had learned the meaning of my OC's name.
Keep in mind, it's good to know the allusion yourself, but much better to link it in a Trivia section on your OC page, especially when it comes to reviews. It gives the Fanon Reviewers one less task to do, and it's always great to have some evidence on hand to back up your claims.
Assemble the Team!
As many fans are aware of, if their OC has applied to Beacon, Shade, or any of the upper level Huntsman training academies they will be put on a team with 3 other students. Of course many creators may have already formed a team of their own. All that's left is to come up with the team's name. It's also stated in the CNR that the team name must follow the same guidelines as individual OC's.
As a refresher, the first letter of the character's name must fit in a 4 letter acronym, spelling the team name which must also be:
- A color.
- Something that sounds like a color.
- Means a color.
- Makes you think of a color.
It can also be implied, but not 100% set in stone that the Team's leader has their first letter starting off the team's acronym (RWBY led by Ruby, JNPR led by Jaune, CRDL led by Cardin and so forth). The direction you'd want go in at this point is figure out who's going to be the head honcho. Say we have the Letters "A" "N" "B" and "R" and you decided to make "A" the leader. The other three are free game in regards to placement, but remember what the team's name as a whole will come out to.
This may seem difficult at first, but think outside the box for a bit; you may not have many options just by looking merely at those letters, and trying to figure out which word it will come to, with the CNR being applicable. Think about Team RWBY and compare it to the actual word "ruby". In the case of the spelling, the letter "u" is replaced with a "w" representing Weiss's spot on the team.
JNPR is a word that's been condensed from 7 letters (JuNiPeR) down to 4 by taking out the vowels, as well as applying a letter from a character's surname (Lie Ren). It may be due to a cultural thing in Remnant, same as how some eastern cultures do so here in the real world, but you have character's such as Sky Lark of Team CRDL that does the same.
With Team CFVY, the last two letters aren't used in the word "coffee" at all! What mainly matters is how the letters in the acronym are placed and how similar the pronunciation is going to be to said color reference (Coffee).
The one thing I wouldn't recommend, however, is using all vowels compared to all consonants for a team name. Going with Team AOAO for "Avocado" might be a little bit hard to fight for.
From all this information we've gathered, all we have to do is work with these guidelines:
- Firstly, the CNR must be applied in some way. No exceptions!
- Don't limit yourself to 4 letter words.
- The team name does not have to be named after the team's leader.
- Ruling only states "first letter". Doesn't specify first name or surname, so either may be used.
- The letters of the original word (Coffee) all don't have to be present (CFVY vs KFVE, KOFI, COFE, COFF, KFFE, KFFY, KOFY, etc).
- Before deciding who's leader, play around with the acronyms you have.
- You may replace a letter of an existing word to get a similar sounding result (coffee vs kauf-vee vs cough-vee).
- Avoid vowel exclusive Team names.
- If your leader is set in stone, the other 3 letters in the acronym can be placed in any order.
Going back to our example letters "A, B, N, R", you can think of a few different names.
- ABRN= Auburn
- ABNR= Abner
- ANBR= Amber
Or if you don't want "A" to be the leader, because thinking hurts, just rearrange all the letters around.
- BARN= Barn
- BRAN= Bran, Brandy
- RANB= Rainbow
Before deciding who gets the spot as leader, try playing around with the letters to see which combinations you're able to find. If you've started off with the Team name, then figure out a way the individual characters will fit the CNR itself.
Can I create my team first, and then my OC names afterwards?
Of course you can! There's nothing wrong with going that route at all. Sometimes this can be a lot more simple, as you can play around with how you're going to spell your team name; There may be a lot of people who decided to go with Team SAPR (Sapphire), and may seem to common in your opinion so you go with SFYR instead (The Fanon especially has plenty of teams with similar names, so it's a good idea to keep that in mind).
And the Teams that aren't attending a school? Does the Team Name still have to be based on the CNR?
Yes and no. I would say if the team consists of academy alumni, you might as well stick with the name. They've been in the team for four years together, it's only natural to keep calling Team STRQ, Team STRQ instead of The Black Qrows.
In the case of canon where we've seen RWBY disbanded and Pyrrha's demise, Ruby, Jaune, Ren, and Nora at this point are seen working together to track Cinder. This team has been formed unofficially, due to the events that took place during the Battle of Beacon. They don't necessarily have an officialy Team name: Nora say's they should be called Team JNRR (Junior) due to the team consisting mostly of original members from Team JNPR, while Ren argues they should be called Team RNJR (Ranger) as they are aiding Ruby in her objective. Neither of these names relate to a color in any siginificant way (although note Ren does mention that JNRR is not a color, showing the Team Names are affected by the CNR in canon).
TL;DR: If the team formed at a combat school, they should be recognized as said team after doing so for 4 years in training. If it's a faction, or unofficially formed team of individuals then the ruling doesn't necessarily have to apply, however is still reccomended.
So with all this being said, you now have a few tips and resources on naming your RWBY OC. This guide is mainly helpful for those who want to "just get by" and find a good color reference without trying to tie the name and character to a certain theme they might have in mind (which can be much more difficult).
If there is anything that should be added or touched up upon, just let me know and I'll see what else I can add in.
If you do have a name in mind for a character or team DO NOT ask here if it's alright to use for your OC. Just do the research for the name (Linking the website I mainly use once more... ) , and if you already have, then you should already know the answer.
Thanks for the read, and have fun with your naming process!