Friday, 15 February 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name...

Should smell...something something...

DnD Online Games, the site I have been playing, running and discussing DnD and role-playing in general for over 8 years, has had a recent name-change.  After much consideration and thought, we've emerged as RPG Crossing, an attempt to welcome and support players from a range of games, editions, systems, and so on.  Much as I'll miss the old familiarity of "DnDOG", the new name has already proven fruitful, as it came along with a new server, and without a whole lot of old, tired site errors.

What is in a name?

But this is more than a post about where to go for your play-by-post gaming needs (, remember! :) )!  The change of name got me thinking about names in RPGs in general.  I have often found the hardest part of character creation is the name.  Choosing appropriate, meaningful names for characters has always been a challenge, a task almost as hard as choosing names for my children!  Although, that example in itself shows a big difference between roleplaying and real life.

Most of us haven't chosen our own names, in our real life.  Sure, some of us may have chosen to take on our partner's name when we were married, or perhaps created our own names if we weren't fortunate enough to be born already awesome.  But I would guess that a majority of us haven't really changed our names that much since our parents decided on them, and had it put on our birth certificate.  That's a big difference between our experienced lives and our role-playing stories.  Maybe we should ask the DM what our parents called us?  Or turn to random name generators for advice?

Family Traditions

I know some folk stick to certain methods for their character's names.  Some might only ever want to use hidden puns or cryptic meanings within them; others name them after famous chess players.  One might elect to use a foreign language to translate a word that has special meaning, whilst another may look about the room, choose an object at random, and then add a "K" to the front.  There are players who only want to play characters called the same name as themselves, or possibly some other name that each of their characters shares.  Maybe a character's name includes their occupation, their race, or even their notable characteristics.

Writer's Block

So what do you do?  Do you go for a quick and easy name, or do you think about making it appropriate for the setting and the history of your character?  Do you name them based on what they will do, or have done? Or is their title given to them by their parents, with no knowledge of who they will become? Does their name stick out amongst like a sore thumb their peers, or has it been adapted to fit the setting? How do you choose your character's names?

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